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The Netherlands’ Eurovision entry Joost Klein is under investigation by organisers due to an unexplained “incident” – and will not be rehearsing again until “further notice”.

The Dutch singer missed his slot in the show’s penultimate dress rehearsal in Malmo, Sweden, on Friday, where he had been due to perform his track Europapa in fifth place, just before Israel’s Eden Golan, 20, with her song Hurricane.

Protests have dogged the competition over Israel’s inclusion amid the war in Gaza.

A video posted on the X social media platform showed a producer announcing that Klein would not be performing on Friday, prompting a chorus of boos from members of the audience.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organises Eurovision, said in a statement: “We are currently investigating an incident that was reported to us involving the Dutch artist. He will not be rehearsing until further notice.

“We have no further comment at this time and will update in due course.”

Klein had been part of the flag parade at the start of the rehearsal, and walked around the stage in full costume, but then failed to arrive on stage for his performance around 30 minutes later.

It was later confirmed that the 26-year-old singer would not be performing in the final rehearsal on Friday evening and that the investigation was “still ongoing”.

The EBU said discussions were also taking place between the EBU and Avrotros, the Dutch participating broadcaster.

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Israel performs at Eurovision semi-final

It is not yet clear if Klein will be performing in the Eurovision Song Contest’s grand final on Saturday.

A clip of Klein’s offering – happy-hardcore inspired Europapa – was played out in the recap clips of all 26 songs throughout the rehearsal show, but with a clip of a previous Klein rehearsal.

The track, which is one of the most memorable of the show and was described by one critic as “so bad” it will “put you off music forever”, is among the current favourites to win.

‘Access denied’ website error adds to event’s problems

Adding to its woes, the EBU website went down later on Friday evening, and on attempting to log in a message was displayed saying “access denied” and refusing entry permission. It began working again after around an hour offline.

Meanwhile, Spain’s state-owned broadcaster hit out the EBU, calling on it to respect “press and opinion” at this year’s event. RTVE wrote on social media: “The Spanish delegation from @eurovision_tve has conveyed to @EBU_HQ its commitment to freedom of the press and opinion and has asked that @Eurovision let them watch it.”

The post was made shortly after it was announced that Madrid would be hosting the Junior Eurovision Song Contest later this year.

Some 26 countries, including UK entry Olly Alexander, 33, with his track Dizzy, and Ireland’s Bambie Thug, 31, with the song Doomsday Blue, are due to battle it out for the coveted Eurovision glass trophy on Saturday.

The UK's Olly Alexander performs during the semi-final. Pic: Reuters
Image:
UK entry Olly Alexander. Pic: Reuters

Ireland's Bambie Thug performing at the semi-final. Pic: Reuters
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Ireland’s Bambie Thug. Pic: Reuters

Controversy and confusion at media event

Klein had been vocal in a news conference on Thursday night, which brought together the 10 acts from the second semi-final selected for the final, including Israel and the Netherlands.

Towards the end of the conference, Israeli entry Golan was asked by Polish radio outlet Newsletter whether she thought she was causing a security risk for other participants by attending the event.

The moderator of the conference, Swedish presenter Jovan Radomir, told Golan she did not have to answer the question if she did not want to.

Klein shouted out loudly: “Why not?”

Joost Klein at a news conference on Thursday. Pic: AP
Image:
Klein at a news conference on Thursday. Pic: AP

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Israel’s Eurovision entry questioned by entrant

Golan responded to the question, saying: “I think we’re all here for one reason, and one reason only. And the EBU is taking all safety precautions to make this a safe and united place for everyone. And so, I think it’s safe for everyone or we wouldn’t be here.”

Her response was met with a round of applause.

Earlier in the media session Klein, who was asked by an audience member, “Do you think that your song can unite us all by music?”

He swiftly replied: “That’s a good question for the EBU.”

At the start of the news conference, Klein had also draped what appeared to be a Dutch flag around his head completely, sitting like that for a short while before the questions began.

Sky News has emailed Klein’s representatives for comment on his absence from the dress rehearsal.

Greece’s entry, Marina Satti, appeared to pretend to fall asleep as Israel’s Golan spoke.

Read more:
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Acts to look out for – and why two songs are controversial

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Eurovision fans on Israel

Tight security in Malmo amid protests

There are more pro-Palestinian protests planned in Malmo to coincide with the Eurovision grand final, amid the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Police estimated more than 10,000 people took part in a march on Thursday.

Over the last few months, there have been demonstrations and calls for acts to boycott the show, after the EBU refused to remove Israel from the competition, insisting it had broken no broadcasting rules.

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Why are there protests at Eurovision?

