Today, Russian singer and producer Philip Kirkorov has announced that he is withdrawing from the Eurovision Song Contest jury in his country, both as member and chairman. The decision follows questions about his impartiality due to his close relationship with some participants in the competition. He will continue to work for Channel One Russia as commentator of the Final of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, this Saturday.
Last night during the Second Eurovision Song Contest semi final winners' press conference, a journalist asked Greek representative Sakis Rouvas if his close friendship with Kirkorov would help Greece to win votes from Russia. Rouvas responded by saying that Kirkorov was a professional and would never allow his personal feelings to influence his responsibilities.
Philip Kirkorov gave the following statement:
“I am grateful for the honor that the organizers bestowed on me, to be chosen as the president of a professional jury…This job is certainly very interesting for me, because for many years I have been involved in the Eurovision Song Contest – first as a participant, than as a producer, consultant and always as a big fan. However, I decided that I need to refrain from participating in the judging process as a member of the jury, since I've taken such an active role in the life of the contest and have close ties with some of the contestants, for instance with Sakis Rouvas, who I've been friends with for many years. All this can raise questions from the participating countries about the objectivity of the decision of the Russian jury.
“Of course my colleagues and I understand that for a professional, personal friendships don't matter and do not play any role in the scoring of a song, but I cannot let even a slightest shadow of doubt involved with this process and have questions raised about the impartiality of a professional Russian jury and my role as chairman. That is why I took the decision to leave. This will allow me to freely express my opinion and to communicate openly with contestants from different countries, which for me as an artist and a producer means a great deal,”.
Svante Stockselius, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of the European Broadcasting Union, commented: “We respect the decision of Philip Kirkorov, who we know as a committed musician and dedicated supporter of the Eurovision Song Contest and its participants. He assured us that he voted independently in the first Semi-Final and also signed a declaration stating so.”.
Philip Kirkorov represented Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1995 and was involved with several entries ever since, including Ani Lorak's Ukrainian entry last year that placed second. The Final of the Eurovision Song Contest will take place this Saturday, 16th of May, in Moscow, Russia. Professional juries and televoters in all participating country will each provide 50 per cent of the outcome.