Before the festival final Daily Mirror was reporting that European Broadcasting Corporation told them it would do everything to help other favorites edge out Russia
The Eurovision Song Contest is set for its most controversial year ever with the controversial claim that the European Broadcasting Union is fearful of a Russian win.
The country has come under fire for its increasingly draconian anti-gay laws - which ban the 'promotion' of homosexuality in ways that can even ban the mention of gay people in the media - but despite this the country's entrant is the bookies favourite to win, and organisers are worried.
A Eurovision source told the Mirror: “The feeling is that the European Broadcasting Union know how unpopular a Russia win would be and will do everything possible to help the other favourites to victory.”
Russian singer Sergey Lazarev is the 8/15 red hot favourite with his song You Are the Only One while the singer from Ukraine, Jamala, is snapping at his heels in in third place place at 7/1, behind Australia's Dami Im at 4/1*.
But the potential Russian victory is hugely unpopular - not only because of the country’s snatch of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 but because of Putin’s anti-gay legislation, which infuriates many of Eurovision’s staunchest fans.
In Thursday night’s semi-finals, last year’s Swedish winner Mans Zelmerlow, made a pointed dig at Russia’s homophobic laws.
Zelmerlow, who is co-hosting this year’s contest, said: “Before that we heard Bulgaria with If Love Were a Crime and you know what, love still is a crime in many parts of the world and I long to see the day when that is no longer the case.”
Lazarev has already had to fend off questions about Russia’s reaction to the LGBT community if Russia does win and becomes the host nation next year.
To add to the political tension, Ukraine singer Jamala’s song is called 1944 and tells the story of how Stalin used the Soviet Red Army to force the native Tatars out of Crimea, their homeland. The song got past the organisers even though political songs are not supposed to be allowed.
On Friday it emerged that the UK will sing 25th out of 26 while Russia will be 18th and Ukraine takes 21st position.
And there was further political unrest when Armenian singer Iveta waved a flag for the Nagorno Karabakh region it fights over with Azerbaijan in the green room, when Armenia was announced as a qualifier. She was given an official warning and told if she does it again, Armenia will be disqualified.
Speaking from Stockholm, Sweden, one insider said: “It’s a hotbed of politics this year. Great fun but exhausting.”
The UK’s entrants, Joe and Jake, have been tipped at getting a “decent result” within the top 15.
This year there is a new scoring system which means the jury scores from each nation will be given ahead of the televotes. Ukraine is the favourite to win the jury vote while Russia has huge televoting power in the from of all the former Soviet states, which could lead to a nail-biting finale.
The entire Russian jury narrowly escaped being thrown out earlier this week when one juror recorded the semi-final on Periscope, in a blatant breach of the jury rules.
Source: Daily Mirror