The end of May saw the 65th Eurovision Song Contest take place in the host country, the Netherlands, giving us a thrilling night of entertainment, drama and controversy. Despite the United Kingdom being awarded the dreaded ‘nul points’, this year’s competition challenged the stereotypes of European music, bringing rock into the limelight. The climactic and tense voting stage eventually presented Italy with the win for the song ‘Zitti E Buoni’ by the band ‘Måneskin’, but the result didn’t come without the typical Eurovision drama…
Soon after the winner’s announcement, fans were quick to jump to Twitter, claiming they noticed the lead singer, Damiano David, leaning his head down towards Italy’s table in the green room. Many were outraged, believing that this clearly showed the singer taking cocaine during the song contest. Despite the suggestive video, Måneskin quickly claimed in the press conference right after their win that this was not the case and that none of the members had ever taken cocaine before. Instead, David claimed that he was picking up a broken glass from the floor, hence the suggestive leaning movement. Additionally, some fans even proposed that Italy should have their first win since 1990 revoked from them, and have the trophy given to runner-up France. Due to this monumental backlash, David voluntarily offered to take a drug test to prove his innocence, which consequently came out negative.
Personally, I believe this controversy must have been extremely difficult for Måneskin and the Italian team to contend with. From the joy of celebrating the win of a rock band in Eurovision to the notion of this potentially being taken away from them must have been damaging – yet this reputation failed to last very long. Despite coming in 4th place after the Jury votes, Italy proceeded to receive a huge 318 points during the televoting sequence, awarding them not only the trophy but sensational publicity. From going viral on TikTok to (as I am currently writing this) completely selling out their new merchandise, Måneskin are going from strength to strength. This result was not just monumental for the band, but for rock music itself, transforming Eurovision from a ‘throwaway pop’ contest to a new era of sound.
Many who haven’t watched the contest before may be inclined to believe that the contest solely consists of repetitive pop music, but the colossal extent of Italy’s win promotes a ‘new Eurovision’. Yes, we still look forward to watching the hilariously outrageous acts that Europe presents each year, but this year’s contest proves the public’s enthusiasm for new and exciting music. The beauty of the contest is being able to appreciate each country’s culture through this medium – Måneskin’s victory, as well as the high number of votes for Finland’s rock song ‘Dark Side’, demonstrate our need for a new era of Eurovision.
After hearing in a recent interview that the winner’s song was originally going to be a ballad, I was shocked that this was even considered after seeing the success of the rock genre. Italy’s risk in making this decision is something that should inspire every country for next year’s contest. Maybe Eurovision is not all about the win (as us in the UK know extremely well!) but also about broadening our musical horizons. Through portraying the music that we connect with, we will ultimately enable other members of the public to connect with it too. From my perspective, I am so grateful that Måneskin elaborated on the uncertainties of their decision and how they chose to demonstrate their own music genre instead of simply altering it for the contest. This new face of rock led me to discover the outrageously talented band, and also my newfound love for rock music. As the band exclaimed after their unforgettable triumph, it remains true that…‘Rock and Roll never dies!’
Words by: Holly Harrison
Edited by: Harsheni Maniarasan