Helsinki, Finland: Eurovision Song Contest organizers said on 15 March they have approved this year’s Israeli entry, despite earlier statements that it had an “inappropriate” message and might be banned.
At a meeting in the Finnish capital, the European Broadcasting Union accepted all this year’s entries from a record 42 countries to be performed here in May, but officials would not comment on individual songs.
Finnish organizer Kjell Ekholm said the Israeli song, “Push the Button” by the group Teapacks, was “generally appropriate” but gave no details. “All the entries fitted the bill,” he said.
Two weeks ago, Ekholm said the message of the song, which has been interpreted as a jab at Iran’s hard-line president and his country’s nuclear programme, was “not appropriate for the competition” and might be banned.
“Push the Button” is sung in English, French and Hebrew by the quirky Israeli pop band with lyrics referring to “demonic” and “crazy rulers”, and says “he’s gonna blow us up to ... kingdom come”.
The group has strongly denied it refers to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the threat to ban the song has revived the group’s 20-year career and “Push the Button” is ubiquitous on Israeli airwaves.
The Eurovision contest will be held in Finland for the first time after the masked local monster band Lordi was the shock winner of the competition last year with their hard-rock entry “Hard Rock Hallelujah”.