Georgia was asked to change the lyrics to its Eurovision 2009 entry. The group Stephane and 3G won the Georgian qualifiers with a song called “We Don’t Wanna Put In”. The reference to Russia’s former president Putin is not hard to miss, particularly as the group pronounced it as, “We don’t wanna poot in” during the show. Given the war between Georgia and Russia some months previously, this means the track was reviewed by the Eurovision organisation. The body is very clear in demanding songs avoid any political references or symbols.
Despite calls from Georgian and Russian figures, the official Georgian Eurovision spokesman said on 20 February 2009 that the song would not be re-written for the contest. Eurovision eventually ruled that the song lyrics “do not comply with Section 4 Rule 9 of the Rules of the 54th Eurovision Song Contest, and cannot take part in the competition as such”.
Eurovision: strictly no politics
This is consistent with other rulings they have made before and since. Every year, one or the other songwriter tries to bend the rules to give their songs a little edge. In 2007, Israel almost fell foul of the no-politics rule with a jokey song that could be construed as referring to Iranian bombs. A Ukrainian drag queen also caused a minor fuss with a song that seemed to say “Russia goodbye” the same year. It eventually went through but sank without trace on the night. In 2021, Belarus also fell foul of the rule despite being given a second chance to re-write their song.
By the way, am I the only one to think the whole back track shares more than a passing resemblance to The Trammps’ “Disco Inferno”?