Does Dustin's song break the Eurovision rules?

by Benny Royston 237 views

Last night, Ireland's public voted for controversy, exactly as expert panellist at Eurosong 2008 predicted. The nation voted to send Dustin the turkey to Belgrade to represent them at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest There were as many boos in the audience as there were cheers, and the song continues to attract controversy on a scale not seen since Silvia Night's 2006 Icelandic entry. For a second time, one of the rules of the Eurovision Song Contest could be looked at to prevent the song going forwards to the competition in Serbia.

The entry caused controversy since it was first announced that a glove puppet would be in the national final. News reached the press around the world, it was reported widely in the newspapers, and Dustin was even interviewed on Sky News. You can watch the interview below. As an entertainer and comedian, Dustin is popular in Ireland, but as a representative of the country, many people feel that it is embarrassing for Ireland and for the Eurovision Song Contest.

The song may also be deemed to breach the Eurovision Song Contest rules. Section Four, Rule Nine states:

  • The lyrics and/or performance of the songs shall not bring the Shows or the ESC as such into disrepute. No lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political or similar nature shall be permitted during the ESC. No swearing or other unacceptable language shall be allowed in the lyrics or in the performances of the songs. No commercial messages of any kind shall be allowed. A breach of this rule may result in disqualification.
  • Read the full rules here.

Lyrics such as "Drag acts and bad acts and Terry Wogan’s wig" could be deemed to bring the contest into disrepute by attacking its quality and offending former artists and the United Kingdom's long time commentator. The stage setting for him had a toilet seat behind him with pictures of many of Ireland's previous participants and winners set into the plastic.

During the show, expert panellist Louis Walsh predicted the result, saying "I think Irish people for the controversy are going to vote Dustin through". Dana, Ireland's first Eurovision Song Contest winner in 1970, was scathing of the panel that selected the six finalists, saying "I don't blame the Turkey, I blame the turkeys that picked it".

The song itself is catchy and has become popular with many Eurovision Song Contest fans, but the idea of a glove puppet appearing in the competition has clearly upset many fans of the competition who believe it devalues the show, makes it harder to attract credible musicians and singers to enter and holds the show back.

The counter argument is also clear. The press attention focussing on Dustin is actually putting the Eurovision Song Contest back in the public eye, and generating interest in countries where the competition has been in decline. Certainly in Ireland, there has been more interest this year than in any of the most recent years. The entry has received television time on British television and given extra publicity to the Eurovision Song Contest across the print and multimedia platforms.

Irish website, allkindsofeverything write on their blog:

  • In my heart the Eurovision fan of almost 40 years is horrified by being represented by a Turkey, but I have to concede two things; it gives Ireland the best chance of a Top 10 finish (though I don't see it as a winner) and the attention that it brings to Eurovision here in Ireland and the attention that there will be on the Irish in both the build-up to Belgrade and through the two weeks of rehersals on shows is going to be huge. We're talking serious media circus here and for an Irishman going to Belgrade, I really looking forward to our country being one of the big news stories, and the press conferences should be fascinating. I just hope that we don't end up with egg on our faces, because Turkey's lay some pretty big eggs! Read the full article here. asked the EBU for a comment, but have been informed they cannot comment on any songs until they are officially presented as entries at the Heads of Delegation meeting on March 17th.


Does Dustin The Turkey and his entry bring the Eurovision Song Contest into disrepute? Should the song be accepted as a gimmick entry? Is the controversy worthy of the song? Is Dustin actually benefiting the competition by attracting media attention? Will Europe find the song amusing and vote for it? Could Dustin win the Eurovision Song Contest? Have your say in the reactions section below.

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