Connect with us


Dutch Eurovision entry in the balance over ‘incident’, but organisers quiet on any link to Israel spat



Ireland’s Bambie Thug now fifth favourite to win contestOrganisers have not said what was behind the decision to suspend Joost Klein from rehearsals, but it came after he challenged Israel’s entrant Eden Golan to answer a question at at a press conference on Thursday nightIsrael now bookies’ second favourite to win despite protests in Malmo and boycott calls over Gaza war

Entering with the novelty song Europapa, a tribute to his late parents, the 26-year-old Dutch rapper and singer qualified for the grand final on Thursday evening at the Malmo Arena venue in Sweden.

He was seen briefly at rehearsals on Friday during the flag parade before missing the performance of his track.

A statement from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said: “We are currently investigating an incident that was reported to us involving the Dutch artist. He will not be rehearsing until further notice.”

Before the Jury Show on Friday night, the EBU issued another statement saying that the investigation was ongoing, as were discussions between the EBU, and the Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS.

As a result the EBU decided that the Klein would not perform during the second dress rehearsal of the day. This second dress rehearsal is voted on by the 37 participating countries. Instead the EBU will use the filmed footage from Joost Klein’s performance in Thursday night’s semi-final.

Joost Klein, Netherland Eurovision Entry, asks “Why not?” when Israel was told they could refuse to answer when asked on endangerment of other entries

During a press conference on Thursday, Klein told Israeli act Eden Golan she should answer a question on whether she is compromising the safety of other contestants at Eurovision by taking part.

A journalist had asked Golan: “Have you ever thought that by being here you bring risk and danger for other participants and public?”

When Golan was told by the moderator that she did not have to answer the question, Klein chimed in, saying: “Why not?”

Golan said: “I think we’re all here for one reason, and one reason only, and the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) is taking all safety precautions to make this a safe and united place for everyone, and so I think it’s safe for everyone and we wouldn’t be here (if not).”

Earlier, when Klein was asked if his song can unite people by music, he replied: “I think that’s a good question for the EBU.”

It has been reported by local media that he faced censure following another issue on Thursday.

During the semi-final on Thursday, Golan was applauded and cheered by the audience while singing Hurricane, which was reworked from an early song, October Rain, thought to have heavily referred to the attacks by Hamas on Israel in October.

Israel has faced calls to boycott Eurovision following the start of its offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Dutch broadcaster Avrotros and Swedish channel SVT, who are organising the contest, have been contacted for comment.

Meanwhile, Israel has become one of the favourites among bookmakers to win this year’s Eurovision Song Contest after Eden Golan made it through the semi-finals on Thursday despite boos during her performance and protests outside the venue in Sweden.

Israel climbed to second favourite from ninth after the semi-final, according to Eurovision World, a website that compiles betting odds from 15 of Europe’s biggest bookmarkers. It said Israel is seen as having a 22pc chance of winning, behind only Croatia’s Baby Lasagna who was seen having a 41pc chance.

In third is Switzerland, fourth France, fifth Ireland, followed by Ukraine, the Netherlands and Italy.

More than 10,000 people gathered in host city Malmo in southern Sweden on Thursday to stage non-violent protest against Israel’s participation in the contest. More protests are scheduled for Saturday ahead of the final.

Eurovision expert Paul Jordan said it was much easier to vote for a country than against, as people who might want to see Israel do poorly will see their votes spread over many different countries.

“I think if people don’t like Israel they can vote for other countries but the ones that really want Israel to do well, whether it’s because of the song or the country, then they will vote for Israel,” he said.

Italian public TV RAI on Thursday mistakenly published figures indicating Golan won maximum points from Italy in the semi-final, getting over 39pc of the votes. The number of votes for or the shares of votes on each candidate are not public in the semi-finals.

RAI apologised for the error on Friday, also noting the data published was incomplete.

In a web poll by Swedish daily Aftonbladet from before Golan was cleared for the final, Israel received 40pc of votes, far ahead of the Netherlands in second place with 8pc.

Viewers decided the results of the two semi-finals, and can vote up to 20 times, either by phone, text message or via a Eurovision app.

In the final, audience votes will make up only half of the result, while juries of five music professionals in each participating country will make up the other half.

Jordan, who sees Israel doing well in the final but not winning, said “Hurricane” – a power ballad that describes a person going through a storm of emotions – would go down well with the juries.

“They tend to vote for things which are more serious, they tend to vote for the artists who have the best voices,” he said.

Swedish police said Israel potentially winning the competition would not alter its security plans and that there were no indications that there would be any public disturbances on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Simon Harris has said the “whole country will be rooting” for Ireland’s Eurovision hopeful.

The Co Cork star’s hometown of Macroom is planning the “party to end all parties” on Saturday evening.

A stage and large screen will be erected in the town square so fans, who are being encouraged to wear green, white and gold, can watch the Eurovision final.

Organisers are also hopeful that live footage of their event can be beamed to Malmo so that Bambie can see their hometown support.

Asked what his message would be, Mr Harris said: “For the first time since 2018, Ireland is in the final of Eurovision – that is down to Bambie Thug.

“They have been absolutely incredible. They have done the country absolutely proud.

“I am so proud of them – as Taoiseach of this country – on the world stage, in front of a global audience doing Ireland proud.”

Speaking on Friday, he added: “So I wish Bambie Thug every good luck tomorrow night.

“I know the whole country will be rooting for them.”

Speaking to reporters in Co Cork, Mr Harris said: “I know particularly Cork will be rooting for them.

“We have a real chance and if we win the Eurovision, I’m quite sure Cork will have a very strong claim that if Cork won it, than maybe Cork should host it.”

On a related matter, the Taoiseach said he intended to bring discussion on funding for a proposed event centre in Cork to a “conclusion” within a number of weeks.

“Cork needs its event centre and I’ve had conversations with coalition colleagues and others on this,” he added.

Continue Reading