It’s been a rocky road to the Eurovision final for Armenia’s entry, who were forced to change their song title after it was deemed “too political”.
Genealogy, made up of six members from different countries in a Eurovision first, are singing powerful ballad “Face the Shadow” in Vienna after qualifying in Tuesday’s semi-final.
But whether they’ll rack up enough votes to score highly remains to be seen after the song, originally named “Don’t Deny”, angered neighbouring countries such as Azerbaijan and Turkey, who claimed the lyrics were about their denial of the Armenian Genocide.
The Genocide’s centenary was marked on 24 April and many believe that Armenia’s entry is a tribute to victims and a call for global recognition of what happened.
The music video also drew criticism, with some alleging that its visuals alluded to the genocide, notably a scene showing the group posing for a family photo in World War I clothes before disappearing.
While Armenia denied that the song had a political subtext, it decided to retitle “Don’t Deny” shortly after its release in a bid to diffuse concerns and “strengthen” the themes of peace, unity and love. The lyrics remain the same.
Most controversial Eurovision moments
Most controversial Eurovision moments
1/8 Conchita Wurst, Austria (2014)
Russia’s anti-gay president Vladmir Putin branded Eurovision a ‘Europe-wide gay parade’ and shortly afterwards, Austrian drag singer Tom Neuworth more than got his own back. Neuworth’s bearded lady alter-ego Conchita Wurst triumphed with the Bond-style “Rise Like a Phoenix”, shooting down homophobes who had sent her abuse in the run-up to the contest.
2/8 Donatan and Cleo, Poland (2014)
When Poland returned to Eurovision after a two-year absence, few suspected that girls dressed as milkmaids could be quite so raunchy. Controversially, the UK public voted this their favourite, while the national jury placed it last. Soprano Laura Wright called it “soft porn” and “two boobs too far”.
3/8 Ping Pong, Israel (2000)
Israel and Syria were officially at war during this contest and just to make matters worse, Ping Pong decided to wave Syrian flags during rehearsals in a bid for peace. Unsurprisingly, Israeli politicians demanded they be banned for not representing national values and when they weren’t, they left them to cover all their own expenses. The flags made a comeback in the final but they only received seven points.
4/8 Stephane and 3G, Georgia (2009)
“We Don’t Wanna Put In” was understandably read as a massive dig at Putin, just one year after Georgia’s war with Russia. The European Broadcast Union deemed it “too political” for Eurovision and Georgia was asked to either change the lyrics or submit a different song. They refused and withdrew from the competition.
5/8 Paul Oscar, Iceland (1997)
This gay pop singer sparked outrage when he performed “My Final Dance” backed by four latex-clad women provocatively frolicking on a white leather sofa. To this day it remains one of the most eyebrow-raising and overtly sexual Eurovision moments ever.
6/8 Dana International, Israel (1998)
Conchita’s been there, done that since, but Dana International was the first transgender person to represent their country at Eurovision back in the late Nineties. She caused uproar in Israel, with ultra-Orthodox Jews protesting in the streets and some even sending death threats. Naturally, she won with a feather-laden diva-like performance to show the haters who’s the boss.
7/8 Teapacks, Israel (2007)
Yet another Israeli controversy came with Teapacks’ song “Push the Button”, which included lyrics about “crazy rulers” and a “world full of terror”. Some speculated that the track reflected Israeli anxiety about a nuclear war with Iran, but it was given the go ahead by Eurovision bosses.
8/8 Jean-Claude Pascal, Luxembourg (1961)
Luxembourg’s entry “Maybe It Isn’t America (Because America Isn’t the Be-All)” was sung in French and widely seen as anti-American, just as Ronald Reagan took up his presidency. It didn’t do too well, finishing in 11th.
Armenia first entered Eurovision in 2006 and has come fourth twice since – in 2008 with “Qele Qele” by Sirusho and last year with “Not Alone” by Aram MP3.Reuse content