Eurovision Song Contest: Top Controversial Moments in History

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017
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What an evening it has been!! 26 terrific acts sang their hearts out on stage, competing for the ultimate prize; the title of winner of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. However, in the end there could be just one winner and that was Jamala from Ukraine who took victory with 534 points. In second place was the favourite of the juries Australia with 511 points, Dami Im's Sound Of Silence, and Russia came third with 491 points, You Are The Only One sung by Sergey Lazarev. The new voting system brought one of the most thrilling finishes to the contest, as Australia had stormed into the lead with the jury votes, but the public televoting overturned that and edged Ukraine into a 23 point lead, and not even the televoting favorite Russia could overtake either of them. This year, Russia really wanted the top honor, so much so that they were willing to downplay the awful attitude its government has taken against its queer citizens. What they didn't expect, though, was their prized slab-of-beef entrant, Sergey Lazarev, to make the impression he did. Lazarev, who was a favorite to win (he did not ultimately win), told the BBC leading up to the competition, "Gay life exists in Russia," adding, "There is more talk and rumors about problems than exist. I just want you to come and see everything yourself. Oh, like that "rumor" that made it illegal to tell kids being gay is OK?



Sergey Lazarev Adult Film Photo - Russia Eurovision 2016 Contestant


The Russian propaganda machine wound up blowing up in the Kremlin's face after a revealing photo Lazarev made the rounds!  The photo has been described as part of a kinky adult film shoot from Lazarev's past — one that the Russian government paid to try and have wiped from the internet. And we all know how well wiping things off the internet always goes. Once the cat was out of the bag, the Kremlin tried another approach to downplay the damage, saying the image was intended to provoke thoughtful dialogue about domestic abuse. That's almost as creative as Lazarev's Performance in the competition.










The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the longest running television shows in the world. A European tradition was born in Monaco, back in 1955 with the first Contest taking place in Lugano, Switzerland, at the Teatro Kursaal, on May 24th, 1956. 60+ years later Europe's favorite TV show has been featuring thousands of songs and creating stars strongly embedded into Europe's music culture.


2013 - Finland On-Stage Same Sex Kiss 


On-Stage Kiss to Fight Gay Marriage Ban


Krista Siegfrids representing Finland in 2013, kissed one of her female back-up dancers on stage in a protest against Finland's ban on gay marriage.  Take a look back at some of the international song contest's most memorable moments.


1963 - Voting Scandal Over Competition Between Danes, Swiss




When it came time to announce votes at the end of the contest, the Norwegian jury announced theirs out of order and UK presenter Katie Boyle said the country's votes would have to be collected later. Norway allegedly altered its votes and its neighbouring country Denmark won, whereas Switzerland would have won if the original votes had been used.


    Winners Grethe and Jorgen Ingmann, from Denmark, Perform Dansevise



    1973 - Israel's Ilanit Gets Protection After Munich's 1972



    Olympic Massacre of Israeli Athlets




    Following the massacre of Israeli athletes by Palestinian militants at the Munich Olympics in September 1972, Israel's participant Ilanit performed while wearing a bulletproof vest.  British commentator Terry Wogan asked the audience to remain seated while applauding, otherwise they could have faced being shot by security.


      Ilanit performs wearing a bulletproof vest at Eurovision 1973


      1978 - Jordan Snubs Israel's Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta




      Jordanian television refused to broadcast Israeli entry Abanibi, by Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta, and showed pictures of flowers instead.  When Israel won that year Jordanian media announced that Belgium had won.


        Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta perform Abanibi at Eurovision in 1978



        1986 - Youngest Competitor Ever Wins Title at Thirteen




        Belgian 13-year-old Sandra Kim entered the competition and won, making her Eurovision's youngest competitor (and winner) ever. Today, all entrants have to be over 16.


          Sandra Kim's Winning Performance for the 1986 Eurovision


          1998 - Transgender Competitor Gets Dead Threats



          Israel's Transgender Dana International - Eurovision 1998 "Diva"

          Transgender woman Dana International represented Israel at Eurovision, prompting some Orthodox Jews to take to the streets in protest. They claimed she was an abomination and some threatened to kill her. Dana returned to Eurovision in 2011, but did not make it past the semi-finals. She was the first former Eurovision winner not to make it to the final in a subsequent contest.


          2000 - Ping Pong Disowned After Calls for Peace



          Ping Pong wave Syrian, Israeli flags at Eurovision


          Israel's entrants Ping Pong finished their song by unfurling Syrian and Israeli flags and calling for peace. The entry was disowned by Israel and it later turned out two of the members of the group were journalists.


          2003 - Belgium Enters Song in 'Gobbledegook' Language




          Eurovision liberalized restrictions on permitted languages, prompting Belgium's Urban Trad to enter a song called Sanomi, which had lyrics from a made-up language.



            Urban Trad Enters Song With Made-Up Lyrics


            2009 - Georgia Withdrawn for Being 'Too Political'


            Performers from Georgia, which was at war with Russia a year before, entered a song called "We Don't Wanna Put In."  The European Broadcasting Union classified it as "too political" and Georgia was asked to change the lyrics of the song or enter another song. Georgia refused to do so and withdrew from the contest.


              Georgia's Stephane & 3G perform We Don't Wanna Put In



              2014 - Austria's Bearded Lady Wins Competition




              Austrian performer Conchita Wurst – a drag queen sporting high heels, butterfly lashes and a full beard – became known for her unique persona and impressive vibrato when she took out the contest with her performance of "Rise Like a Phoenix". Wurst's victory prompted an outpouring of anti-gay anger from Russian politicians and stars with deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin tweeting that the result "showed supporters of European integration their European future: a bearded girl".


                Conchita Wurst performs Rise Like a Phoenix