Tel Aviv 2019

Belarus: Jury dismissed from Grand Final after breeching EBU rules

'The EBU has taken action and has dismissed the Belarussian jury from the Grand Final on Saturday'

It has been confirmed that the Belarusian jury for Eurovision 2019 have been dismissed by the EBU. It had previously come to light that the jurors had revealed details of their votes following the first semi final in an interview with TUT. This was a breech of the contest’s rules, which prohibit the revealing of jury voting until after the Grand Final. As a result, an alternative ‘aggregated result’ will be used as a substitute.

Following the first semi-final, in which Belarus was participating (and therefore voting), Valeri Prigun, the Chair of the Jury, told TUT that:

We determined the three winners almost unanimously. In general, in the first six or seven places we had almost no disputes. They started in 8-10th places. Then we met for about ten minutes.

Valeri Prigun speaking to TUT

If that wasn’t bad enough, additional jury members revealed which entries they ranked highly and disliked in the semi:

  • Anastasia Tikhanovich – Favourites were Georgia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Estonia, Greece and Australia.
  • Angelina Mikulskaya – Said that she voted down Iceland, while Australia topped her ranking.
  • Artyom Mikhalenko – Didn’t state his favourites, but commented on the performances of Georgia and San Marino.
  • Olga Ryzhikova – Favourites were Estonia, Georgia, Australia, Czech Republic.
  • Valeri Prigun – Favourites were Estonia, Czech Republic, Georgia.

EBU response

Following this, the Eurovision Press Team gave the following statement to Eurovoix regarding the repercussions of this rule break:

The Belarussian jury voting has been revealed in an interview contravening Eurovision Song Contest rules. In order to be compliant with the ESC voting regulations, the EBU has taken action and has dismissed the Belarussian jury from the Grand Final on Saturday. An aggregated result approved by the auditors will be used in order to determine to whom the Belarussian votes will be allocated.

We expect more a detailed explanation of how Belarus’ jury votes will be measured later this evening.

Who is ZENA?

Zinaida Alexandrovna Kupriyanovich, is one of this year’s youngest entrants, aged just 16. Thankfully, she just performs as ‘ZENA’. Despite her age, she has already had a successful career in her own right. She has competed on New Wave Junior 2013, Junior Slavianski Bazaar 2014 and attempted to perform for Belarus at Junior Eurovision twice, placing 4th in 2015 and 3rd in 2016. She later co-presented last year’s Junior Eurovision when the contest was held in Minsk. 

Following Belarus’ audition stage, ZENA progressed to the final and eventually won the national selection with Like It. This year, the winner was decided purely from a jury vote, where she scored 69 out of a possible 70 points. As a result, she performed 8th in the first half of the first semi-final at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv on May 14th. She qualified for tonight’s Grand Final, but we will not know how exactly she scored in the semi until after the winner is announced.

Belarus at the Eurovision Song Contest

Belarus made their debut in the contest when the semi-finals were introduced in 2004. Aleksandra and Konstantin were the first act to represent Belarus, failing to qualify for the final with their song “My Galileo”. 

Belarus didn’t make their first final until 2007 when Dmitry Koldun finished in 6th place in Helsinki with his entry, “Work Your Magic”. Belarus have qualified on four other occasions – in 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2017. 

Last year, Alekseev failed to make the final for Belarus with his song “Forever”, finishing in 16th place in the semi-final with 65 points. ZENA will be hoping to make her country proud when she performs in 19th in tonight’s semi final.

Do you agree with this course of action? Are you supporting ZENA ahead of tonight’s final? Let us know! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter@escxtra on Instagram and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! We’ll also be posting plenty of content on our YouTube in the run up to Tel Aviv!

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