Scandal in the Netherlands: Chaotic days at the song contest

The Dutchman repeatedly disrupted Thursday night’s semi-final press conference with anti-Israel comments. When the Israeli delegation responded, he pulled his country’s flag over his head in protest.

There was a lot of excitement there since Friday afternoon. He was still at the flag parade for the afternoon rehearsal, but Klein immediately disappeared. His appearance was omitted without comment.

EBU/Sarah Louise Bennett

Joost Klein at the press conference after the second semi-final

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) later confirmed an “incident” was under investigation. Then there was radio silence. Shortly before the evening’s performance, which will be presented to the international jury for their evaluation, the EBU said Klein would not appear and that his performance would be recorded from Thursday.

Silence breeds speculation

By doing so, the EBU wants to give more time to investigate the case – but at the same time it leaves everyone in the dark and opens the door to speculation. A video has gone viral showing an Israeli journalist getting into an argument with a member of the Netherlands delegation. This in turn fueled wild rumors that Joost had assaulted someone in the Israeli delegation – for which there was no evidence. However: even today, the Spanish delegation has lodged a complaint with the organizer against an Israeli journalist. Here also nothing is known about the background.

The situation is more delicate: Klein is considered the crowd favorite with a good chance to top the final. If he is indeed excluded, it will lead to a major scandal that will blow the wind out of the sails of everyone who is already spreading big conspiracy stories. On the contrary: if Joost is allowed to perform live on Saturday, the EBU must fear its worst nightmare: an artist expressing himself politically on an open stage.

Italian televoting results published

When it comes to crisis communication, the EBU is currently noticeably high, which is also reflected in the ongoing silence due to another incident on Thursday night: after Thursday’s semi-final, partial results of the Italian televoting were disseminated. As a result, Israel would have received 39.1 percent of the TV viewership vote – ahead of the Netherlands’ 7.2 percent and Switzerland’s 6.4 percent. The numbers were displayed on a ticker tape at the end of the show on Italian channel RAI, although according to regulations, voting results in semi-final shows must remain secret until the end.

As RAI emphasized in a press release on Friday, this was a technical error and not the actual results. The broadcaster apologized to the EBU and promised to comply with all competition rules for the remainder of the competition.

Outrage and speculation

The polling results that were shown spread like wildfire on social networks – and fueled outrage, crude speculation and conspiracy stories. As a result, the Israeli entry rose to second place with the bookmakers – further fueling the debate, with many considering that Israel actually had a real chance of winning. In advance, “Hurricane” was expected to be well in the top ten, but not much.

Israeli artist on stage

AP/Martin Meissner

Eden Colon during his performance

Bookmakers’ betting odds have become a central issue in the song contest in recent years. On the one hand, they never misjudged the favorites, but on the other hand, as a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, they influenced the way they viewed the competition and perhaps their voting behavior.

Betting market as a multiplier

However, betting policy works like a market – rumors often have a big impact on stock markets as well. Various betting providers react immediately to changes in the odds of the match. Additionally, song contest betting is a relatively small market, and the circle of people who actually invest money in a song contest bet must be somewhat limited.

It can also be seen that forecasts for poorly rated actions have practically no meaning. A few bets placed – or even an individual bookmaker’s independent odds – have enormous consequences. A snowball can become a completely virtual avalanche, however, it feels like a real avalanche and has an associated impact.

However, it is not entirely clear how large the participation in Italian televoting was, and how representative it could be for other countries – and what the motives were behind the Israeli participation. It is certainly conceivable that the sympathies were partly fueled by protests and outcry against Colon.

Thursday’s event was overshadowed by organized broadcaster SVT with a soundtrack of flowers, applause and cheers in the arena. But for the Israeli singer, things have continued to accompany her since her arrival in Malmö. His hotel, almost exclusively under rehearsed and heavy police protection, was repeatedly besieged by demonstrators.

See also  Rob on Equal Pay Day: “Equality can't be achieved by the federal government alone...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *