Eurovision 2024: Dutch contestant Joost Klein is out

MALMO, SWEDEN (AP) – Final of 68th Eurovision Song Contest The protest began on Saturday in the Swedish city of Malmo after days of protests and off-stage drama. feel good music festival capped in a disheveled pressure cooker war in gaza,

A raucous Croatian rocker, a non-binary Swiss artist with a high-pitched voice and – controversially – a young Israeli singer with a powerful song are among the favorites to win the contest, which will pit the countries against each other for the continent's musical crown. pits against.

Before the final, thousands of pro-Palestine protesters Marched through Malmö to protest Israeli involvement, A small group – including climate activist Greta Thunberg – was escorted by police from the area around the Malmö Arena venue.

What to know about this year's Eurovision Song Contest:

Separately, the Dutch contenders jost klein Was expelled from the competition due to a fight backstage which is being investigated by the police.

The European Broadcasting Union, organizer of the contest, said a female member of the production crew had filed a complaint against Klein. The organizer said it would not be appropriate for Klein to attend the event while the legal process was ongoing.

26-year-old Dutch singer and rapper Klein became a favorite of both punters and fans with his song “Europapa”.

Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS, one of dozens of public broadcasters that collectively finance and broadcast the contest, said that as Klein came off the stage after Thursday's semi-final, he was filmed without his consent and was in turn shot by cameras. towards “threatening behaviour”.

The broadcaster said that Klein did not touch the cameras or the female camera operator, and described his expulsion as “too heavy and disproportionate” punishment.

Protest and disagreement are overshadowing a competition that has become a a campy celebration A platform for inclusivity and diversity with Europe's diverse – and sometimes baffling – musical interests and a huge LGBT following.

Contestants from 25 countries are performing in front of thousands and an estimated audience of 180 million worldwide audience, Each contestant has three minutes to sing catchy tunes eye-popping spectacle In a performance capable of winning the hearts of millions of viewers. Musical styles span rock, disco, techno and rap – sometimes a mashup of more than one.

The contest returned to Sweden, home of last year's winner Lorraine, half a century after ABBA won Eurovision with “Waterloo” – Eurovision's most iconic moment. The opening act was not a pop supergroup, which has not reunited on stage for decades. Instead, it was Björn Skiffs, who was the first Swedish artist to score a No. 1 hit in the US with “Hooked on a Feeling” in 1974.

Sweden's entrants, identical twins Marcus and Martinus, opened the contest with their optimistic song “Unforgettable”. ukrainian couple Alyona Alyona and Jerry Heil with “Teresa and Maria”, a powerful tribute to their war-torn country.

Following German songwriter Isaak and Luxembourg chanteuse Tali, Israeli singer Eden Golan took the stage over the wall of sound to perform the power ballad “Hurricane” – accompanied by cheering applause. Golan has taken the lead in the handicap tables despite protests against his appearance throughout the week.

Eurovision organizers ordered changes to her song's original title, “October Rain” – an apparent reference to the October 7 Hamas attack, which killed nearly 1,200 people in Israel and triggered a war in Gaza.

This year's contenders also include the goofy 1990s nostalgia of Finland's Windows95man, who hatches from a giant egg on stage while wearing very little clothing. Bambi Thug summoned witch spirits on stage and brought a screaming coach to Malmö spain nebulosa In “Zorra” the word used as an insult to women is boldly repeated.

Favorites include Swiss singer Nemo – who will be the first non-binary Eurovision winner if the operatic song “The Code” tops the voting – and Croatia's Baby Lasagna. Their song “Rim Tim Tagi Dim” is a funky rock number that raises the issue of young Croatians leaving the country in search of a better life.

Although Eurovision's motto is “united by music”, this year's event has proven divisive.

The tension and nervousness were palpable in the hours before the final. Several performers were absent from the Olympic-style cast entrance at the beginning of the final dress rehearsal, although all appeared in the final.

French singer Slimane shortened his song “Mon Amour” to a speech at the dress rehearsal and urged people to “unite with music, yes – but with love, for peace.”

Norwegian singer Alessandra Mele, who was due to announce her country's jury results, said she was withdrawing her name because “there is genocide going on” and that the slogan united by the music were “empty words”. Finland's announcer, musician Carizza, also withdrew, saying that announcing the votes “doesn't feel right.”

Pro-Palestinian protesters argue that Israel should not be allowed to take part in the war, in which about 35,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

For the second time this week, thousands of people marched on Saturday in Sweden's third-largest city, which has a large Muslim population, to demand a boycott of Israel and a ceasefire in the seven-month war.

Some Palestinian flags were flown in the auditorium during the Eurovision dress rehearsal on Saturday, in defiance of a ban on flags other than those of competing countries.

Lorraine, Last year's Eurovision champion – and one of only two artists to win the contest twice – said world events were “painful”, but urged people not to turn off the “community of love” that is Eurovision.

“What heals trauma…does trauma heal trauma? Does negativity cure negativity? It doesn't work that way,'' she told The Associated Press. “The only thing that truly heals trauma – that's science – is love.”


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Hilary Fox in Malmö, Jari Tanner in Helsinki and Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark contributed to this report.


A previous version of this story was corrected to show that the Dutch broadcaster is spelled AVROTROS, not AVROTOS.

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