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Sweden: Demonstration in Stockholm against Israel in Eurovision! | Around 2000 people protest!

An estimated 1,500 to 2,000 people have gathered at Odenplan in Stockholm for the demonstration, according to a police officer on site. The procession went to Gustav Adolfs Torg where the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has its office.

In the procession, several Palestinian flags were seen and the demonstrators chanted several slogans for Palestine.

Many had pictures of watermelons – a symbol of Palestinian struggle, and from the back of a car the demonstrators were urged to try to coup watermelons into the Melodifestivalen‘s TV broadcasts again, as two activists did last week. Per Hussein, who is involved in arranging the demonstration, says:

“The watermelon is a symbol of freedom and justice. The only people who would oppose such a symbol are those who stand against freedom and justice, and I don’t see why anyone would want to do that.”

Several of the demonstrators carried placards with messages about Israel’s Eurovision participation. Protester Lubna al Sheikhly said:

“Everyone agreed that Russia should not be involved. Now, after the deaths of 30,000 children, Israel is allowed to participate. This is not right.”

EBU: Israel’s public service broadcaster does not break the rules

The Eurovision organizer EBU‘s position is that the music competition is not between countries, but between public service broadcasters and that Israel‘s companies have not violated the contest rules.

There have been calls to ban Israel from Eurovision 2024, like 1000 Swedish musicians that signed today a petition to the EBU against Israel outside NRK right during the first two weeks of MGP. In Iceland, more than 500 artists signed a petition asking RÚV to withdraw from the contest, while Silvia Night signed an open letter to the EBU asking to ban Israel. In Finland1300 artists signed a petition asking for Israel to be removed. The British representative Olly Alexander has also shared in public his opinion against Israel. Also just recently Montaigne signed an open letter to the EBU asking the ban of Israel from the contest and Ben Dolic joined her by doing the same.

Source: Aftonbladet
Photo: Peter Wixtröm/Aftonbladet

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Sweden: 2.7 million viewers for Melodifestivalen 2024!

The first Heat of Melodifestivalen, took place last Saturday in Malmö, the host city of Eurovision 2024, with two artists getting the ticket for the Grand Final, and two more advancing to a qualifying round for a second chance.

The great Swedish music festival, was watched once again, by a great number of viewers, being the most watched TV show in Sweden in the last week. In detail, 2.7 million viewers tuned, in order to watch the beginning of the country’s national final.

The two artists that the public voted to advance directly to the final are Smash Into Pieces and Lisa Ajax, while on the same time Elisa Lindström and Adam Woods, will take part in the second chance round, in order to qualify to the final.

Melodifestivalen, continues next Saturday, with the Second Heat and six more artists!

Stay tuned on Eurovisionfun for all the news regarding the Swedish participation at the Eurovision Song Contest 2024, in Malmö!

Sourceaftonbladet.se

Eurovision 2024: Petra Mede and Malin Åkerman will present Eurovision Song Contest 2024!

A Hollywood star and Eurovision veteran hosts the world’s biggest entertainment show in May. Malin Åkerman and Petra Mede accompany each other and the audience during the Eurovision Song Contest‘s three television broadcasts, direct from Malmö on May 7, 9 and 11.

Ebba Adielsson, Executive Producer for the Eurovision Song Contest 2024, says:

“Malin Åkerman and Petra Mede in combination are nothing but an absolute dream duo. Malin, a wonderful personality and one of our most talented actors in Hollywood. Petra, an icon in the Eurovision context who has also been voted the best Eurovision host ever. I am incredibly proud and happy that these fantastic women will lead us through the Eurovision week in Malmö in May.”

It is the first time that Petra Mede and Malin Åkerman are working together and they are both looking forward to the collaboration.

Petra says:

“Imagine being able to lead Eurovision once again! It’s such an incredible honor. After first leading it alone and then with lovely Måns Zelmerlöw by my side, I am now so looking forward to working with Malin. We don’t know each other from before, but have seen each other a few times and I’m already completely sold. It will be a joy to work with her.”

Malin Åkerman has solid stage and film experience, but the Eurovision Song Contest is a completely new arena for her:

” can’t really describe my feeling about this. I’m so excited and a little nervous, but only in a positive way. I have always liked Eurovision and to be part of this amazing program, and that with Petra, is nothing but a dream. Besides, Petra is one of the funniest women I know.”

