On May 1 she tweeted out a series of “flood of tears” emojis to convey her dismay and sadness after the European Broadcasting Union deleted her rehearsal gallery from Instagram over a photo it deemed too provocative. And in subsequent days Albania’s Ronela Hajati has continued to bite her tongue amid rumours the EBU had also sent her a strongly worded e-mail suggesting that her performance wasn’t appropriate for a family show.
Well the “Sekret” singer won’t be silent and she most definitely won’t be silenced when it comes to sharing her art with the world. Speaking through her Head of Press and close friend Ardit Cuni, Ronela made it clear she will proceed with the same choreography she submitted as part of her live-on-tape and stage plan months ago.
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As you’ll recall, the Eurovision social media team uploaded an Instagram gallery that used the featured photo at the top of this post as its cover on 30 April. It shows Ronela moving her hands towards her crotch, though (as she confirmed to us later) her hand wasn’t actually touching anything. The gallery was quietly deleted the following morning.
The Eurovision social media team then re-uploaded some of the photos in a new gallery the following morning. It excluded that photo. It also left out a photo of Ronela’s only female dancer Klaudia Pepa. The latter omission was particularly glaring to people concerned with LGBTQ+ representation. Ronela is portraying a same-sex romance through dance. But that strand of her story was ignored by the EBU’s social media team.
Fans have rushed to Ronela’s defence, pointing out perceived hypocrisy. There are several photos of a shirtless Lauri — the frontman for The Rasmus — on the Eurovision Instagram account. And then there’s Achille Lauro suggestively riding a large bull. And who can forget the endless examples of other provocative stage shows — like Poland’s hypersexualised butter churner in 2014. Fans have been using hashtags like #FreeRonela and #JusticeForRonela (and sharing a range of memes) to convey their outrage. The Netherlands’ S10 commented in an interview with AVROTROS that she liked Ronela’s move.
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Ronela Hajati will perform planned choreography
Speaking on an Instagram Live, which I was lucky enough to be a part of, Ardit explained what it’s been like to have the appropriateness of Ronela’s photos and performance questioned by producers.
“Of course it wasn’t easy coming from a point where Ronela has worked for more than five or six months,” he said. “It was a very emotional moment going and touching the stage and seeing what we’d worked so hard on for the first time.”
“I can confirm that the photos were taken down. We asked for an official answer [to explain why]. We had a very friendly meeting with the producers and executive supervisor of Eurovision. I can confirm there is nothing personal against Albania and our singer.”
“We should understand the family audience because that photo was actually misleading people. Some of the audience were misled about what the photo is and the real action in the video [clip]. The hand is not actually touching anything during the performance. We don’t want to mislead people. They don’t want to mislead people. It’s not an 18+ [performance].”
So what about those alleged concerns about the performance and whether it’s family-friendly? Ardit confirmed that the EBU did ask to discuss whether it is acceptable for a family show. Given that they’ve had Ronela’s plans for weeks if not months, it does seem strange that they’d suddenly take an interest — especially since they chose her to open Semi-Final 1. Shouldn’t this have come up weeks ago?
“We had been requested and approached by the EBU team to watch the performance together and see if there is something more than it should be for the family audience. We agreed that there is nothing wrong and we can continue freely to do what we came to do and slay the stage as Ronela has been doing. I’m super, super happy to be able to perform what we came to do.”
So in short: “I can confirm officially that the performance will be what it was. We are not getting any changes. We are super happy about it. “
I met up with Ronela for a quick catch-up on Tuesday and I can confirm she’s in high spirits. She’ll be making some visual tweaks to her staging, which we’ll see during second rehearsals on Wednesday. Following her meeting with the EBU, she’s thrilled that her dancing will be as fierce and free as she planned. Ronela has an important message and she’s ready to let her choreo convey that.
Are you glad we’ll get to see Ronela fully unleashed? Do you think she’ll eat that stage? Do you have reservations about it all? Let us know in the comments box below.
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Well, didn’t EBU not allow Damiano grab his crotch last year too? So, this is not some exclusive treatment to Ronela. Honestly, at this point, it feels like they’re seeking attention with all these dramas because they couldn’t meet fans’ expectations. Also is she queer? If not, what she is doing is queer baiting.
The performance is AMAZING this artist has big vision to express messages of freedom and equality and to shout to racists and homophobes and ugly haters out there and invite you to dance !the haters are ugly !when there are ugly for big singers like lady gaga and rihanna what you expect there will be always some stupids without identity that comment because their life sucks
The performance is ugly and cheap, but nothing more inappropriate than others. She should be free to do it
Instead of meat, I eat veggies and…
Yes this is important to remember that this is a family show. she can twerk and stimulate self pleasure on stage all she wants as we won’t be able to see it clearly with that broken black sun behind her.
I don’t understand why Eurovision is flagged as a family show. We already have Eurovision Junior if there is any need for kids to watch lmao. Plus Eurovision airs quite late in all Europe times so it’s not very family-friendly in that regard. I’m pretty sure most young kids are in bed by 10-11pm and the only kids awake after that are those old enough to understand and not get influenced by a performance. And well…The artists don’t owe anything to anyone anyway. If someone gets “influenced” it’s their own problem and probably speaks a lot about how this person… Read more »
probably because it airs before the watershed in some countries. ie in the UK, the song contest starts at 8pm. A whole hour before kiddies should be in bed.
I’m happy for Ronela. To be honest, her performance is cheap and cringy as phaq, but at least she can do what she feels like it.
That’s just cheap. If you’re horny – get a room
I am not prude, but what we can see on the pics it’s cheap. Not everything is about your erotic/cheap pornographic desire. If you’re horny – get a room. I don’t need to see that.
