As it happenedended1621725656

Eurovision 2021: 6 biggest talking points, from Italy’s triumph to the UK receiving nul points

Rotterdam hosted Eurovision Song Contest in front of a live audience

Roisin O'Connor,Annabel Nugent
Sunday 23 May 2021 00:20 BST
Italy win the Eurovision Song Contest 2021

Italy triumphed in a spectacular and nail-biting Eurovision ceremony, emerging as the winners at a live event held in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The country’s 2021 entry, rock band Måneskin, achieved high scores from the jury with their performance of “Zitti e buono” but were initially left trailing behind Switzerland and France.

However, the public vote won the day, as they soared to the top of the board. Meanwhile the UK’s entry, James Newman, languished at the bottom with a devastating nul points.

Måneskin edged out other crowd favourites including Lithuania’s The Roop, Switzerland’s Gjon’s Tears, France’s Barbara Pravi and Ukranian delegation Go_A.

With the exception of Iceland, all acts performed live to an audience of 3,500 people at the Ahoy arena.

Here are the biggest talking points from the ceremony:

– Lithuania winning everyone over with “Discotheque”

Netherlands Eurovision Song Contest Dress Rehearsal

Iceland were forced to pull out of their live performance after a bandmember tested positive for coronavirus. However, they remained one of the ones to watch at this year’s competition thanks to their catchy song and signature dance moves. But Lithuania drew favourable comparisons to this year’s Eurovision favourite with their own upbeat and quirky track, “Discotheque”, for which The Roop appeared in yellow outfits and performed a dazzling dance routine.

– The UK receiving nul points, again

Blame it on politics all you like, the UK’s entry just wasn’t up to scratch compared to the colourful, energetic performances from Italy, Switzerland and so many other countries competing this year. Bless James Newman for trying, though. It was clear from the roars of dismay in the Ahoy arena – as the presenters announced that both the public and the juries had awarded the UK nul points – that they felt it was too harsh. At least that’s something to soften such an embarrassment.

– An emotional opening ceremony

Eurovision is always a visually spectacular, joyous occasion. But tonight was particularly emotional for obvious reasons, as thousands of fans were able to gather in the Ahoy! Arena to watch the live ceremony. It seemed to motivate each country’s delegate to push themselves that bit harder and make that much more of an effort at an event where “over the top” is not in the vocabulary.

– Germany’s bizarre performance

In true Eurovision fashion, the TV event turned up some spectacularly strange performances but Germany’s entry without a doubt tops the list. The country’s representative, Jendrik, performed an upbeat number titled “I Don’t Feel Hate”. All eyes, however, were on his back-up singers and dancers – more specifically, the one dressed as a giant styrofoam hand. Viewers on Twitter described the scenes as “literally a horror film” as well as “a bizarre episode of Art Attack”. No doubt it’s the dancing hand that people will remember as the mascot of Eurovision 2021.

Finland’s heavy metal

Finland’s Blind Channel stunned viewers with their performance of “Dark Side”. They say heavy metal is an acquired taste but the rock song – which harks back to the noughties era of Limp Bizkit – managed to win over both the arena crowd and viewers at home. Admittedly, much of the song’s appeal came from the comically aggressive change in tone that occurred when the leather outfitted, tattooed and black eyeliner-wearing Blind Channel followed straight after Germany’s uber happy fever-dream of a performance.

Flo Rida supporting San Marino

Flo Rida

Graham Norton said it best when he said: “That is Flo Rida, the multi-billion selling rapper… I don’t know why he’s here.” Reasons aside, the “Low” musician made a welcome, though unexpected, appearance at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The US rapper lent some star power to San Marino’s act, performing alongside singer Senhit on the track “Adrenalina”. Many users praised the international celebrity for his participation in the European competition. “Still not over the fact that a country smaller than Plymouth has come to Eurovision with Flo Rida,” wrote one user on Twitter. Although listeners weren’t too impressed with the song’s lyrics, which included: “I can’t blame it on the stove.” Yes, seriously.

The liveblog is now closed


It’s finally time for TV’s most wacky and wonderfully weird event!

