Why isn't Netherlands' Joost Klein performing in Eurovision final as gap appears in running order?

Joost Klein performing Europapa for Netherlands at the Second Semi-Final at Malmö Arena
Joost Klein performing Europapa for Netherlands at the Second Semi-Final at Malmö Arena -Credit:Corinne Cumming

One of the Eurovision Song Contest favourites for 2024 was disqualified hours before the grand finale on Saturday, May 11. Netherlands act Joost Klein, whose song Europapa was dedicated to his parents, who both died when the singer was a child, was pulled from the final show after Swedish police were called over a backstage incident yesterday, Friday May 10.

The decision was made Saturday morning that the act would no longer perform and that in the live show in Malmo, Sweden, which started at 8pm on BBC One, there would be no number five act. Fans in the Netherlands would still be able to vote of their favourite of the other 25 countries competing.

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Why isn't Joost Klein performing at the Eurovision Song Contest?

Joost was removed from the final and taken out of the official running order after a backstage incident at Thursday's semi-final that saw the act miss the rehearsal on Friday. On Saturday the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) said that police in Sweden were called after a complaint made by a member of the production crew.

About the incident, the European Broadcasting Union said in a statement: “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.”

What has the Dutch act and the Netherland's officials said?

So far Joost has not posted any response on his official social channels. Meanwhile, the official page of the Netherlands’ Songfestival, which sends acts to Eurovision Song Contest, said the incident which led to Dutch act Joost Klein being disqualified followed the performer being filmed when he had “repeatedly indicated” that he did not want to be.

“An incident occurred after last Thursday’s performance. 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,” the statement said.

“This led to a threatening movement from Joost towards the camera. Joost did not touch the camera woman.

“This incident was reported, followed by an investigation by the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) 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.”

The statement from the Netherlands’ Songfestival said Dutch radio and television broadcaster AVROTROS found Joost Klein’s disqualification “disproportionate”.

“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.

“We are very disappointed and upset for the millions of fans who were so excited for tonight.

“What Joost brought to the Netherlands and Europe shouldn’t have ended this way.”