No one cares about your kids. Kids should be sleeping by the time Eurovision starts. Yasss Queen!
One word – Hatari
Well, Hatari was an art piece. This is cheap and tacky.
Hearing Hatari honestly being called art is what really makes me lose faith in humanity. I try to forget that people voted for 3 minutes of a bunch of screaming and squealing pigs but it’s not easy
Latvia and San Marino are sexual too as have many previous entries but I can kinda see why motioning a rubbing movement in the groin area – while singing ‘tocalo I like it’ I assume – might be seen as a tad too explicit for 9pm CET on national TV.
It doesn’t bother me and I love the song and am desperate to see the performance, I’m just saying I can see where the EBU is coming from.
EBU’s double-standard of imposing their rules when it is convenient for them is just sickening. Turkey 2009 called, she said the outfits were approved back then so what’s the big deal now?
Ukraine 2009 sais hallo
Iceland 1997 says Hold my beer…
Well here’s the thing. It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.
Ryan from Ireland in 2018 had a full performance of two men in love, and it wasn’t censured or anything. Krista in 2013 was kissing girls. Again, nothing.
But the thing with Ronela and that photo, and the performance, it’s not LGBT or something, it’s just vulgar. And Eurovision is family watcher show indeed, always was, with prime time at 9PM, and it definitely shouldn’t be showing everything, such as stimulating your v*gina and spreading your legs or so.
We haven’ seen the entire performance yet.
Very true, same problem has been with gay pride parades, where some people don’t understand that maybe showing your “kink” isn’t so family friendly.
LGBTQ+ isn’t something to hide, but maybe showing off the masturbating position isn’t something to do here. If we’d see a man showing that classical hand move (you know what I mean ;-D) it would be pushing the boundries a little too far away.
Totally agreed, on previous performances she’s calling “give it to me, daddy” while touching her crotch. It’s a bit too much, really.
So why not let people judge what’s vulgar but cencor it instead and force it to be more “classy”? Come on this is utter bullsh*t.
Wrong. Poland 2014 had the most despicable image of sexualisation of women on stage, seen through male gaze 100%, and no one said a f** word. A dance movement where the hand briefly touches that region is nothing comparing to that. More so in a year where songs have lyrics like Latvia’s opening lyric and Spain’s lyrics. And I’m not even mentioning San Marino. And mind you: these year’s examples are totally fine, since they don’t diminish women or fetishize our whole existence.
Grow up. It’s supposed to be “A song for Europe” let’s keep it like that. The dance routine is stomach churning and classless. Get real it’s a SONG competition.
the Ebu being the biggest clowns of the eurovision season, once again, congrats
Family show? you kidding me EBU? There’s so many previous act that are also provocative and sexualized plus all lgbtqia+ scene such same sex kissing on stage before yet you done nothing about it, so why target Albania now?
Whts wrong with same sex kissing? Its totally fine… the sexy dance moves are too much tho.. they half naked and they dancing way too provocative..
Oh stop it. In 1997 we had Paul Oscar from Iceland, in 2006 we had Jenny from Andorra with her dancers wearing sexy lingerie, and so on and so forth. As a kid, watching all of these acts didn’t mean anything, it didn’t affect me in any way, so just let’s just stop this sudden prudish complaints.
I think you dont understand that same sex is completly normal. Many kids live with patents that are two moms, dads or some other sex in betweeen. They kiss each other in front of the kids. It is another thing when the sex act becomes to literal.
Normal to countries that are open minded and liberal but not with some. Isn’t this is the alleged reason of why Turkey quits? Those kisses are also provocative same as sensual dancing in some culture.
I’d rather Turkey and Hungary left than everybody else being forced to play by their homophobic rules.
Austria 2012 wasn’t too provocative for the EBU, Cyprus last year wasn’t too provocative for the EBU and she was almost naked but Albania this year for some odd reason is.
Not the EBU trying to tell Albania she is too provocative when San Marino comes out in literally underwear, singing about a stripper, and being overall sexual. Not to mention Latvia literally talking about eating pu$$y like…what is the EBU trying to get at there?
or Spain’s booty hypnotic
Ofc some countries are treeted better than others – Ukraine, Russia, San Marino, Australia, Sweden, Italy, Serbia …
I don’t like Albanian song, but what EBU does its not alright. Rules has to be the same for all, not Albania this and San Marino that. Also, political songs. Belarus is disqualified but Jamala even won even tho I like 1944. Eurovision Song Contest lost itself! I am going to stop watching this after 18 years and I am not sorry for that at all. I am only feel sorry for those countries that face and will face injustice but the others will pass it unnoticed. Thats a shame!
In “1944” none of the wars that have happened in the past were mentioned. So that’s why she was allowed to perform her song.
It’s not neccessary to mention WAR to be disqualified. If politics in general is the main topic we have problem or better say a couple of weak states. So…
There was nothing political about Jamala’s 1944 and anyone who thinks so is clearly brainwashed by RT.
The “1944” is reffered to deportation of Crimean Tatars. That’s historical fact that happened under Stallin’s regime and that’s political thing. It’s not brainwashing.
Go Albania, go Ronela!!!
So the EBU has an issue with Albania but not with San Marino’s overtly sexual Stripper and Latvia’s cat eating?!?! Hypocrites!!
EBU is really starting to get on my nerves…
Yasss queeeen!!!! Stand tall, stand proud Ronela, you’re the moment!
Also, shame on EBU for making such a mess this year
This picture is already iconic. Eurovision classic.
Good. Now we can all live happily ever after.
Bunch of prudes. The EBU are such hypocrites.