In one of the closest competitions in recent years, the battle for the top spot in the Eurovision song contest was a tight fight between Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy and North Macedonia.
Amassing 492 points with song ‘Arcade’, Laurence’s win marks the first time the Netherlands has won the contest since 1975. Italy finished second with 465 and Russia third with 369 points. The UK faired less well, coming last with just 16 points for the song ‘Bigger Than Us’.
Duncan Laurence, the bookies’ favourite from the Netherlands, justified his pre-contest hype after the public voted his ballad Arcade the winner. It is the first time the Dutch have won since 1975.
The Eurovision show brought together acts from 41 countries. The surprise of the night was North Macedonia, the newly renamed country in the Balkans. Their performer, Tamara Todevska, had previously appeared twice before in the competition but Saturday night’s entry, Proud, proved their most popular entry ever. The contest was staged in Israel, a country that had played host twice before, in Jerusalem in 1979 and in Tel Aviv 20 years later. The recent policies of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government towards the occupied Palestinian territories roused considerable anger and calls for a boycott of the contest. The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement claimed that Israel was “shamelessly using Eurovision as part of its official Brand Israel strategy” to “whitewash and distract attention from its war crimes against Palestinians”.