The lead singer of Eurovision winners Maneskin has denied suggestions he was caught on camera taking drugs during the broadcast.
Damiano David from the Italian band said he did not take drugs and refuted the idea he was taking cocaine.
Maneskin took the top prize with Zitti e buoni scoring 524 points, ahead of French entry Voila by Barbara Pravi and Gjon’s Tears’ song Tout l’Univers which came third.
Eurovision winner Damiano David of Italian band Maneskin, pictured, second left, denied taking cocaine during last night’s international celebration of music
David, pictured second left, was questioned about some suspicious footage which emerged during last night’s event
The singer, pictured, was filmed leaning over a table during the broadcast, which some people on social media suggested was suspicious although several bottles blocked the tabletop from view
When asked about the incident during a press conference, Damiano said: ‘Thomas (guitarist Thomas Raggi) broke a glass … I don’t use drugs, please guys, do not say that.
‘Don’t say that really. No cocaine please, do not say that.’
Britain’s entry James Newman received zero points from both the European public and professional juries across the continent.
While some UK fans blamed Brexit for the poor showing, Australia, who were also part of the competition gave Britain zero points.
Maneskin’s win was only Italy’s third victory in the immensely popular contest and the first since Toto Cutugno took the honor in 1990.
The music festival was cancelled last year amid the pandemic but this year’s event in Rotterdam’s Ahoy arena with its regime of testing and strict hygiene protocols was seen as a step toward a post-COVID-19 return to live entertainment.
‘We think that the whole event was a relief. We think that we were really thankful … to have had the chance to be part of this huge event,’ Maneskin lead singer Damiano David said.
‘This Eurovision means a lot, I think, to the whole of Europe. It’s going to be a lighthouse. So thank you, everybody. Really,’ he added.
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.
‘The audience is the most important thing, of course,’ said bassist Victoria De Angelis.
‘So the fact that so many people vote for us, it’s the most meaningful, because that means that those people are coming to our gigs, they are listening to our music. And this has much more value than a jury’
A crowd of 3,500 fans, who all tested negative for the coronavirus, watched the finalists perform live.
Maneskin is Danish for moonlight, a tribute to De Angelis’ home country. The band, which honed its musical style busking in Rome, won with a total of 529 points from second-placed France. Switzerland, which led after national juries had voted, finished third.
United Kingdom singer James Newman’s song, ‘Embers,’ failed to ignite any love at all and did not score a single point, finishing last, just as the U.K. did at the previous Eurovision two years ago.
U.S. rapper Flo Rida didn’t manage to translate his star power into points for tiny San Marino’s entry that was sung by Senhit. They finished with just 50 points.
For lovers of kitsch, German singer Jendrik played a sparkling ukulele and danced with a woman dressed in a giant hand costume optimistically showing the victory sign. He finished close to last.
Lithuanian band The Roop danced in bright yellow costumes in a tongue-in-cheek homage to 1980s synth pop.
When asked about the incident during a press conference, Damiano said: ‘Thomas (guitarist Thomas Raggi) broke a glass … I don’t use drugs, please guys, do not say that. ‘Don’t say that really. No cocaine please, do not say that’
Pravi’s song. ‘Voila,’ was a restrained ballad that built to a swirling crescendo on a largely darkened stage, but there was 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, sang ‘Fallen Angel’ in a pair of giant white wings while chained to four prancing devils.
At the other end of the spectrum – Finland’s hard-rocking Blind Channel played their song ‘Dark Side’ amid bursts of pyrotechnics and Ukraine’s Go-A performed surrounded by skeletal white trees.
Ahead of the show, crowds gathered outside the 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.
Milo Mateo and Carlo Sossa, wearing matching sequin-covered hats and draped in Italian flags, came from Italy for the show and were hoping for a Maneskin victory since that would bring next year’s contest to Italy.
‘If we win, it will be very, very nice, because the next year will be in Italy. That’s very good. Let’s hope. Fingers crossed,’ Mateo said as he waited to get into the arena.
The popular Icelandic band Dadi og Gagnamagnid, known for its kitsch dance moves and green leisurewear costumes, could not perform live because one member tested positive for the virus earlier in the week. Instead, viewers saw 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.
Maneskin lead singer David said the victory was a vindication of the band’s career trajectory that started with them busking on the streets of Rome.
‘We feel like everything we did since the day we met and since the day we started playing and playing on the streets is really making sense and it’s worth it,’ he said.