Europe

Eurovision Song Contest 2024: Winners, losers and shocking moments

Author: Editors Desk, Nick Bond Source: News Corp Australia Network:
May 12, 2024 at 05:59
Nemo is thus year’s Eurovision winner. Picture: AFP
Nemo is thus year’s Eurovision winner. Picture: AFP

WARNING: Eurovision spoilers below.

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest has been an especially dramatic, with an audience revolt after a chaotic lead-up to the grand final that saw one country, The Netherlands, disqualified from the competition.

And another country scored the dreaded zero points from the public in a “brutal” result for an artist who’d been hotly tipped to do well today, while the artist who performed directly after controversial entry Israel complained that the grand final had been a “traumatic” experience for him.

And the winner is...

 

Nemo is thus year’s Eurovision winner. Picture: AFP
Nemo is thus year’s Eurovision winner. Picture: AFP

 

 

Switzerland! Swiss entry Nemo, the first openly non-binary Eurovision winner, took it out with their spectacular, opera-techno hybird The Code, which saw them perform while balancing precariously on a spinning disc. With a combined 591 points from the jury and public, Switzerland triumphed against hot favourite Croatia (547 points), with Ukraine placing third (453 points). France on 445 points and Israel on 375 points rounded out the top five.

“I hope this contest can live up to its promise and continue to stand for peace and dignity for every person in this world,” Nemo said, hinting at the drama and controversy that had threatened to overshadow this year’s Contest.

 

 
The top two contestants before Switzerland was announced as the winner.
The top two contestants before Switzerland was announced as the winner.

 

 

As they wrapped their coverage, SBS hosts Myf Warhurst and Joel Creasey noted the controversy surrounding this year’s contest, calling it a “tense” and “difficult” week on the ground in Malmo, Sweden.

Major voting upsets

Eurovision voting is announced in two batches: Each country’s jury votes are read first, then each country’s public votes are revealed. The two are added together to reveal the final vote.

This was the result of the jury votes:

 

 
The results of the jury vote saw Switzerland romp it home.
The results of the jury vote saw Switzerland romp it home.

 

 

But as the public votes were revealed, there were some massive changes. Israel, who had scored only 52 jury points, garnered a huge 323 points from the public, instantly rocketing them up the leaderboard.

And the UK’s entry, Years & Years singer Olly Alexander, copped a brutal insult: After 46 jury votes, he’d somehow scored a grand total of ZERO public votes. It was the only time zero points were awarded during this year’s contest. Alexander laughed off the snub as it was announced, but UK commentator Graham Norton called the result “brutal.”

 
Juries warmed to the UK’s Olly Alexander - but he failed to score a single public vote. Picture: Getty
Juries warmed to the UK’s Olly Alexander - but he failed to score a single public vote. Picture: Getty

 

 

Still, Olly’s jury points were enough to give him a top 20 placing - the UK came 18th this year, with Norway copping the dreaded dead last position.

The reading of the votes got off to a chaotic start as the hosts cut to Eurovision boss Martin Österdahl to confirm all was in order.

 

Usually a pretty uncontroversial fiure, EBU's Martin Österdahl was booed every time he appeared this year.
Usually a pretty uncontroversial fiure, EBU's Martin Österdahl was booed every time he appeared this year.

 

Österdahl’s appearance on screen was met with a chorus of boos from the audience in the arena, making their feelings clear about how the organisation had handled the Dutch entry being disqualified from the contest hours before the grand final began.

The booing continued minutes later, as the broadcast cut to Israel to hear their jury points.

SBS commentators Myf Warhurst and Joel Creasey, who are inside the arena, reported that many audience members had turned their backs as Israel’s delegate delivered her country’s jury votes. Minutes later, Österdahl was back on screen to deliver Netherlands’ votes after the Dutch delegates refused to take part. He looked visibly uncomfortable as he was again met with a chorus of boos.

Country representatives mostly stuck to the script when announcing their votes, but Austria’s delegate had this pointed message to say: “To be honest, I thought it was going to be difficult to find only positive words. It’s great to see a beautiful souls in here, especially in times where heartlessness seems to have prevailed, but it won’t.” Others used their brief time on screen to call for peace and unity.

