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‘United by sequins’: Eurovision fans arrive in fabulously flamboyant outfits | Ents & Arts News

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Malmo is all a sparkle. Outside the city arena, sequins twinkle in the light.

Eurovision fans have been arriving in force, kitted out in a range of fabulously flamboyant outfits.

In the queue, we meet a group who have travelled from Iceland.

They are all wearing the same multi-coloured glittering jackets.

“United by sequins,” one of them quips, riffing on the contest’s slogan “United by music”.

 Eurovision superfan Dimi
Eurovision superfan Dimi

Further along we meet Eurovision superfan Dimi.

“I love it, I grew up on it,” she gushes.

She explains she is sad her native Australia has been knocked out, but it hasn’t taken the shine off the event.

Many in the crowd have flags draped over their shoulders, others are channelling the acts’ outfits, including Elizabeth and Katie from the UK, who have been inspired by Finland’s Windows95man.

Read more:
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Eurovision facing controversy over contestants and politics

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Everything you need to know about this year’s show

Elizabeth and Katie from the UK
Elizabeth and Katie from the UK

Around 100,000 visitors from 89 countries are expected in Malmo this week.

It is a huge boost to a city with around 360,000 residents and the police have spent months planning.

Sweden not taking any chances

Around the arena, officers are relaxed but visible.

Small groups stand together on corners, others peer down from the roofs above.

Against a backdrop of two wars and the recent Moscow terror attack, Sweden is not taking any chances.

It has drafted in officers from neighbouring Denmark and Norway to help with security.

Eurovision adds to possible tensions

Sweden is already on terror alert level four out of five after a string of Quran-burnings sparked outrage in Muslim communities last year.

Eurovision has added to the possible tensions with several protests planned in opposition to Israel being allowed to participate.

Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators are expected to gather ahead of the second semi-final on Thursday where 20-year-old Eden Golan will fight for her place in Saturday’s final.

A smaller protest in support of Israel is also planned, although some in the Jewish community said they were nervous it could become a target.

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‘This should be above politics – this is about enjoyment and love’, a Eurovision fan says

‘We just want to enjoy the music’

One Eurovision fan said they had seen some protests but they had been “really peaceful”, while another said: “We just want to enjoy the music.”

Another said: “I feel dreadfully sorry for what’s going on in Gaza. I have enormous sympathy for [the] Israeli contestant because they’re here as a musician, not as a political act.

“This should be above politics. [It] should be about enjoyment and love for other people.”

Organisers unable to stop politics seeping in

The lyrics of the Israeli original entry, October Rain, had to be changed after they broke the rules on political neutrality for apparent references to the 7 October Hamas attacks.

Despite calls for a boycott, organisers ruled Israel could remain in the competition with its reworked entry, Hurricane.

Meanwhile, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) had to put out a statement expressing “regret” after former Swedish contestant Eric Saade, who is reportedly of Palestinian origin, wore a keffiyeh tied around his wrist as he sang. The traditional scarf has long been a symbol of support for Palestinian nationalism.

While organisers are determined the event remains apolitical, they appear unable to stop politics from seeping in.

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