Home News Eurovision kicks out Dutch fan favorite Joost Klein hours before finale

Eurovision kicks out Dutch fan favorite Joost Klein hours before finale

Dutch artist Joost Klein was expelled Saturday from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, just hours before the grand finale was set to get underway in Sweden.

The 26-year-old singer and rapper was booted from the competition following reports that Swedish authorities were investigating a “complaint made by a female member of the production crew,” event organizer European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said in a statement early Saturday.

The incident occurred after the artist’s performance Thursday evening in the second semi-final qualifier of the contest and it didn’t involve any other performer or delegation member, according to the organization.

Citing the event’s “zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate behavior” and its commitment to “providing a safe and secure working environment for all staff at the contest,” organizers said Klein’s “behavior towards a team member [was] deemed in breach of contest rules.”

Klein’s unprecedented and dramatic last-minute exit shocked viewers and prompted an angry response from Dutch public broadcaster AVROTROS, which said on social media it would no longer announce its jury scores on television in protest.

In an earlier post, the broadcaster said Klein never touched the female staff member, adding the punishment was “very heavy and disproportionate.”

“We are very disappointed and upset for the millions of fans who were so excited for tonight. What Joost brought to the Netherlands and Europe shouldn’t have ended this way,” the broadcaster said.

Klein was one of the early favorites to make it to the top in Saturday’s grand finale with the song “Europapa,” which he described as a tribute to his father.

“‘Europapa’ is about an orphan who travels throughout Europe (and beyond) to find himself and tell his story,” he said.

The 65th edition of the influential contest — which catapulted the Swedish group ABBA into international fame after “Waterloo” won the top prize in 1974 — was also marked by days of protests by pro-Palestinian demonstrators who opposed the participation of Israel.

Saturday’s grand finale got underway at 9 p.m. local time.


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