Ireland’s 2018 Eurovision contestant, 25 year old Ryan O’Shaughnessy, has taken the country to the grand final with his heart-breaking ballad "Together," which celebrates same-sex love.
On Tuesday, the crowd watching Eurovision in Lisbon, Portugal, erupted when O’Shaughnessy sang his song about lost love, while Alan McGrath and Kevin O’Dwyer performed a moving interpretive dance routine.
After the performance, an ecstatic O’Shaughnessy said “I think I speak for us all when I say that we’re so happy that other countries can understand what we’re trying to do here. We’re trying to make a little bit of a change and let people see that love is love and that other countries have seen that and I’m just so happy that other people feel what we feel.”
Russia broadcast the performance in full, with the commentator stating that the dance was about “true male friendship.” China cut the entire performance due to the same-sex content and censored the Albanian performance due to a ban on tattoos being displayed on TV. China also blurred images of rainbow flags that audience members were waving.
Eurovision’s governing body, the EBU, promptly banned China from broadcasting any more of this year’s competition, saying in a statement:
“On the 9th of May, Chinese broadcaster Mango TV broadcast the first Semi-Final of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest live but two performances were censored. This is not in line with the EBU’s values of universality and inclusivity and our proud tradition of celebrating diversity through music.”
“It is with regret that we will therefore immediately be terminating our partnership with the broadcaster and they will not be permitted to broadcast the second Semi-Final or the Grand Final.”
A Private Members Bill to bring marriage equality to Northern Ireland is currently before the House Of Commons in London. There is overwhelming support for marriage equality from citizens of Northern Ireland, and the second reading of the bill will be held on Friday 11th May. The bill is then expected to move through to the next stage in the legislative process.
The Eurovision grand final will air on Sunday.