Hungary: Did Magdi break the rules?

by Benny Royston 135 views

A question mark over the eligibility of Magdi Ruzsa's Hungarian Eurovision Song Contest entry appeared tonight after it emerged that she performed part of the original Hungarian version during her televised Megasztar (Idol) audition in February 2006 – long before 01 October 2006 calling into question the eligibility of the song to compete in Helsinki.

The Hungarian delegation selected their representative by deciding upon the annual Fonogram Award winner for Best Hungarian Newcomer. Magdi Ruzsa won by a margin of only 18 televotes over rock band Wendigo. After selection, she had just three weeks to the EBU. The decision was taken to use an English language version of Aprócska blues, which appeared on Magdi’s debut album. The album was released in Hungary on 20th November, so the song’s appearance on the album was within the Contest rules.

The controversy has arisen because Magdi performed a part of her self-pennedsong during her audition for Megasztar — which was broadcast on television in February 2006. The show ran on TV2 from February to May 2006. In fact, the press kit distributed in support of this year’s Hungarian entry offers the story of Unsubstantial Blues, which includes the following statement: "She loved the song so much that in a pre-final of the Megastar pop idol contest, she sang it without any accompanying music."

Section four, rule 1 of the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest states: The entries (lyrics and music) must not have been commercially released and/or publicly performed before 1 October 2006.

Because Magdi’s audition tape appeared on television with part of Aprócska blues performed, the song's eligibility is now in question. esctoday.com contacted the Hungarian delegation after being made aware of the performance, which is available to view on youtube. Magdi's record company gave us the following statement:

"This link was recorded during the qualifying hearing/audition of the local Pop Idol Contest, Megasztar last year. Magdi was singing for 42 seconds, one verse and refrain that time, as there was nothing else from her very own composed idea. When we signed our record deal she wanted to finish this idea, and that is how she and her producer Gábor Závodi have created the song Aprócska Blues. According to the rules of ESC, the nominated entry song, can not be released or publicly performed before 1st October. As the album featuring the Hungarian version was released on 28th November 2006 (on Magdi’s birthday), we match this condition.

If anyone doubts that the song wasn’t publicly performed before the above date, I need to draw the attention again to the fact, that it was not the ready song, but the idea from which the song was based on. Not to mention that this was in Hungarian and English lyrics were written this March to the song, which has become the official Hungarian entry. This song was released on promotional single today!"

esctoday.comunderstands that it is unlikely that the song will be disqualified because there has never been a commercial or public performance of 'the song', only 'part of the song', and that the rule is in place to prevent the possibility of entering a previous hit or cover version of a song. We will of course continue to monitor this story closely and remain in touch with the EBU and Hungarian delegation regarding this matter.

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