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Eurovision 2021: Italy wins contest as UK fails to score a single point

Written by on 23 May 2021

Italy’s act Maneskin has won the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam with the rock track Zitti E Buoni.

It means next year’s contest will head to Italy, as is Eurovision tradition, after Maneskin scored a mammoth 524 points.

The UK came last for the second year running, with act James Newman, who performed his self-penned dance track Embers, scoring the dreaded nil points.

Newman, who is the older brother of pop star John Newman, took the defeat in good humour, drinking a beer and standing up to applause from the live audience in the arena.

James Newman from the United Kingdom reacts after receiving zero points during voting at the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest at Ahoy arena in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Saturday, May 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong) Image: James Newman may have come last – but he still managed to have a good night. Pic: AP

France came second, with Switzerland third, while Spain and Germany joined the UK at the bottom of the leader board.

COVID-19 had threatened to overshadow the event this year, which was held in the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam, forcing some acts to miss key rehearsals or even live shows after positive COVID-19 tests.

Self-isolating Iceland act Dadi Freyr, who had to watch from his hotel room as his rehearsal performance was played out, came in fourth.

Eurovision was set against an unescapable backdrop of the pandemic, meaning the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam, where the contest is being held, only had 3,500 fans inside.

The contest had to be scrapped completely last year, owing to the emergence of the pandemic on the continent, meaning 2019’s winner Duncan Laurence had a two-year reign as champion.

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UK’s James Newman takes stage at Eurovision

Laurence, who was due to perform and hand over the trophy to the winner, ended up self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19.

There were some delightfully typical Eurovision acts this year, including Norway’s Tix being chained to the stage while strapped to angel wings, and Ukraine’s Go A, which included throat singing over a rapidly increasing tempo.

Iceland will sit this year out after being forced to self-isolate. Pic: EBU/Thomas Hanses Image: Iceland were forced to self-isolate – but still managed fourth. Pic: EBU/Thomas Hanses

Elsewhere, the interval entertainment was provided by a number of previous winners performing on rooftops, including the 2015 winner from Sweden, Mans Zelmerlow, and 2006 winner from Finland, Lordi.

The UK’s voting statistics were revealed at the end of the four-hour extravaganza, with Lithuania getting our 12 points and early favourites Malta and Iceland also scoring high with Britons.

Meanwhile, the UK’s jury, which is made of industry professionals, awarded France its 12 points – with Amanda Holden revealing the news to the continent.