As we all know, Alekseev won the Belarusian national selection with the song “Forever”, and will go on to represent Belarus at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. Despite the fact that Alekseev had performed his song back in May 2017 various times, he was allowed to compete with it in the Belarusian national selection after changing parts of the song, but the EBU had nevertheless allowed the original version of the song to be the one to compete in Lisbon. Now, Tim Norell – one member of the songwriting team of Gunesh who finished second in the Belarusian Final, is planning to sue both the EBU as well as the Belarusian national broadcasters.
Controversies over Alekseev’s participation started when it was discovered that he had already performed this song (with lyrics in Russian, titled “Navsegda”) in a sold-out concert in Kiev back in May, as well as in his concert in Stavropol five days later. The videos of Alekseev performing this song in this particular concert in Kiev on the 18th of May 2017 have been removed from Youtube in the meanwhile, however they are available on VK:
After this discovery, six acts threatened to withdraw from the competition, with Sofi Lapina actually withdrawing in protest. Now after the EBU has allowed the original version of “Forever” to be the one performed in Lisbon, the songwriting team of the song that finished in second place (Gunesh’s “I Won’t Cry”) are planning to sue the EBU and BTRC – Belarusian national broadcaster, for damages.
Tim Norell, one of the three songwriters (the other two being Alexander Bard and Ola Hakansson) stated the following to Nojesbladet:
Belarus is a country of corruption, you have understood, but we had expected the EBU to put everything right…
Now the EBU does not follow its own rules. How, then, as a songwriter, will I know what is applicable? I’ll let our lawyer look at this.
Nojesbladet contacted the EBU with straight forward questions about this issue, but got back a rather generic reply:
As in previous years, it is up to each country’s broadcaster to elect an appropriate entrant to the Eurovision Song Contest in May. The EBU and the host country’s television company will then ensure that all entries comply with the competition rules. All potential entries to the Eurovision Song Contest are reviewed by the EBU prior to the Delegation Manager’s meeting in March, to ensure that the songs follow the rules before they formally qualify for a contest.
The meeting of the Heads of Delegations will be held on Monday, 12th of March in Lisbon, and we shall see whether anything is going to be overturned, or not.
Tim Norell, together with Alexander Bard and Ola Hakansson, wrote various hits for lots of Swedish stars back in the 80s and 90s, including Secret Service, Agnetha Fältskog, Jerry Williams, Lili & Susie, Army of lovers, Pernilla Wahlgren and Boppers, and they also wrote Sweden’s Eurovision entry in 1989 – Tommy Nilsson’s “En dag”.