Tuesday, June 18, 2024

‘F**k the EBU’ – Bambie Thug criticises Eurovision organisers

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Bambie Thug says Israeli broadcaster ‘incited violence against me three times’Taoiseach Simon Harris congratulated Bambie for a ‘stunning performance and tour de force at Eurovision 2024’

The non-binary artist, who came sixth in the contest, did not take part in the dress rehearsal on Saturday due to a ‘situation’ backstage. They accused the Eurovision Song Contest organisers of not supporting them over a row with Israel.

Bambie Thug claimed the Israeli broadcaster KAN had disobeyed the rules of the contest and this had been brought to the EBU’s attention.

“So now that I am free I can talk about everything, right? KAN, the broadcaster, incited violence against me twice, three times.,” Bambie Thug said after the final on Saturday night.

“We brought it up to the EBU, they said they’d follow up. They waited until the last minute, we still haven’t got a statement back. [The EBU] allowed us to be scapegoats, allowed us to be the spokesperson for standing up for ourselves. That broadcaster has disobeyed the rules and I hope next year they won’t be allowed to compete because of that.”

Bambie became emotional when discussing the tension backstage in recent days.

“Behind the scenes you don’t know the amount of pressure and the amount of work that we have been doing to change things and I’m so proud of Nemo for winning,” they said.

“I’m so proud of all of us in the top 10 that have been fighting for this shit behind the scenes because it has been so hard, it has been so horrible for us and I’m so proud of us.”

“I just want to say we are what the Eurovision is. The EBU is not what the Eurovision is. F**k the EBU, I don’t even care any more. F**k them.

“The thing that makes us contestants, the community behind it, the love and the power and the support of all of us is what’s making change. The world has spoken, the queers are coming, non-binaries for the f**king win, and I am so proud.”

The EBU has been contacted for comment but have yet to issue a statement.

Last night, non-binary Swiss act Nemo topped the leader-board with their pop song The Code about their journey of self-discovery.

They were also critical of the organisers. Nemo waved a non-binary flag in the green room even though they claimed the EBU had told them not to.

Eurovision winner Nemo states the EBU banned the non-binary flag in the Eurovision venue

“I smuggled my flag in because Eurovision said no and I did it anyway. So I hope some other people did that too.”

Referring to the lyrics of their song, and the fact that they accidentally broke the trophy on stage, they continued: “As I said, I broke the code, I broke the trophy, the trophy can be fixed.

“Maybe Eurovision needs a little bit of fixing.”

Ireland attracted the top 12-point allocation from the Australian jury vote, as well as a 10 from the UK audience as part of a total of 136 from the overall audience vote, but ultimately failed to catch eventual winner Nemo. Taoiseach Simon Harris congratulated Bambie for a “stunning performance and tour de force at Eurovision 2024”.

“They performed with passion, stopped us in our tracks and did us proud. The eruption of applause in the stadium at the end of Ireland’s performance spoke for itself,” he said in a statement.

“Congratulations to Switzerland on the win and well done to Sweden for hosting another showstopper. Thank you to our closest musical ally in Europe – Australia – for our only douze points!

“It’s Bambie Thug’s night as far as we’re concerned.

“Well done, Bambie.”

Bambie Thug of Ireland performs the song Doomsday Blue during the grand final (Martin Meissner/AP)

Bambie’s performance of Doomsday Blue was met with rapturous applause and they finished their performance with the words ‘Love will always triumph over hate’.

It is the most successful entrant Ireland has had in the Eurovision in recent years – the last time Ireland qualified for the grand final was in 2018 with Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s Together.

The last time Ireland came sixth in the grand final was almost a quarter of a century ago in 2000 when Eamonn Toal performed Millennium of Love.

Netherlands

Earlier in the day, the EBU announced that the Netherlands would not take part in the contest.

This was as a result of an ‘incident’ involving a female member of the Swedish production team that took place on Thursday evening after Klein’s performance.

“Swedish police have investigated a complaint made by a female member of the production crew after an incident following his performance in Thursday night’s semi-final,” a statement from the EBU said.

“While the legal process takes its course, it would not be appropriate for him to continue in the contest,” they said.

It is the first time in Eurovision’s 68-year history that a contestant has been disqualified after the start of the five-day event.

The EBU said it maintained “a zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate behaviour” at the event and were “committed to providing a safe and secure working environment for all staff at the contest”,

Dutch broadcaster Avrotros said the decision was disproportionate.

Demonstrations

Throughout the week there had been demonstrations opposing Israel’s participation in Eurovision and calls for them to be expelled from the contest. In 2022, Russia was suspended from the contest following the invasion of Ukraine.

In the street, people held signs that read ‘Welcome Genocide’ in the same font as Eurovisions official logo.

“We are here because there is a genocide going on in Gaza and we want the perpetrator Israel banned from the contest. We are residents of Malmo… we want to show solidarity with Eurovision,” local resident Nina Eriksson said.

In an interview with Swedish channel SVT, Noel Curran, the director general of the EBU and former director general of RTE, admitted the 68th song contest had not been a “normal Eurovision”.

Curran said he stood over the EBU’s decision to include the Israeli broadcaster in this year’s contest.

Some of the acts spoke about Israel’s participation overshadowing the event – and there were protests with people chanting that “songs and glitter cannot hide the genocide”.

In response, Curran said: “I wish my job was one where every decision the EBU made went smoothly… Unfortunately, when you are in these positions, and particularly when you have gone through a process of the member governing bodies to make a decision, I can’t look back and say the decision was the wrong decision.

“I respect the protesters. I am not going to pretend this has been a completely normal Eurovision. I can’t look back and say we should have done this differently. And I can’t look back and say the governing member bodies should have done this differently. We were faced with a situation and that decision was made.”

People attend a watch-along party in the town square of Ireland’s Eurovision entrant Bambie Thug’s hometown of Macroom in Co Cork, as the Eurovision final takes place at Malmo Arena (Noel Sweeney/PA)

The grand final

Last night, 25 acts took to the stage – there were gravity-defying performances, spell circles, emotive ballads, and infectious pop songs.

Last year’s winner Loreen and the Abbatars – digital versions of the original Abba – performed during the show, which pulls in worldwide viewership figures of 200 million.

TV presenter Graham Norton, who provided commentary for BBC coverage, was full of praise of Bambie Thug’s performance.

He said: “I’m not a parent, but I might warn you that younger kids, I mean seriously, might find this next performance a little bit frightening.”

He added: “Bambie Thug, such a great performer and Ireland have done a very good job of production this year and this is tipped to do extremely well.”

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