Eurovision 2024: Switzerland’s Nemo wins, England finish 18th

image source, Corinne Cumming / EBU

image caption, Nemo topped the jury poll

  • author, Mark Savage
  • stock, Music reporter in Malmö, Sweden

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

A compelling hybrid of opera and hip-hop, it topped the jury poll, helping the 24-year-old score 591 points.

The singer is the first non-binary artist to win Eurovision. Fittingly, they wrote the song to explain how they came to terms with their identity.

Croatia, who had been leading the polls, finished second with hard-hitting party anthem Rim Tim Dagi Tim, while England’s Ollie Alexander was relegated to 18th place out of 25.

The Years and Years singer received terrible “null points” from the public, but was saved from the last place by the jury vote.

They gave 46 points to his song Dizzy.

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

Entering Israel, 20-year-old singer Eden Golan finished fifth to cheers and cheers when she performed on stage in Malmö.

In their victory speech on stage, Nemo said: “I hope this competition fulfills its promise and continues to stand for peace and dignity for every person in this world.”

They then broke the competition’s infamous crystal microphone trophy, which appeared to fall on stage as they waved it triumphantly.

image source, Corinne Cumming / EBU

image caption, Eden Golan was guarded by armed police throughout her preparations for Eurovision

Eurovision 2024: The top five contenders

  • Switzerland: Nemo – The Code
  • Croatia: Baby Lasagna – Rim Dim Dagi Dim
  • Ukraine: Aliona Aliona & Jerry Hale – Teresa and Maria
  • France: Slimane – My Love
  • Israel: Eden Golan – Hurricane
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image caption, Baby Lasagna came second with the song Rim Tim Daggy Tim

Other artists also voiced similar sentiments.

Bambi Thug, representing Ireland, shouted “love conquers hate” as they finished Doomsday Blue; Portugal’s rival Iolanda told the crowd: “Peace prevail.”

Two former contestants, Alessandra Mele and Garija, opted out of announcing their countries’ jury scores; Mele cited Israel’s participation as a factor, Käärijä said “it’s not right” (to give points).

However, the support for Golan’s song continued to grow, placing it second in the public poll with 323 points. The UK is one of 15 countries to award a maximum of 12 points per 20-year-old.

Contestant disqualified

Adding to the drama, Dutch competitor Joost Klein was disqualified from Saturday’s competition after being accused of making “illegal threats” to a female member of the production team.

The singer was reported to the police after the incident took place backstage on Thursday. The organizers decided to disqualify him from the competition, citing a “zero tolerance policy for inappropriate behaviour”.

In a statement, Dutch broadcaster AvroDros called the decision “disproportionate” and said Klein was filmed backstage as he “repeatedly indicated” that he didn’t want to be.

image source, Alma Bengtsson / EBU

Elsewhere, Eurovision is Eurovision.

Finnish artist Windows95Man performed house bangers with his pants down in the 1990s, and Croatia’s Baby Lasagna sang about a country boy who sells his cow and moves to the big city.

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

The self-described “Goth Kremling Goblin Witch” appeared on stage in a circle of candles, summoned a demon, then danced a ballet with it, screaming at the top of their lungs.

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It was well received by the audience and eventually finished sixth with 278 points.

It was Ireland’s best result in a quarter of a century.

image source, Corinne Cumming / EBU

Father Anjali

image source, Corinne Cumming / EBU

image caption, The 50th anniversary of Dad’s Eurovision win was marked in the interval

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

Rumors swirled around Malmö that they would appear to mark their golden anniversary – although the band denied it.

In the end, they only appeared in a short video in the form of their “avatars” from the Virtual Abba Voyage concerts in London.

The quartet briefly reminisced about the success of Waterloo, performed by four Eurovision winners Charlotte Perelli (1999), Conchita Wurst (2014) and Carola (1992).

It was a bit loose.

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

Blue Sweden’s frontman Bjorn 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, singing operatic falsetto while balancing precariously on a rotating turntable, wowed the audience with their sleek and athletic performance.

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

In the lyrics, they sang: “Somewhere between zeros and ones / I saw my kingdom come.”

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

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Lorraine, last year’s winner, presented the crystal trophy to Nemo on Saturday, telling the BBC recently how much the support meant to her.

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

“It’s a very accepting and loving place. We create that through creativity.”

Non-binary Bambi Thug rushes to Nemo after their victory and hands them a hand-crafted crown, which they wear for the final performance.

image source, Corinne Cumming / EBU

image caption, Pop star Olly Alexander represented England but was sent down the leader board

The UK improved on its performance last year when May Muller came from last to second, but dropped to the bottom half of the leaderboard.

Chart-topping pop star singer Olly Alexander of the band Years and Years performed a spectacular performance of scantily clad men dancing in a dystopian shower room.

But his live vocals were wobbly, and he suffered in comparison to stronger performers from France, Portugal and Greece.

Pretending to embrace the television cameras as soon as the results were announced, the star laughed off his zero score from the public.

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