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Rock ‘n roll made a roaring comeback at the 2021 Eurovision song contest after Italy’s Måneskin took the main prize, but the glam rock throwbacks have been forced to deny they were indulging in classic rock ‘n roll excess during the live television broadcast.
The controversy erupted after television images from Saturday’s ceremony in Rotterdam showed Måneskin singer Damiano David at one point leaning forward with head bowed while sitting at a table, prompting viewers and people on social media to suggest that he was sniffing a line of cocaine.
— Ricki (@Ricki01111240) May 22, 2021
As the event went on the images and speculation about the supposed drug use went viral. In a post-ceremony press conference, the band was even asked about the allegations by a Swedish journalist, which was vigorously denied, David’s actions explained away as he was inspecting broken glass on the floor.
Despite the vehement denials, speculation continued, and the band posted a statement to social media. “We are really shocked about what some people are saying about Damiano doing drugs. We really are AGAINST drugs and we never used cocaine. We are ready to get tested, cause we got nothing to hide.”
Måneskin’s explanation was backed up by the European Broadcasting Union, which organizes Eurovision. The EBU said in a statement, “The band, their management and head of delegation have informed us that no drugs were present in the Green Room and explained that a glass was broken at their table and it was being cleared by the singer.”
The statement added, “The EBU can confirm broken glass was found after an on-site check.”
Måneskin won Eurovision with a total of 529 points. France was second while Switzerland, which led after national juries had voted, finished third. It is the third time Italy has won the song contest. The victory means Italy will host next year’s competition.
Elsewhere, the U.K.’s entry “Embers” by James Newman finished a dismal last, with “nul points,” reinforcing the country’s reputation as the awkward relation in Europe.
Despite Britain’s rich heritage in popular music and the enduring popularity of U.K. acts in Europe, the politics of Brexit, trade disagreements and the abrasive nature of English nationalism have made the country the perennial whipping boy of Eurovision as countries around the continent get a momentary chance to get one over perfidious Albion.