For the 1998 Contest, Russia was relegated from competing due to a poor average score from the preceding contests. In 1999, Russia was ineligible to compete because of the failure to air the 1998 Contest on television, which was a requirement for future participation.
In order to select the Russian entry for the 2000 Contest, ORT accepted applications from artists, with the aim of staging an open pre-selection. Ultimately, Alsou was internally selected with Russia's first English language contest song, "Solo". The entry was also the first foreign collaboration to represent Russia, as the composers, Andrew Lane and Brandon Barnes, were both American.