Publicado: 22/05/2021

Eurovision defies Covid with glittery return in Rotterdam

Eurovision defies Covid with glittery return in Rotterdam

Rotterdam (Netherlands) (AFP) -

It's back: the Eurovision Song Contest final got under way in a shower of glitter in Rotterdam on Saturday, returning after a year off with a kitschy message of hope in the time of coronavirus.

A year after the love-it or hate-it musical extravaganza was cancelled for the first time in its history, the Dutch port city is hosting the competition under tough pandemic restrictions.

Italian rockers Maneskin, French chanteuse Barbara Pravi and young Maltese sensation Destiny Chukunyere are the bookmakers' favourites to win a Eurovision like no other at Rotterdam's Ahoy Arena.

This year's theme is 'Open Up', and the Dutch government-backed coronavirus restrictions could be a model for events such as Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics as the world slowly emerges from lockdown.

The live audience has been limited to 3,500, travel to the Netherlands has been tough because of Covid, and everyone on site must have regular tests -- but jubilant fans have still come to celebrate.

'I think it's the beginning of a new start,' Saskia Scharree, 51, wearing a white and orange blazer decorated with traditional blue Dutch pottery designs, told AFP outside the arena.

'When something as big as this happens in Holland, you're going to join in,' said Scharree, who said she had herself recovered from being 'very ill' with coronavirus last year.

Flag-waving Finnish fan Oona Sainio, 27, said she and her family had come to soak up the atmosphere despite not having tickets.

'We're big Eurovision fans and we wanted to be close to where it's all happening,' said Sainio, 27, who lives in the Netherlands.

- 'Impatience and joy' -

The run-up has been dominated by coronavirus scares, with Iceland's hotly tipped entry Dadi og Gagnamagnid ruled out of performing live when a band member tested positive for Covid.

Dutch 2019 winner Duncan Laurence meanwhile is also unable to take to the stage after coming down with symptoms of the disease during rehearsals this week.

Performers have been in a 'bubble' since the start of last week.

But now the focus is back where it should be -- the upbeat songs, cheesy lyrics and flamboyant costumes of the 26 finalists in a televised event that reaches nearly 200 million viewers.

Eurovision will also have its first transgender host, with Dutch YouTube star Nikkie de Jager, better known as NikkieTutorials, joining the presenting team.

While Italy's Maneskin top the odds with their song Zitti e Buoni their vote could be split by the similarly heavy metal sounds of Finland's Blind Channel with their song Dark Side.

French chanteuse Barbara Pravi is hoping to end her country's 44-year losing streak with her song 'Voila'.

Often compared to legendary singer Edith Piaf, Pravi said it was 'not pressure I feel, it's impatience and joy', despite a nation's hopes for a first win since 1977 riding on her shoulders.

France will even have a government minister in the audience to support her, as Europe Minister Clement Beaune was in the Netherlands for talks with Dutch officials.

Beaune hailed Eurovision, created after World War II to bring Europe together for song, as being a force for good as it opens up after coronavirus.

'It's a way to say we need to breathe, we need partying, we need celebrations, we need common shared moments at the European level,' Beaune told AFP.

'Of course if we can win in the end we can like it better!'

- 'Nul points' -

Malta's 18-year-old sensation Destiny Chukunyere has also attracted attention for her stunning voice and bold wardrobe choices, and is third favourite for her song 'Je Me Casse' (French for 'I'm outta here').

Other highlights include Cyprus' entry 'El Diablo' (Spanish for 'The Devil') , which has been accused of blasphemy and satanism by the Cyprus Orthodox Church and religious groups.

Russia's contestant Manizha has angered conservatives with her song 'Russian Woman' -- even as she wowed audiences during the semi-finals with a huge Russian doll-style dress that burst open to reveal the singer in a red boiler suit.

Norway's contestant Tix, who took to the stage in huge white angel wings, takes his stage name from the tics that he suffers as a result of having Tourette's Syndrome.

At the other end of the scale Germany, featuring a dancer dressed as a two-fingered gesture, look set to battle it out with Spain to avoid the dreaded 'nul points'.

The winner will be chosen around 1:00 am on Sunday (2300 GMT Saturday) by a mix of national juries and public votes.

Más en Zeta

El follón de las vacunas

09 June 2021
Con el follón de la vacunación clandestina y la investigación de la Procuraduría, los panameños esperan arrestos, nombres, y que se sepa de dónde salieron las vacunas. Cobraban doscientos balboasSí, eran doscientos balboas por vacuna de Pfizer. Si la vacunación hubiese sido en El Chorrillo y no ...

Prohibir las armas de asalto en EE.UU.

ZETA, (AMY GOODMAN-DENIS MOYNIHAN).- Las masacres ocurridas recientemente en la ciudad de Boulder, en Colorado, y en el área metropolitana de la ciudad de Atlanta, en Georgia, con un saldo de diez y ocho muertos, respectivamente, son solo dos casos más de la violencia sin sentido con armas de fue...

La justicia no tiene espacios para más desatinos

ZETA, (JEAN PIERRE LEIGNADIER*).-Las próximas dos semanas, este espacio abordará dos deficiencias estructurales que la Cámara de Comercio, Industrias y Agricultura de Panamá (CCIAP) ha planteado por más de dos quinquenios e insistimos deben ser atendidas de manera urgente para enrumbar nuestro de...

Libertad económica y libre empresa

ZETA, (JEAN PIERRE LEIGNADIER*).- Desde su fundación hace 105 años, la Cámara de Comercio, Industrias y Agricultura de Panamá ha tenido como unos de sus pilares la defensa de la libertad económica y la libre empresa como factores indispensables para el progreso sostenido y sostenible del país. E...

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.