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Switzerland triumphs at Eurovision: Nemo wins controversy-hit song contest despite huge swing to Israel and Ukraine in public vote – as viewers give Britain’s Olly Alexander ZERO points leaving him languishing in the bottom half of the table

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Switzerland’s Nemo stormed to an unassailable victory in the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest that was unavoidably overshadowed by controversy – as the UK’s Olly Alexander limped home with just 46 points.

The non-binary singer scored 365 points with the juries and 226 from the public for a total of 591, sweeping past Croatian entry Baby Lasagna’s score of 547.

Collecting the trophy, a tearful Nemo said: ‘I want to say thank you so much. I hope this contest can live up to its promise and continue to stand for peace and dignity for every person in this world. Thank you so much.’ 

This year’s competition has probably been the most contentious in its 68-year history – with one entrant axed after an alleged altercation with a camera operator and two spokespeople stepping down from giving out scores. 

Despite a show-stopping performance of her song Hurricane, Israel‘s Eden Golan failed to win over the juries, scoring just 52 points from the professional judges. But she scored a staggering 323 from the public – including 12 from UK viewers.

But Britain’s Olly Alexander, whose high-octane performance of Dizzy was marred by sound issues, scored only 46 from the juries and ‘nul points’ from the public. 

Nemo speaks after winning the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest with 591 points

The singer said they hoped the contest could 'live up to its promise and continue to stand for peace and dignity'

The singer said they hoped the contest could ‘live up to its promise and continue to stand for peace and dignity’

Switzerland's Eurovision entrant Nemo stormed to victory with 591 points - just ahead of Croatia's Baby Lasagna

Switzerland’s Eurovision entrant Nemo stormed to victory with 591 points – just ahead of Croatia’s Baby Lasagna

Switzerland’s non-binary singer Nemo won the contest with an unassailable lead

The singer looked ecstatic as the result was revealed - with Croatia's Baby Lasagna (top right) coming a close second

The singer looked ecstatic as the result was revealed – with Croatia’s Baby Lasagna (top right) coming a close second

Switzerland scored 591 points - 365 from the juries and 226 from the public, finishing ahead of Croatia, Ukraine, France and Israel

Switzerland scored 591 points – 365 from the juries and 226 from the public, finishing ahead of Croatia, Ukraine, France and Israel

The contest has been marred in controversy amid Israel's presence while it wars against Hamas in Gaza - with pro-Palestinian protesters descending on Malmo tonight (above)

The contest has been marred in controversy amid Israel’s presence while it wars against Hamas in Gaza – with pro-Palestinian protesters descending on Malmo tonight (above)

Security in Malmo was tight for the contest - with huge numbers of police dispatched on the streets during the event at Malmo Arena

Security in Malmo was tight for the contest – with huge numbers of police dispatched on the streets during the event at Malmo Arena

Israel's Eden Golan picked up a staggering 323 points from the public - but it wasn't enough when combined with the 52 points from the juries to propel her to victory

Israel’s Eden Golan picked up a staggering 323 points from the public – but it wasn’t enough when combined with the 52 points from the juries to propel her to victory

Israel said via its official X, formerly Twitter account: ‘Queen Eden made it to the @eurovision top 5! Thank you Eden for giving our entire country strength. Thank you world for proving love will always win against hate. We love you.’

Several acts appeared to make anti-war statements – Ireland’s Bambie Thug shouting ‘love will always triumph hate’, Portugal’s Iolanda telling the crowd ‘Peace will prevail’ and France’s Slimane shouting: ‘United by music for love and for peace.’

And event chief Martin Osterdahl was met with a chorus of boos as he made the traditional ‘good to go’ announcement. He was then booed again giving results on behalf of the Netherlands, which quit the contest in protest of its act being axed.

Giving scores on behalf of the UK, Dame Joanna Lumley said the competition had nevertheless been ‘absolutely fabulous’. 

The contest took place at the Malmo Arena in Sweden, which pro-Palestinian protesters attempted to storm as they clashed with police while rallying against Israel’s presence in the contest.

Dozens of protesters locked arms and lay on the ground outside the venue draped in Palestine flags – and struggled with Swedish riot police who tried to remove them, yelling at ticket-holders walking into the arena: ‘Shame on you’.