Who is Malin Åkerman

Malin Åkerman was born in Stockholm, but grew up in Canada. Nowadays she lives in Los Angeles with her family, but with a father living in Falsterbo, Malmö is still a familiar place . She has a great social commitment and was thinking of becoming a child psychologist. Malin Åkerman’s career as a photo model started as a five-year-old, and she pursued a modeling career as an adult but then switched to the acting profession. Her filmography includes the TV series The Comeback and Entourage and films such as The Heartbreak Kid and Watchmen. She has played opposite actors such as Tom Cruise, Jennifer Aniston, Sandra Bullock and The Rock. On Swedish screens, we have been able to see Malin Åkerman in the musical film En del av mitt hjärta, where she also got to show her singing talent, and now most recently in the audience hit Ett sista race.

Who is Petra Mede

Petra Mede’s public career took off after participating in an amateur stand-up comedy competition in the spring of 2005. Nowadays, she is one of our most popular presenters and comedians. Petra Mede has hosted the Melodifestivalen, the QX-gala and the Guldbaggegala, participated in numerous television programs and had her own – Petra Mede show, on TV3. She has made the Swedish people laugh in comedy programs such as Morning Sofa, Parlament, Help!, Cirkus Möller and Högklackat. In 2013, Petra Mede led the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö, a task for which she was praised internationally. In 2016, she gained renewed confidence and then with Måns Zelmerlöw – together they presented, among other things, the equally humorous as well as bombastic interlude “Love, Love, Peace, Peace”. “They are the best damn Eurovision presenters ever”, wrote the American site Buzzfeed and the duo have also been voted best Eurovision presenters of all time.

Source: SVT Pressrummet
Photo: Photo: Janne Danielsson/SVT

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Christer Björkman: “I’m here to make the greatest TV show in the world, SVT can answer on Israel’s participation!”

On Monday, more than 1.000 Swedish artists, sent a petition to the EBU and the public broadcaster of Sweden, SVT, in order to ask for Israel’s exclusion from Eurovision, as we’ve previously informed you.

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Sweden: These artists want Israel banned from Eurovision! | SVT’s response: “The EBU decides!”

As you may have read in one of our previous articles, Expressen was able to reveal this weekend that more than 1.000 Swedish artists are demanding that Israel be banned from Eurovision. This is due to the ongoing Middle-Eastern conflict between Israel and Hamas, which has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of civilians in Gaza.

Today, the list of all the artists was published by Expressen, including Eric Saade, Marlena Ernman, Timbuktu, also Medina and Jacqline, who are competing in Melodifestivalen this year, have also signed. Also the global star Robyn joined the petition. You can have a look on the full list of artists who signed here!

“Serious war crimes”

There have been calls to ban Israel from Eurovision 2024, like 1000 Swedish musicians that signed today a petition to the EBU against Israel outside NRK right during the first two weeks of MGP. In Iceland, more than 500 artists signed a petition asking RÚV to withdraw from the contest, while Silvia Night signed an open letter to the EBU asking to ban Israel. In Finland1300 artists signed a petition asking for Israel to be removed. The British representative Olly Alexander has also shared in public his opinion against Israel. Also just recently Montaigne signed an open letter to the EBU asking the ban of Israel from the contest and Ben Dolic joined her by doing the same. Now 1000 Swedish artists are demanding that Israel be stopped from participating in the Eurovision Song Contest. The petition reads:

“For more than 100 days, we have witnessed the Israeli army committing what leading human rights organizations describe as grave war crimes. The Eurovision Song Contest began as a peace project with the ambition to unite countries and citizens through music. Allowing Israel to participate undermines not only the spirit of the contest but the entire public service mission. It also sends the signal that governments can commit war crimes without consequences. That is why we appeal to the EBU: Exclude Israel from the Eurovision Song Contest 2024.

SVT’s answer: “The EBU decides!”

SVT has, through Åsa Barsness, HR and Communications Director, published a response to the demands directed at them, on a press release:

“It is the EBU that decides who participates in the competition and as the host country, SVT relates to what the EBU decides. The human suffering in this deeply complex conflict is horrific. No one can be unmoved by the conditions in Gaza right now, or by the Hamas attack in Israel. We are also concerned about developments. We understand and respect that groups make their voices heard.”

