The Eurovision 2016 host broadcaster SVT has confirmed that the controversial “anti-booing” technology of Eurovision 2015 will not be used when Sweden hosts this May. SVT’s president Hanna Stjärne says the focus will be on making an “authentic show”.

At Eurovision 2015, Austrian broadcaster ORF played pre-recorded applause and cheering at various parts of the show, including after Polina Gagarina’s performance of “A Million Voices”. According to those in the arena, some members of the audience could be heard loudly booing the Russian act. But viewers at home instead heard the overlaid pre-recorded cheers.

This was unpopular with Eurovision fans, but it also made it as far as Swedish parliament, with MP Bengt Eliasson calling on the Minister of Culture, Alice Bah Kuhnke, to ensure such measures would not be in use when Sweden hosted this year. (The minister feel it was not appropriate for the government to comment on broadcasting decisions.)

But now it seems that SVT has no intention of following the lead of their Austrian colleagues. Speaking to Aftonbladet, SVT boss Hanna Stjärne promised such measures would not be used, saying, “We want to make an authentic show. We will not censor the different parts.”

Eurovision Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand also noted that the EBU had never asked ORF to introduce the anti-booing technology in 2015, saying, “The EBU would never ask for it, we did not ask for it last year and will not ask for it in years to come.”

Eurovision 2016 executive producer Martin Österdahl also confirmed that SVT would not use pre-recorded applause. He said their focus would be producing “a night when we put everything else aside and come together in celebration and joy and music and encourage fair play in the competition.”

To Russia with love?

Will Sergey Lazarev be booed?
Will Sergey Lazarev be booed?

Booing of the Russian act began in 2014 with the Tolmachevy Sisters in Copenhagen. This was the first ESC following the 2013 introduction of Russia’s internationally criticised LGBT propaganda law, which makes it illegal to present minors with information about “non-traditional sexual relationships”.

While Russia’s 2012 act, the Buranovskiye Babushki, were largely adored by Eurovision audiences, the Tolmachevy Sisters were booed during both their semi-final and final performances two years later, which the 17-year-old sisters found upsetting.

Polina Gagarina faced a similar reaction, but in 2015 ORF came prepared, both with the “anti-booing” technology and with the hosts firmly reminding audience members to put their political beliefs to one side and celebrate the performers.

Dima Bilan was also booed at the Eurovision’s Greatest Hits show last year, which required a stern telling-off from host Graham Norton, and for an introduction to be filmed again.

It remains to be seen whether Russia’s 2016 act Sergey Lazarev will also face booing after his performance. The hugely popular pop star has a significant European fan base, and has frequently spoken out against Russia’s LGBT propaganda law.

What do you think? Is SVT right to not cover up any audience booing? Will Sergey Lazarev get booed in Stockholm? Share your thoughts below!

Read more Eurovision 2016 news here

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Fatima
Guest
Fatima

The booing is going to come during the voting, after the moments when it appears that the country has got votes rather than the song. I am fairly sure the Cyprus/Greece 12/12 will get booed. I want to hear that, it’s part of the Eurovision pantomime.

oxyk
Guest
oxyk

@Max, maybe you don’t know, I’ll tell you that. the situation with Ukraine have not calmed, on the contrary, our servicemen die almost every day due to attacks of pro-russian forces. The reason why Ukraine decided to participate in ESC this year is because we wont allow Russia to ruin our life by putting us under a siege of constant war, we wont allow to separate us from usual activities and cultural life.

oxyk
Guest
oxyk

Lazarev is rumored to be gay, he will not be booed for LGBT sake. But as a representative of country that killed more than 10 000 of people during last 2 years in wars… hmm, If he’ll sing about peace and “let’s unite and we’re brothers” someone can lose their temper and even assault him, not to mention booing

Mich
Guest
Mich

Hi everyone, first I have to say someting before: I really wait that with this comentary I won’t to offend someone and if this happen, I want that you write it after read this to take a possible solution… This morning I was reading about Russia’s participation from this and last year. I want to be awareness that most of the Eutostars use a kind of song to compete at the constest because they have diferent ways to work before the event and also everyone has his likes and dislikes about the music arund Europe, the world and Eurovision. Sometimes… Read more »

Giorgio
Guest
Giorgio

Pretty sure the bottoms in the audience will not boo the Russian Måns, Sergey. But I’m also pretty sure that he won’t go far in the voting, since he’s too similar to last year’s winner.

Max
Guest
Max

I doubt Russia will be booed. Sergei is sexy and very openly against the anti lgbt laws. Putin even vetoed one just recently and the situation has gone quiet Ukraine and they are back in the contest. Not to mention Russia getting a boost for leading the charge against Isis who are much more hostile against Lgbt.

