Eurovision staff were also a problem in 2022, says contestant

S10 on stage in 2022. Photo: EBU / Corinne Cumming

The Netherlands has complained before about the problems backstage at the Eurovision Song Contest, the Dutch 2022 entry S10 told television talk show Sophie & Jeroen on Tuesday evening.

The singer, whose real name is Stien den Hollander, said Eurovision staff at the Turin venue had been “unprofessional”. “Here, people don’t ask for selfies with you, they don’t film you or ask you for video messages for their little nephews and nieces. From cameramen to the sound technicians, it was just very overwhelming,” she said.

Den Hollander said she had had to be accompanied by a person carrying a torch to ward off intrusive backstage staff. “He would shine a light in their eyes to make them back off,” she said.

A spokesman for broadcaster AVROTROS confirmed an official complaint had been filed with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in 2022 and that the problem had been solved there and then.

This year’s Dutch contestant Joost Klein was excluded from the final for allegedly making “threatening gestures” towards a camerawoman as he came off the podium after a rehearsal.

According to Klein, who may have to travel to Sweden to face charges, he had asked for privacy but this was not respected. Klein’s Europapa had been expected to end up among the festival’s top winning acts.

In this instance, Dutch broadcaster AvroTros also filed an official complaint. Other Eurovision delegations also complained about the backstage atmosphere.

Meanwhile, the contest’s international board has upheld the decision to disqualify Klein.

Bakel Walden, chairman of the Reference Group, told fan site Eurovoix that he would “have loved to avoid another crisis”.

“The decision was correct: there was unacceptable behaviour towards a member of the production crew,” he said. “If you have over 1,000 people in a production team…  there must be clear rules of conduct, but above all they must also be implemented consistently. And that’s what the responsible members of the EBU did.”

Future competitions

Walden also confirmed the organisers will discuss the future of the contest with the artists and nations competing, following other controversies involving Israel and the non-binary flag, which winner Nemo was banned from waving.

“The ESC is not the stage to solve all the world’s problems,” he said. “We also have to set clear boundaries here. We will enter into a constructive dialogue with the participating countries, but also with artists. So we brought some homework with us from Malmö.”

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