She further writes that SVT has a dialogue with the EBU and hopes to be able to carry out Eurovision in the “best way, with the vision of uniting in music.

Eurovision will be held in Malmö in May this year and Karin Karlsson is responsible for the city’s initiative. She talked about how they view the artists’ petition, to Expressen:

“We can’t influence whether Israel is in or not, that’s the EBU’s responsibility. We have said all along that everyone is welcome in Malmö.”

Source: Expressen, SVT
Photo: Alex Ljungdahl / Expressen

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Norway: Palestinian activists protested outside NRK against Israel!

Palestinian activists on Saturday used powerful measures in the fight against Israel‘s participation in Eurovision. 30 men sat bare-chested, blindfolded and hands stripped outside NRK. Activist and initiator Rami Samandar says to VG:

“We are here to highlight Israel’s violations of international law. What we see in Gaza is absolutely horrific.”

The protesters staged an incident on Saturday that occurred in Beit Lahiya in the Gaza Strip on December 7. Then over a hundred Palestinian men and boys were captured by Israeli soldiers. They were ordered to undress and kneel in the street and were accused of belonging to Hamas or being terrorists. Samandar continues:

“But it’s too cold for all 30 people to sit outside NRK at the same time, so we have divided them into groups of ten who each take a dare in front of NRK.”

It was around zero degrees outside NRK Saturday morning and Samandar says that there was great interest in taking part in this action.

“We received so many inquiries that in the end we had to say no.”

In groups of ten, a total of 30 men walked up and down between the parking lot below NRK and the main entrance.

There have been calls to ban Israel from Eurovision 2024, like 1000 Swedish musicians that signed today a petition to the EBU against Israel outside NRK right during the first two weeks of MGP. In Iceland, more than 500 artists signed a petition asking RÚV to withdraw from the contest, while Silvia Night signed an open letter to the EBU asking to ban Israel. In Finland1300 artists signed a petition asking for Israel to be removed. The British representative Olly Alexander has also shared in public his opinion against Israel. Also just recently Montaigne signed an open letter to the EBU asking the ban of Israel from the contest and Ben Dolic joined her by doing the same.

Source: VG
Photo: VG

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Sweden: Around 1000 artists want Israel banned from Eurovision!

Around 1,000 Swedish artists are demanding that Israel be banned from the Eurovision Song Contest, according to a petition that Expressen has taken part of. The document, which is currently being prepared to be handed over to the EBU writes:

“Put down the double standards, exclude Israel from the Eurovision Song Contest. For more than 100 days, we have witnessed the Israeli army committing what leading human rights organizations describe as grave war crimes.”

Among the artists who seem to have signed are musicians well-known in Sweden such as Alba August, Hoffmaestro, Jonathan Johansson, Malena Ernman, Markus Krunegård and Titiyo.

The EBU has previously excluded Russia and Belarus

The European Broadcasting Union announced in connection with Iceland‘s and Finland‘s appeal that Israel will not be excluded. Their position is that the Eurovision Song Contest is a contest between public service broadcasters rather than states.

However, the EBU has previously excluded countries from competing. In 2022, Russia was excluded due to the war against Ukraine. In 2021, Belarus was not allowed to participate in the competition after the EBU expelled the Belarusian public broadcaster BTRC for violating the EBU‘s press freedom rules.

There have been calls to ban Israel from Eurovision 2024, like outside NRK right before the first and second semi-finals of MGP. In Iceland, more than 500 artists signed a petition asking RÚV to withdraw from the contest, while Silvia Night signed an open letter to the EBU asking to ban Israel. In Finland1300 artists signed a petition asking for Israel to be removed. The British representative Olly Alexander has also shared in public his opinion against Israel. Also just recently Montaigne signed an open letter to the EBU asking the ban of Israel from the contest and Ben Dolic joined her by doing the same.

Source: Expressen
Photo: Jessica Gow / TT News Agency

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Denmark: Malmöhagen Party to be launched on May 4 in Copenhagen!

Each year Eurovision Pre-Parties take place in 8 cities with capacities of between 1.000 to 7.000 guests as part of the promotion tour. Now it is time to put Copenhagen on the map given its proximity to Eurovision host city, Malmö who host the two Semi-Finals and Grand Final on May 7, 9 & 11. With 1.4M population, Copenhagen is a 12 minutes 1 train stop ride away from Malmö Arena and it’s 700000 population.

