Now the singer of that song, Krista Siegfrids, has ruffled international feathers and created a quickly-brewing broadcasting scandal by planting a juicy lesbian kiss on one of her backup singers at the tail end of her performance in the Eurovision semifinals last night.
After the kiss, Turkey’s national television station TRT announced that it would not be airing the Eurovision final on Saturday, blaming low ratings during previous years’ broadcasts – this despite the fact that one in four Turkish households tuned into the splashy popfest last year. (To be fair, it must be said that this also marks the first year since 1994 that Turkey is not actually competing in the Europe-wide contest.)
In response to the brouhaha, AllOut.org has released an online petition to the President of the European Broadcasting Union, urging him to not censor the kiss from Siegfrids’ performance in the final.
“Tell Eurovision’s leadership to speak out for all people’s right to freedom of expression and nondiscrimination,” says the petition. “If they don’t uphold these values at this critical moment, it will be harder for future performers and their supporters to express their art, ideas and identities freely.”
In a press conference after last night’s semifinal, Siegfrids said that while her song is not political, she did want to bring attention to the fact that marriage equality has still not been achieved in Finland.
Though Siegfrids’ kiss marked the first onstage same-sex lip action for Eurovision, overt gayness and lesbianism in contest performances is far from without precedent. In 2007, Serbian singer Marija Serifovic even soared to Eurovision victory with a highly sapphically-stylized performance of her song “Molitva.”