Rotterdam, Netherlands (AP) – Move over sequins, disco rhythms, and powerful poems. An Italian rock band of four won the Eurovision Song Contest in the early hours of Sunday.
The music festival was canceled last year due to the global pandemic, but the event at Ahoyplein in Rotterdam with its testing regime and strict hygiene protocols was seen as a step towards COVID-19’s return to live entertainment.
Maneskin’s victory was Italy’s third victory in this hugely popular competition and the first since Toto Coutogno won the title in 1990.
Italy’s favored bookmakers followed Switzerland, France and Malta after national juries cast their votes, but they were pressured to win the vote of the crowd.
A crowd of 3,500 fans, all of whom tested positive for the Coronavirus, witnessed the finalists performing live.
Maneskin is a Dane from Moonlight, a tribute to country guitarist Victoria. The team won, with a total of 529 points, over second-placed France. Switzerland, which came after the national jury vote, placed third.
British singer James Newman’s song, “Embers”, failed to arouse any love, scored no point, and eventually wound up, just like the UK did a few years ago at the previous Eurovision Song Contest.
American rapper Flo Rida couldn’t translate his star power into points for entering the little San Marino he sang in the Senate. It ends with only 50 points.
For lovers of kitsch, the German singer Gendrik played the glittering harp and danced with a woman in the costume of a giant hand who optimistically showed the victory sign. It is nearing the end.
The Lithuanian band The Roop danced in bright yellow costumes in honor of the 1980s pop musical.
Brave song. “Voilà” was a tied track, but there are still plenty of great sights that have become a trademark of Eurovision.
Norwegian singer Andreas Hawkland, whose stage name TIX is a nod to his upbringing with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, sang “Fallen Angel” in a pair of grand white piano while tied to four jumping demons.
At the other end of the spectrum, the powerful Finnish channel Blind “Dark Side” is shown amid the fireworks and a Ukrainian Go_A performance surrounded by skeletal white trees.
Before the show, fans gathered outside the stadium in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. The drag queens mingled with the families while a man in a gold suit waited to come to the site.
Popular Icelandic band Dadi og Gagnamagnid, known for its crazy dance moves and green costumes, was unable to perform live because a member tested positive for the virus earlier this week. Instead, viewers watched a recording of one of the band’s dress rehearsals.
“The aim was to experience the actual competition in the Eurovision Song Contest,” said lead singer at Solitude Daddy Freire in Rotterdam. “It really isn’t happening.”
While the entertainment world has changed during the pandemic, Eurovision’s final formula, known to audiences around the world, has not changed. It hosted the last winning event, the Netherlands, as usual, except for its victory in 2019.
Milo Matteo and Carlo Sousa, who wear matching matching hats and Italian flags, have come from Italy for the parade and are hoping for Manskin to win as that will bring next year’s competition to Italy.
“If we win, that would be really cool, because he will be in Italy next year. That’s very good. Let’s hope.” Matteo said as he waited to get into the ring.
“Coffee fanatic. Friendly zombie aficionado. Devoted pop culture practitioner. Evil travel advocate. Typical organizer.”