The hosts

Our Pre-Party Festival Show is co-hosted by James Barr from the UK who hosts the Hits Radio UK Radio Breakfast Show with Fleur East. This will be the 5th time that James has hosted our Pre-Party events from previous successful private ones in London cinemas and during the pandemic to a worldwide audience under the name “Coronavision“.

Annie Rection joins James as co-host from Denmark. She is a well-known drag queen comedian, ensuring an evening of entertainment and interaction that is second to none as the UK handovers to Scandinavia at the centre of our entertainment show. She produces and hosts “Just Another Drag Show” and “Absalon Drag Race” among other accolades, TV appearances and podcasts.

The experience

Taking place on the Saturday night before the Malmö Opening Ceremony on Sunday May 5 with a live Audience Vote and International Jury Panel to close out the Eurovision 2024 Concerts in Barcelona, Madrid, London, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Oslo & Tel Aviv. We have the honor to close the tour and be the opening party for Eurovision Live Events Week.

Unique from the existing Euroclubs and Pre-Party Concerts, YOU will ALSO be the audience and voters in your own 2024 Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final! This event is a 10 hour party with after party Euroclub included. We won’t ask you to leave after the concert, show and vote!

The lineup

We will host an immersive Grand Final with celebrity judges, show stopping “Drag-A-Vision Contest” and our 15+ live performers from Sweden, Iceland, UK, Denmark, Turkey and of course Copenhagen:

  1. Emmelie De Forest – Musician & Eurovision Winner 2013- House of Denmark
  2. Hera Björk – Musician & Eurovision 2010, 2009 Backing Vocalist & Runner-Up Danish MGP 2009- House of Iceland
  3. Paul Rey – 2020s Melodifestivalen National Final Artist- House of Sweden
  4. Sander Sanchez – 2020 Dansk Melodi Grand Prix Final Runner-Up Artist-House of Denmark
  5. James Barr – Co-Host MalmöHagen 2024- UK Hits Radio Breakfast Show Host with Fleur East. Award winning UK breakfast show. Winner, Best LGBTQ UK Podcast: Gay &A Non Gay & Comedian- House of UK
  6. Annie Rection – Co-Host MalmöHagen 2024- Denmark Absalon Drag Race Host, Not Just Another Drag Race Producer, Host, Drag Queen, Comedian & Dragtastic member- House of Denmark
  7. Oz – Eurovision YouTube Creator, Song Producer & Performing Artist- House of Turkey & UK
  8. DJ Ohrmeister – Eurovision Euroclub DJ- House of Germany
  9. Philipina – 2023 Danish Rainbow Award Nominee &; Denmark Absalon Drag Race Winner, Series 3 &; Dragtastic member – House of Denmark &; Philippines
  10. Sascha Holiday – 2024 Denmark Absalon Drag Race Contestant, Series 4, 2023 Denmark Queen of The Night Winner, 2019 Danish Showgirl of the Year, Eurovision Superfan & Dragtastic member- House of Denmark
  11. Diana Diamond – 2023 Danish Rainbow Awards Best Drag Performer &; Denmark Absalon Drag Race Winner, Series 1- House of Denmark
  12. Chloe Angel – 2023 Denmark Reality TV Series Contestant & Scandinavian Songbook DJ-House of Denmark
  13. Jonathan Jaynes – Singer, Songwriter & Producer- House of Malmö, Sweden
  14. Danica Dimefox – 2024 Absalon Drag Race Contestant, Live Singer and Ballroom Icon-House of Copenhagen

More acts to be confirmed soon. Tickets available on billetto.Dk in advance. Limited same day entry to keep queues short.

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Sweden: Hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in a geopolitically-unstable time!

Sweden is hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in a geopolitically-unstable time.

In Finland, more than 1300 people from the music industry have signed a petition calling for Finland to boycott the contest in Malmö if Israel participates. Similar demands have been made in Iceland in the past.

And recently, demonstrators gathered outside the NRK headquarters in Oslo, demanding the exclusion of Israel from Eurovision because of the war in Gaza.

