The Eurovision song contest: A singing competition whose sole purpose is to judge which country has the best musical talent, right?

If you are under this illusion, then it might be worth rethinking what you understand to be the Eurovision song contest  The aim of the 62-year-old contest may be to transcend the political divide and bring countries together through song. However, unfortunately, in current political climates, sometimes that just can’t be.

With Ukraine being the host of the final this year, tensions were always going to be high. Russia’s entry Julia Samoylova has been barred entry to the country, by visiting Crimea in 2015. This led to a decision by the Eurovision council (yes, there is such a thing) to let Russia stream their entry via satellite, thus not having to enter Ukraine physically at all. However, Russia has decided to not enter the competition at all.

Politics have always played a part in Eurovision, with past scandals such as Greece boycotting in 1975 due to Turkey’s participation, just one year after Turkish troops had invaded Cyprus, and Armenia pulling out of Eurovision 2012 in Azerbaijan due to the two countries being in a long-running conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Three years earlier, Eurovision had ruled that Georgia’s entry broke contest rules banning political lyrics. I would advise everyone listen to Georgia’s 2009 very ambiguous political song, ‘We don’t wanna put in’. Get it?

Politics students might start to think how political decisions such as Brexit might start to influence more social and trivial issues. Music students might want to think about whether politics should play a part in music, and visa versa.

Unfortunately the UK this year hasn’t faired too well in both the EU and Eurovision. Only time will tell whether we will get another ‘boom bang-a-bang’ again?

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