THE NETHERLANDS – It is known that EBU has a rule about originality of the songs issuing the September 1st rule. According to the rule, Eurovision entries must not have commercially released or publicly performed before September 1st in order for them to be eligible for the next contest edition.
Jon Ola and though has clarified in many cases that this rule has exceptions. First, when the release is limited (few hundred YouTube views don’t count) or performed in front of a limited audience (just like the video you see in this post).
Nevertheless, the ethical question rises again among all Eurofans. Is the Dutch song breaching the rules? According to this video yes, as it shows Duncan Laurence performing the song in a video published on June 9th, 2017 in front of an audience.
Yes, we agree that the video views are too small and it seems the audience in front of which he performs is also very limited an therefore it applies to the EBU exception of the September 1st rule.
Have in mind that songs like the 2016 Ukrainian entry which was performed in much bigger audience prior to September 1st was also allowed to participate and eventually won the contest. In a statement published on Facebook, the alliance of public broadcasters explains that neither the performance nor the YouTube footage gave Jamala an unfair advantage in Stockholm. The song was performed in a small concert venue, while the video had only been viewed by a few hundred people before the contest.
It was a shame that Greece’s Light in our soul by Kostas Bigalis, given to Helena Paparizou in 2005 was disqualified due to limited and almost unknown releases on Amazon. Bu then again EBU didn’t made the exemption that year.
Now let’s imagine what the fans and media would say if for example that would be the case of (for example) the Russian entry. I personally think there would be a huge fuzz about disqualifying Lazarev immediately.
Similar case in 2017 was also denied by EBU. “Requiem” the song that represented France at the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 appears to have breached the rules of the Eurovision Song Contest having been performed over 18 months before the cut off date for the competition. According to the video which was posted on YouTube the song was performed as early as January 24, 2015.
EBU answers: “The composition (lyrics and music) must not have been commercially released before 1 September 2016. In case the composition has been made available to the public, for example, but not limited to, on online video platforms, social network or (semi-) publicly accessible databanks, the Participating Broadcaster must inform the ESC Executive Supervisor, who shall have authority to evaluate whether the composition is eligible for participation in the Event. In particular, the ESC Executive Supervisor shall assess whether such disclosure prior to the Release Date is likely to give to the composition an advantage in the Event vis-a-vis the other compositions. The ESC Executive Supervisor shall authorise or deny participation of a composition which may have been available to the public as advised above, subject to prior approval of the Reference Group.”
Let’s keep in mind that the Dutch entry is currently the top favourite to win and of course attacks to Duncan would be ideal for him to loose the trophy. It is clear how EBU feels about the exceptions no matter how ethical or not seem to us. It is also clear that based on recent past events and examples of September 1st rule breaching there is no violation of the rules.