Eurovision to Brave All with Live t.A.T.u. Show (Reuters)

Time of publication: 25.05.2003
RIGA (Reuters) - Controversial Russian pop duo t.A.T.u., favorites to win Saturday's Eurovision Song Contest, have given show organizers another headache hours before the live event begins.

Many suspect the duo will try to ambush the 48th Eurovision, hosted this year by Latvia, and give the family event an X-rated spin. Rumors of nudity and lesbian kissing are rife.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) show organizer said on Saturday it would brave all and broadcast the controversial duo's live act without any backup tape despite a series of rehearsal flops.

The organizers had threatened to switch to footage from rehearsals if the two 18-year-old girls' live performance became too raunchy on the big night.

The girls, who appear in school uniforms in provocative videos, flunked a final rehearsal on Saturday. One of the pair, Julia Volkova, failed to show up after also halting Friday's dress rehearsals mid-song.

"The band's manager, Ivan Shapovalov, said Julia has a throat infection and is taking prescription medicine," the EBU said in a statement. "The management of t.A.T.u. is sure that Julia will be well enough to perform on the big night."

Despite all the attention, the maverick teenagers hoping to take Eurovision to Moscow for the first time may face a tough challenge from Turkey's charismatic Sertab Erener, who is emerging as another possible front-runner.

Spain's Beth, Iceland's Birgitta and Sweden's Fame are also tipped to go high in the competition famous for its curious mix of high ambition and uneven talent, which is expected to be watched by 160 million people across Europe and beyond.
Return to "Articles"