Norwegian Per Sundnes, member of the Norwegian national Jury for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, was replaced after biased remarks about many of this year’s entries.
Although Semi-Final 1 has yet to take place, there is already news concerning Semi-Final 2: Per Sundnes of the Norwegian jury has been replaced after he expressed a negative bias towards Ireland’s entry. Irish newspaper The Independent reports that Per Sundnes made the comment in the official Norwegian countdown show for Eurovision ahead of the first Semi-Final, stating that Ireland has “lost it completely” when it comes to Eurovision, implying a negative bias towards 2017 Irish participant Brendan Murray and his entry, Dying to try. Moreover, in an advance ranking of all the songs, Per Sundnes already placed Ireland at the bottom of his list, revealing his preference well before the official jury judgement for Semi-Final 2.
As this is a obvious breach of the rules, the EBU reacted swiftly and replaced Per Sundnes. Per Sundnes, a television host and journalist, will be replaced by artist manager and CEO Erland Bakke. The official statement from the EBU read:
Per Sundnes, who was part of the Norwegian jury, has been replaced with Erland Bakke due to a breach in juror rules.
The Irish Head of Delegation, Michael Kealy, responded positively to the EBU’s reaction:
I’m glad that the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) have reacted swiftly to this situation and that all jury members are impartial. It’s only fair that each song in the Eurovision Song Contest is judged on its individual merits on the night.