Icelandic ‘bondage band’ will defy Eurovision bosses with political song predicting ‘collapse of the continent’…as UK hopeful Michael Rice aims to secure UK’s first victory in 22 years
- Final takes place in Tel Aviv tonight to the tune of much international scrutiny
- ‘Hatari’ have said that their song ‘Hatred Will Prevail’ is a populism warning
- Flying the flag for Britain is Michael Rice, 21, a former X Factor contestant
The Icelandic entry for Eurovision – who describe themselves as a techno-BDSM-punk fusion, anti-capitalist group – have revealed they have been warned by producers to tone down their political messages.
The final takes place in Tel Aviv tonight among much scrutiny as British singer Michael Rice aims to bring back the prize to the UK for the first time in 22 years.
The leather-clad band, Hatari, have said that their song ‘Hatred Will Prevail’ is a warning about the rising tide of populism.
Hatari have said that their song ‘Hatred Will Prevail’ is a warning about the rising tide of populism
The favourites to win
2/1 – The Netherlands: Duncan Laurence, ‘Arcade’
4/1 – Sweden: John Lundvik, ‘Too Late for Love’
8/1 – Australia: Kate Miller-Heidke, ‘Zero Gravity’
9/1 – Russia: Sergey Lazarev, ‘Scream’
10/1 – Iceland: Hatari, ‘Hatrið Mun Sigra’
The UK entry is currently 200/1 to win the show
Matthias Tryggvi Haraldsson, 25, the lead singer of Hatari – or ‘Haters’ – said of their song: ‘Hate Will Prevail is a reflection on power and powerlessness, hope and hopelessness; it’s a warning about what will happen if we don’t love each other, if we give up on peace and unity, because then hate will indeed prevail.
‘And we feel these are relevant themes to the context of this year’s contest.’
His band have run into trouble with organisers over their outspoken views on Israel, even being threatened with expulsion.
They travelled to Hebron upon arrival in Israel and claimed to have seen apartheid in the city on the West Bank.
They now say they will stay clear of ‘buzzwords’ like apartheid that prick the ears of producers and will use their performance as ‘a platform to uphold a critical discussion about the context of this year’s contest’.
The context within an Icelandic frame is that 20,000 people in the country signed a petition against the international song contest going ahead in Israel because of Israeli human rights abuses. Iceland were the first nation to recognise Palestine as a state in 2011.
Haraldsson added that Eurovision organisers have ‘made it very clear that we have stepped over the line and reached the limit of their tolerance.’
Singer Michael Rice representing the United Kingdom poses at a ceremony to open the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest
Flying the flag for Britain is Michael Rice, a former X Factor contestant, with Bigger Than Us. Despite the even bigger than usual media craze around the competition, he insists: ‘I’ve got my game face on, and I’m ready to go out and give the best performance.’
Speaking with the BBC, he added: ‘We aren’t a popular country in Europe. Everything is against us. But if we sent a decent song we’d do okay.’
He, unlike the Icelandic entry, insists that: ‘We should be focusing on the music and getting the right song instead of droning on about stuff like that.’
Rice, 21, said: ‘We aren’t a popular country in Europe. Everything is against us’
The ‘stuff’ the 21-year-old from Hartlepool was referring to is politics. He added that he’s ‘sick of being asked about Brexit, constantly all the time’.
‘I’m just a singer; I’ve never even thought about politics,’ he added.
Rice got a by-pass to Saturday’s final, being the face of one of the ‘big five’ nations but faces stiff competition in the firm favourites, the Netherlands.
Also fancied are Australia, Switzerland and Sweden. The latter’s singer, British-born John Lundvik, actually co-wrote this year’s UK entry.
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