Netherlands kicked out of the contest

Netherlands’ entry, singer Joost Klein’s hi-NRG Eurodance song Europapa made him an audience favourite – but he was dramatically booted from the contest overnight after a backstage incident involving a camerawoman.

 
 
 
Dutch singer Joost Klein on stage … Picture: AFP
Dutch singer Joost Klein on stage … Picture: AFP
 
 
 
 
… and talking to press back stage. Picture: AFP
… and talking to press back stage. Picture: AFP

 

 

Klein was alleged to have made threatening language during a disagreement with the crew member, and after some deliberation, was disqualified by Eurovision organisers the EBU (Eurovision Broadcasting Union).

Each artist takes to the stage to wave their country’s flag at the start of today’s Grand Final; Netherlands simply showed an empty stage, with Klein not present.

The fallout is still being felt: Dutch broadcaster Avrotros threw the contest into more disarray, announcing minutes before the Grand Final started that the Netherlands will not publicly hand out their country’s points for the other contestants during the Grand Final.

“We do not feel the need to hand out the points of the Dutch jury,” the company wrote in a statement. “We imagined this evening very differently.”

One Eurovision fan called the last-minute move “extraordinary”:

 

 

 

 

Dutch YouTuber Nikkie de Jager was due to announce the results from the Netherlands, but said in a video statement that she had decided “to not give the points during the show. I’m glad with the support and freedom I’m given to make this decision.”

And amid the drama, an even more extraordinary statement from Dutch TV presenter Cornald Maas, interviewed by press on the ground at Malmo. Maas claimed that Klein had been “bothered” by the crew member on “multiple occasions” before he allegedly snapped at her.

He finished with a succinct message for Eurovision organiser, the EBU: “F**k the EBU.”

Israel controversy rages

Every other artist performed during he grand final – which had seemed like it might not the be the case hours earlier. There were reports that entrants from Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland and the UK had been in “crisis talks” with the EBU and had been considering withdrawing from the competition.

 

 

Israel's entry takes to the stage.
Israel's entry takes to the stage.

 

 

This is in part due to Klein’s disqualification but also due to perhaps the most contentious issues at this year’s contest: Israel’s participation. Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Malmo this week, demanding Israel be disqualified due to the country’s ongoing military operation in Palestine.

Israel’s entry Eden Golan performed fifth, bumped up a spot in the running order due to the Dutch artists’s disqualification. As with all her other performances this week, loud boos could be heard amid the cheers on the broadcast – and the booing seemed even louder in the arena:

 

 

 

Lithuanian contestant Silvester Belt, who performed directly after Israel - so would’ve been taking to the stage to face an arena loudly booing - revealed the effect the crowd behaviour had had on him in a tweet posted after the ceremony.

“Going after that country, with the crowd being so intense, was one of the worst things I had to go through, I really did the best that I could in this situation…traumatic experience, wish it all ended after the first semi,” he wrote.

The voting has been just as tense, as the audience in the arena could be heard expressing their displeasure every time Isreal scored votes.

Despite the boos, Israel managed a top five placing in the Grand Final, thanks largely to a massive audience vote of 323 points. They were second only to Croatia in the public voting.

How Australia voted

 

Israel’s entry, Eden Golan, won the Australian public’s vote. Picture: Jessica Gow
Israel’s entry, Eden Golan, won the Australian public’s vote. Picture: Jessica Gow

 

Detailed voting results on the Eurovision website reveal that the Australian public awarded Israel the most votes, with Croatia and Ireland placing second and third.

Ireland topped the Australian jury vote, followed by Switzerland and Croatia, with Israel failing to get a vote from the jurors.

Ireland’s wonderfully freaky entry

 

Bambie Thug on stage. Picture: AFP
Bambie Thug on stage. Picture: AFP

 

Riverdance this was not. Satan horns, black eyes, pentagrams … Irish entry Bambie Thug made infamous 2006 Eurovision winners Lordi look like The Wiggles by comparison. Their song Doomsday Blue was like watching a horror movie play out live on stage: Dark, disturbing and sure to upset a few pearl-clutching viewers. Crucially, underneath all the bells and whistles, they also had a great song.

