A Song of Rainbows and Tattoos
After the transmission of the first semi-final of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest on Tuesday it appears that the Chinese authorities have a distinct disliking for rainbow flags and tattoos as these were censored by the television broadcaster Mango TV in China. Every shot containing the Gay rainbow flag was blurred out and the Irish entry was edited out of the transmission completely as it showed two male dancers holding hands in a depiction of the break up of a gay couple.
The Albanian entry was also censored by being edited out of the broadcast as it showed a performer with tattoos. Both entries made it through to Saturday’s grand final.
The EBU (European Broadcasting Union) has taken the unprecedented decision to bar Mango TV one of China’s most popular TV channels from continuing to air the Eurovision song contest stating that Mango TV has infringed its contract as censorship was not in line with the EBU values of diversity and inclusion, tolerance and respect. LGBT groups in China posted screen shots on social media and complained to the Chinese broadcaster.
“It is with regret that we will therefore immediately be terminating our partnership with the broadcaster and they will not be permitted to broadcast the second Semi-Final or the Grand Final,” the EBU said in a statement.
The Irish entry, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, told the BBC that he welcomed the EBU’s decision and said that he admired the EBU for taking the position of defending its position on diversity and inclusiveness.
He said in an interview with the BBC, “They haven’t taken this lightly and I think it’s a move in the right direction so I’m happy about it.” About his song he said, “From the very start we’ve said love is love – whether it’s between two guys, two girls or a guy and a girl so I think this is a really important decision,” he said.
Apparently, the depiction of homosexuality is forbidden by the Chinese regime and tattoos are seen as subversive and are not allowed in Chinese culture.
Meanwhile, back in Lisbon the second semi-final on Thursday evening had more tattoos and more shocks and surprises in store.
The Russian entry failed to be voted into the final. Russia didn’t take part in the contest last year for political reasons as it was hosted by Ukraine and this year they made what was supposed to be a triumphant return. Yulia Samoylova, who would have represented Russia in the contest last year finally managed to appear on the Eurovision stage singing I Won’t Break.
Moldova’s DoReDos’ performance of My Lucky Day, featured doubles of the three main performers dancing through doors in what was reminiscent of a Eurovision from the 1970s. Surprisingly, despite this rather dated lacklustre performance they were voted into the finals. However, San Marino’s act featuring Artificial Intelligence together with some small dancing robots failed to capture the audience votes.
This year there has been an absence of LED staging so the lack of giant screens with projected images used as a backdrop has meant that the staging has had to be somewhat more creative. This has LED (if you pardon the pun) to Romania’s rather chilling army of shop front mannequins, Israel’s shelves of waving Japanese cats, and Ukraine setting fire to a staircase leading up to a coffin piano releasing a Nosferatu singer.
The full list of qualifiers for the Eurovision final is as follows:
01. Ukraine: Under The Ladder by MELOVIN
02. Spain: Tu canción by Amaia & Alfred
03. Slovenia: Hvala, ne! by Lea Sirk
04. Lithuania: When We’re Old by Ieva Zasimauskaitė
05. Austria: Nobody But You by Cesár Sampson
06. Estonia: La Forza by Elina Nechayeva
07. Norway: That’s How You Write A Song by Alexander Rybak
08. Portugal: O jardim by Cláudia Pascoal
09. United Kingdom: Storm by SuRiE
10. Serbia: Nova Deca by Sanja Ilić & Balkanika
11. Germany You Let Me Walk Alone by Michael Schulte
12. Albania: Mall by Eugent Bushpepa
13. France: Mercy by Madame Monsieur
14. Czech Republic: Lie To Me by Mikolas Josef
15. Denmark: Higher Ground by Rasmussen
16. Australia: We Got Love by Jessica Mauboy
17. Finland: Monsters by Saara Aalto
18. Bulgaria: Bones by EQUINOX
19. Moldova: My Lucky Day by DoReDoS
20. Sweden: Dance You Off by Benjamin Ingrosso
21. Hungary: Viszlát Nyár by AWS
22. Israel: TOY by Netta
23. The Netherlands: Outlaw In ‘Em by Waylon
24. Ireland: Together by Ryan O’Shaughnessy
25. Cyprus: Fuego by Eleni Foureira
26. Italy: Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro by Non mi avete fatto niente
The UK Eurovision entry is represented by singer SuRie and her song Storm, was written by Nicole Blair, Gil Lewis and Sean Hargreaves.
SuRie is an actress and singer who has appeared in the contest before as a backing singer for Loïc Nottet in 2015 and Blanche at Eurovision 2017.
You can join Graham Norton for the Eurovision 2018 Final at 8pm on Saturday night on BBC One.