A Russian pop music duo that achieved worldwide fame for a video showing the two singers as lesbian schoolgirls was reportedly slated to perform at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi on Feb. 7.
t.A.T.u. duo Yulia Volkova and Lena Katina, who have not released a studio album since 2009, said on their Vkontakte account that they would soon head to the games for rehearsals. The information and accompanying photos have since been taken down.
Doubts persist about the post's truthfulness, however, as James Ellingworth of R-Sport said on his Twitter account, "Sorry to disappoint. We've checked this one out at R-Sport (v valid journalism exercise). Started with a spoof Twitter account."
Neither of the two artist's verified Twitter accounts currently contain any news of the invitation to perform at the Games' curtain-raiser.
A Yandex blog of Katina's tweets shows a message saying that the pair had been invited to perform at the ceremony, but added that "they treat artists like [expletive]." The tweet has since been deleted.
The Olympic organizers have not released a list of acts, but news of t.A.T.u's potential performance, seemingly riffing off of a Spice Girls' reunion performance at the closing ceremony 2012 Olympics in London, has drawn attention to the group and its lesbian image.
The video of their 2002 song "All the Things She Said," which showed the then-teenage pair kissing each other in the rain behind prison bars, brought calls from British television hosts to stop playing the video, which they called pedophilic, the BBC reported at the time.
As an example of the difference a decade makes, Western countries have criticized Russia in the run up to the Olympics for a law it passed last summer that criminalizes the dissemination of "gay propaganda" to minors.
In the years after the video, which remains the peak of the duo's career, it emerged that Katina and Volkova are not actually lesbians. Though the pair appeared at the 2007 Moscow gay pride parade, Katina told The Daily Beast last year that she likened the music video performance to a role in a movie. She added that she thought the recent law was "weird" as "a lot of people from the government with the big positions are gay."
Many observers say that release of "All the Things She Said," domestically titled "I Lost My Mind," would be illegal in Russia today.