Eden Golan performs Hurricane for Israel during the Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden's Malmo Arena

Eden Golan performs Hurricane for Israel during the Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden’s Malmo Arena

Her performance was met with a mixed response inside the arena, according to BBC commentator Graham Norton

Her performance was met with a mixed response inside the arena, according to BBC commentator Graham Norton

Despite the controversy, Golan's song had been tipped to do well with the public and juries

Despite the controversy, Golan’s song had been tipped to do well with the public and juries

A defiant Eden Golan takes to the stage during the flag parade of the Eurovision Song Contest grand final on Saturday night

A defiant Eden Golan takes to the stage during the flag parade of the Eurovision Song Contest grand final on Saturday night

She was followed by the UK's Olly Alexander, who entered the Malmo Arena carrying a huge Union flag - and the hopes of millions of Brits - on his shoulders

She was followed by the UK’s Olly Alexander, who entered the Malmo Arena carrying a huge Union flag – and the hopes of millions of Brits – on his shoulders

Olly's performance during the grand final (pictured) was well received by the crowds inside the arena

Olly’s performance during the grand final (pictured) was well received by the crowds inside the arena

Ireland's entry Bambie Thug appeared to comply with an order to remove the word 'ceasefire' from her face in Ogham script - it appears to read 'crown the witch', her campaign slogan for Eurovision, instead

Ireland’s entry Bambie Thug appeared to comply with an order to remove the word ‘ceasefire’ from her face in Ogham script – it appears to read ‘crown the witch’, her campaign slogan for Eurovision, instead

Ticket-holders queued nearby decked out in colourful costumes and tinsel as protestors screamed ‘Shame on you’ before attempting to storm through barriers to get closer to the arena, prompting riot police to form a cordon.

The chaotic scenes come amid the withdrawal of two points announcers, the expulsion of a finalist over an alleged altercation with a camerawoman and several performers missing rehearsals in the most chaotic contest since it began in 1956.

There was also anger at Israel’s presence in the contest amid its war with Hamas. Eden Golan’s song was changed to remove what were thought to be allusions to the October 7 attacks – renamed from October Rain to Hurricane. 

Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS opted not hand out points on behalf of its jury following the removal of Joost Klein from the competition after he was quizzed by police over an incident involving ‘a female member of the production crew’. 

A statement from Dutch broadcaster Avrotros has since called the decision ‘not proportional’ as they said they were ‘very disappointed and upset’ by his exclusion. It was left to Eurovision boss Martin Osterdahl to do so on behalf of the Dutch jury – to boos from the crowd.

The broadcaster wrote: ‘Now that Avrotros is no longer part of the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest, we do not feel the need to hand out the points of the Dutch jury.

‘In consultation with Nikkie de Jager, who would act as our spokesperson tonight, we decided not to do it. Just like Nikkie, we imagined this evening very differently.’

Cornald Maas, commentator for the Dutch broadcaster, was less formal, telling reporters during an informal press conference: ‘I would almost say… f*** the EBU’. 

Eurovision bosses told MailOnline ‘AVROTROS’ version of events does not correspond with the statements shared with us and with police’.

Their spokesperson added: ‘We have a zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate behaviour at our events and our priority is to secure a safe working environment for all staff working on this year’s Song Contest.’ 

Bambie Thug, who uses ‘they/them’ pronouns, appeared to follow a request from the EBU to change their face paint after bearing the word ‘ceasefire’ in Ogham script during earlier performances. 

Instead, the script on their appeared to read ‘crown the witch’ during the final – their campaign slogan in their fight for Eurovision glory. They performed in a witch outfit before stripping down to a costume in the colours of the transgender flag.

They had earlier hit out at Israel’s broadcaster KAN, claiming a commentator from the country had broken conduct rules in an unspecified way.

They wrote in an Instagram story: ‘I have raised multiple complaints to the EBU regarding instances I have experienced this week. 

‘Earlier today they confirmed to my delegation in front of others that KAN’s commentator had broken the rules of conduct during the Eurovision semi-final.

‘I have been patiently waiting to hear what action is set to be taken by the EBU following this rule break. I have since seen a statement by EBU director general Noel Curran which contradicts this earlier confirmation.

‘I am still waiting for an official update from the EBU.’

In response, a spokesperson for the Israeli broadcaster Kan told the PA news agency: ‘We wish everyone the best of luck tonight.’ 

