Lithuania will organise a new competition to pick its entry for next year's Eurovision Song Contest. However, this year's winner will get a spot in the national finale, LRT decided on Tuesday.
The song on Fire, by The Roop, was due to represent Lithuania in the Eurovision this year, before the contest was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We regret the situation, since On Fire was considered one of the favourites to win the competition,” said Gytis Oganauskas, deputy director of LRT.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the organiser of Eurovision, said that national public broadcasters could decide how to pick next year's participants, but they couldn't send the same songs that were to compete in Eurovision this year.
“We were looking for a solution of how not to deprive the band of this opportunity and not to throw away the work that The Roop has already put into it,” Oganauskas said in a statement.
“We therefore came up with an unconventional decision: we will organise a new national selection, while The Roop will get a spot in the finale.”
Commenting on the decision, The Roop lead singer Vaidotas Valiukevičius said the band did not yet know whether it would take part in Eurovision next year.
“It's only been a month and a half since we won [the national competition] with On Fire. Everything is happening very fast, too fast. We have to think and we'll make our decision much later,” he said.
LRT also said it would hand over about 20,000 euros to the band – the funds collected from televoting that were to be spent on preparations for the Eurovision final in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.