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The student news site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School

The New Dealer

The student news site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School

The New Dealer

The Controversy Surrounding Eurovision (2024)

The+Controversy+Surrounding+Eurovision+%282024%29

In the western world, Eurovision is often touted as a cultural phenomenon that has been highly impactful to music since the 1950’s. Eurovision is a song competition between (mostly) European nations, in which countries submit original songs to the competition and competing nations vote for which song they think is the best. Eurovision is the most popular program internationally by number of views (that is not sports related). 163 million people tuned in to see the 2024 Eurovision contest. By comparison, 2024’s Super Bowl (arguably the biggest sporting event in the United States) had a viewership of 123.7 million viewers. It is clear that Eurovision is a song contest many people internationally hold dear to their hearts.

With this immense viewership, however, this also means that all eyes are on any controversy that happens throughout the duration of the contest. While Switzerland may have won 2024’s contest (under “The Code” by Swiss artist Nemo), if one were to engage in Eurovision related discourse online, one might find themselves seeing comments relating to the coveted winner’s spot being “robbed.” This all stems from the Netherlands’ involvement in the competition this year.

The Netherlands was represented by the Dutch artist Joost, who submitted the song, “Europapa,” to represent the nation at Eurovision. The song is an ode to the artist’s father, who died when he was young. The song’s lyrics are about a world without borders, which is a message that resonated with Joost that his father always told him. “Europapa” was an instant success, with millions of views on YouTube and being a very heavily used song on TikTok, which cemented the songs reputation as the “anthem of 2024 Eurovision,” and it easily became the song most recognizable by the average person from this years competition

With the Netherlands being a fan-favorite to win, it may come as a surprise that the country was abruptly disqualified, as Joost was supposed to move onto the semifinals. While the media has reported on Joost’s disqualifications in very different ways, the official story states that Joost made, “unlawful threats,” to a member of the production crew, and the European Broadcasting Union, along with the Swedish police, investigated Joost on these claims, and eventually found the ground to disqualify him and thus the Netherlands from the competition. 

This decision sparked massive outrage across Eurovision fans, especially those that reside in the Netherlands. Opponents of the decision to disqualify the Netherlands stated that the punishment was, “too far,” for an incident of such caliber, and that the European Broadcasting Union was overexerting their power onto the Netherlands specifically, which also sprung up rumors that this decision was intentional to ensure the Netherlands does not win the competition. Opponents also called attention to the numerous complaints of Israel (under Eden Golan) and their involvement in the 2024 competition. Israel’s involvement in Eurovision has been disputed, as the nation geographically is not in Europe. However, recent events surrounding Israel resulted in people calling for the disqualification of the country from the competition. To many Eurovision fans, it was seen as a double standard to disqualify Russia from Eurovision back in 2022 due to similar incidents, yet keeping Israel in 2024, and disqualifying the Netherlands over a minor infraction. 

Ultimately, even though Switzerland won the competition, many people still state that Joost and the Netherlands should have won. The reactions to Joost’s disqualification from the Eurovision contest of this year are a perfect example of how current events can shape people’s perception on a certain issue, bringing up points that would have never been brought up had it non been for a certain event that happened. It is also a demonstration on how Eurovision has been used to make political statements in the past and in the present. Lastly, the amount of discourse surrounding the competition also shows how big of a cultural phenomenon Eurovision is, and highlights an aspect of culture for people internationally, especially those of the United States, that have less knowledge pertaining to foreign culture due to its limited travel opportunities for Americans and insular culture.

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