Eurovision 2021: rock group Maneskin wins song contest for Italy
Italy won the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday with rockers Maneskin stealing the show in Rotterdam as the tournament returned from a year off due to coronavirus.
Dressed in lederhosen and leather eyeliner, the Italians and their song “Zitti e Buoni” beat fierce competition from France and Switzerland to win the 65th Eurovision Song Contest.
But there was sorrow for French singer Barbara Pravi, who almost ended the 44 years of her country’s suffering since her last victory at Eurovision with her brooding number “Voila”.
The biting finish capped a night of glitz and glamor in the Dutch port city, despite severe pandemic restrictions that limited the live audience at the Ahoy Arena to just 3,500 people.
The competition in Rotterdam was called off last year for the first time in the history of the 65-year-old tournament, one of the most-watched televised events in the world with around 200 million viewers.
But the theme for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest was “Open,” and the Dutch government-backed coronavirus restrictions could be a model for events like Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics as the world slowly emerges. lock.
The race presented coronavirus scares, with Iceland’s entry Dadi og Gagnamagnid being ruled out from performing live when a member of the group tested positive for Covid.
Dutch 2019 winner Duncan Laurence was also unable to take the stage after showing symptoms of the disease during this week’s rehearsals.
But the vibe of the extravagance of love or hate was endlessly upbeat, with the focus on where it should be – the weird and wonderful songs, the cheesy lyrics, and the flamboyant costumes.
Among the highlights is Norwegian contestant Tix, who took the stage in huge white angel wings, and who takes his stage name from the tics he suffers from as a result of Tourette’s syndrome.
Russian contestant Manizha angered conservatives with her song “Russian Woman” – even as she wowed audiences during the semifinals with a huge Russian doll-style dress that opened to reveal the singer in a costume red.
A year ago, the Rotterdam Ahoy site was used as a makeshift hospital for coronavirus victims, and the shadow of the disease still loomed over this year’s competition.
Competitors were in a “bubble” during the competition and each of the thousands of people entering the Eurovision Song Contest had to be tested for the coronavirus.
But that didn’t deter fans from showing up to celebrate.
“I think this is the start of a new beginning,” said Saskia Scharree, 51, wearing a white and orange blazer decorated with patterns of traditional blue Dutch pottery.
“When something as bad as this happens in Holland, you are going to join us,” said Scharree, who said she had recovered from being “very sick” with the coronavirus the last year.
Finnish flag-waving fan Oona Sainio, 27, said she and her family came to soak up the atmosphere when they didn’t have tickets.
“We’re big fans of Eurovision and wanted to be close to where it’s all happening,” said Sainio, 27, who lives in the Netherlands.