Eurovision Contestant Booted Right Before Finale

Joost Klein of the Netherlands was removed over a backstage incident now being investigation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 11, 2024 10:30 AM CDT
There's a Bit of Drama Going Down at Eurovision
Joost Klein of the Netherlands is seen at a dress rehearsal for the final at the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo, Sweden, on Friday. Hours before the final, Klein was dramatically booted by organizers over a backstage incident.   (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)

A Dutch public broadcaster reacted angrily after the Netherlands' contestant in the Eurovision Song Contest was dramatically expelled from the competition hours before Saturday's final over a backstage incident that's being investigated by police. The European Broadcasting Union, which organizes Eurovision, said Swedish police were investigating "a complaint made by a female member of the production crew" about Joost Klein, and it would not be appropriate for him to participate while the legal process was underway, per the AP.

Klein had failed to perform at two dress rehearsals on Friday in the Swedish city of Malmo, and organizers had said they were investigating an "incident." Though rumors had been flying that the incident was connected to Israel's delegation, organizers said it "did not involve any other performer or delegation member." The EBU said Klein won't receive any points from national juries or from Eurovision viewers, who help pick the winner, and the Netherlands won't appear on the contest scoreboard.

Dutch viewers will still be able to vote in the contest, as viewers in Eurovision member countries aren't allowed to vote for their own nation's act anyway. It was unclear whether Klein was still in Malmo on Saturday. Such a last-minute disqualification is unprecedented in the 68-year history of Eurovision, although countries have boycotted the event and in some cases been expelled—including Russia, kicked out after its 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS, one of dozens of public broadcasters that collectively fund and broadcast the contest, said it "finds the disqualification disproportionate and is shocked by the decision."

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"We deeply regret this and will come back to this later," it said in a statement. Meanwhile, the 26-year-old Klein, a Dutch singer and rapper, had been a bookies' favorite, as well as a fan favorite, with his song "Europapa," an upbeat Euro-techno ode to the continent that's also a tribute to Klein's parents, who died when he was a child. The competition that pits nations against one another for pop music glory has already been marked by division over the inclusion of Israel.

(More Eurovision stories.)

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