Leighton Buzzard band claims changes to Eurovision Song Contest ‘unfair’

A Leighton Buzzard rock band has raised concerns about how candidates are chosen for the Eurovision Song Contest.

By Jo Gravett
Sunday, 15th March 2020, 11:51 pm

As singer-songwriter James Newman was recently confirmed as the UK’s artist for Rotterdam on May 16, local musicians Sisters of Duras are on the hunt for answers about selection and diversity.

In September it was confirmed that BBC Studios would be working alongside BMG’s UK music publishing and frontline recordings team to select the 2020 entry, which would also be released and published by BMG.

However, far from improving the UK’s chances in the competition, Sisters of Duras members Leah Harlow and Christie Moore claim its diversity will suffer.

The Sisters of Duras have entered the Eurovision for the past five years, submitting rock based or punk songs.

They alleged: “They’re supposed to search for a song nationwide in the UK, but it’s become obvious that they are keeping it to their own signed artists because there is no mention of how any other artist can submit a song in any way. We tried to contact BMG record company by email and messaging but they wouldn’t reply.”

As well as being frustrated that they couldn’t enter this year, Leah and Christie claim that the BBC and BMG need to consider genres other than pop, with one of their favourite acts being Finnish rock band Lordi, who won in 2006.

They have submitted songs to the BBC in the past and claim that their entries disappeared “into a black hole” and that they never heard back.

A BBC spokeswoman said: “In order to get the best possible artist and song to represent the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020, we decided that the best approach for this year would be to collaborate with a reputable and professional music label who regularly work with emerging and established artists; and have a track record of achieving worldwide hit records.”

The spokeswoman also confirmed that BMG did look outside for its songwriters.

A European Broadcasting Union spokesman said: “The BBC, and all participating broadcasters in the Eurovision Song Contest, are free to select their entry in any way they choose as long as the song and artist they pick adheres to the rules of the competition.”

Visit: https://eurovision.tv/about/rules/.

BMG said that it was best for the BBC to comment, since the decision to go to an outside third party to select the 2020 entry was theirs.