Former Eurovision contestant Kaarija to step down as Finland’s jury spokesperson

Finland’s 2023 Eurovision Song Contest act Kaarija has announced he will step down as jury spokesperson for his country on Saturday.

In his Instagram stories, the singer – who came second in Liverpool last year with his song Cha Cha Cha – was due to read out who will receive Finland’s jury votes live during the final.

However, he said announcing the votes on Saturday’s programme “does not feel right”.

He said: “I have decided not to participate as the spokesperson for the Finnish jury in tonight’s Eurovision finale.

“Giving out the points does not feel right.”

The singer also posted a broken heart emoji on his Instagram stories before releasing the statement.

The announcement was made after Kaarija asked for a video of him and Israeli singer Eden Golan to be removed from social media.

Sweden Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Final
Eden Golan representing Israel (Jessica Gow/TT News Agency via AP)

In the clip, the Finnish singer was seen dancing and laughing with Golan, but it appears to have been taken down following a statement from him.

Kaarija – who performed at the Eurovision semi-final – posted on Instagram on Thursday and said: “I happened to meet Israel’s Eurovision representative today, and a video was filmed of us.

“It was then posted on social media without my permission. Despite my requests for its removal, it has not been taken down.

“I would like to clarify and emphasise that the video is not a political statement or an endorsement of any kind.”

Golan qualified on Thursday at Malmo Arena in Sweden for the final of the competition amid pro-Palestinian protests against Israel being included in the event.

There has been numerous calls for artists to boycott 2024’s Eurovision amid Israel’s war with Hamas, which has already seen more the 34,000 Palestinians killed, according to the proscribed terrorist organisation’s health ministry.

Finland’s current entry Windows95Man, the UK’s Olly Alexander and Ireland’s Bambie Thug are among the artists who rejected pressure not to compete in a joint statement.

They also called for a ceasefire in the Gaza strip.

Israeli broadcaster Kan has been contacted for comment.