Editorials & Opinion

Withdrawal skandal – Ten Eurovision gems that never happened

3. Aline Lahoud – Quand Tout S’Enfuit

The selection
Back in late 2004, Lebanon decided to take the jump Télé Liban confirmed that the Middle East country had filed the application to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 2005. Less than two weeks later, the broadcaster announced that singer Aline Lahoud was selected to fly to Kyiv. Jad Rahbani and Romeo Lahoud composed an entry for her, all in French: Quand Tout S’Enfuit. The song was announced in February 2005.
What was the skandal?
More than one skandal turned out to come with a Lebanese participation. Already in December 2004, the broadcaster announced a withdrawal. Télé Liban did not have the financial resources to travel to Kyiv and participate in Eurovision. EBU jumped in and made sure Lebanon was on the list to participate after all. Crisis avoided? Nope.
In March, some smart fans had a look at the Lebanese website for Eurovision. Télé Liban did not list the eternal enemy of Lebanon, Israel, on their website. When asked to solve the issue, Télé Liban removed the entire list and put a link to the official website on their page. Rightfully so, EBU decided to ask Télé Liban to declare that they’d broadcast the entire contest. Including Israel’s entry, Shiri Maimon. The broadcaster was hesitant to do this, as Lebanese law even forbids the publication of anything Israeli. Breaking the EBU rules, Télé Liban was forced to withdraw and got a five year ban for withdrawing at such a late stage.
How would this have done?
I wish I could give clearer answers for most of these, but we have to take a few factors into account for this question. French was dead and buried in 2005: Monaco and Belgium failed to qualify, France (rightfully) finished almost rock bottom. However, oriental sounds did work and a hauntingly beautiful song should always work. I dare say that Lebanon would’ve qualified easily for the final of Eurovision 2005. What a missed opportunity.

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