And the winner of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest is....Italy!
On Saturday, May 22, the country's rock band Måneskin won the annual European competition, which once launched the global music careers of ABBA and Céline Dion, with their song "Zitti e buoni." The group and the other acts performed their entries in a glamorous and delightfully over-the-top final that aired live from Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Eurovision was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Italy was one of 26 countries and territories competing in the final and 39 awarded a certain number of points to 10 songs, based on votes from official juries as well as from viewers. France's singer Barbara Pravi came in second place with the song "Voilà." Other countries who scored big included Switzerland and Ukraine. The United Kingdom received zero points.
In the final hour of the contest, the Italian contenders Måneskin drew controversy when lead singer Damiano David was seen on-camera bending him head down onto a table while sitting with the band in a green room. At a press conference after the show, he was asked if he had snorted cocaine during that moment. He said he did not do drugs and that a band mate had broken a glass at their feet. Eurovision officials later confirmed that broken glass was found under the table and David later offered to take a drug test upon the group's return to Italy.
Also during the contest, many fans were surprised to watch U.S. rapper Flo Rida make his Eurovision debut. He performed the song "Adrenalina" with Italian singer Senhit as the official musical entry for the small European country of San Marino. Flo Rida told BBC Radio 1 earlier this year that he had no prior knowledge of the contest before he was approached to perform his verse for their track onstage.
"Senhit's people reached out to my people," he said. "The song is high energy, which I love."
Nikkie de Jager, also known as YouTube star NikkieTutorials, was one of the hosts of this year's Eurovision final, which aired in the United States on NBCUniversal's streaming service Peacock. It took place almost a year after the event received more worldwide recognition through the release of the Netflix musical comedy film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, starring Will Ferrell, who co-wrote the script, Rachel McAdams and Dan Stevens.
While the elves certainly delivered, sadly, "Ja Ja Ding Dong" was not performed at the 2021 live event. But Iceland did jokingly initially award the song its maximum 12 points!
See photos of the 26 acts performing at this year's Eurovision Song Contest final:
(E! and Peacock are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)