Greta Thunberg pictured during protests outside the Malmo Arena tonight. She would not speak to our reporter

Greta Thunberg pictured during protests outside the Malmo Arena tonight. She would not speak to our reporter

Police restrain a man wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf outside the Malmo Arena as protests against Israel's inclusion in the Eurovision Song Contest continue ahead of the final

Police restrain a man wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf outside the Malmo Arena as protests against Israel’s inclusion in the Eurovision Song Contest continue ahead of the final

Police lift a man in a keffiyeh scarf outside the Malmo arena as a bystander films it on their phone

Police lift a man in a keffiyeh scarf outside the Malmo arena as a bystander films it on their phone

Several people were seen being removed from the area by police officers, who are routinely armed in Sweden

Several people were seen being removed from the area by police officers, who are routinely armed in Sweden

A protester carrying a Palestinian flag is taken away from the square outside the Malmo Arena by police

A protester carrying a Palestinian flag is taken away from the square outside the Malmo Arena by police

Police surround a man in a jumper bearing Arabic script on a bridge in Malmo during the protests

Police surround a man in a jumper bearing Arabic script on a bridge in Malmo during the protests

Protesters waved Palestinian flags and shouted 'shame on you' as they were surrounded by police ahead of the final

Protesters waved Palestinian flags and shouted ‘shame on you’ as they were surrounded by police ahead of the final

A woman cries and is offered water after apparently being pepper sprayed outside the Malmo Arena by Swedish police

A woman cries and is offered water after apparently being pepper sprayed outside the Malmo Arena by Swedish police

Previous Eurovision performers Alessandra (above) and Kaarija say they will no longer read out jury scores

Previous Eurovision performers Alessandra and Kaarija (above) say they will no longer read out jury scores

Previous Eurovision performers Alessandra (left) and Kaarija (right) say they will no longer read out jury scores

The contest has been beset by controversy at Israel’s continued inclusion in the contest during its war with Hamas, which has killed thousands of civilians. 

It has seen two jury spokespeople stand down – Norway’s Alessandra, who protested Israel’s ongoing presence in Gaza, and Finland 2023 runner-up Kaarija, who said it ‘does not feel right’ handing out points.

Posting on his Instagram story, Kaarija, last year’s runner-up of the competition, wrote: ‘I have decided not to participate as the spokesperson for the Finnish jury in tonight’s Eurovision finale. Giving out the points does not feel right.’

He was replaced at short notice by radio journalist Toni Laaksonen, Finnish broadcaster YLE said. It came after he asked for a video of himself dancing with Israel’s Eden Golan to be removed from social media.

Scenes outside the Malmo Arena, witnessed by a Mail reporter, saw a large mob of protesters attempt to storm through barriers to get into the arena, leading to riot police rushing in and forming a cordon around the entrances.

Officers then pushed back against the protestors, who attempted to fight their way past them as they screaming pro-Palestinian slogans while loudspeakers played a series of Eurovision hits.​

Greta Thunberg, who had appeared at earlier protests and accused Israel of ‘artwashing’ itself with the contest, was also present at Saturday night’s action wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf. She refused to speak to a Mail reporter. 

Police pushed protestors away from the arena entrance but dozens more returned, locking arms and sitting on the ground.

Other protestors waved Palestinian flags at ticket holders as they waited to enter the arena screaming ‘Free, free Palestine’.

A police helicopter hovered overhead as reinforcements in riot gear rushed to control the protest, with pepper spray being deployed.

Some protesters were seen wincing on the ground as others gave them water, seemingly after pepper spray had been used on them. 

Eurovision fans appeared terrified as they queued to enter the arena with many protestors angrily confronting them. 

One woman carrying an Israel flag was shouted at with the crowd screaming ‘shame on you.’

As tensions heightened, police kettled many of the protesters, attempting to keep them away from the main entrance. But they struggled to control the crowd as others arrived to join the protest.

Some of those joining the protests were seen being carted away from the scene by police – with several people wearing Palestinian keffiyeh scarves. MailOnline has contacted the Swedish Police Authority for comment.

