Millions watch as Netherlands win Eurovision 2019

The event passed off without any of the protests which organisers had feared


Millions watched Saturday’s grand finale of the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, won by the Netherlands.

The event, which was hosted by four Israeli presenters including supermodel Bar Rafaeli, passed off without any of the protests which organisers had feared.

The near four hour long contest was a blaze of colour and a huge spectacle. The audience cheered wildly when Israel's iconic 1979 winner Gali Atari came out of retirement to sing Hallelujah.

Israeli contestant Kobi Marimi broke down in tears after performing his emotional song, Home.

But he could only manage 23rd place  with 47 points. 

Italy came second with 465 points while Russia came third with 369 points.

Madonna ignored calls from BDS activists to boycott the contest, launching her set with a version of her hit song Like A Prayer, with backing dancers dressed as monks.

However not everyone was impressed by her performance, which included  Future, her new single featuring the rapper Quavo.  Many observers said she was out of tune.

BBC One's commentator Graham Norton said: "A slightly muted response to Madonna there.”

She caused a minor stir when her backing dancers displayed Israeli and Palestinian flags on their backs, which organisers said was not an approved part of her act.

Eurovision said: "In the live broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final, two of Madonna's dancers briefly displayed the Israeli and Palestinian flags on the back of their outfits.

"This element of the performance was not part of the rehearsals which had been cleared with the EBU and the host broadcaster, KAN. The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and Madonna had been made aware of this.”

Band members from Iceland’s entry held up Palestinian flags while their public vote was being announced.

In a statement, Eurovision said the "consequences of this action will be discussed by the contest's executive board”.

During the final some of Eurovision's most memorable past contestants covered some big Eurovision hits.

And to close the show five of them teamed up to sing a moving rendition of Israel's 1979 winning song, Gali Atari and Milk & Honey's 'Hallelujah'.

Outside the competition itself Strictly Orthodox Jews objected to Eurovision because it was taking place on Shabbat. 

Demonstrators were seen clashing with police.

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