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Romania: Producer comments controversy

24 January 2008 at 13:01 CET

After TVR released the shortlist of candidates and their songs, several songs were accused of plagiarism or appeared to have been performed before the 1st of October, 2007, which is not allowed under the rules of the Eurovision Song Contest.

"We have disqualified one song until now, and hopefully that will be all. Your Love turned out to have been publically performed before October 2007. Another entry, Vorbe Care Dor, was withdrawn by the band themselves for personal reasons," Duma explained. "There were rumors about another song having been posted on the internet during the summer, and we have searched for it, but we found no proof. So, we had no foundation for disqualification."

Critical fans on internet forums wondered how it is possible that a song that took part in the 2005 selection could be selected again for the 2008 national final. "The song, which was performed by somebody else when we received it this year, was submitted to us in 2005 as well. Back then, it was withdrawn by the composer right after having been accepted by the jury. TVR never broadcast it. The song was once performed on another channel in 2005," the producer explained.

Duma also told that the members of the jury for this year's national selection did not remember the song and possibly never heard it before. When fans pointed out that the entry was not compliant with the rules, TVR investigated the matter and disqualified the entry. "I wish to thank everyone who noticed it and wrote us about that, trying to help us instead of looking for a scandal. This shows real interest for the event," Duma said. Furthermore, the producer is happy to see an increasing involvement of the Romanian public in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Following the controversy, fans and press even questioned the professionalism of the team behind this year's Romanian national selection. "Every year, some songs are subject to discussion. Our job is to check if these discussions are funded or not, and to act consequently. On the contrary, I’d say it is a good thing that people put so much passion in supporting their favorites. I am not to judge our own level of professionalism. I suppose that will be proven in the TV shows we’re planning for the national selection," Duma concludes with a smile.

Late last year, Duma won an internal competition at TVR to find a new format for the national selection. Dan Manoliou, who did the job for several years, had to hand over the production to Duma. Manoliou, who produced the national final for several years, also did a magnificent job as Creative Director and multi-camera director at the 2006 Junior Eurovision Song Contest, which took place in Bucharest.