A Pro-Palestinian demonstration ahead of the second semi-final at the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo
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A Pro-Palestinian demonstration took place in Malmo on Thursday

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Golan’s song Hurricane was reworked from a previous track called October Rain, which was thought to reference the 7 October Hamas attacks on Israel.

During an earlier rehearsal on Wednesday, Golan was met with some boos and cries of “Free Palestine,” and an audience member appeared to have a Palestinian flag removed from them in the auditorium.

On Friday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called protests against Israel’s participation in Eurovision “wrong,” adding “scenes we’ve seen here [in Malmo] have been outrageous”.

:: Sky News will be in Malmo with updates, a live blog, and all the biggest news from the final as it happens on Saturday.

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Bruce Springsteen cancels shows over ‘vocal issues’

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Bruce Springsteen cancels shows over 'vocal issues'

Bruce Springsteen has cancelled a series of dates due to “vocal issues”, days after performing in what he described as “hellacious” weather in Sunderland.

The US star, 74, postponed shows in Marseille, Prague and Milan over the next fortnight, with his European tour set to resume in Madrid on 12 June.

In an Instagram post on Sunday, he said he was “recuperating comfortably” and he and the E Street Band “look forward to resuming their hugely successful European stadium tour”.

With “further examination” and “consulting”, the statement also said, doctors determined Bruce “should not perform for the next 10 days”.

Springsteen had played at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on Wednesday, where he admitted the weather was particularly wet.

As he was honoured at London’s Ivor Novello Awards on Thursday, he said: “We just… came out of the plane in Sunderland last night, (it was) hellacious weather.

Dave Hogan/Hogan Media/Shutterstock

Ivor Novello Awards, Portrait Studio, Grosvenor House, London, UK - 23 May 2024
Bruce Springsteen with his Fellowship of The Ivors Academy and Sir Paul McCartney pose in the Studio at The Ivors with Amazon Music - May 23, 2024 in London United Kingdom. (Photo by Hogan Media/Shutterstock)

23 May 2024
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Sir Paul McCartney presented Bruce Springsteen with the Fellowship of The Ivors Academy. Pic: Dave Hogan/Hogan Media/Shutterstock

“Driving rain storm, the wind blowing, blowing, blowing, and standing… in front of me, in the rain, I realised: these are my people.”

Springsteen also treated the audience to his song Thunder Road, after Sir Paul McCartney presented him with his Ivors Academy fellowship.

New dates for his postponed shows will be announced shortly, according to his Instagram account, and anyone seeking a refund “will be able to obtain it at their original point of purchase”.

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Nicki Minaj fans blame venue – not her arrest – for gig cancellation

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He rescheduled dates in August last year in the US after he was taken ill, and cancelled planned concerts in March 2023 over other issues.

His first major tour in six years saw him play a headline gig in London’s Hyde Park in July 2023.

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Nicki Minaj fans blame venue – not her arrest – for last minute gig cancellation

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Nicki Minaj fans blame venue - not her arrest - for last minute gig cancellation

Nicki Minaj fans who queued to see her in Manchester only for her arrest to lead to the concert being cancelled at the last minute have blamed the beleaguered venue for the fiasco.

Ticketholders queued outside the Co-op Live arena from as early as 9am on Saturday and were allowed inside at 7pm.

Minaj, however, had been arrested at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on suspicion of possession of “soft drugs” and was not released until 9pm – when the gig was due to start.

Once inside, her fans, also known as Barbz, claim security staff told them she was already in the building. But at 9.40pm promoter Live Nation announced the event was being cancelled.

Nicki Minaj at the Met Gala in New York earlier in May. Pic: AP
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Nicki Minaj at the Met Gala in New York earlier in May. Pic: AP

Alvin Christie, 29, from Liverpool, was among those who had camped out since Saturday morning.

He said: “I would say it was very poorly managed. When we arrived… they were actively telling fans that she had arrived and that everyone was going to dance tonight.

“For a lot of people that were asking those questions, that’s obviously [keeping] people’s hopes up. I understand that maybe they wanted to get people into the arena for health and safety risks to stop people being outside.

“But I think most importantly, they maybe could have advised people as soon as they’ve known that the show was postponed and we should be turned away when we’re outside the arena, rather than holding loads of people in the arena.”

Mr Christie said he does not blame Minaj, and says fans wanted her to be “in a good place” for the show.

“Die-hard Nicki fan” Charu, who also travelled from Liverpool for the concert, said the evening was “so ridiculously disappointing”.

“My sister and I had been looking forward to this for months. I’m in the middle of taking my medical school exams and I had been working around this day and was so looking forward to it,” they said.

“People around us said they’d travelled from Ireland and Scotland, paid for hotels for the night in Manchester, which is not cheap.