The Dutch singer Joost Klein is seen on stage performing the song Europapa during the Eurovision semi-final on Thursday. He has been disqualified from the competition

The Dutch singer Joost Klein is seen on stage performing the song Europapa during the Eurovision semi-final on Thursday. He has been disqualified from the competition

Ireland entrant Bambie Thug (pictured leaving their hotel wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf ahead of tonight's contest) has filed a complaint against the Israeli broadcaster

Ireland entrant Bambie Thug (pictured leaving their hotel wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf ahead of tonight’s contest) has filed a complaint against the Israeli broadcaster

She said she raised 'multiple complaints' about a commentator from Israeli broadcaster KAN

She said she raised ‘multiple complaints’ about a commentator from Israeli broadcaster KAN

Israeli contestant Eden Golan has become a focus for protests by pro-Palestinian demonstrators who want Israel kicked out of Eurovision over the war with Hamas

Israeli contestant Eden Golan has become a focus for protests by pro-Palestinian demonstrators who want Israel kicked out of Eurovision over the war with Hamas

A pro-Palestinian rally organized by the 'Stop Israel' network in Malmo, Sweden

A pro-Palestinian rally organized by the ‘Stop Israel’ network in Malmo, Sweden

Protesters hold a huge banner mimicking the Eurovision logo emblazoned with the words: 'Welcome to genocide'

Protesters hold a huge banner mimicking the Eurovision logo emblazoned with the words: ‘Welcome to genocide’

And France 's entry Slimane has interrupted his own performance to chant: 'United by music, yes, but for love, for peace' to the rapturous cheers of the audience

And France ‘s entry Slimane has interrupted his own performance to chant: ‘United by music, yes, but for love, for peace’ to the rapturous cheers of the audience

Joost Klein poses during a press conference prior to the final after the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest on Thursday

Joost Klein poses during a press conference prior to the final after the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest on Thursday 

The most contentious Eurovision contest to date has seen all manner of disturbance and disruption in the build-up to the final, which went off without a hitch ahead of the vote closing.

France‘s entry Slimane interrupted his rehearsal performance to say the contest should be: ‘United by music, yes, but for love, for peace’ to the rapturous cheers of the audience.

In a speech whose wording was confirmed to Sky News, he told the crowd: ‘I dreamed about this dream, to be a singer and to sing peace… here. Every artist here want[s] to sing about love and sing about peace.

‘We need to be united by music, yes, but with love for peace. United by music yes, but with love for peace. Thank you so much. Thank you Europe.’

Eurovision has since confirmed that they knew he wanted to speak during his act, saying he wanted to send a ‘message of love’ – podcast The Euro Trip has reported.

Joost’s expulsion from the contest comes as Swedish police launch an investigation into an alleged altercation with a female member of the Eurovision production crew. 

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announced on Saturday that Klein would no longer be competing just hours before the final is set to take place.  

A statement from the EBU said: ‘The Dutch artist Joost Klein will not be competing in the Grand Final of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

‘Swedish police have investigated a complaint made by a female member of the production crew after an incident following his performance in Thursday night’s Semi Final.

‘While the legal process takes its course, it would not be appropriate for him to continue in the Contest.

‘We would like to make it clear that, contrary to some media reports and social media speculation, this incident did not involve any other performer or delegation member.

‘We maintain a zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate behaviour at our event and are committed to providing a safe and secure working environment for all staff at the Contest.

‘In light of this, Joost Klein’s behaviour towards a team member is deemed in breach of Contest rules.

‘The Grand Final of the 68th Eurovision Song Contest will now proceed with 25 participating songs.’

The Stop Israel demonstration has been demonstrating against Eurovision between Stortorget and Mölleplatsen in Malmö, Sweden

The Stop Israel demonstration has been demonstrating against Eurovision between Stortorget and Mölleplatsen in Malmö, Sweden

Police can be seen on the scene as extra security is put in place in reaction to protests against Israel's entry

Police can be seen on the scene as extra security is put in place in reaction to protests against Israel’s entry

A demonstrator holds a sign that reads "Free Palestine", as people protest against Israeli participation in the Eurovision Song Contest

A demonstrator holds a sign that reads ‘Free Palestine’, as people protest against Israeli participation in the Eurovision Song Contest

A pro-Palestinian demonstrator holds her dog as she protests against the participation of Israeli contestant Eden Golan

A pro-Palestinian demonstrator holds her dog as she protests against the participation of Israeli contestant Eden Golan

Israeli singer Eden Golan is seen warming up for Eurovision by getting her entourage to boo her and yell 'Free Palestine' ahead of tonight's final

Israeli singer Eden Golan is seen warming up for Eurovision by getting her entourage to boo her and yell ‘Free Palestine’ ahead of tonight’s final

Members of Golan's team are seen trying to throw her off with loud boos and pro-Palestinian chants as the 20-year-old contestant rehearsed her power ballad Hurricane

Members of Golan’s team are seen trying to throw her off with loud boos and pro-Palestinian chants as the 20-year-old contestant rehearsed her power ballad Hurricane

A spokeswoman for the Swedish Police Authority said: ‘A man is suspected of unlawful threats. The crime is said to have been committed at Malmo Arena on Thursday evening.

