Home » Eurovision: Switzerland wins 2024 song contest – DW – 05/12/2024

Eurovision: Switzerland wins 2024 song contest – DW – 05/12/2024

Eurovision: Switzerland wins 2024 song contest – DW – 05/12/2024

Switzerland’s Nemo has won the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC), which was held on Saturday in the Swedish city of Malmo.

Swiss rapper and singer Nemo presented “The Code”, a drum and bass, opera, rap and rock song about Nemo’s journey of self-discovery as a non-binary person.

Croatia’s Baby Lasagna, whose real name is Marko Purisic, came second with “Rim Tim Tagi Dim.”

The Ukrainian duo Alyona Alyona and Jerry Heil placed third with “Teresa & Maria.”

Out of a total of 25 finalists, Germany landed in 12th place with singer Isaak’s “Always on the run.”

The winner of the competition is determined by the votes of television viewers in Europe and around the world. These votes are combined with those of juries of music professionals in each of the 37 participating countries.

Sweden hosts 2024 contest

The Eurovision Song Contest always makes headlines but this year is different from many in the event’s nearly 70-year history.

The last week has seen large protests and a general sense of anger and tension, much of it linked to the ongoing war in Gaza.

Organizers and police reported on Saturday that thousands of pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli protesters were again marching through Malmo, Sweden, upset over Israeli singer Eden Golan’s participation in the event.

Earlier this week, as Golan was being booed while qualifying for the final, a similar march took place.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators are removed from outside the arena ahead of the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo
There were several protests against Israeli participation in the Eurovision Song ContestImage: Martin Meissner/AP/picture alliance

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), a collection of public broadcasters who jointly sponsor the event, released the following statement, “The Broadcasting Union recognizes the strong feelings and opinions that this year’s ESC — against the backdrop of a terrible war in the Middle East — has evoked.”

Organizers said Golan performed under special protection. Golan’s odds of victory have risen among bookies even as she has performed despite, “contending with an ugly wave of antisemitism,” according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

A young woman in a flowing dress (Israeli singer Eden Golan) performs on stage during the ESC semi-finals in Malmo, Sweden
Observers say that despite calls for Israeli singer Eden Golan to be excluded from the ESC , the odds of her winning have increasedImage: Martin Meissner/AP Photo/picture alliance

Norway’s rep withdraws, Ireland a no-show, and Finns storm production studios

Although organizers proclaim the event is not political — it is taking place under the motto, “United by Music” — the war in Gaza continues to overshadow the competition.

Norwegian singer Allesandra Mele, who came in fifth last year, posted a video on Instagram announcing that she was withdrawing as Norway’s official points spokesperson. In it she said the event’s motto was nothing more than “empty words,” accusing Israel of committing “genocide” and ending the post with the words, “free Palestine.”

Irish performer Bambie Thug was among a number of contestants who did not participate in the competition’s final dress rehearsal, citing an unspecified, “situation, which I felt needed urgent attention from the EBU.”

Earlier this week, officials ordered the words “cease-fire” and “Freedom for Palestine” removed from the singer’s costume.

Bambie Thug has criticized Israel’s inclusion in the competition. The singer joined performers from Switzerland and Greece in boycotting the flag parade that preceded the final dress rehearsal.

1 Bambie Thug representing Ireland leaves the hotel before the final dress rehearsal
Bambie Thug wore a keffiyeh scarf, commonly used to suggest pro-Palestinian sentimentsImage: Jessica Gow/TT/picture alliance

Palestinian flags, forbidden by organizers, were also seen being waved in the auditorium in defiance of the rules.

In Finland, a group of some 40 protesters stormed their nation’s public broadcast studios demanding it withdraw support for the competition because of Israel’s inclusion.

Dutch performer banned from competition

The Dutch rapper Joost Klein, a fan and bookies’ favorite, was unexpectedly expelled from the competition on Saturday, but for reasons seemingly having nothing to do with Israel.

Organizers said they had received, “a complaint made by a female member of the production crew” against the 26-year-old. The EBU said it would not be appropriate to let the singer perform while police were investigating the complaint.

Dutch broadcaster AVROTOS, also a sponsor, said it found “the disqualification disproportionate” and that it was, “shocked by the decision.”

Why was Dutch star expelled from Eurovision Song Contest?

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And then there’s the music

Beyond the tumult of political protest and police investigations, the ESC is ostensibly about music, and on Saturday, 25 of the competition’s original 37 acts will compete for the title of Eurovision winner — the others having lost out during two semi-finals.

The acts are scheduled to perform three-minute songs before a world-wide voting audience of some 180 million viewers. Known as a campy event offering lots of over-the-top emotion, the extravaganza is loved and hated around the globe.

This year’s competition will see acts ranging from the nostalgic, off-beat Finnish singer Windows95man; Ireland’s Bambie Thug, who performs as a kitschy Celtic witch, and the operatic, non-binary Swiss singer Nemo.

ESC expert Dean Vuletic says that although performances may at times seem silly and superficial, they often delve into serious, “political and social issues such as feminism, European integration, gender identity.”

Vuletic says, “I think they’re the very interesting songs to look out for, especially because they’re the most highly ranked by the bookies.”

One example of a performer tackling such issues is Croatia’s Baby Lasagna, whose song “Rim Tim Tagi Dim” addresses the issue of young Croats fleeing their country in search of a better life abroad. 

Protesters march against Israel’s Eurovision inclusion

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js/lo (AP, dpa)