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In a closely fought contest that wasn’t decided until the last moment, the Netherlands won the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest with “Arcade” by Duncan Laurence. Although the Dutch entry was the frontrunner with fans and bookmakers before the contest, as the voting proceeded, it looked like North Macedonia or Sweden would take the crown.
There were 41 countries participating in this year’s Eurovision, and after semifinal eliminations, 26 of those nations moved into the grand final and performed live onstage Saturday at the Tel Aviv Expo.
The first votes to be reported were the points from the national juries, made up of professional musicians. North Macedonia maintained the lead for most of that reporting, but when the final country, Israel, announced its result, Sweden moved ahead by two points, with a score of 239 to North Macedonia’s 237. The Netherlands was in third place with 231 points.
Then the public vote was added in. North Macedonia did not do as well with the popular vote as it did with the juries and fell out of the running. It came down to Sweden or the Netherlands. The public did not favor Sweden, voting in much greater numbers for the Netherlands, giving the win to Laurence’s introspective, personal song. The silver lining for North Macedonia in finishing in eighth place is that it is the country’s highest finish ever.
It’s the fifth win for the Netherlands in the contest’s 64-year history, and the first since 1975, when the group Teach-In claimed victory with “Ding-a-Dong.” Other winners from Holland include “Net Als Toen” by Corry Brokken (1957), “Een Beetje” by Teddy Scholten (1959) and “De Troubadour” by Lenny Kuhr (in a four-way tie in 1969).
The Netherlands was the first country to sing in the first contest in 1956, and thanks to Laurence’s reprise of this year’s winner at the conclusion of the 2019 broadcast, there are now Dutch bookends when it comes to performances, at least until the 2020 contest is staged in the Netherlands next year.
A large public vote cemented Italy’s runner-up position this year. Mahmood’s “Soldi” is the best performing Italian entry since 2011, when Raphael Gualazzi also placed second, with “Madness of Love.” Italy last won in 1990 with “Insieme: 1992” by Toto Cutugno.
The top 10 countries in 2019 and their respective combined points from the juries and the public are below.
The Netherlands – 492
Italy – 465
Russia – 369
Switzerland – 360
Norway – 338
Sweden – 332
Azerbaijan – 297
North Macedonia – 295
Australia – 285
Iceland – 234
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.
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