Netherlands wins Eurovision as Madonna dancers
Entertainment Live: The Netherlands won the 2019 Eurovision song contest early Sunday at a show in the seaside Israeli city of Tel Aviv that featured a performance from Madonna, plenty of glitz and some controversy.
The oh-so-glamorous and famously kitschy finale gave Israel a chance to showcase its credentials as a culturally progressive nation, but politics lurked in the background as pro-Palestinian activists called for a boycott. The extravaganza passed off largely politics-free, though two incidents temporarily drew attention away from the songs and toward Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.
Local media showed images of two of Madonna’s dancers side-by-side with Israeli and Palestinian flags on their backs during her performance in an apparent call for unity. Icelandic group Hatari meanwhile displayed scarfs with Palestinian flags when results were being announced.
After performances by all 26 finalists, Duncan Laurence of the Netherlands took the prize with the stirring power ballad “Arcade”. Laurence, 25, came out as bisexual in 2016 and has used his new high profile to call for tolerance. Italy finished second and Russia third in the results that combined votes from juries from participating countries as well as viewers at home.
With “Arcade”, Laurence, whose real name is Duncan de Moor, sings of a romantic break-up with the refrain “loving you is a losing game. “I think the most important thing of course is to stick to how you are … stick to what you love, even if you have a different sexuality,” he told journalists after the show.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Twitter that he had spoken to Laurence and congratulated him, calling his performance “sublime and powerful.” Earlier in the night, Madonna stole much of the limelight with her two-song performance, including her 1989 hit “Like A Prayer”.
In a statement carried by US media ahead of the finals, Madonna said: “I’ll never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be.”
Anti-occupation NGO Breaking the Silence erected a billboard in Israel with the slogan “Dare to Dream of Freedom,” playing on the 2019 contest’s slogan “Dare to Dream”.
Dhaka, 19 May (campuslive24.com)//MIH