Russia’s entry in the Eurovision Song Contest will not reach the competition’s final stage for the first time in 14 years after singer Yulia Samoylova failed to garner enough votes in the semis.
Samoylova, who uses a wheelchair, was banned from the competition in Ukraine last year over a 2015 performance in Russian-controlled Crimea, in what Kiev said was a violation of its sovereignty. The move prompted Russia to withdraw from a competition that is increasingly viewed as becoming politicized.
“This was a very cool, unforgettable experience for me,” Samoylova was cited as saying by the state-run RIA Novosti agency Friday, after her performance of “I Won’t Break” failed to generate enough online votes in the semifinals.
Twenty-six countries will be represented in the Eurovision final on Saturday, including host nation Portugal.