The members of Hatari were called to see Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, Jon Ola Sand, early last week to receive a warning about their pro-Palestine political comments. The techno-punk BDSM multimedia art collective held their tongues long enough to avoid being thrown out of the contest—but they proudly unfurled Palestinian flag banners on camera as their final public vote results were announced.
The defiant move was widely praised in Iceland, heavily booed in the arena, and received mixed reactions among Palestinians; with some unreserved in their appreciation, while others felt it was a fig-leaf nod at most.
Either way, their action in the green room could potentially lead to Iceland being disqualified from the competition next year, or receiving some sort of other penalty. The EBU will make a ruling within the next two weeks. RÚV Director General Magnús Geir Þórðarson believes disqualification is highly unlikely.
Madonna performed two songs, including one that included dancers displaying Israeli and Palestinian flags. The flags were not authorised or featured in rehearsals and the dancer wearing the Palestinian flag was reportedly taken aside and questioned for nearly two hours at the airport yesterday.
Hatari are on their way home now and were not stopped at the airport. It is believed Madonna’s stunt will make a penalty for Iceland less likely—even though tens of thousands have signed an online petition calling for Iceland to be thrown out next year. A rival petition, meanwhile, calls for Israel to be disqualified. El Al staff reportedly split the Icelandic delegation on their flight home, giving all the performers middle seats on their own, before bragging about it on social media.
For the first time ever, RÚV featured live coverage of all three Eurovision shows in English as well as Icelandic. The Grand Final was also available with sign language.
The English-language broadcast online on Saturday evening suffered some technical difficulties at the beginning, but it is available on catch-up now. If you liked the new service and would like it again next year, please let us know here:
A tenth-place finish for Iceland is a good result, even though the nation was half expecting a win. It is Iceland’s sixth top-ten Eurovision result.
As predicted, Hatari did better in the public vote than with the national juries—despite brief sound problems in the middle of the song on Saturday.