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There’s another big row brewing over the Eurovision Song Contest – and this year it isn’t about whether or not Graham Norton is supplying the wine.
Instead it’s about how Sweden has managed to get around the decision by the Portuguese hosts to ban flashing LED screens from this year’s show.
The idea was to make this year’s competition more about the singing than the flashy staging (gasp!)
It comes in response to last year’s winner, Salvador Sobral, declaring in his winning speech that “music is not fireworks” and would have been the first Eurovision without LED screens and flashy projection effects since 2010.
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But – somehow – it’s not happening.
Sweden has overruled the ‘no LEDs’ decision and will bring its own screens for singer Benjamin Ingrosso, because it can afford to (handily, the Swedish head of delegation Christer Bjorkman is involved in producing Eurovision this year).
But others, like cash-strapped Estonia, have been left struggling.
While performer Elina Nechayeva is among the favourites to win, the country has not been able to afford the estimated £65,000 cost of the projectors used on her dress during her qualifying performance.
Without it, it will be a big setback to Estonia’s chances.
Armenia is also struggling to afford the EBU’s charges for the light fog effect it was seeking for artist Sevak.
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One Eurovision source said: “A lot of delegations are up in arms. It really should have been a blanket ban imposed by the European Broadcasting Union but, as usual at ESC, money talks.
“Portugal had the best of intentions but they have managed to create a situation where a select few will now have an advantage.”
Sweden is desperate to win for a seventh time, to put it on an equal footing with leaders Ireland. May the best singers win.
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