‘The man is questioned by the police but not detained. The plaintiff is an employee at Eurovision. The police have taken all essential investigative measures and questioned the suspect, plaintiff and witnesses. 

‘The investigation has been completed by the police. The case follows the normal legal process. The police have used faster prosecution and the case will now go to the prosecutor within a few weeks.’

A statement from the Netherlands’ Songfestival X page said Dutch radio and television broadcaster AVROTROS found Joost Klein’s disqualification by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) ‘disproportionate’ and said it was ‘very disappointed’.

In a statement it said: ‘Against clearly made agreements, Joost was filmed when he had just gotten off stage and had to rush to the greenroom.

‘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.

‘This incident was reported, followed by an investigation by the EBU and police. Yesterday and today we consulted extensively with the EBU and proposed several solutions. Nevertheless, the EBU has still decided to disqualify Joost Klein.

‘AVROTROS finds the penalty very heavy and disproportionate. We stand for good manners – let there be no misunderstanding about that – but in our view, an exclusion order is not proportional to this incident.’

His participation was already in doubt after he failed to perform at two dress rehearsals on Friday, with Swedish police later announcing it was investigating the singer.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators gather for a protest against the participation of Israeli contestant Eden Golan

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators gather for a protest against the participation of Israeli contestant Eden Golan

Demonstrators carry a banner as people protest against Israeli participation in the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday

Demonstrators carry a banner as people protest against Israeli participation in the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday

Demonstrators hold signs and flags as people protest against Israeli participation in the Eurovision Song Contest

Demonstrators hold signs and flags as people protest against Israeli participation in the Eurovision Song Contest

Protesters can be spotted through a tunnel as they mass to show their anger against Israel's participation in the song contest

Protesters can be spotted through a tunnel as they mass to show their anger against Israel’s participation in the song contest

Extra security in Malmo ahead of The Grand Final of Eurovision that will take place in Malmo, Sweden tonight

Extra security in Malmo ahead of The Grand Final of Eurovision that will take place in Malmo, Sweden tonight

Police on scene as the media await the participants of the Eurovision final outside the Clarion Hotel in Malmö, Sweden

Police on scene as the media await the participants of the Eurovision final outside the Clarion Hotel in Malmö, Sweden

Police take to the river in Malmo as they step up security around the song contest

Police take to the river in Malmo as they step up security around the song contest

Protesters hold a huge Palestinian flag during the "Stop Israel" demonstration, against Israel's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest

Protesters hold a huge Palestinian flag during the ‘Stop Israel’ demonstration, against Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest

 

A young child holds a sign stating 'Cease fire now!' at a protest against Israel's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest

A young child holds a sign stating ‘Cease fire now!’ at a protest against Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest

Audience members hold Palestinian flags in the crowd during the final Eurovision dress rehearsal on Saturday

Audience members hold Palestinian flags in the crowd during the final Eurovision dress rehearsal on Saturday 

Olly Alexander from United Kingdom leaving his hotel in Malmo today

Olly Alexander from United Kingdom leaving his hotel in Malmo today

Nebulossa who is representing Spain leaves the hotel for a dress rehearsal before the Eurovision Song Contest final

Nebulossa who is representing Spain leaves the hotel for a dress rehearsal before the Eurovision Song Contest final

Windows95man who is representing Finland leaves the hotel for a dress rehearsal before the Eurovision Song Contest final

Windows95man who is representing Finland leaves the hotel for a dress rehearsal before the Eurovision Song Contest final

There was a heavy police presence in Malmö as thousands of pro-Palestine protesters descended on the Swedish city to called for Golan to be expelled from the competition. 

Golan has become a lightning rod for criticism from protesters who have demanded she be excluded from the competition, while others have called for a boycott of the famous song contest and a ceasefire in the seven-month war in Gaza.