Hello and welcome to The Independent’s Eurovision Song Contest live-blog. Here you can find all the handy information, inside scoops and expert speculation in one place.

We’ll also be sharing videos and photographs straight from tonight’s event to keep you in the loop.

This year’s contest takes place in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Viewers in the UK will be able to tune in to the live broadcast, which begins at 8.00pm on BBC One.

Annabel Nugent22 May 2021 12:40

Viewers at home will be happy to learn that we won’t be stuck watching an awkwardly empty venue tonight.

Similar to the Brit Awards last week, Eurovision will be hosting a live crowd this year – albeit at a reduced capacity.

A total of 3,500 people will be allowed inside Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena for tonight’s final. All audience members will be taking part in a government-backed programme for the safe restart of mass-participation events.

Netherlands Eurovision Song Contest Semi Final
Annabel Nugent22 May 2021 13:00

Tonight, the UK will be pinning its hopes on James Newman. The Yorkshire-born singer is set to perform his song “Embers” in a bid to take home first prize.

Roisin O’Connor caught up with Newman for a speedy Q&A ahead of the Eurovision grand finale...

Meet James Newman, the singer representing the UK at Eurovision 2021

‘Embers’ singer is up against favourites including Italy, Malta, Switzerland and Ukraine

Annabel Nugent22 May 2021 13:20

For those Eurovision die-hards across the pond, we (or rather streaming service Peacock) have you covered.

Below you can find everything you need to know about how to stream the contest in the US.

Annabel Nugent22 May 2021 13:40

Fans will be sad to hear that the Icelandic delegates Daði og Gagnamagnið are no longer performing live after a band member tested positive for coronavirus.

Daði og Gagnamagnið are among the frontrunners to win this year’s contest after their smash hit “Think About Things” went viral in 2020.

Icelandic Eurovision Song Contest Second Semi-Final: Daði Freyr performs 'Think About Things'

Returning this year with a new and equally catchy tune titled “10 Years”, the band still have high hopes.

Despite the positive Covid-19 test – which was announced on Wednesday (19 May) – their song will remain in competition and a recording from the band’s rehearsal will be broadcast instead of a live performance.

Annabel Nugent22 May 2021 14:00

While Swedish super group ABBA may be the feather in Eurovision’s cap, many fans forget that the song contest also helped propel Céline Dion’s career.

Dion performed the song “Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi” for Switzerland in 1988 – and, of course, took home the prize that year.

Celine Dion at Eurovision
Annabel Nugent22 May 2021 14:40

According to bookies, Italy is the one to beat tonight.

The Rome-formed rock band Måneskin blew audiences away at rehearsals earlier this week with their track “Zitti e buoni”.

Our music correspondent Roisin O’Connor caught up with the band for a quick Q&A, in which they dish on which countries are their favourites.

Meet Maneskin – the Eurovision 2021 favourites representing Italy

Rock band have caught people’s attention with their song ‘Zitti e buoni’

Annabel Nugent22 May 2021 15:00

Hello! It’s me!

I’m taking over the liveblog from my lovely colleague Annabel and will be steering you through the evening with plenty of my witty commentary. Graham Norton eat your heart out. Annabel will be re-joining us later to keep you up to speed with some of the biggest news and talking points from the big night.

Roisin O'Connor22 May 2021 15:21

Meet James Newman, the singer representing the UK at Eurovision 2021...

Where do you think he’ll place in the contest?

Meet James Newman, the singer representing the UK at Eurovision 2021

‘Embers’ singer is up against favourites including Italy, Malta, Switzerland and Ukraine

Roisin O'Connor22 May 2021 15:39

A comment piece from our Voices section: Eurovision is sticking to its values in an increasingly illiberal world

‘The banning of Belarus from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest highlights the paradox of liberalism – what do you do in the face of people who deny basic freedoms to others?’

Eurovision is sticking to its values in an increasingly illiberal world

The banning of Belarus from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest highlights the paradox of liberalism – what do you do in the face of people who deny basic freedoms to others?

Roisin O'Connor22 May 2021 16:00

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