At this point, you could probably say that Eurovision is the most popular annual event held for the members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). During its 61 years of existence, there has always been a question mark whether the contest is really about music or not.
Starting with political contexts found in the competing songs and finishing with the country votes, every year has had some controversy in it.
Things have gotten pretty serious. The most notable incident happened in 1974, when the Portuguese entry was used as a coded radio message aimed for the rebel military officers to start the Carnation Revolution that brought Portugal from dictatorship to democracy. Eurovision can potentially change your government system, dare to try?
There are also some local cases. It happens often when a country refuses to broadcast the performance of another country because of political reasons. Remember when Turkey canceled the broadcast of the Cypriot entry, and Lebanon didn’t broadcast the Israeli entry? Yes, there are way too many memories in this category.
Another widespread use of the contest as a propaganda platform includes the flags. And only last year (just imagine, only last year!!!) the European Broadcasting Union issued, then retracted, a list of supposedly controversial flags (including those of the Basque country, Crimea, and Wales). Here, you can’t even blame the organizers, there is almost no way to control political messaging and NOT become a political contest at the same time, not anymore.
This year is not an exception in terms of controversy, starring the host country, Ukraine, and it’s political opponent Russia. Let’s admit that this is only the second episode of the same show. This political karaoke battle between the two countries started last year with Jamala’s winning song. But Russia was not going to back off: Russia was going to present “something big” for the next year.
We’re sure that you have already heard about this year’s biggest Eurovision scandal. Articles, opinions, announcements are everywhere, in your newsfeed, as well. In brief, this year’s Russian participant Yulia Samoilova took part in a concert in Crimea without Kiev’s “permission,” making her “guilty” under Ukrainian law for illegally crossing its border.
A lot of discussions and opinions have been spoken up, but there is still no final decision known to us. As an alternative, EBU suggested Russia holds a live performance from Russia (pretty ridiculous!), which was declined by both Russia and Ukraine. Honestly, even the essence of this offer shows how much EBU can’t control its own contest and how it doesn’t mind politics-inspired attacks against Russia within the framework of Eurovision. A live performance from Russia is in no way fair or appropriate for ANY country.
Later on, EBU put its “heavy artillery” into action, warning Ukraine’s National Public Broadcasting Company to be excluded from the future EBU events. Too bad even this didn’t bring the desired result.
Will there be a happy ending or not, nobody knows, but this incident must serve as another red flag for EBU to pay more serious and close attention to its control mechanisms.
We are never short of politics in our life, so please, leave Eurovision out of it. It’s one of the most entertaining music contests out there, let it remain that way.
Thanks in advance.