Ben Robertson, who covers Eurovision for ESCInsight, comments on the Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Malmö this May that it could be the most politically sensitive in Eurovision‘s history:

“It will be very tough to organise the Eurovision Song Contest this year. It demands a lot from Malmö and SVT. It’s not just about Israel. It’s about Sweden too, about the high terrorist threat.”

Ben also notes that this will be another season of Eurovision in the shadow of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. Ukraine is participating in this year’s competition. So does Armenia, which came into focus last autumn due to the conflict with Azerbaijan and also says he will neither be surprised if artists and songwriters choose to address political issues this year nor will he be surprised if fans demand that artists who travel to Malmö take a stand in the Israel Hamas conflict.

The Eurovision Song Contest is organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The EBU‘s members are public service broadcasters in various countries, especially in Europe. But countries such as Israel, Morocco and Lebanon are also members of the EBU.

In recent years, two countries have been excluded from the EBU and banned from the Eurovision Song Contest. Belarus was expelled because the country violated the rules of the competition and refused to change a song lyric with too political a message. Russia was expelled after the attack on Ukraine, reflecting a concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry would bring the competition into disrepute.

Now voices are being raised that Israel should also be expelled. But Paul Jordan, who comments on Eurovision for British media, believes Israel will participate this year. He says the situation is different than when Russia was excluded.

“When Russia was excluded, it had been banned from other international events. The EBU watched the World Cup and others who didn’t want Russia there, and then it would have looked very strange if Russia had participated in the Eurovision Song Contest.”

The idea behind Eurovision is that countries should be able to put aside conflicts and bad relations for one night. In the UK, Olly Alexander, who will represent the country in Malmö, has made headlines with his criticism of Israel.

Paul says that there is a risk that Israel, even if it is not excluded, feels that it is not welcome to participate in Malmö.

“If the war is still going on, and we see these horrific images from Gaza, it can also be perceived as distasteful to participate in Eurovision while people are dying.”

At the same time, Eurovision is an important platform for Israel, which has participated in the contest for 45 years.

Karin Karlsson is the project manager for the Eurovision Song Contest, employed by the City of Malmö. She had the same role in 2013.

She notes that many things are different today. The target group of the competition has become younger. Social media plays a very different role than in 2013. The Eurovision Song Contest doesn’t just mean televised stage performances at Malmö Arena. There will also be a week’s festival in different places in the city. At the same time, Sweden has a high terrorist threat. Karin comments on that:

“And it’s much more complicated in terms of security, this year. We work with safety all the time, every day.”

Source: Svenska Dagbladet

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Sweden: No Auto-Tune in Melodifestivalen, says producer Karin Gunnarsson!

The organizers of the Norwegian equivalent to Melodifestivalen, Melodi Grand Prix, have decided to allow Auto-Tune to enhance the singing voices in this year’s competition.

Now SVT is responding to the neighboring country’s decision. Karin Gunnarsson, competition producer of Melodifestivalen spoke to Sveriges Radio Kulturnytt and said that SVT follows the guidelines of Eurovision Song Contest and hence it would be challenging to use Auto-Tune in the Swedish national selection process:

“This means that there would be a version of a song that must be revamped to suit Eurovision. And that’s just a good thing.”

Auto-Tune can be explained as an effect used to correct and manipulate the pitch of a voice. Among, other things, to avoid false notes. It is widely used in both live productions and recordings. And sometimes it is used, says Karin Gunnarsson, as a personal artistic choice:

“Some use it as an artistic and unique selling proposition to make their music or song stand out. But it will be hard to get that expression into Melodifestivalen as it is now. Those artists are not relevant, so to speak. Furthermore, there is no need or pressure from the industry artists that they want Auto-Tune.”

And Mårten Tomassen, who is chairman of the Norwegian Eurovision fan club, spoke to Sveriges Radio and expressed his belief that allowing Auto-Tune would be a step in the wrong direction.

“I don’t like it, one of the dubious aspects of Melodifestivalen is that the artist sings with the voice they are known with. Sometimes it’s an amazing vocal experience, other times not so good.” 

Do you think that Auto-Tune should be introduced at Melodifestivalen or any other Eurovision national selection processes? Let us know in the comments section below!

Source: Sveriges Radio / Kulturnytt / Helena Stinkvist Sörlin & Gustav Ingerhage

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