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But that’s not all Eurovision is about. Sometimes, Europe’s premier song competition is used to send political messages. This year’s first semi-final was broadcast to over 200 million people, and many of these people saw an act that the BBC chose to omit.
During the show’s interval, the presenters talk about ‘one of the most difficult things in a very long time’ – the refugee crisis. Millions of people are fleeing their homes to escape war and persecution. Europe is a safe-haven for many, and Eurovision chose to focus on this with a tribute to the refugees with a dance act The Grey People.
Co-host Måns Zelmerlöw said:
It is more necessary than ever before that we unite and join together, and that is literally what we do in Eurovision, where most of the countries in Europe meet together. We obviously want to touch upon it: anything else would be to bury your head in the sand.
However, if you watched Eurovision here in the UK on BBC Four, you wouldn’t have known this. Instead of the tribute, BBC bossed decided to replace it with a comedy sketch featuring Mel Giedroyc cooking meatballs as well as airing an interview with the UK’s entry Joe and Jack.
The refugee crisis could not be more relevant for everyone in Europe, and the BBC have come under fire from social media for the omission.
Eurovision addresses the refugee crisis, and the BBC replace it with comedy meatballs. There's symbolism in that somewhere.
— Elaine Scattermoon (@scattermoon) May 10, 2016
— Eternal Student (@NEMHBA) May 15, 2016
— PinkNews (@PinkNews) May 11, 2016
To be honest, I’m surprised the BBC had the courage to show Ukraine’s winning song ‘1944’, about Russia’s deportation of Crimean Tatars during WWII, in lieu of something far more interesting, like cats playing with dogs.
The BBC may have snubbed The Grey People, denying the UK a chance to watch an incredibly moving tribute. Here, you can watch it in full below: