Italy wins Eurovision song contest: Why did the UK receive zero points?
The results are in! This year’s winner of the Eurovision Song Contest is Italy! Crowned the champion of 2021 with 524 total points, “Zitti E Buoni” by Måneskin swept the awards with a jamming alternative funk-rock song.
“Rock and roll never dies,” Måneskin declared as they took the stage for a victory performance of “Zitti E Buoni”. Frankly, the song slaps, and voters all over Europe agreed, jettisoning Italy to number 1 with 318 audience points, putting them ahead of France & Switzerland – the second & third-place winners who both got more jury points.
Speaking of jury points though, the UK came dead last in the finals, with zero audience points and zero jury points. Reportedly, they gave their points to France, launching Brexit comparisons from European news outlets. However, we have to ask if they really deserved a big, fat zero.
It should be noted that the UK hasn’t won the Eurovision Song Contest since 1997 when Katrina and the Waves took the top spot, and that was apparently a bright spot in decades of dull – European media has described the UK’s overall performance in recent decades as “lamentable”. Euro News further called the UK’s entry this year “impoverished” and declared “zero points is not unfair”.
The UK’s 2021 entry to the Eurovision Song Contest wasn’t half-bad in our humble opinion – it just wasn’t a standout. “Embers” by James Newman is that standard pop song we’ve heard on the radio for ages now, and frankly, if it weren’t against the rules, the UK could’ve thrown “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran in the ring and we wouldn’t have noticed a difference.
However, a strong contender, and the predicted Eurovision Song Contest winner by media outlets, was France’s entry. While exclaiming the song is, indeed, very very French thanks to its chanson style, media drew comparisons between Barbara Pravi’s ethereal but powerful performance to Switzerland’s entry in 1988: superstar Celine Dion.
“Voila” is a pretty, waltz-time song that harkens the listener back to days of yore without sappy nostalgia. It hits you more wistfully, and no matter what your language is, makes you want to sigh c’est la vie while staring out the window on a rainy day.
The jury’s favorite though was Switzerland, who won the jury vote with 267 votes. Gjon’s Tears “Tout l’Univers” is a haunting French melody with really lovely percussive work in the background and a climbing, cosmic melodic journey that leaves its fans lamenting that it only came in third.
Euro News commented that the song was lovely, but was perhaps “too cerebral” to come out on top at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. However, they compared the vocalist’s haunting pipes to American educator Glenn Medeiros – it’s up to you whether you take that as a compliment.
Our favorite was Iceland, and we absolutely adored Daði & Gagnamagnið’s upbeat energy – and yes, we’re dropping cash on a big, green sweater with our pixelated faces on it – we have no shame. Like the UK’s entry, we could see it as a song on a radio station, but it has more sway and just bops in a way that makes us want to dance! Plus, the quirkiness of their costumes & performance is the stuff Eurovision is made of.
Italy takes it home
The New York Times noted Italy was a rare rock winner in the Eurovision Song Contest, which is typically dominated by pop & electronic acts – after all, disco quartet ABBA gained international notoriety from Eurovision. However, they’re not the first rock act to take it home – the GWAR-esque Finnish act Lordi took the victory home in 2006 with “Hard Rock Hallelujah”.
However, in Italy, a victory like this was a much-needed boost after a particularly devastating year thanks to COVID. Thomas Erdbik reported: “An Italian journalist, crying, just said ‘After all that happened with corona, we had such a bad year with all the deaths in Bergamo. This is a new beginning’”.