Italy narrowly beat a handful of rivals to win a colorful and kitsch Eurovision song contest in the Netherlands on Saturday, taking victory on the continent’s biggest stage after an early test of the continent’s exit from the pandemic .
The show featured performances that ranged from the sublime to the frown, as tradition dictates for the camp’s musical celebration.
Italian punk rock band Måneskin have beaten France and Switzerland to the crown, and are now set to host next year’s competition. It was their third win in the competition, and their first since 1990.
But it was an unforgettable night for the UK, who came last for the second tournament in a row and even reached the dreaded ‘draw point’. They were closely joined at the bottom of the table by Germany, who collected three points.
Last year’s Eurovision Song Contest was the first to be canceled, but Rotterdam returned as host and most of the artists scheduled to perform in 2020 returned to the competition.
But the effects of the pandemic were still felt during the event. Icelandic actor Daði og Gagnamagnið, a dark horse for the title and one of the competition’s best-known artists, was forced to submit rehearsal footage and was unable to attend due to a positive Covid-19 test within the group.
Flo Rida, ballads and lots of kitsch
The competition featured an unlikely appearance by American rapper Flo Rida, who arrived for a guest verse on the song from the tiny micro-state of San Marino.
His assistance to singer Senhit was greeted with fierce cheers from the event’s limited audience and closed a show that stood out for the particularly high quality of the entries. And the rapper “Low” even remained sporty after the performances, waving a San Marino flag and looking slightly confused by the unique attributes of the event.
But Flo Rida seemed less than satisfied when the votes were counted. San Marino finished near the bottom of the count, below most expectations.
Switzerland’s simplistic but powerful ballad outclassed punters and ended in a strong performance with voters. But when the public votes were added, Italy’s single entry prevailed.
Before those votes were counted, Russian singer Manizha performed an anthem celebrating women’s empowerment – first appearing in traditional national dress, before ditching the outfit for a more modern outfit and telling viewers: ” Every Russian woman needs to know, you are strong enough to bounce against the wall.
Finland’s Blind Channel and Italian Måneskin both tested European appreciation for hard rock, while Norwegian Tix wowed many viewers with the spectacular ballad ‘Fallen Angel’.
There were also vocal acrobatics. Eden Alene of Israel reached the highest mark ever in the contest while Natalia Gordienko of Moldova cried the longest.
Eurovision is one of the most watched events in the world, with nearly 200 million people watching across the continent each year. Saturday’s event was the 65th edition and, as usual, it generated a lot of interest online.
The Roop, Lithuania’s dance-pop this year, was well received, as was Malte’s Destiny, whose sassy “Je Me Casse” entry was enthusiastically received in the arena.
Victoria from Bulgaria presented a moving ode to her father, who had battled amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS. Elena Tsagrinou from Cyprus opened the show with “El Diablo” – a song previously condemned by the country’s Orthodox Church for allegedly promoting devil worship.
UK entry James Newman told CNN earlier this week that he believes he can win the competition. But European expert juries and TV voters decided otherwise, once again giving Britain a tough result. The 39 juries assembled to give Great Britain a total of zero points.
But perhaps the most remarkable achievement of the evening was that it took place. Rotterdam Ahoy, the reception venue, was used as an emergency hospital last year at the height of the pandemic. Twelve months later, it hosted a crowd in a country still under Covid-19 restrictions.
Several of the artists involved had previously told CNN that they felt their performances were of particular importance after the struggles of the past year.
“Eurovision is less like a competition this year. I feel a sense of responsibility, ”Tix said during his rehearsals. “There are people whose past year has been f *** ing miserable. Many people find solace in the Eurovision community. “