Demonstrators waved Palestine flags and shouted ‘stop the genocide’ and ‘no to Eurovision genocide’ while others held up photographs of children killed in Gaza.

One protestor was dressed as a Hamas fighter in combat fatigue but Swedish police refused to take any action as they looked on.

With tensions running high in the city, it has emerged that Israel’s entrant Eden Golan is being guarded by armed officers from Sweden’s security service and Shin Bet, Israel’s security agency.

The officers accompanied her into the Malmö Arena, where tonight’s final takes place and have also been with her in the hotel where she is staying with other members of Israel’s Eurovision delegation.

The 20-year-old contestant has also been preparing for a fiery reception herself as she was filmed rehearsing her power ballad Hurricane while other members of her team try to throw her off with loud boos and pro-Palestinian chants. 

Around 5,000 protestors assembled in a central square in Malmö with around 100 police on duty for the ‘Stop Israel’ demonstration.

Armed police officers have been stationed outside of the Clarion Hotel in Malmo, where contestants taking part in tonight’s finale have been staying during the competition. 

Singers have already been seen exiting the hotel, surrounded by officers and journalists as they head to the contest venue in the heart of the city where they will later perform in front of thousands of viewers across the globe. 

It comes as protesters will again take to the streets in Sweden’s third-largest city, which has a large Muslim population, later today to show their outrage over the decision to allow Golan to take part in the famous song contest.

It will be the second protest to take place this week after as many as 5,000 people took to the city’s streets on Thursday. 

During the demonstrations, smoke canisters in the colours of the Palestinian flag were set off and protesters carried signs displaying images of Gaza civilians who have been injured amid the Hamas-Israel conflict.

Other banners displayed messages including ‘welcome to Genocide song contest’ and ‘stop using Eurovision to whitewash Israeli crimes’.

At one point, the pro-Palestinian demonstrators were told to go back by police and, following shouts of ‘free Palestine’, returned to the main gathering.

There was also a banner done in the style of Eurovision with the words ‘genocide’ on it, an accusation vigorously denied by Israel amid the country’s war with Hamas, sparked by the terror group’s October 7 attack last year.

The Hamas attack saw some 1,200 people in Israel killed and around 250 kidnapped by gunmen and taken back into Gaza. Since then, Israeli attacks on the coastal territory have resulted in over 34,000 deaths and a humanitarian catastrophe.

Armed police officers stand outside the hotel where the Dutch delegation is staying prior to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest

Armed police officers stand outside the hotel where the Dutch delegation is staying prior to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest

Police on scene as the media await the participants of the Eurovision final outside the Clarion Hotel

Police on scene as the media await the participants of the Eurovision final outside the Clarion Hotel

Extra security in Malmo ahead of the Eurovision final amid tensions and protests

Extra security in Malmo ahead of the Eurovision final amid tensions and protests

People take to the streets to protest against Israel's Eurovision Song Contest participation in Malmo, Sweden on Thursday

People take to the streets to protest against Israel’s Eurovision Song Contest participation in Malmo, Sweden on Thursday 

Thousands of pro-Palestine protesters demonstrate in Malmo, calling for Golan to be excluded from the competition

Thousands of pro-Palestine protesters demonstrate in Malmo, calling for Golan to be excluded from the competition

Greta Thunberg can be seen joining the thousands protesters in the southern Swedish city demonstrating against Israel competing in the famous song contest

Greta Thunberg can be seen joining the thousands protesters in the southern Swedish city demonstrating against Israel competing in the famous song contest

As a result of the protests, Israel’s national security agency Shin Bet ordered Golan to stay in her hotel room ahead of her semi final performance, which saw her qualify for tonight’s final. 

Protesters argue that Israel should not be allowed to take part amid a war that has killed almost 35,000 Palestinians. 

‘I don’t think they should be a part of it at all because they are committing crimes against humanity,’ said local resident Lorenzo Mayr, who attended a demonstration on Thursday.

During Golan’s rehearsals on Wednesday of her song Hurricane, which was reworked from an early track October Rain (thought to be a reference to the attack by Hamas), she was booed and there were reportedly shouts of ‘free Palestine’.

One person wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: ‘The atmosphere inside the arena was horrible. You could feel the tension. Shouts of ‘free Palestine’ in the quiet parts. Booing audible in places. People arguing in the standing section.’

