Rock Band Maneskin Wins Eurovision Song Contest for Italy

Move over sequins, disco beats and power ballads. A four-piece band of Italian rockers won the Eurovision Song Contest in the early hours of Sunday.Maneskin’s win was only the third victory for Italy in the immensely popular contest and the first since Toto Cutugno took the honor in 1990.Italy, the bookmakers’ favorite, trailed Switzerland, France and Malta after the national juries delivered their votes but were propelled to victory by votes from the viewing public.Ahead of the show, crowds gathered outside the Ahoy arena in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. Drag queens mingled with families as a man in a gold suit waited to get into the venue.The hugely popular music festival that oozes flamboyance is seen as a significant step toward a post-pandemic return to live entertainment, but not everybody managed to avoid the virus.The popular Icelandic band Dadi og Gagnamagnid, known for its kitsch dance moves and green leisurewear costumes, is in the final, but can’t perform live because one member tested positive for the virus earlier in the week. Instead, viewers will see a recording of one of the band’s dress rehearsals.”The point was to go and actually experience how it was to compete in Eurovision, and that’s just really not happening,” lead singer Dadi Freyr said from isolation in Rotterdam.While the entertainment world has changed in the pandemic, the Eurovision final formula familiar to its worldwide legion of fans has not. The event is being hosted as usual by the last winner, the Netherlands, except that it won in 2019.After acts from 26 countries perform their songs Saturday night, they are awarded points by panels of music industry experts and by members of the public voting by phone, text message or via the contest’s app. The winner takes home a glass microphone trophy and a potential career boost.For the fans, there is still plenty of the over-the-top spectacle that has become Eurovision’s trademark.Norwegian singer Andreas Haukeland, whose stage name TIX is a reference to growing up with Tourette syndrome, sings his song “Fallen Angel” in a pair of giant white wings while chained to four prancing devils.Cyprus’ Elena Tsagrinou is flanked by four dancers in skintight red costumes as she performs “El Diablo,” a song that ignited protests among Orthodox Christians in the Mediterranean island nation who claim it glorifies satanic worship. Tsagrinou says it’s about an abusive relationship.San Marino has enlisted the help of U.S. rapper Flo Rida to join performer Senhit in her bid to win the title for the first time for the tiny city-state surrounded by Italy.

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