The Italian glam rock throwbacks’ name means “moonshine” in Danish, and bassist Victoria De Angelis grew up in Rome with a Danish mother, speaks the language fluently, and has joked about her love of Danish liver pâté and her failed attempts to teach fans how to pronounce the “å” in the name.
Clad in leather lederhosen and eyeliner, the Italians and their song “Zitti e Buoni” beat off stiff competition from France and Switzerland to win the 65th Eurovision.
“A thousand thanks for the votes, Denmark – even if we did not get top marks from you. We will soon be playing in Denmark,” an ecstatic and somewhat hoarse De Angelis told state broadcaster DR right after the victory, sending her love to her family in Denmark. “I love you. Thank you very much – also to my little cousin Sofia!”
Lead singer Damiano David, meanwhile, exclaimed as he brandished the glass microphone on the stage, “We just want to say to the whole Europe, the whole world, rock and roll never dies!”
There was heartbreak for French singer Barbara Pravi, who came agonisingly close to ending her country’s 44 years of hurt since its last Eurovision win with her moody number “Voila”.
The nailbiting finish capped a night of glitz and glamour in the Dutch port city, despite tough pandemic restrictions that limited the live audience at the Ahoy Arena to just 3,500 people.
Switzerland looked poised to win after the national juries had voted, with a narrow lead on France, but Måneskin won a massive number of telephone votes from the public (including not a few Danish votes presumably), catapulting it into the lead with 524 points, to France’s 499 and Switzerland’s 432.
It was Italy’s first victory for 31 years, and its third in the history of the competition.
The band came second in the eleventh season of the Italian talent show X Factor in 2017, and won the Sanremo Music Festival in 2021.
The competition in Rotterdam was cancelled last year for the first time in the history of the 65-year tournament, one of the world’s most watched
television events with around 200 million viewers.
But the theme of this year’s Eurovision was “Open Up”, and the Dutch government-backed coronavirus restrictions could be a model for events such as Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics as the world slowly emerges from lockdown.
The run-up featured coronavirus scares, with Iceland’s entry Dadi og Gagnamagnid ruled out of performing live when a band member tested positive
Dutch 2019 winner Duncan Laurence meanwhile was also unable to take to the stage after coming down with symptoms of the disease during rehearsals this week.
the mood of the love-it or hate-it extravaganza was relentlessly upbeat, with the focus back on where it should be — the weird and wonderful songs, cheesy lyrics and flamboyant costumes.
Highlights included Norway’s contestant Tix, who took to the stage in huge white angel wings, and who takes his stage name from the tics that he suffers as a result of having Tourette’s Syndrome.
Other highlights included Cyprus’ entry “El Diablo” (Spanish for “The Devil”) which has been accused of blasphemy and satanism by the Cyprus
Orthodox Church and religious groups.
Russia’s contestant Manizha has angered conservatives with her song “Russian Woman” — even as she wowed audiences during the semi-finals with a huge Russian doll-style dress that burst open to reveal the singer in a red boiler suit.
A year ago, the Rotterdam Ahoy venue was being used as a makeshift hospital for coronavirus victims, and the shadow of the disease still hung over this year’s contest.
Contestants were in a “bubble” during the competition and every one of the thousands of people entering the Eurovision site had to be tested for
coronavirus. But that failed to dissuade fans from turning up to celebrate.
“I think it’s the beginning of a new start,” Saskia Scharree, 51, wearing a white and orange blazer decorated with traditional blue Dutch pottery designs, told AFP outside the arena.
“When something as big as this happens in Holland, you’re going to join in,” said Scharree, who said she had herself recovered from being “very ill”
with coronavirus last year.
Flag-waving Finnish fan Oona Sainio, 27, said she and her family had come to soak up the atmosphere despite not having tickets.
“We’re big Eurovision fans and we wanted to be close to where it’s all happening,” said Sainio, 27, who lives in the Netherlands.
Eurovision also had its first transgender host, with Dutch YouTube star Nikkie de Jager, better known as NikkieTutorials, joining the presenting team.