What Went Wrong – 2019 Edition

Today, we begin our new exciting series documenting everything that went wrong in specific years or circumstances. We’re looking at the 2019 contest, which took place in Tel Aviv.

Ukraine Withdrawing

Ukraine withdrew from the 2019 edition of the contest on the 27th of February by host broadcaster, UA:PBC. After hosting two semi-finals and a full grand final of Vidbir, Ukraine eventually selected Maruv with ‘Siren Song’… but it was not meant to be. Right after winning Vidbir, Maruv was presented with an outrageous participation agreement due to Ukraine’s concerns due to her performing several times in neighbouring country Russia. Most notably, Jamala greeted Maruv with a very political question… ‘Crimea is Ukraine?’. As Maruv was on live television to the whole of the Ukranian Public, there was only one answer ‘Yes, of course’. After Maruv declared she would not sign the contract, the Ukrainian broadcaster then approached the two runner-ups, both of whom declined to participate. With no other alternatives, Ukraine decided to withdraw from the contest.

I am a musician, rather than a tool of the the political stage.

Maruv, winner of Vidbir.

Israeli – Palestine Relations

Before the contest, there was a lot of controversy regarding Israel hosting the event due to its ‘human rights policy’ on Palestinians. Several well-known politicians, musicians and more declared they would boycott the contest unless the EBU relocated the contest. Of course, the EBU did not relocate the contest, and therefore many campaigners were left angry and annoyed.

Press Conference Controversy

Before the shows, press conferences are held to allow the accredited fans to ask the performers questions. Most notably, a controversial question was asked to Hatari regarding how they felt about Israel and Palestine. Watch the tension close up here:

Norway Jury Performance

Norway’s KEiiNO experienced a major camera fail during their Eurovision 2019 Semi-Final Jury Performance. This fail could have majorly affected the country’s points which they received, but the EBU did not allow the country to perform again and therefore they were placed 11th by the Jury. A representative of the Norwegian broadcaster is said to be suing the EBU.

What Went Wrong – Semi-Final One

The first semi-final ran pretty smoothly, but there were a few hiccups here and there.

Light Pillar Failure – Cyprus

One of Tamta’s light pillars sadly failed during her performance of ‘Replay’. Of course, this did not affect the performance at all, merely just the aesthetics.

Image result for tamta replay semifinal
Failing Light Pillar, to the right. Picture: Youtube

Cut off Broadcast – End of Qualifiers

The semi-final broadcast for viewers in a few big-five countries experienced some technical difficulties when they were showing a recap of the qualifiers. Sadly this was not fixed until the next show, two days after.

Image result for eurovision 2019 semifinal one bbc four
Viewers in the United Kingdom did not see the end of the show. Picture: The Sun

Semi-Final Two

The show ran pretty smoothly? Anything we’ve missed, let us know.

Grand Final

The Grand-Final. It’s a four-hour spectacle that takes months of hard work.

Albania – Sick Jonida

Jonida performed beautifully on Thursday night and gave Albania their second-qualification in a row. Sadly, Jonida was given the dreaded Number Two spot, which no-one has ever won or particularly done well with. It was also bad luck that Jonida wasn’t feeling too well. She once again performed beautifully, but just unfortunately missed her final note. Still, she came a creditable 17th with 90 points.

Estonia – Camera Fail

Victor Crone had a shaky start back on Tuesday. He admitted he struggled with the vocals, and promised to deliver on Saturday… and so he did. Victor performed great, but there was a long camera fail, involving a glitch with CuePilot, the EBU’s automatic camera-queue system. It was sad to see this but Victor Crone still delivered and came a respectable 20th place.

Iceland – In-Ear Failure

Iceland’s Hatari performed brilliantly on both Tuesday and Saturday, but the main singer experienced some in-ear problems, meaning he was behind by around a second. Quickly though, the performance gets back to normal. Try and figure it out! It can be hard to notice.

Green Room Mix-up

This time, a scheduling mistake. One of the hosts was in the green-room, speaking to the artists, but clearly she either missed her cue or the two hosts on the other end spoke too soon. Either way, the three hosts were talking over each other and the camerawork was crazy!


Let’s just say… Madonna’s performance didn’t quite go to plan… and didn’t go great. First of all, there were some quite shaky vocals that didn’t please many, and were accompanied by some rather abrupt camera movements and cuts (which were not to plan). After ‘Like A Prayer’, Madonna moved onto her new single from album ‘Madame X’, ‘Future’, featuring Quavo. This time, the performance was mainly lip-synced with the exception of a few vocals. At the end of the performance, two dancers, one dressed as a soldier, were walking up the stairs. One of which wearing the Israeli flag, the other wearing the Palestinian flag. Both were arm-in-arm. This move caused controversy, especially after the performance cost nearly 2 million Dollars for it was just an eight minute slot.

Green Room Tension

Iceland’s Hatari were already given a final-warning by the EBU after they threatened to put a political statement in their song. They were right about ‘political statement’, but not ‘in their performance’. When Hatari received their points from the public, the group all raised Palestinian flags and banners to the camera. Security did approach the group, but they refused to hand them over and have not yet been sanctioned in any way by the EBU.

Incorrect Voting Result

As revealed by the EBU on May the 23rd, the voting result for Eurovision 2019 was incorrect. The Belarussian Jury was dismissed after revealing their semi-final results, so therefore the EBU had to essentially ‘guess’ points from the Belarus jury. Due to human error, the results from Belarus were incorrect in the grand final and the EBU had to change the full scoreboard. Belarus’ points during the show were:

  • Israel – 12 points
  • Estonia – 10 points
  • Germany – 8 points
  • Norway – 7 points
  • Spain – 6 points
  • United Kingdom – 5 points
  • San Marino – 4 points
  • Serbia – 3 points
  • Iceland – 2 points
  • Australia – 1 point

and were changed to…

  • Malta – 12 points
  • North Macedonia – 10 points
  • Cyprus– 8 points
  • Italy – 7 points
  • The Netherlands – 6 points
  • Azerbaijan – 5 points
  • Switzerland – 4 points
  • Greece – 3 points
  • Sweden – 2 points
  • Russia – 1 points

These incorrect results completely changed the scoreboard and left a lot of countries in completely different positions, some better, some not. Find the corrected result here.

Thank you for reading the first edition of ‘What Went Wrong’, I hope you enjoyed it! Next week, we’ll have a look at one of the past four years. You can decide via our Twitter poll by clicking here. For more exclusive articles, visit ESCtakeover on Social Media.

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