Germany is much more likely to be booed this year, they are no friends of lgbt either, have flooded Europe with 1.5 million migrants and their brutal treatment of Greece and destruction of their democracy has not gone Un noticed

Julian
Guest
Julian

Good decision to remove “anti booing” technology. The show will gain a lot from authenticity. It will be interesting who gets the boos this year. Russia for sure. Maybe Australia, there are many people who think Australia does not belong to ESC. Also if Italy does not approve the civil partnership law it may be mayhem for their representatives. There is still a lot of time until May for the migrant crisis to make controversial headlines in press and cause hysteria. Not sure if this is allowed but several countries may apply their own “anti booing” filters or similar technologies… Read more »

Adam
Guest
Adam

I really hate the booing in the recent years but some of these comments here are so ignorant…the ones that are saying “booing russia is the same as people booing you for being gay” how? Okay yeah being booed on live TV sucks, but you know what sucks even worse? Being outcasted and murdered for being gay like LGBT people in russia and elsewhere in that part of europe. Please don’t compare booing Russia v the living conditions of gays in homophobic countries, you sound stupid. Also, that one comment here where they said “hearing the booing makes me lose… Read more »

Ben Rafter
Guest
Ben Rafter

It’s good that they have got rid of that technology – I know its terrible to boo, but at the same time people have a right to their opinion .

fikri
Guest
fikri

i dont think anyone will boo russia this year. i mean LOOK AT HIM! <3

the so-called technology isn't foolproof tho. i still can hear boos after polina's performances last year.

cheesecake
Guest
cheesecake

I think the prerecorded applause sounded horrific, an authentic show is “better”.
Still I hope that SOME people will stop booing this year, it’s just ridiculous.

ct greece
Guest
ct greece

The pre-recorder applause during every song were the only part of Austria’s shows that I hated and indeed they should go. However technology that does not allow boos and abuse to be broadcast live, just like it happens in football matches, is a good thing. Hooliganism, lack of respect for other countries and politics should have no place in Eurovision. It is pretty silly to hear SVT, the masters of artificial, to talk about an “authentic” show. There is nothing “authentic” about abuse. Do they really mean their “Come together” motto? @ Charles Of course we know that Italy was… Read more »

Österrike
Guest
Österrike

I rather have anti-booing technology and fake applause than the booing monkeys in the audience ruining the show. It is a TV show, it has to be perfect. Booing is trolling! At least the unstoppable Conchita could not have been much clearer with her praise for Polina last year during the voting break.

YoungsterJoey
Guest
YoungsterJoey

Good. The excessive fake cheering is too obvious.

Lianne
Guest
Lianne

Oh I love Sergey, his song Take It Off, I’d do him anytime. He doesn’t deserve the booing.

Denis
Guest
Denis

As Eugene so accurately pointed out, the LGBT community weren’t the reason they booed. It was due to Russia’s occupation of Ukraine, which was Ukraine’s reason for staying out last year. They even mentioned it..
That’s where the boos come from.

Maybe this year they boo Poland for the new media law?

mawnck
Guest
mawnck

“He said their focus would be producing “a night when we put everything else aside and come together in celebration and joy and music and encourage fair play in the competition.”” Maybe I’m confuzzed, but wouldn’t this be the precise argument IN FAVOR of removing booing from the broadcast? “it was really surprising that Austria somehow thought it was necessary to use in a giant arena.” The “anti-booing technology” would, by nature, also be “anti-cheering technology.” You can’t mask one without losing the other. It’s not surprising that they felt additional tinkering with the crowd noise was necessary – and… Read more »

Ney
Guest
Ney

hits quite close to home. I’m Russian, and whenever I meet an interesting person on the Internet and tell them I’m Russian, they tell me how bad I am for being homophobic and ignorant shit. I’m literally bisexual and proud of it. It really hurts my feelings when a person I really wanted to talk to just refuses to try to know me better because of my nationality.
I wish all the luck to Sergey, he deserves being on the top. His vocals are damn good and he’s a handsome man.

MirkoJoshua
Guest
MirkoJoshua

That’s what happens when a country prevent its citizens to be free cough cough anyways, Eurovision is not about politics, just enjoy the song and the show, people, and let’s put aside our political orientations at least for one evening (actually three but you got what I mean)

Donna
Guest
Donna

I don’t think Sergey Lazarev would be booed, everyone knows that he speaks out for the LGBT in Russia a lot. The only reason he’d get booed is if he ends up with a horrible song in Stockholm and I doubt that would ever happen to him.

esc1234
Guest
esc1234

so pathetic to boo a song because you dont like the country. grow up people

@EugeneESCUK
Guest

Auggie is right. The main reason for the booing in 2014 was the situation between Russia and the Ukraine which was major world headline news at the time. In mid-March 2014 Crimea had been annexed by Russia. In April 2014, the Ukrainian parliament declared Crimea a territory temporarily occupied by Russia. A little naïve to just overlook such major world events? Strange it does not exist in Wiwiworld? It lead to the Ukraine’s withdrawal of the ESC in 2015, giving “armed conflict” as one of the reasons. With all the unpopularity and booing for TWO reasons, Russia still finished 7th.… Read more »

Racal
Guest
Racal

Everybody here seems to think that the booing comes from LGBT activists. You should remember that the booing started the year Russia invaded Ukraine and made Crimea theirs. Russia is the only Eurovision country that is openly at war with another contest member, that’s where the booing comes from. Anti-LGBT laws in Russia sure don’t help, but same for their lack of freedom of speech and their generally hostile behavior.

