Controversial decision hits Eurovision's Russian jury ahead of semi final


Sweden Eurovision Song Competition
Russia may be favourites to win the Eurovision Song Contest - but the country has become embroiled in a major row after one of the country's Eurovision jurors used live-streaming app Periscope to broadcast from the jury room.

The European Broadcasting Union said the actions of Anastasiya Stotskaya were "not in keeping with the spirit of the competition and potentially prejudicial".

Her broadcast, which lasted almost seven minutes, showed large segments of the entries from the Netherlands and Armenia and revealed the jurors' deliberations.

The EBU has decided to suspend the individual juror - but allow the remaining four jurors' votes to stand.

In a statement, the EBU said: "Following constructive talks between EBU and RTR, Russia's participating broadcaster, RTR proposed to withdraw the respective jury member who produced the video recording.

The Russian delegation around Sergey Lazarev celebrates after qualifying in the first Eurovision Song Contest semifinal

"As a consequence, the EBU declared the voting result of the respective judge invalid. The other four judges submitted a valid jury vote."

A replacement juror will be found ahead of the grand final on Saturday.

The statement added: "The EBU does not consider it a breach of the rules to stream a video online from the jury deliberation, as long as individual rankings, combined rankings or jury points are kept confidential until after the Grand Final.

"Nevertheless, the EBU regards the actions of the person involved as not in keeping with the spirit of the competition and potentially prejudicial as it imposes a potential risk of accidentally revealing results."

Russian singer Sergey Lazarev performs during a Eurovision pre-party in Moscow

Russia, the Netherlands and Armenia all made it through the Eurovision Semi-Final and will be performing on Saturday at the final.

Each participating country provides both a public televote and a jury vote for the singing contest. Juries are made up of five music professionals chosen by the participating broadcasters, with official auditing by PwC.

"The broadcast of the Jury semi-finals and Jury final is an internal transmission, not meant for public distribution," said Jon Ola Sand, Eurovision executive supervisor.

If voting from the entire Russian jury had been declared invalid and an average of all other juries used, this would have posed a problem.

As Russia cannot give points to itself, an average would reduce the value of points awarded to any rival countries - giving Russia a boost.