More Eurovision Stars Have Already Spoken Out Against Its Organisers After This Year's Final

"The EBU is not what Eurovision is. F*** the EBU. I don’t even care anymore."
Malmö Arena, where this year's Eurovision Song Contest took place
Malmö Arena, where this year's Eurovision Song Contest took place
JOHAN NILSSON/TT via Getty Images

Eurovision may have only wrapped up on Saturday night, but a string of this year’s contestants have already begun speaking out against the event.

The annual song contest was marred with controversy this year, largely down to the presence of Israel amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Israel’s involvement divided opinion among fans, many of whom joined the Palestine-led BDS (Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions) movement in calling for a boycott of the event.

Meanwhile, at the event, official complaints were made about members of the Israeli delegation’s behaviour towards other countries’ representatives.

Irish entrant Bambie Thug – who was made by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to remove subtle pro-Palestinian messages from their stage costume during the semi-finals – made an impassioned statement to journalists after Saturday’s final.

Bambie Thug
Bambie Thug
picture alliance via Getty Images

Highlighting that they were “so proud of Nemo winning” on behalf of Switzerland, Bambie added: “I’m so proud that all of us are in the top 10 that have been fighting for this shit behind the scenes, because it’s been so hard and it’s been so horrible for us.”

“I just want to say, we are what Eurovision is,” they continued. “The EBU is not what Eurovision is. Fuck the EBU. I don’t even care anymore. Fuck them.

“The thing that makes this is the contestants, the community behind it. The love, and the power, and the support of all of us is what is making change.”

Bambie added in a separate interview with Sky News that the top six (“minus one”), “were all freedom fighters”, but that the days leading up to the competition had been “chaos”.

Meanwhile, Lithuanian entrant Silvester Belt also reflected on his experiences after the contest, having been chosen to follow Israel in the running order.

Going after that country, with the crowd being so intense, was one of the worst things I had to go through,” he wrote. “I really did the best that I could in this situation.”

He described his time in the Eurovision final as a “traumatic experience”, wishing it had “all ended after the first semi[-final]”.

Even the night’s winner, Swiss representative Nemo, was vocal about the competition after they were crowned this year’s champion (becoming the first non-binary victor in Eurovision’s history).

Having apparently broken the Eurovision trophy during their winning celebration on stage, Nemo told reporters: “The trophy can be fixed – maybe Eurovision needs fixing a little bit too, every now and then.”

Nemo also admitted their Eurovision experience had been “really intense”, and “not just pleasant all the way”, but insisted that “at the same time, there was so much love here as well”.

Nemo celebrating their Eurovision win
Nemo celebrating their Eurovision win
picture alliance via Getty Images

HuffPost UK has contacted Eurovision for comment.

This year, the UK was represented by Olly Alexander, who previously faced calls – including from the BDS movement and the campaign group Queers For Palestine – to withdraw from the contest in solidarity with Palestine.

In response to this, the It’s A Sin performer explained back in March: “I wholeheartedly support action being taken to demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza, the return of all hostages and the safety and security of all civilians in Palestine and Israel.

“I know some people will choose to boycott this year’s Eurovision and I understand and respect their decision. As a participant I’ve taken a lot of time to deliberate over what to do and the options available to me. It is my current belief that removing myself from the contest wouldn’t bring us any closer to our shared goal.

“Instead, I’ve been speaking with some of the other [Eurovision] contestants and we’ve decided that by taking part we can use our platform to come together and call for peace. I hope and pray that our calls are answered and there is an end to the atrocities we are seeing taking place in Gaza.”

On the night, the former Years & Years singer finished in 18th place overall, after receiving a total of 46 points from the international juries. However, he failed to secure any points from Eurovision viewers.


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