Inside Eurovision drama from banned act to 'emotional' Olly Alexander and angry booing

This year's Eurovision Song Contest has got off to a frenzied start and the final hasn't even begun.

The 2024 competition returned in full swing in Malmo, Sweden, following the victory of Swedish singer Loreen who took the crown last year in Liverpool. However, unlike the usual festivities we associate with the event, it seems the competition has taken a turbulent turn.

Among the controversies is the disqualification of an act, disgruntled booing and city-wide demonstrations. Meanwhile, UK representative Olly Alexander has found himself moved to tears and scheduled press conferences have been cancelled abruptly.

Here's the lowdown on all things Eurovision 2024 so far, as reported by the Mirror.

Dutch act banned

Singer Joost Klein representing Netherlands with the song Europe poses during a press conference prior to the final after the second semi-final of the 68th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) at the Malmo Arena, in Malmo, on May 9, 2024.
Eurovision singer Joost Klein of the Netherlands has been banned "until further notice" -Credit:Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images

The Dutch artist Joost Klein was barred from taking part in the dress rehearsal on Friday evening due to an unspecified incident. Initially seen in full costume in the flag parade, an announcement came just half an hour later that he had been pulled from continuing in the competition "until further notice".

The European Broadcasting Union released a statement saying: "We are currently investigating an incident that was reported to us involving the Dutch artist. He will not be rehearsing until further notice. We have no further comment at this time and will update in due course."

Swedish TV network SVT reported an "incident" on Friday that involved a "physical confrontation between the artist and a photographer".

Olly Alexander

Olly alexander performing at Eurovision
Olly performing at Eurovision -Credit:TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Ima

Earlier this week, the UK's Eurovision hopeful Olly Alexander took to the stage for a semi-final performance. However, he faced a barrage of criticism from some viewers who claimed he was "off-key" and "out of tune".

Addressing the feedback on social media, Olly admitted to feeling "tired" and "emotional".

In his post, Olly shared: "Eurovision updates. Semi-final one was last night. I performed - it was... it was good. I had a slight... well, my mic pack fell out halfway through the performance so I had to catch it and... just... it kinda threw me off. There were elements of the routine I couldn't really do as well as I'd have liked. I was quite stressed that my pack was gonna fall off entirely and my in-ears were gonna... anyway, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. That is the thrill of live music, live television - anything can happen."

"But the show was amazing. So many amazing contestants and they all did so well and it's so heartbreaking that anyone had to go home cause they work so hard like... the preparation, the months of rehearsal and everything that goes into it. So it was sad that anybody had to go but they did so well. Everyone was so good."

He added: "I'm just quite tired, really. Tired in a deep emotional, spiritual level. And today I'm just doing bits of press."


Eden Golan representing Israel with the song "Hurricane" performs on stage during the second semi-final of the 68th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) at the Malmo Arena, in Malmo, Sweden, on May 9, 2024.
Eden Golan of Israel faced booing on stage -Credit:TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty Images

Friday's jury performance descended into chaos when boos filled the air as an announcement revealed that Joost Klein would not be performing live on stage.

An official explained: "The Dutch artist will not perform live on stage tonight." The EBU reassured fans that Klein's semi-final performance would be judged by the jury, but this did nothing to calm the crowd.

Pandemonium on social media followed, with some spectators from within the stadium suggesting that the show had been entirely halted due to the overwhelming disapproval from the crowd.

One viewer proclaimed on X: "This years contest is in complete and utter disrepute. The jury show is struggling to even begin due to the crowds reaction to everything going on. #Eurovision."

Earlier in the week saw further uproar as Israel's contestant Eden Golan secured her place in Saturday's show amidst a crowd of boos ringing out during the semi-finals.

Awkward press conferences

Joost took on Israel's contestant, Eden Golan, about her role in the competition at Thursday's press conference.

A reporter had asked Eden: "Have you ever thought that by being here you bring risk and danger for other participants and public?" When a moderator stated she didn't need to reply, Joost interjected: "Why not?"

Golan hit back: "I think we're all here for one reason, and one reason only, and the EBU 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)."

Friday's media meet-up that was supposed to include the 'big five' and Sweden got cancelled last minute. Just a few hours before kick-off, the much-anticipated conference with representatives from the UK, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Germany, and France was scrapped.

Organisers, in a brief email broadcasted: "Please note that the big five and Sweden media conference originally scheduled for 18.30 (5.30pm BST) has been cancelled as all artists are focusing on rehearsals."


Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (C) attends a rally in Malmo, Sweden, in protest against Israel's participation in the 68th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) on May 9, 2024. (Photo by Johan Nilsson/TT / TT NEWS AGENCY / AFP) / Sweden OUT (Photo by JOHAN NILSSON/TT/TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty Images)
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg attends a rally in Malmo in protest against Israel's participation Eurovision -Credit:TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty Images

Protests have swept across the week in reaction to Israel's participation in the event, with Greta Thunberg also seen at the demos.

Eden Golan faced boos and cries of "free Palestine" during practice sessions for her song 'Hurricane'. Her track, revamped from the earlier version 'October Rain', is inferred to be a nod to the Hamas attack.

Rory Flynn, 27, a proud Kildare lad and member of the Eurovision Irish fan club, voiced his worries about Israel's participation sidetracking the contest.

He told PA news agency: "We feel that it's important to make our voices heard in the competition in the arena. Others are doing a full boycott and full respect to people who are doing a full boycott but we think it's important that our voices are heard in the arena and around Malmo."

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