Netherlands wins Eurovision grand finale in Tel Aviv

Madonna, Gal Gadot, Netta Barzilai and more appear during live broadcast, Iceland unveils 'Palestine' sign in Green Room.

Duncan Laurence of the Netherlands reacts after winning the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Duncan Laurence of the Netherlands reacts after winning the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Duncan Laurence of the Netherlands won the 64th Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv early Sunday morning.
“This is to dreaming big, this is to music first, always – thank you!” Laurence exclaimed to viewers shortly after he won with the song “Arcade.”
A week of Eurovision festivities came to a close on Saturday night with the live broadcast of the song contest’s grand final.
After all the votes were counted – from the juries and the televoters – Laurence was crowned the winner, beating out the 25 other finalists for the top prize. The Netherlands is expected to host the 2020 competition, after winning for the first time in 44 years. Despite winning the highest points overall, the Netherlands didn’t come in first in either the jury vote – which went to Sweden – or the televote – which went to Norway.
Kobi Marimi, who represented Israel with the song “Home,” finished in 23rd place out of the 26 acts.
Among the jury votes, Israel received the highest number of points possible – 12 – from Belarus, and not a single point from any of the other 39 voting juries. France’s televoters gave its 12 points to Israel, while Marimi picked up 7 televoting points from Moldova and 5 from Cyprus. Israel’s jury gave its 12 points to the winner Netherlands, and 10 jury points to Italy. Among televoters, 12 points went to Russia, followed by 10 to Norway and 8 to Italy.
Overall, Italy finished the night in second place, followed by Russia, Switzerland and then Norway. The UK finished last: 26th out of 26 contestants.
While people were voting around the world, Madonna stopped by the green room in the early hours of Sunday morning in Tel Aviv for a short interview with Eurovision co-host Assi Azar.
Azar said it was a “very emotional night” to talk to “the biggest pop star in the world.”
The co-host welcomed Madonna to Israel, and she replied: “So great to be here.”
Madonna said that while she was enjoying Tel Aviv, she was mostly at her hotel and then rehearsing: “I look at the beach.”
Madonna spoke to Azar shortly before she took the stage at the Expo Tel Aviv and performed two songs: “Like a Prayer” and “Future” with guest star rapper Quavo. During her performance of “Future,” two figures appeared on stage holding hands, both adorned with flags – one an Israeli flag, and the other a Palestinian one.
Earlier, during the interview, Madonna touted the power of music to unite people from across the globe.
“Everyone here is from all over the world,” she said. “So many countries that I have been privileged enough to visit, and experience. And the one thing that brings me to those countries – and the thing that brings all of us here tonight – is music, and the power of music to bring people together.”
Turning to the 26 gathered delegations seated behind her, Madonna said that everyone competing were “all winners, no matter what happens.” The singer said she knows that in order “to get here, where you are right now, was not easy.”
Eurovision co-host Erez Tal then conducted a short interview with Quavo, who is part of the famed Migos trio.
Quavo told Tal that this was his first time in Israel “and I’m just like, wow.” The rapper said this trip was “my first time in Tel Aviv, I went to Jerusalem, I went to the Holy Land – it was a great experience, it touched me.” He added that he “went to the Western Wall – just today I went.”