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Italy have won Eurovision 2021 with the UK finishing rock bottom on 'nul points'

After a gap last year, the contest was held in front of a live crowd of 3,500 in Rotterdam.

Image: DPA/PA Images

ITALIAN ROCKERS MANESKIN have won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam.

The four-piece from Rome pipped France and Switzerland to clinch the main prize. 

Switzerland’s Gjon’s Tears had been topping the table after the jury votes were confirmed but the Italian entry, which had been one of the favourites to win, rocketed up the scoreboard as the votes from viewers came in to set up a tense final few minutes before the group were announced as winners. 

The UK finished rock bottom of the table after the jury and viewer votes were tabulated. Singer-songwriter James Newman walked away as the only contestant to record the dreaded ‘nul points’ total on the night.

While most of the acts competing in the Dutch city had to make it through the heats during the week, the UK are one of the ‘big five’ countries who automatically qualify each year alongside France, Germany, Spain and Italy as their national broadcasters are the biggest contributors to the contest’s staging. (Germany and Spain didn’t fare too well either, incidentally – finishing on three and six points, respectively).

The theme of the contest was ‘Open Up’, and it’s hoped the Dutch government-backed coronavirus measures that allowed a live crowd could be a model for events such as Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics.

The live audience was limited to 3,500 and everyone on site has been having regular tests throughout the week, with the various performers in their own bubbles. 

The contest couldn’t be held last year due to Covid-19.

The run-up to this year’s show was also dominated by coronavirus scares – with Iceland’s hotly tipped entry Dadi og Gagnamagnid ruled out of performing live when a band member tested positive for Covid. A recording of one of Iceland’s dress rehearsals was played during the TV broadcast tonight. 

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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. A video of an earlier rehearsal performance was played in tonight ahead of the scoring section of the show. 

Ireland were not in the running for the final after singer Lesley Roy was eliminated from the competition during the first semi-final on Tueday night. 

- With reporting from AFP 

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Daragh Brophy

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