Just one week after the Grand Final of Eurovision 2019, a number of countries have already confirmed their participation for the 2020 contest. The latest of these is Lithuania, with their Head of Delegation confirming this, alongside hints of further changes to their selection. They join the likes of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and San Marino in confirming their participation.
Lithuania’s Eurovizijos atranka is widely known as one of the largest and most difficult national selections in Europe. Over 4 heats, two semi-finals and a grand final, it’s a challenge for any performer. Facing stiff competition from fan favourites like Monika Marija, Jurij Vaklenko emerged victorious with “Run With the Lions”. He received a perfect score from both juries and televoters across the three rounds of the competition.
Unfortunately, victory in this gruelling selection process did not translate into Eurovision success. Jurij narrowly missed out on a place in the Grand Final, placing 11th. In light of this, the Head of Delegation for Lithuania, Audrius Giržadas, has spoken to 15min.lt about their approach to the contest.
Now, we are focused on a good show. We are happy arguing, sending something to Eurovision and then getting out. But the ultimate goal is to be successful in Eurovision.Audrius Giržadas, Head of Delegation for Lithuania
He revealed that the broadcaster are open to further potential changes to the national selection process. Last year, they shortened the length of Eurovizijos Atranka slightly. In further changes, the Head of Delegation is looking to collaborate with representatives from Lithuanian media and entertainment to develop the show. Possible changes include shortening the span of the show further and allowing foreign artists to compete.
Lithuania in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Lithuania debuted at the contest in 1994. Their first entrant, Ovidijus Vyšniauskas with the song Lopšinė mylimai, finished last with nil points. However, this didn’t deter them from continuing; they have participated every year since 2004.
The semi-final era has seen some mixed results, Lithuania’s best finish coming in 2006 with LT United’s “We Are The Winners”. Despite the title, LT United could only manage 6th. Lithuania’s only other top 10 came in 2016, when Donny Montell finished 9th with “I’ve Been Waiting For This Night”. Overall, Lithuania has qualified 9 out of 15 attempts since the introduction of the semi-finals.
In Lisbon, Ieva Zasimauskaitė and her emotional ballad “When We’re Old” brought Lithuania to the Grand Final and the left-hand side of the leaderboard, finishing in 12th place. Unfortunately, Jurij was unable to replicate this success this year. However, it has since been uncovered that his journey may have unfairly cut short. It turns out that, based on the correct points totals, Lithuania should have qualified over Denmark in semi final two. Regardless, 2019 will provide a lot of food for thought for LRT and the EBU alike.
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