Netherlands’ Eurovision entry disqualified from song contest | Eurovision 2024

The Netherlands’ entry has been disqualified from the grand final of the Eurovision song contest due to an incident involving a female member of the production crew, the competition’s organisers have announced.

The Dutch singer and rapper Joost Klein, 26, had qualified for the contest’s main event but was absent from Friday’s dress rehearsals.

It’s the first time in Eurovision’s 68-year history that a contestant has been disqualified after the start of the five-day event.

“Swedish police have investigated a complaint made by a female member of the production crew after an incident following his [Klein’s] performance in Thursday night’s semi-final,” Eurovision’s organisers said in a statement.

“While the legal process takes its course, it would not be appropriate for him to continue in the contest. We maintain a zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate behaviour at our event and are committed to providing a safe and secure environment”.

The organisers said the incident did not involve any other performer or delegation member.

The Dutch broadcaster Avrotros said the decision was “disproportionate”.

“We have taken note of the disqualification by the EBU [European Broadcasting Union],” the radio and TV broadcaster said in a post on X. “Avrotros finds the disqualification disproportionate and is shocked by the decision. We deeply regret this and will come back to it later.”

Friction between Klein and Israel’s delegation at a press conference on Thursday night had fuelled speculation the incident that led to his absence was of a political nature.

When Klein, who was due to perform just before Israel’s entry Eden Golan on Saturday night, was asked if his entry Europapa could live up to the competition’s motto “United by music”, he said pointedly: “I think that’s a good question for the EBU.”

In March, the association of broadcasters ruled that Israel was allowed to compete as long as it changed the lyrics to its entry, then called October Rain, about the trauma of the Hamas massacre on 7 October.

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The EBU has defended its decision by saying Eurovision is “a non-political music event” and “not a contest between governments”.

When another journalist asked Golan if she had considered that her presence at the contest might be endangering the other acts and the attending fans, the host intervened to say she did not have to answer the question if she did not want to. Klein, who sat next to her, interjected with: “Why not?”

Europapa, a pop hymn to European free movement wrapped into a story of parental loss, had received frenetic applause at the semi-final and was seen as one of the frontrunners to win Eurovision’s 68th edition.

In 1974 France withdrew its entry due to the death of President Georges Pompidou in the week of the contest, but it did so before the singer Dani had appeared on stage.

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