 

Bambie Thug’s song was like a beautiful bad dream. Picture: AFP
Bambie Thug’s song was like a beautiful bad dream. Picture: AFP

 

“LOVE WILL ALWAYS TRIUMPH HATE!” the artist yelled in an unscripted moment at the end of their performance. It followed a drama-filled lead-up to the contest – Bambie had refused to participate in final rehearsals for the Grand Final, and had said they were “angry” at Israel’s commentators for voicing negative opinions about their performance.

“I’m angry with other teams breaching their rules of the EBU, and still being allowed in,” Bambie said.

“So there’s definitely a war drum sounding in my heart to push the performance even more than I have done before.” A hit with both jury and the public, Bambie placed sixth in the contest.

A healthy dose of nudity

 

 
That horrible nightmare: You’re representing your country a Eurovision but you’ve forgotten to put pants on … Picture: AFP
That horrible nightmare: You’re representing your country a Eurovision but you’ve forgotten to put pants on … Picture: AFP



Costuming, nil points. Picture: AFP
Costuming, nil points. Picture: AFP
 

 

Finland’s Windows95Man brought the energy up with No Rules!, emerging from a giant egg pantsless. He was actually wearing a flesh coloured G-string, but the whole song is basically an excuse for elaborate setpieces teasing that the singer was moments away from flashing his junk to the world. Mercifully, by the bridge he’d slipped into some denim cut-offs.

 

Nebulossa and her cheeky dancers. Picture: Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP
Nebulossa and her cheeky dancers. Picture: Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP

 

pain’s entry Nebulossa also flashed a bit of flesh – not from their singer, the oldest participant this year at 56, but from her thong-and-corset-clad male back-up dancers.

A few songs later, Slovenia’s singer Raiven soared through the high notes of her song Veronika - all while wearing a complely see-through catsuit, surrounded by a gaggle of near-nude dancers:

 

Slovenian singer Raiven, staying just on the right side of Eurovision’s nudity rules. Picture: AFP
Slovenian singer Raiven, staying just on the right side of Eurovision’s nudity rules. Picture: AFP

 

Loreen dazzles... yet again

Reigning queen of Eurovision, two-time winner Loreen, returned after taking out the win last year to debut her new single Forever with a spectacular performance that served as a salute to her own core strength.

 

Loreen: Now available on a stick. Picture: Getty
Loreen: Now available on a stick. Picture: Getty

 

Strapped into an H.R. Giger-esque high metal chair, Loreen bent forth and back as she performed the anthemic new song, before it segued into the song that gave her the win last year, Tattoo.

Sure, she was only the halftime entertainment... but how about we crown her again?

ABBA ‘reunion’ a flop

Pop fans were sent into a frenzy in the days leading up to the Grand Final with the news that ABBA would appear during half time. A reunion performance? A rare sighting of all four members, now well into their 70s, back together?

 



I think they've had work done.
I think they've had work done.




I know hologram ABBA can't hurt me... and yet...
I know hologram ABBA can't hurt me... and yet...


Sadly not - it was actually the ABBAtars, the digitally rendered likenesses of the band at the peak of their fame, appearing briefly to entertain audiences with some awkward patter.

ABBA’s light and music show featuring the slightly eerie ABBAtars has been entertaining audiences in London for a couple of years now, with Melbourne rumoured to be the show’s next outpost.

Australia crashes out

 

Cyprus’ entry Silia Kapsis is Sydney born and raised. Picture: AFP
Cyprus’ entry Silia Kapsis is Sydney born and raised. Picture: AFP

 

With Australia this year not progressing past the semi-finals, we do at least have an Aussie in the mix: Cyprus’ entry, 17-year-old Silia Kapsis, was born and raised in Sydney. She even gave Australia a quick shout-out after she’d performed her track, the infectious pop song Liar.

 

Electric Fields watch on as their Eurovision dreams are crushed on Wednesday.
Electric Fields watch on as their Eurovision dreams are crushed on Wednesday.

 

But one of this year’s biggest Eurovision stories – at least for us Aussies – came earlier in the week, when our entry Electric Fields crashed out of the competition during the first semi-final.

The Aussie duo’s performance of their song One Milkali (One Blood) landed them in the bottom five out of the 15 acts that performed at Wednesday’s semi-final one, thereby eliminating them from the competition before the grand final.

They became only the second Aussie act, after Montaigne in 2021, to fail to make it to the grand final in the decade Australia’s been competing in Eurovision.

Watch the full replay of the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest 7:30pm Sunday on SBS.

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