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Michael Ben David’s Eurovision journey ending “lost in translation”

According to RAI News, Michael Ben David was disqualified from semifinal 2 of the Eurovision Song Contest on Thursday. The Israeli representative failed to qualify for the Grand Final, but may now be removed from the result altogether, if the Italian news website were to be believed. However, after looking into the matter, ESCXTRA.com is confident that mistranslation may be the cause of this rumour.

Michael Ben David interrupting the hosts

Let’s go back to the beginning. During the broadcast of the second semifinal of the Eurovision Song Contest, hosts Mika, Laura Pausini and Alessandro Cattelan filmed a segment in the Green Room. In the rehearsals, this all went well – no issues to be found. However, once the live broadcast took place, Michael Ben David somehow joined the trio. This was, very obviously, not part of the script. In that moment, he tried to kiss Laura Pausini, who turned away. Soon after, he took his chances with Alessandro Cattelan and gave him a kiss on the cheek. You can see the moment below:

Source: RAI News

“Has he been disqualified?”

Whilst there was some disbelief on social media over Michael Ben David’s action, not much seemed to come from it. Especially not after Israel failed to qualify for the Grand Final on Thursday. This all changed after the Hosts’ press conference in Turin. There, Alessandro Cattelan received a question from an Israeli journalist who worked for MAKO, who asked him about the interruption. The conversation roughly went like this:

MAKO journalist: All the media in Israel is criticising Michael, not about the song and not about the disqualification, but about the interruption to you before you started the vote when he crashes your stage and started reading from your teleprompter, waving the flag and kissing you. The question is how did you react about what he did, how do you feel about that?

Alessandro Cattelan: Okay, has he been disqualified? I didn’t know that.

Mika: Yes, yes of course. He didn’t go through.

Quote from the hosts’ press conference on 13th May

And here is where we think this is a case of “lost in translation”. After the Israeli journalist used the word disqualification, Mika interpreted that as non-qualification and confirmed to Alessandro that this was indeed the case. A visibly confused Alessandro Cattelan adds that he thought it was funny and that he feels sorry for Michael Ben David.

Disqualification? Very likely untrue

Had Michael Ben David been disqualified from Thursday night’s show, the EBU would have released a statement by now. This would have affected the results of the show on Thursday. That is mainly due to the fact that you would then need to remove all the points Israel received, meaning that other countries received more points. In return, that could potentially impact the ten qualifiers. Also, if Israel had been disqualified right on the spot, people voting for Israel would’ve spent money for nothing. These two cases already make it clear that disqualification is highly unlikely.

A further fact is that Israel is voting in the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest tonight, as we saw them in both dress rehearsals. A disqualified country logically wouldn’t have the right to vote – even more reason to believe that the myth of Michael Ben David can be debunked: It is a case of lost in translation.

UPDATE: EBU statement confirms no disqualification

ESCXTRA.com reached out to the EBU to ask for clarification on the matter. They have responded as follows:

We can clarify that Israel has not been disqualified from the Eurovision Song Contest; they did not qualify from the semi-finals and so will not perform in the Grand Final. There was a misunderstanding in a press conference yesterday (13 May) featuring the Eurovision Song Contest show hosts.  A journalist asked a question referencing Michael Ben David, at the conference and used the term ‘disqualified’ whereas what he meant was that Michael Ben David had not qualified for the final. The hosts understandably misunderstood his question and hence why this has been reported as such.

EBU to ESCXTRA.com

What do you think? Should Michael Ben David have been disqualified or is this a storm in a tea cup? Let us know! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter@escxtra on Instagram and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! Also, make sure you follow us on Spotify for the latest music from your favourite Eurovision acts.

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Nick van Lith

I'm one of the founding members of ESCXTRA.com. Eleven years after the start, I'm proud to say that I am now the Editor-in-Chief of this wonderful website. When I'm not doing Eurovision stuff, you should be able to find me teaching German to kids... And cheering on everything and everyone Greek, pretty much. Pame Ellada!

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