Russia Eurovision 2017 odds
Russia has announced its entry in the upcoming Eurovision song contest, seemingly putting an end to speculation that Russia might boycott the politically charged competition in Kyiv. Russian broadcaster Channel One announced that 27-year-old Yulia Samoylova would represent Russia at the contest with the song ”Flame is Burning”. Samoylova, who has used a wheelchair since childhood, was a finalist in Russia's X Factor in 2013 and sang at the opening of the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi. The young singer also won Alla Pugacheva’s Golden Star Award.
Although the selection indicates that Russia is not planning to boycott the competition, this doesn't mean that Samoylova will get to Ukraine. She has toured in Russia-occupied Crimea, and Ukrainian law allows authorities to block the entry to the country to anyone who visited Crimea without crossing the de-facto land border and going through Ukrainian border control and customs. Few Crimea visitors do so.
Samoylova was born a healthy child, but after the vaccination she stopped getting up on her feet. At age 13, she was diagnosed with the “Spinal amyotrophy of Verding – Hoffmann” disease. But following an inoculation she slowly lost the function of her legs, with doctors suggesting that she might die within three years. Obliged to move in a wheelchair, she flourished through her passion for singing. It will not be the first time that the Eurovision Song Contest will host an artist in a wheelchair. In 2015, Monika Kuszynska of Poland , paralyzed after a traffic accident, finished in 23rd place after eighth in her semifinal. The same year, Finland was represented by the punk group PKN composed of autistic and trisomic artists.
The song "Flame is Burning" was composed by Leonid Gutkin , who composed the songs performed by two other Eurovision Song Contest representatives, Dina Garípova, who finished fifth in 2013 and Polina Gagárina, who finished second place in 2015.
"I have a great resistance to stress, I'm iron in this aspect. I was recently had a surgery and I'm a little worried because I could get tired, although what I exhibit in the rehearsals satisfies the direction of Channel One," said Samoylova after the announcement that she is going to Kiev .
“Yulia is an original singer, charming girl and experienced contestant. I think that on 11 May, millions of viewers around the world share this feeling with us.”, said the Russian Head of Delegation, Jury Aksyuta.
The selection of Yulia could mitigate against the risk of booing during the live shows. Booing an artist who has overcome so much and represents perseverance to so many would leave the audience looking even more crass and insensitive than booing normally does.
Talking to reporters on Monday, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected suggestions that Moscow was provoking Kiev by sending a singer who has apparently broken the Ukrainian law. Peskov said "practically everyone has been to Crimea" and insisted that Ukraine as the host country has the obligations to uphold the rules of the competition.
Yulia will compete in the second Semi-Final of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.
Odds on Eurovision Song Contest 2017: Will Russia qualify for the final?
Russia's latest victory in Eurovision Song Contest was 2008, with Dima Bilan and the song Believe.