Page last updated at 03:53 GMT, Monday, 9 March 2009

Russia picks Eurovision Ukrainian

Anastasia Prikhodko
Prikhodko: Rejected by Ukraine, chosen by Russia

Russia has swallowed its national pride and chosen a Ukrainian singer as its entry for the Eurovision song contest.

Anastasia Prikhodko's song Mama was only put on the shortlist two days before the heats, but won most votes from both TV viewers and judges.

The 21-year-old singer had previously sought to represent Ukraine, but was disqualified after a voting dispute.

Russian-Ukrainian relations are chilly, after a gas dispute which led to winter power cuts in many European countries.

Prikhodko's entry mixes the two languages, with the verses sung in Russian and a Ukrainian chorus.

"I'd like to thank everyone who voted for me, as well as all the judges," the singer said.

"I do think I'll represent Russia well at Eurovision 2009."

The contest will be staged in Moscow in May.

Legal threat

Prikhodko, who comes from Kiev, competed in the competition to find a Ukrainian song for this year's Eurovision.

But she failed to make the final shortlist, and her producers threatened legal action, arguing that she had been treated unfairly by the jury.

Georgian group 3G
Female trio 3G are performing the Georgian song
Then shortly before the Russian contest to select Moscow's entry, Prikhodko was invited to compete by one of the judges there.

She won 25% of the TV audience's vote, the largest share for any competitor, and was also the judges' choice by six votes to five.

Prikhodko first became famous in 2007, after winning The Star Factory, a TV talent competition in Russia.

Ukraine will be represented at Eurovision by Svitlana Loboda.

Georgia, meanwhile, selected a song which takes a dig at Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin - a disco-funk number called We Don't Wanna Put In.

The Eurovision committee will meet next week to review all the entries, and decide whether the Georgian effort, performed by 3G, breaks rules banning any political content in the contest's songs.

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