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Igor Burenkov:"We expect a very good showing in this year's Eurovision"
"We expect [the Russian delegate to make] a very good showing in this year's Eurovision [song contest]," Igor Burenkov, Director for Public Relations of the ORT television network, said at a news conference Wednesday. ORT will be broadcasting the event live to the Russian audience. Taking part in the news conference together with him were composer Vladimir Matetsky, ORT Music Director Yuri Aksyuta, and Yulia Savicheva, the pop singer selected to represent Russia at Eurovision 2004. Explaining the reasons for picking Savicheva, Matetsky said she was the best among the equals, that she had good chances to win, and that he hoped she would do just that. At the Eurovision contest, Savicheva is going to present a song entitled "Believe Me," by the high-profile Russian songwriter Maxim Fadeyev. "The song has been made in the Eurovision format, like a European hit. I like the lyrics and the idea, the arrangement and the tune. Work on it took a long time, and the final version wasn't ready until very recently," she said. "I'm ready both for a victory and a defeat. In any case, participation is, in itself, very important," she added. In Aksyuta's view, Russia's victory in the Eurovision contest would draw international attention not only to Russian pop singers, but also to its music market as a whole. "Believe Me" has been selected from among three thousand entries, submitted, among others, by such nationally renowned performers as the Smash band and Anastasiya Stotskaya. This year, the Eurovision format will be changed. On May 13, semifinals will be held for those who did not take part in last year's competition or failed to make it into the top fifteen. And the grand final will take place on May 15 in Istanbul, for delegates of fifteen European nations. Vote count procedures will be modified, as well. According to Burenkov, this will happen thanks in no small measure to ORT's statement questioning the correctness of voting procedures used last year in the UK and Ireland. "The organizers thanked us for pointing to the shortcomings, replaced the executive producer of live broadcasts of the European Broadcasting Union, and introduced the position of a contest supervisor," Burenkov said. This time around, television viewers living in the European part of Russia will have an opportunity to vote by telephone during the live broadcast of the Eurovision contest, Aksyuta said. In other parts of the country, a recorded version of the event will be shown on TV the following day, he added.
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