Eurovision 2024: Switzerland's Nemo wins, UK finishes 18th

image Source, Corinne Cumming/EBU

image Caption, Nemo tops jury vote

  • Author, mark savage
  • Role, Music correspondent in Malmö, Sweden

Swiss singer Nemo has won the Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden with his song The Code.

A hypnotic mix of opera and hip-hop, it topped the jury vote, helping the 24-year-old achieve an impressive score of 591 points.

The singer becomes the first non-binary artist to win Eurovision. Appropriately, he wrote the song to explain how he came to terms with his identity.

Croatia, who led the public vote, came second with the boisterous party anthem Rim Tim Tagi Dim, while the UK's Olly Alexander was sent to 18th place out of 25.

The Years & Years singer received the dreaded “zero points” from the public, but was saved from last place by the jury vote.

He gave 46 points to their song Dizzy.

Amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, this year's competition was overshadowed by protests over Israel's participation.

Israel's entrant, 20-year-old singer Eden Golan, who received a mix of applause and cheers as she performed on stage in Malmö, finished fifth.

In his victory speech on stage, Nemo said: “I hope that this pageant will live up to its promise and stand for peace and dignity for every person in this world.”

He later broke the competition's infamous crystal microphone trophy, which appeared to fall on the stage while being waved around in victory.

image Source, Corinne Cumming/EBU

image Caption, Eden Golan was protected by armed police during Eurovision preparations

Eurovision 2024: top five contestants

  • Switzerland: Nemo – The Code
  • Croatia: Baby Lasagna – Rim Tim Tagi Dim
  • Ukraine: Alyona Alyona & Jerry Heil – Teresa & Maria
  • France: Slimane – Mon Amour
  • Israel: Eden Golan – Storm
image Caption, Baby Lasagna with the song Rim Tim Tagi Dim came in second place

Other artists also expressed similar sentiments.

Bambi Thug, representing Ireland, ended his song, Doomsday Blue, by shouting, “Love will conquer hate”; While contestant Iolanda of Portugal told the crowd: “Peace will prevail.”

Two former contestants, Alessandra Mele and Carizza, withdrew from announcing their countries' jury scores; Mele cited Israel's involvement as a factor, while Cariza said “it doesn't feel right” (points).

However, support increased for Golan's song, which finished second in the public vote with a score of 323. The UK was one of 15 countries where the public gave the 20-year-old song a maximum score of 12.

contestant disqualified

Adding to the drama, Dutch contestant Joost Klein was disqualified from the competition on Saturday after he was accused of making “unlawful threats” to a female member of the production crew.

The singer was reported to the police after the incident which took place backstage on Thursday. Organizers later decided to expel him from the competition, stating that they had a “zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate behaviour”.

In a statement, Dutch broadcaster Avrotros described the decision as “disproportionate” and said that Klein was filmed backstage even though he had “repeatedly indicated” that he did not want to do so.

image Source, Alma Bengtsson/EBU

Elsewhere, Eurovision was Eurovision.

Finnish artist Windows95man dropped his pants to perform a 1990s house banger, and Croatia's Baby Lasagna sang about a country boy who sells his cow and moves to the big city.

Bambi Thug gave one of the most memorable performances of the night.

The self-described “goth gremlin goblin witch” appeared on stage in a circle of candles, summoned a demon and then danced ballet with it, before beginning to scream loudly.

After being a hit with audiences, it eventually finished sixth with 278 points.

This makes it Ireland's best result in a quarter of a century.

image Source, Corinne Cumming/EBU

abba tribute

image Source, Corinne Cumming/EBU

image Caption, The 50th anniversary of Abba's Eurovision win was celebrated during the hiatus.

The contest was held in Sweden, exactly 50 years after Abba gave the country its first Eurovision win in 1974.

Rumors flew around Malmö that they would be appearing to celebrate their golden anniversary – even though the band themselves denied this.

Finally, they only appeared in a short video as their “AbbaTaars” from the virtual Abba Voyage concert in London.

The quartet briefly parlayed the success of their song Waterloo, which was then performed by three other Eurovision winners: Charlotte Perrelli (1999), Conchita Wurst (2014), and Carola (1992).

This was a bit of a disappointment.

A more dynamic interval performance came from two-time Eurovision winner Lorraine, who played her new single Forever in a futuristic, Barbarella-inspired set.

And Blue Swede frontman Björn Skiffs opened the show with Hooked on a Feeling, the first Swedish song to reach number one in the US.

image Caption, Nemo celebrates backstage at the Eurovision Song Contest

Nemo captivated the audience with his lively and athletic performance, singing an operatic falsetto while balancing precariously on a rotating turntable.

His song, The Code, was a deeply personal account of his struggle to accept his non-binary identity.

In the song he sang: “Somewhere between zero and zero / This is where I find that my kingdom has come,

The win represents a big moment for the LGBTQ community, which has long considered Eurovision a safe haven.

Last year's winner Lorraine, who handed Nemo the crystal trophy on Saturday, recently told the BBC how much that support meant to her.

“Eurovision is a community that embraces diversity [and] Different ways of being.

“It's a very accepting and loving place. And it's us who are creating that through creativity.”

Bambi Thug, who is also non-binary, approached Nemo after his win and handed him a handmade crown, which he wore for his final performance.

image Source, Corinne Cumming/EBU

image Caption, Pop star Olly Alexander represented the UK but was sent to the bottom of the leader board

The UK improved on its performance last year, when Mae Muller came from last to second, but was still pushed into the bottom half of the leaderboard.

Singer Olly Alexander, the chart-topping pop star of the band Years & Years, gave a spectacular performance that featured scantily clad people dancing in a dystopian shower room.

But his live vocals faltered, and he suffered in comparison to the stronger artists of France, Portugal and Greece.

The star mocked his zero-point score to the public, pretending to hug the television cameras when the results were announced.

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