June 14, 2024

Eurovision 2024 begins in Malmo with contestants’ walk on ‘Turquoise Carpet’

MALMO, May 5 — Eurovision 2024 began in the Swedish city of Malmo today when 37 contenders walked the “Turquoise Carpet” amid heightened security and calls for boycotts due to Israel’s participation.

The 68th version of the song contest, which is always billed as non-political, is taking place against the backdrop of the devastating Israeli military campaign in Gaza, triggered by Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel.

Much focus is expected to be on Israeli contestant Eden Golan, when she performs her song Hurricane in the second semi-final on Thursday, with bookmakers placing the entry among the top 10 to win the competition.

The Israeli delegation did not attend the carpet today due to Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel, said Swedish broadcaster SVT, which co-organises the contest with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).


Israel agreed to modify the lyrics of its original song October Rain, which the EBU said made reference to the October 7 Hamas onslaught.

The contest comprises three live shows, with half a dozen countries having a shot at the title this year, according to fans and bookmakers.

Sweden’s Loreen won the 2023 competition in Liverpool, northern England, with her song Tattoo, granting the Nordic country an automatic entry into next Saturday’s grand final.


The “Big Five” of the EBU – the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy – are also automatically given a spot in the final, while the other contenders will compete in semi-finals for the remaining places.

It will be the seventh time Sweden is hosting the song contest after last doing so in 2016, and the third time Malmo will stage the competition.

Sweden’s participants for this year, twins Marcus & Martinus, were drawn in March to open the final with their dance pop song Unforgettable. — Reuters

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