Rome band brings Eurovision back to where song contests started
ROME – Italy woke up on Sunday to learn that a glam rock band that made their debut on Rome’s main shopping street had won the Eurovision Song Contest and brought next year’s competition back to where European song contests have started.
From the prime minister’s office, congratulations poured in from the Italian establishment on Sunday for the rather anti-establishment Maneskin group. The group were bookies’ favorite in the Eurovision Song Contest and sealed the victory early Sunday with the biggest popular vote in the hugely entertaining and incredibly kitsch annual song festival.
“We are out of our mind!” The Uffizi Galleries in Florence tweeted with an image of a Caravaggio jellyfish and the hashtag #Uffizirock.
Maneskin, Danish for “moonlight” and a tribute to the Danish ancestry of bassist Victoria De Angelis, won with a total of 529 points. France finished second while Switzerland, who led after the vote of the national juries, finished third.
“Rock’n’roll never dies, tonight we made history. We love you,” the band tweeted before returning from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where this year’s competition was held. .
The group made its debut on Via del Corso, the main commercial artery in downtown Rome. Their rambling performances outside a Geox store were a far cry from the exaggerated, flame-throwing extravagance on Saturday night that literally split singer Damiano David’s pants.
David said at a press conference this week that starting on the streets was embarrassing, as the group faced other musicians vying for the same precious piece of pavement while neighbors complained about the noise.
“They were always calling the police,” De Angelis said with a laugh.
Maneskin’s victory was only Italy’s third victory in the competition and the first since Toto Cutugno took the honor in 1990. The victory means Italy will host next year’s competition, with cities nominated for the honor.
Launched in 1956 to promote unity after World War II, Eurovision has evolved over the years from a bland ballad-fest to a campy and well-being extravaganza. It has grown from seven countries to over 40, including non-European countries such as Israel and distant Australia.
Legend has it that Eurovision was inspired by the Italian Music Festival of Sanremo, which began in 1951 as part of a post-WWII effort to boost Italian culture and the economy of the coastal city of Liguria, which has hosted it since.
Perhaps best known for pitching songs like Andrea Boccelli and one of Italy’s most famous songs “Nel blu, dipinto di blu” – popularly known as “Volare” – the Sanremo festival usually chooses the official selection of Italy for the Eurovision Song Contest.
Maneskin won Sanremo this year with the same song, “Zitti e Buoni” (“Quiet and good”) which she performed on Saturday night in Rotterdam.