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Eurovision: Dutch entrant Joost Klein excluded from final

May 11, 2024

One of the Eurovision Song Contest favorites has been disqualified hours before the grand final. Police are investigating complaints against him from a female member of the production crew.

Klein's song Europapa was one of the favorites of the competition
Klein's song Europapa was one of the favorites of the competitionImage: Andreas Brenner/DW

Dutch performer Joost Klein has been disqualified from the Eurovision Song Contest, organizers of the show announced on Saturday, just hours before the grand final. 

Klein was under investigation for a backstage incident.

Why was Dutch star expelled from Eurovision Song Contest?

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the competition organizers, said Klein could not compete in those circumstances. 

"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," the European Broadcasting Union said in a statement. 

"While the legal process takes its course, it would not be appropriate for him to continue in the Contest," it said.  

The  administrative body of Dutch public broadcasters NPO said that it regretted the disqualification of Klein, writing in a statement that it considered it to be a "very drastic decision."

"This is a disappointment for the millions of Eurovision fans in the Netherlands and other European countries," NPO said, adding that they would evaluate the course of events after the competition. 

Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS went further and said it was "shocked" by the EBU's decision and considered it "disproportionate."

National broadcasters are crucial financial supporters of the event, collectively providing the majority of its roughly €6 billion (more than $6 billion) annual budget. 

The Netherlands last won in 2019, after a drought lasting decades since 1975. Klein was considered one of the favorites for this year's competition.

Rumors ever since Friday's no-show

Klein, who is 26 years old, was not able to perform in Friday evening's jury final while the investigation was ongoing. A video of his performance from Thursday evening's semi-final was used instead.

He was considered among the favorites with his song "Europapa," with Croatia and Switzerland among others tipped to take the trophy tonight.

Though rumors had been flying the incident with Klein was connected to Israel's delegation, organizers said the incident "did not involve any other performer or delegation member."

Though the contest's motto is "united by music" and it generally claims to strive to remain apolitical, this year's event attracted large protests, with thousands on Thursday marching in front of Malmo Arena in the Swedish city hosting the competition.

Organizers of the protests said they also planned to march before the final to show their opposition to Israel's inclusion in the song contest amid the conflict in Gaza.

rm/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)