Switzerland wins Eurovision as chaos engulfs iconic song contest | Ents & Arts News

Switzerland has won Eurovision, topping the leaderboard in a competition fraught with last-minute changes and backstage incidents.

Non-binary performer Nemo used their childhood opera experience to pull together an impressive performance mixing rap, rock, drum ‘n bass and classical opera, as well as balancing on a revolving disc spinning at speed as they sang.

The song – which took an early lead in the race – shares a message of self-acceptance and the freedom for each one of us to live our lives openly and without fear of judgment.

When accepting their glass trophy, Nemo said: “I hope this contest can live up to its promise, and continue to stand up for peace”. They then performed their song to wrap the show.

Croatian act Baby Lasagne (whose real name is Marko Purisic) took second place with the anarchic rock track Rim Tim Tagi Dim.

The UK’s act, Dizzy, sung by Olly Alexander came 18th out of 25, with 46 points. He performed 13th in the running-order – a number considered unlucky for some, and received a crushing “Nul Points” in the public vote.

The Years And Years star gave an energetic performance surrounded by his four dancers dressed in boxing shorts, writhing around a brightly lit cube decked out like a boxing ring.

The show was opened by Sweden’s identical twins Marcus and Martinus, who sang dance song Unforgettable.

Performers made some tentative moves towards bringing politics to the stage, with Lithuania signing off their song with the command: “Spread love to the world,” while Portugal’s act said, “Peace will prevail”.

At the end of France’s performance by Slimane he said: “United by music, for love and peace, thank you so much”.

During an earlier performance he had cut his performance short, saying: “Every artist here want to sing about love and sing about peace. We need to be united by music yes but with love for peace. United by music yes but with love for peace”.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s act Bambie Thug rounded off their performance by saying: “Love will always triumph hate”.

During a cut away of her team, which was played after all the songs had performed in a round-up of the acts sat in the ‘green room’ area onstage, there was a large soft-toy watermelon clearly in the background behind Bambie.

The fruit is widely used as a symbol of Palestinians’ protests.

Earlier this week, the 31-year-old, who is non-binary, said the EBU prevented them from displaying a pro-Palestinian message during their performance during the first semi-final.

There was some audible booing when Israel’s Eden Golan performed, and more audible booing when Israel handed out their scores.

But the loudest booing of the night was reserved for the man in charge of the Eurovision Song Contest Martin Osterdahl, who was almost drowned out by jeering from the crowd when he first spoke, and then again when he handed out the points for Netherlands.

This year’s Eurovision contest has been embroiled in controversy over the last few months, with demonstrations and calls for Israel to be banned due to their actions in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

On Thursday, between 10,000 and 12,000 people took part in a pro-Palestinian march through Malmo, the host city.

But on Friday, drama unfolded closer to home when Dutch act Joost – who had been among the favourites to win – was axed over allegations he made verbal threats to a female Eurovision production worker after coming off stage following the second semi-final on Thursday.

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It is the first time in Eurovision history that an act has been disqualified after reaching the grand final.

Then on Saturday, Irish contender, Bambi Thug did not take part in the final rehearsal for the show, due to “a situation” they said needed “urgent attention” from organisers.

Several presenters scheduled to award the points of their country during the programme, withdrew from the show just hours before it was due to begin, including Finnish singer Kaarij (whose song Cha Cha Cha came second in last year’s show) and Norwegian singer Alessandra Mele.

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