The Russian national selection, held in Moscow, was one of the longest of the 2008 season so far, no fewer than 27 competing songs. The show was opened by dancers with fire sticks, followed by Marija Šerifović performing her 2007 winning song Molitva. The finalists were then paraded on stage, and jury introduced to the audience. The voting comprised of part jury and part televoting. And then all 27 performances followed.
During the interval act which followed the song performaces, 2008 Belarus Eurovision Song Contest representative Ruslan Alehno sang his entry Hasta La Vista. Following Ruslan was 2008 Ukrainian representative Ani Lorak then took to stage and gave a performance of her 2008 entry Shady Lady with twenty four dancers all dressed in black suits, something of course, that Ani will be unable to repeat during the actual Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade, due to the limit on the number of people who can appear on stage during a countries performance.
The results of the top three were as follows:
Dima Bilan - Believe (54 points)
Alexandr Panaiotov - Crescent And Cross (52 points)
Zhenya Otradnaya - Porque Amor (50 points)
A very close run race in the end, and an emotional Dima Bilan was in tears as he celebrated his victory, he thanked the audience for trusting him again with the Eurovision Song Contest responsibility . Dima's winning song Believe was produced by world renowned producer Timbaland, who had also previously worked with Dima on his recent hit Number One Fan.
Dima Bilan, born Viktor Belan is of course no stranger to the Eurovision Song Contest, having ultimately finished in second position in the Final of the 2006 Contest in Athens with his song Never Let You Go, losing out only to Lordi from Finland. Since then, Dima has hired t.A.T.u.'s former PR manager, Sasha Tityanko, to help him to try and break out in the western market.
In 2008 Dima is planning to record three albums, a Russian, English and Spanish one. Now he is working on his English album, for which some tracks were produced by Timbaland. In February 2008, Dima went to Los Angeles and recorded a Spanish album with famous producer Rudy Perez, which will include a duet with Nelly Furtado, and a Spanish version of his first international single Number One Fan.
Russia will participate in the first Semi-Final of the Eurovision Song Contest on Tuesday 20th of May in Belgrade.