Reviews Television

Controversies embroil Eurovision

At left, Nemo, the Swiss singer who won Eurovision 2024. (Screenshot by Kateryna Kvasha.)

Warsaw, POLAND – The Grand Final of Eurovision 2024 – held May 11 in Malmo, Sweden – saw 25 countries competing and Swiss singer Nemo taking first place with “The Code.”

It broke the bookmakers’ bets. Croatia and Ukraine took second and third places, respectively.

The international song contest was first held in 1956 as a technical experiment in television broadcasting and Switzerland was the very first country to win.

Many rules have changed since then, including the song format requirements and voting system. The latest ones state that a song must be original, last for up to three minutes, and be performed live.

The voting system includes the jury votes from each country as well as televotes. A new rule introduced a couple of years ago allowed the audience from all over the world to vote for their favorites.

This year Eurovision was full of conflicts. The main one revolved around the disqualification of the Dutch representative, Joost Klein.

“Swedish police have investigated a complaint made by a female member of the production crew after an incident following Klein’s performance in Thursday night’s Semi-Final,” reads a statement from the European Broadcasting Union.

The European Broadcasting Union further stated that Klein’s behavior toward the crew member was in breach of the rules.

The BBC shed more light on the situation.

“Against clearly made agreements, Joost was filmed when he had just gotten off stage and had to rush to the greenroom,” the Dutch broadcaster Avrotros told the BBC. “At that moment, Joost repeatedly indicated that he did not want to be filmed. This wasn’t respected.

“This led to a threatening movement from Joost towards the camera. Joost did not touch the camerawoman,” Avrotros told the BBC.

Never in the 68-year history of the contest has a participant been removed so close to the grand finale, and Klein’s ouster caused a wave of dissatisfaction from the audience. 

Another conflict this year involved Israel’s participation, given the Israel–Hamas war. Various groups raised calls against Israel’s continued participation in Eurovision, causing Swedish organizers to take special care of the safety of the contest. Also, at one of the press conferences, Eden Golan, an Israeli representative, was asked whether she had ever thought that her participation endangered other participants and the public.

Despite all the controversies, in November 2023 European Broadcasting Union announced that “United by Music” will be the official slogan for Eurovision in 2024 and on.

Does the contest fulfill the slogan and unite people around music? Let’s see what happens in the coming years.

Kateryna Kvasha is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

Leave a Comment