Dutch contestant Joost Klein expelled from Eurovision final

AFP / Tobias Schwarz

Dutch contestant Joost Klein has been expelled from Saturday's Eurovision Song Contest final after a complaint by a production crew member, organisers said.

This adds to the headaches for host Sweden as it also grapples with anti-Israel protests.

On Friday, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said it was investigating an incident involving Klein, 26, whose quirky song "Europapa" had made him one of the favourites.

The 68th version of the contest, usually a festival of catchy songs and tongue-in-cheek kitsch, is taking place amid protests in host city Malmo over the participation of Israel due to its war in Gaza.

Swedish police earlier on Saturday said a man had been questioned for threatening a Eurovision employee inside Malmo Arena following the competition's second semi-final on Thursday.

The person was not detained, police said without naming the individual, adding the matter had been referred to a prosecutor.

"While the legal process takes its course, it would not be appropriate for him (Joost) to continue in the Contest," the EBU said in a statement.

A representative for Klein did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS said in an email it was "shocked" by the EBU's decision and considered it "disproportionate".

Eurovision expert Paul Jordan told Reuters it was unprecedented for an artist to be expelled on the eve of the final.

"Obviously, we don't know what's happened now. He could be found innocent," Jordan said. "I just think it's a great shame, but the show must go on, as they say."

The incident has nothing to do with the Israeli delegation, AVROTROS Eurovision commentator Cornald Maas said.

"It is, among other things, hellish for Joost Klein, who is a unifier, and his team," Maas wrote on social media platform X.

The EBU said in a later statement that Dutch viewers would still be allowed to vote for other contestants and that the Dutch jury result would still be included in the final

The incident has nothing to do with the Israeli delegation, AVROTROS Eurovision commentator Cornald Maas said.

"It is, among other things, hellish for Joost Klein, who is a unifier, and his team," Maas wrote on social media platform X.

Croatia's Baby Lasagna, real name Marko Purišić, 28, with "Rim Tim Tagi Dim", have become the front-runner to win the contest, followed by Israeli solo artist Eden Golan, 20, with her song "Hurricane".

Other nations include France, Italy, Ukraine and Ireland. Streaming data from Spotify also suggests a chance for the host nation, Sweden, to win the contest.

After Klein's disqualification, 25 countries will compete in Saturday evening's grand final.

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