Eurovision defined: A have a look at the music pageant’s origins, prime contenders, and this 12 months’s controversy

Eurovision defined: A have a look at the music pageant’s origins, prime contenders, and this 12 months’s controversy

Scores of musicians, a whole bunch of journalists and 1000’s of music followers have gathered within the Swedish metropolis of Malmo, the place the Eurovision Track Contest is constructing in direction of Saturday’s exuberant, glitter-drenched last.

However even Eurovision can’t escape the world’s divisions. Hundreds of anti-Israel protesters are additionally anticipated within the metropolis for demonstrations urging a cease-fire within the Gaza conflict and criticizing Israel’s participation within the contest.

Right here’s a information to what Eurovision means, the way it works and what to look at for:



The quick reply: Eurovision is a music competitors, wherein performers from nations throughout Europe, and some past it, compete below their nationwide flags with the goal of being topped continental champion. Consider it because the Olympics of pop music.

The longer reply is that Eurovision is an extravaganza that melds pop, partying and politics — a cross between a music pageant, an awards present and a gathering of the United Nations Safety Council. It’s an occasion stuffed with foolish enjoyable, a celebration of music’s unifying energy, but in addition a spot the place politics and regional rivalries play out.


Thirty-seven nations are entered within the contest, which this 12 months is happening over a number of days within the Swedish port metropolis of Malmo. The nation is internet hosting after Swedish singer Loreen gained final 12 months’s competitors in Liverpool, England.

Eden Golan of Israel performs the music Hurricane throughout the costume rehearsal for the second semi-final on the Eurovision Track Contest in Malmo, Sweden, on Could 8, 2024. (AP Picture/Martin Meissner)

By way of two semifinals, 37 acts are narrowed to the 26 who will compete in Saturday’s last in entrance of 1000’s of spectators within the Malmo Area and a world tv viewers estimated at 180 million.

Nations can enter a solo act or a band. They’ll carry out in any style and language, however the guidelines state they have to sing reside and songs have to be not more than three minutes lengthy. Staging has grown ever extra elaborate, incorporating flashy pyrotechnics and elaborate choreography. This 12 months is especially sturdy on topless male dancers.

As soon as all of the acts have carried out, the winner is chosen by a famously advanced mixture of cellphone and on-line voters from world wide and rankings by music-industry juries in every of the Eurovision nations. Because the outcomes are introduced, nations slide up and down the rankings and tensions construct. Ending up with “nul factors,” or zero, ranks as a nationwide humiliation.

The musical fashion of Eurovision has diversified dramatically for the reason that contest was based in 1956. The early years of crooners and ballads gave solution to perky pop – epitomized by maybe the best Eurovision music of all time, ABBA’s “Waterloo,” which gained the competition 50 years in the past.

These days, Euro-techno and energy ballads stay well-liked, however viewers have additionally proven a style for rock, folk-rap and eccentric, unclassifiable songs.


Based on bookmakers, a number one contender is Swiss singer Nemo, who’s performing a melodic, operatic music titled “The Code.” Nemo could be the primary performer who identifies as nonbinary to win the competition, which has an enormous LGBTQ+ following. The competition had its first transgender winner, Dana Worldwide, 1 / 4 century in the past.

One other nonbinary performer producing big buzz is Eire’s Bambie Thug, whose music “Doomsday Blue” is Gothic, intense, excessive and an actual crowd-pleaser. They’re the one contestant recognized to have introduced a “scream coach” to Malmo. Eire has gained Eurovision seven occasions – a complete equaled solely by Sweden – however has fared poorly in recent times.

Different acts tipped to do properly embrace operatic Slovenian singer Raiven, Ukrainian rap-pop duo Alyona Alyona and Jerry Heil and Spain’s Nebulosa, whose music “Zorra” prompted a stir as a result of its title could be translated as an anti-female slur.

To this point, the act with probably the most momentum is Croatian singer Child Lasagna. His music “Rim Tim Tagi Dim” is quintessential Eurovision: exuberant, foolish, slightly emotional and extremely catchy. It’s already an enormous fan favourite.


Eurovision’s motto is “united by music,” and its organizer, the European Broadcasting Union, strives to maintain politics out of the competition. But it surely typically intrudes.

Belarus was expelled from Eurovision in 2021 over its authorities’s clampdown on dissent, and Russia was kicked out in 2022 after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

This 12 months, there have been requires Israel to be excluded due to its conduct in its conflict towards Hamas.

Israel is competing, however was advised to alter the title of its music, initially referred to as “October Rain” in obvious reference to Hamas’ Oct. 7 cross-border assault. It’s now referred to as “Hurricane” and will probably be carried out by 20-year-old singer Eden Golan at Thursday’s semifinal.


Anti-Israel teams are planning massive protests on Thursday and Saturday, and Swedish police are mounting a significant safety operation, with officers from throughout the nation bolstered by reinforcements from Denmark and Norway.

Palestinian flags dangle from some condo balconies in Malmo however have been banned from the televised occasion, together with all flags aside from these of competing nations. On the first semifinal’s opening act, one performer managed to sneak in a political assertion, singing with a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf tied round his wrist.

The European Broadcasting Union, which organizes Eurovision, mentioned it regretted Swedish singer Eric Saade’s choice to “compromise the non-political nature of the occasion.”

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Written by bourbiza mohamed

Bourbiza Mohamed is a freelance journalist and political science analyst holding a Master's degree in Political Science. Armed with a sharp pen and a discerning eye, Bourbiza Mohamed contributes to various renowned sites, delivering incisive insights on current political and social issues. His experience translates into thought-provoking articles that spur dialogue and reflection.

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