LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23: Bambie Thug of Wargasm attends The Kerrang! Awards at Shoreditch Town Hall on June 23, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

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From a nonbinary Irish witch to Croatia’s entry about youth having to emigrate – Eurovision still says it doesn’t do politics

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Ireland’s nonbinary hopeful for Eurovision boasts an OnlyFans account, practises witchcraft, and–something which cannot yet be said of 2008 Irish entry Dustin the Turkey–appears on Pornhub rubbing cake on their breasts. 

Never quite say Eurovision doesn’t do politics. 

First Israel was told in February to rewrite its submission, which referenced October’s Hamas attack. 

It came back March 10 with the exact same song, only now with slightly more ambiguous lyrics, such as “I’m still broken from this hurricane”.

This year, 50 years after ABBA after all sang of Napoleon’s attempts at integrating Europe, Europe’s chief budding crooners are heading to Sweden’s Malmö on May 7-11.

Croatia’s entry is punters’ odds-on favourite to win. (Paddy Power gives it 7/2 odds). 

With PM Andrej Plenković just dissolving Parliament for snap elections, Baby Lasagna’s song is perhaps pointedly about economic emigration of young Croatians–a year after Croatia joined the Schengen and euro areas.

Plenković’s party “is only getting voted in because of corruption, and having people employed by the state voting him in”, says Sonja Čibarić, a young Croatian emigrant working in Ireland.

She points to Ivo Sanader, a former PM from 2003-9, currently serving a prison sentence for corruption, as an example of the official corruption that has caused young Croatians like her to leave the country.

Gonna miss you all but mostly the cat,” says Baby Lasagna as he bids goodbye to his family and friends. (The lyric has won him fans among cat owners.)

The Jerusalem Post says Eden Golan will embarrass Israel, but only because her act is boring.

“​Someone stole the moon tonight / Took my light,” the new lyrics say.

Israel’s President, Isaac Herzog, called these “necessary adjustments” from the original words, a more pointed reference to children abducted by Hamas in October, “They were all good children, every one of them.”

Perhaps promisingly, like Oscar-winning Cillian Murphy, Ireland’s Bambie Thug is from Cork.

“I’m pissing off the right type of people – transphobes, the far right, and a few priests,” said the singer.

Bambie Thug did not seem to account for the volume of emotion the Eurovision act, which blends jazz with death metal, would provoke, in an Ireland newly embroiled in culture wars.

A supportive audience on Ireland’s Late Late programme cheered “send the witch”.

But critics have ranged from Ditch magazine co-founder Chay Bowes (who called the singer a Morticia Adams impersonator) to hard-right Irish Freedom Party president Hermann Kelly (who said “celebrating satanism and ‘non-binary’ Woke nonsense is the fashion of the Irish Establishment”).

Ye need to stop immediately with the threats, hate mail and shaming messages. You don’t know what is happening behind the scenes,” the singer tweeted March 13.

The Eurovision Song Contest’s organisers, the European Broadcasting Union, prominently include in its rules that “The ESC is a non-political event.”

For all this, “Eurovision has long been a platform for countries to project their political and social messages,” says Amr Elharony, an analyst at Egypt’s Banque Misr who writes often about Eurovision.

“From West Germany’s debut in 1956 with a Jewish representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s and Croatia’s entries during their wars, the contest has always mirrored the political zeitgeist in Europe,” he says.

Some in Ireland wondered quite how the country had moved from Johnny Logan’s saccharine 1980 and 1987 victories and Jedward’s 2011 and 2022 pop entries to Bambie Thug.

“Europe, where did it all go wrong,” in the words of Ireland’s singing turkey.

Logan, for his part though, has swung fully behind Ireland’s latest entry, calling the song, titled Doomsday Blues, the “best and most original entry that Ireland has had for as long as I can remember”.