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Eurovision organizers reject Belarusian song entry due to political overtones

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has rejected Belarus’s 2021 Eurovision Song Contest entry, it announced on Thursday, March 11. The competition’s organizer concluded that the proposed song, “I’ll Teach You” by the band Galasy ZMesta, “puts the non-political nature of the contest in question.” 

The EBU also underscored that the public backlash over the song could damage the Eurovision Song Contest’s reputation.

The 2021 selection, which took place in secret, drew criticism in Belarus because Galasy ZMesta’s song speaks out against the Belarusian opposition and the ongoing protests against President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime.

Pro-government media in Belarus described “I’ll Teach You” as “folk satire.” The chorus of the song features lyrics like “I’ll teach you to dance to the tune / I’ll teach you to peck the bait / I’ll teach you to toe the line.”

The EBU has asked the national state broadcaster — Belteleradio, which is responsible for the Belarusian Eurovision entry — to “take all necessary steps to submit a modified version, or a new song” that complies with Eurovision’s rules. “Failure to do so could result in disqualification from this year’s contest,” the EBU said in its statement.

Belteleradio excluded Belarus’s 2020 pick, VAL, from the Eurovision entry selection process following anti-government statements from the band’s members.

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