Before that, the occasional booing only happened when they exchanged their 12 points with Belarus, same for Romania/Moldova and Greece/Cyprus.

Daan van Wissen
Guest

I said it before and will again, Booing someone for being born Russian doesnt make you better then people booing you for being gay! I am openly gay and Dutch and I wanted Polina to win, she had the best act and song. Are people going to boo Poland for the recent commercial who got banned for having an openly homosexual in it? Are People going to boo ISrael for anexating Palestina (oh wait Tel Aviv is gay friendly so lets be hypocrites) are people going to boo Belarus? Or Serbia? or Croatia for denying gay marriage? Are people going… Read more »

jPod
Guest
jPod

Each time I hear the audience “boo”, I slowly lose respect for a lot of the fans and those from the LGBT Community.

Marcus (day one)
Guest
Marcus (day one)

People need to remember the audience are not booing at the artist. No one was booing at Polina or the Tolmachevy Twins they were booing Russia you know the country that invaded Ukraine and has made it essentially illegal to be gay. If my country had done things like that I would boo it myself. And anyway why when Russia was almost always booed in the past no one gave a dam but now people are called petty because they’re booing such an infamous country. I mean why has no one mentioned 2007 or 2010 and 2011 even though Russia… Read more »

Charles
Guest
Charles

Sergey will face no booing whatsoever for as long as his song and performance are suitable for him to perform half naked, as he has done before, allowing fans in the audience to be far too distracted to boo and far more over-excited and in heat by what would be equally entertaining at a strip club … It would not get my vote, but this is Eurovision and in Eurovision every single hypocrisy is allowed even silently. @svt är skit: SVT may be a pile full of sh**** but you seriously don’t wanna even imagine how Italy’s RAI honestly feels… Read more »

jr esc nl
Guest
jr esc nl

people who boo are scum, do they hounestly think any russian guy would care? that they would suddenly accept lgbt people with open arms? it only worsens the whole situation and the only people you’d really get with this action are the russian esc fans…

dutchie
Guest
dutchie

Why is it such a huge problem to have prerecorded applause, when you’re listening to prerecorded songs where only the vocals are allowed to be done live? Talk about an ‘authentic’ show…

Bronson
Guest
Bronson

Good. Fake applause is horrendous, it’s incredibly superficial and takes away from the atmosphere of the crowd.

As for the booing itself, it really needs to stop. It’s pointless, and nothing good comes out of it.

DJ Tiggeh
Guest
DJ Tiggeh

@svt är skit

don’t you remember the last time Italy hosted?

it was a disaster.

svt är skit
Guest
svt är skit

Italy could do a better show. Damn you, jury…

Adam
Guest
Adam

Good, hearing those obviously fake cheers in the *middle* of many performances (Portugal, Russia, Latvia, Estonia to name a few) was really annoying and ruined the performance for me a bit.

It is hypocritical of many fans to JUST boo Russia when Belarus, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Armenia, etc never face such harassment

martin
Guest
martin

This anti-booing and fake applause technology is something I’d expect from a fascist dictatorship, not a free democracy.

Good on Sweden for taking things back in the right direction (Sweden’s use of censorship on other matters, however, is another issue… hint: migrant crisis).

Racal
Guest
Racal

Anti-booing is against the basic principles of freedom of speech. I don’t understand why a country like Austria did it, and I’m very glad Sweden will not make the same mistake.

Booing is not nice, especially for the artist, but you can’t shut up people because you don’t like what they say.

Auggie
Guest
Auggie

I mean, the best thing ORF did was applying that technology. The booing to Polina was even worst than to the Tolmachevy Twins. As long as Russia maintains their defiant policies towards LGBT-related issues + their standing on Crimea (the main reason why they were booed in 2014), the booing will keep going on every year. Guys, I felt bad for Polina, she had an amazing song and she was being booed so heavily, that all the anger many people there had to the president of Russia was being unleashed – unfairly – to her. Russia will likely win in… Read more »

Huh
Guest
Huh

I think they are just saying that so fans will not have to further point out the truthfulness of those applauding for Russian representatives.

Noah
Guest
Noah

Pathetic gay “fans”. Pathetic SVT. It will be a pathetic show.

Hollandique
Guest

It was nice for some performances ie: UK, Russia, Azerbaijan; but for some it’s was unsuitable ie: Israel, Sweden, Norway. I’m glad to see the back of it

AndersP
Guest
AndersP

I always feel a bigger impact would be made if the audience stood in absolute silence. The booing just reinforces the anti-LGBT movement in Russia, and the attitude of ‘nobody likes us, we don’t care’. Silence would be much more powerful and embarrassing.

Nickelhatton
Guest

This will be interesting as I think Sergey could very well win in 2016!

R
Guest
R

Love it. Boo away, lovely fans! SVT is right – make it as authentic as possible.
No one wants a show that has been heavily edited.

Sarah Boucher
Guest

dina garipova was 2013 act.

Alex
Guest
Alex

SVT had better have some good crowd control in this case. They’re likely going to need to address the booing live on the program just as ORF had to.