The Netherlands' Duncan Laurence wins the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

Carla Harmon
May 21, 2019

Commented on by Graham Norton and broadcast live on BBC One, the qualifying acts from the semi-finals plus performers from Israel, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom, performed in the grand final of the 64th Eurovision Song Contest tonight live from Tel Aviv.

The European Broadcasting Union, which co-produced the contest alongside Israel's national broadcaster, issued a statement immediately after her performance.

Laurence had been the Eurovision favourite, with bookies giving him a 47 per cent chance of winning ahead of the grand final.

Support for North Macedonia's Tamara Todevska surged in early voting returns, bucking bookmakers' expectations, making for nervous moments for the other contestants. Israel's Netta Barzilai captured the top prize in 2018 with her song Toy in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.

KEiiNO of Norway performs the song "Spirit in the Sky".

"I'm living my dream!" the 21-year-old Hartlepool native shouted to the crowd.

This is the first time the Netherlands has won since 1975. However, it was not to be.

Haneen Maikey, director of alQaws for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society, commented: 'Joining and promoting the call to boycott Eurovision 2019 in Israel and Tel Aviv Pride help expose the Israeli government's reprehensible co-opting of queer rights as a public relations tool to hide its crimes against Palestinians'.

"We ask for people of conscience around the world to heed our call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions of Apartheid Israel just as they did to help bring down Apartheid in South Africa", a portion of the letter reads. The title of their song - Hatrið mun sigra - translates to "hate will prevail".

While Eurovision tries to keep itself free from political discourse, this years competition has been controversial due to its host country, Israel.

The band held up the Palestinian flag as their final score was being announced by the hosts.

Madonna performed two tracks during the final's halftime show.

Kate Miller-Heidke defied gravity in her ethereal Eurovision performance. "You're all winners", Madonna told the Eurovision finalists. That's the most important thing.

In a statement carried by United States media earlier this week, 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".

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