EBU Press Conference: ‘Booing can mean the end of Eurovision’

The European Broadcasting Union is afraid that political messages from the crowd, like the booing of Russia in last years contest, can lead up to the end of the Eurovision Song Contest. Jon Ola Sand has said this during the EBU Press Conference on Thursday.

The Executive Supervisor┬ásaid: “I went to the girls after the show and felt really uncomfortable. These girls, just 17 years old, were sitting there and were crying. It was a horrible experience. It is disrespectful. We have some strict rules: No political message in our contest. Therefore we are more strict this year in our security. No negative banners are allowed in. Because it will be the end of Eurovision, if we keep hearing these political messages in the venue. Please, everybody, keep it out of the contest!”

During the contest of this year, we can hear some artificial applause after the performances of the nations. “We did that because there were not enough people in the hall during the rehearsals. At the real show, we are not using a tape with artificial applause,” says Sand.

There were some small hick-ups towards this contest, with for instance Armenia having to change their song title. Sand: “We didn’t expect to have a happy tralala song, considering the conditions. But this song title went too far. We had some good talks with the Armenian delegation, and things were sorted out quite easy.”

Last year, their neighbours Georgia had a bad jury vote, with all members handing over the same list, in exactly the same order. This time, there have been no flaws yet: “Last year Georgia couldn’t prove that they voted in an honest way. We have had close contact with them this year, and everything went well for the first semi final, in which they voted. One year remains a short time span for such a big event, but we managed to get everything out in the open in a transparent way.”