Another person, who posted a video of boos raining down on the singer, added: ‘The atmosphere was so uncomfortable.’

Denmark, Finland, Norway and even host country Sweden have repeatedly called for Israel to be banned from the contest altogether. 

And in Belgium, two Ministers demanded that the Jewish state be treated the same as Russia, which has been barred since 2022 following its invasion of Ukraine.

Golan, who was born in Israel but grew up in Russia, has faced death threats ahead of her performances at the Malmo Arena, while even her fellow contestants have been accused of bullying her during a press conference earlier this week. 

Greek singer Marina Satti caused a stir after she was seen dramatically yawning and pretending to fall asleep while Eden was speaking to the press during a panel event.

Satti can be seen with her head slumped on her hand, looking towards the crowd before closing her eyes and pretending to yawn. 

She then puts her head in her arms and lays her head on the table in an apparent show of boredom while Golan continues to talk. 

Meanwhile, Ireland’s entry Bambie Thug, 31, revealed they cried with their team after discovering Israel had qualified for the grand finale. 

But the Israeli singer has remained defiant in the build up to the final and says she hopes her performance will help to unite people.

‘I won’t let anything break me,’ she told MailOnline in an interview this week. ‘I wouldn’t say I’m worried. I’m prepared.’

Speaking to Reuters, she said: ‘It’s a super important moment for us, especially this year. I feel honoured to have the opportunity to be the voice of my country.’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also praised 20-year-old Golan for performing despite ‘contending with an ugly wave of anti-Semitism.’ 

Protesters hold a banner reading 'Welcome to Genocide song contest' in Malmo earlier this week

Protesters hold a banner reading ‘Welcome to Genocide song contest’ in Malmo earlier this week

Protesters gather during the Stop Israel demonstration against Israel's participation in the 68th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC), amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Malmo, Sweden, May 9, 2024

Protesters gather during the Stop Israel demonstration against Israel’s participation in the 68th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC), amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Malmo, Sweden, May 9, 2024

A demonstrator displays a poster during a protest against Israeli participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, ahead of the second semi-final, in Malmo Sweden, May 9, 2024

A demonstrator displays a poster during a protest against Israeli participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, ahead of the second semi-final, in Malmo Sweden, May 9, 2024

Tonight’s final will see 26 acts – narrowed from 37 entrants by two semi-final runoffs – are due to perform three-minute songs in front of a live audience of thousands and an estimated 180 million viewers around the world.

It all makes for a messy climax to an event that draws both adoration and derision with its campy, kitschy ethos and passion for pop.

Dean Vuletic, an expert on the history of the contest, says that despite this year’s divisions, ‘there is no other cultural event which brings Europeans together quite like Eurovision does.’

‘Just this moment where everyone is watching the same television show, which is being broadcast live across 37 countries – that’s something very special.’

This year’s entries range from emotional to eccentric. They include the goofy 1990s nostalgia of Finland’s Windows95man, who emerges from a giant onstage egg wearing very little clothing. 

The favorites include Swiss singer Nemo – who would be the first nonbinary Eurovision winner if their operatic song The Code tops the voting – and Croatia’s Baby Lasagna. 

His song Rim Tim Tagi Dim is a rollicking rock number that tackles the issue of young Croatians leaving the country in search of a better life.

Vuletic says that despite the contest’s reputation for disposable bubblegum pop, Eurovision often tackles ‘political and social issues such as feminism, European integration, gender identity.’

‘And I think they’re the very interesting songs to look out for, especially because they’re the most highly ranked by the bookies,’ he said.

The competing musicians are feeling the pressure, inundated with messages and abuse on social media and unable to speak out because of the contest rules. 

Italy’s contestant, Angelina Mango, made a statement by walking into the Eurovision media center on Friday and performing John Lennon’s Imagine as dozens of journalists gathered around her.

Swedish singer Loreen, last year’s Eurovision champion – and one of only two performers to win the contest twice – urged people not to shut down the ‘community of love’ that is Eurovision.

‘What is happening in the world today and in different places is distorting and traumatizing all of us,’ she told The Associated Press.

‘What heals trauma? Does trauma heal trauma? Does negativity heal negativity? It doesn’t work like that. The only thing that heals trauma for real – this is science – is love.’

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