“So the fact that tickets will be refunded or still valid for another concert doesn’t really put into perspective the time and money that we have all spent on this night.”

PABest A view of the Co-op Live arena in Manchester. The £365 million venue, the biggest indoor arena in the UK, has postponed its opening numerous times after rescheduling performances from Peter Kay, The Black Keys, and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, as well as shows by Olivia Rodrigo scheduled for this Friday and Saturday. Picture date: Thursday May 2, 2024.
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Co-Op Live arena in Manchester. Pic: PA

No toilets for those queuing for hours

Fan Eileen Allardyce also claimed there were “no toilets” while she queued outside from around 4pm.

“I’m very disappointed, more so [with] the venue because, obviously, everyone was unravelling on social media, everyone knew what the situation was and the venue completely let us down,” she said.

Dutch Police told Sky News Minaj was detained and eventually fined for “illegally exporting soft drugs from the Netherlands to another country”.

The rapper claimed she arrived at her hotel in Manchester early on Sunday after spending “5-6 hours” in a cell in Amsterdam.

She then invited fans to her hotel, where according to videos on social media, she spoke to the crowds outside.

“I wanted to honestly tell you that I love you,” she said.

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On X, the 41-year-old said the venue was “willing to go past 11pm”, but unidentified members of staff had “succeeded at their plan to not let me get on that stage tonight”.

A new date should be announced on Sunday, she added.

“One July option & one June option is currently being discussed. I’ll find a way to not only make up the date with the performance but I’m going to create an added bonus for everyone that had a [ticket] for this show. Promise,” she wrote.

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The new £365m Co-op Live arena has been plagued with problems even before it opened on 14 May.

The 23,500-capacity venue was originally due to open with two Peter Kay stand-up shows on 23 and 24 April, but that was pushed back when problems emerged at a test event headlined by Rick Astley.

The arena then planned for US rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie to open the arena on 1 May, but that was called off an hour before his performance, when the ventilation system fell from the ceiling.

The ventilation issue meant scheduled performances by US pop star Olivia Rodrigo and British band Keane were also postponed, while a series of shows by Take That were moved to the AO Arena elsewhere in Manchester.

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Sir Elton John’s next album ‘won’t be his last’, songwriting partner says

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Sir Elton John's next album 'won't be his last', songwriting partner says

An album of “incredibly personal” new songs from Sir Elton John won’t be the singer’s last, according to his long-term songwriting partner Bernie Taupin. 

“It’s a pretty amazing project, very cool…it tells a lot of stories and it’s incredibly personal, but it’s certainly not final.”

Few details are known about what fans can expect from Sir Elton‘s new music, but the legendary lyricist says he thinks it will be released before Christmas.

Bernie Taupin speaking at an event earlier this week. Pic: Mark Allan
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Bernie Taupin speaking at an event earlier this week. Pic: Mark Allan

“It’s all done, it’s all in the can and ready to come out, I think, at the end of this year,” Taupin told Sky News.

While Sir Elton, 77, announced his retirement from touring last year, bowing out with a performance on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury, Taupin says they have no plans to stop making music together.

“You always think ‘is the next album going to be the last?’ but, I think, both Elton and I, we just have this creative drive and we have this ultimate total love for music on every different level.”

Taupin, who’s lived in California since the 70s, has been back in England after being invited to speak at The Other Songs Live, an evening celebrating songwriters old and new.

More on Elton John

“Anything that nurtures talent, you know, gets my ear,” Taupin insists.

He remains one of the most successful lyricists in the world, having collaborated for more than half a century with Sir Elton, selling more than 300 million records globally, and together writing more than 30 albums.

Bernie Taupin receives the Musical Excellence Award from Elton John during the 38th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., November 3, 2023. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
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Bernie Taupin receives the Musical Excellence Award from Sir Elton John at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony last November. Pic: Reuters

And while Taupin’s lyrics are firmly embedded in modern pop culture, he says he struggles to explain what his secret is.

“It’s very difficult for me because, in a nutshell, my answer is I don’t know, I just do it.”

Bernie Taupin receives the Musical Excellence Award during the 38th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., November 3, 2023. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
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Bernie Taupin told Sky News Sir Elton’s next album won’t be his last. Pic: Reuters

But one thing he’s certain of is that it’s a skill a computer just can’t replicate.

“I loathe and detest the whole idea of AI… from a creative musical standpoint, it cannot write songs as well as the human heart can because it’s got no heart.

“I’ve seen the product of AI, you know, when they’ve said write a song in the style of so-and-so and it’s complete shit.”

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For Taupin, one-half of one of the world’s most successful songwriting partnerships, he’s not ready to be written off by technology.

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