Italian Eurovision winners ‘really offended’ by accusations of drug use

The lead singer of Italy's Eurovision winners Maneskin said he was "really offended" by accusations that he snorted cocaine at Saturday's grand final, as a government minister from runner-up France said drug use should be grounds for disqualification.

Italian Eurovision winners 'really offended' by accusations of drug use
Maneskin celebrate after winning Eurovision 2021 for Italy. Photo: Sander Koning / ANP / AFP

UPDATE: Since this story was first published, Damiano David of Måneskin tested negative for drug use. Find more details here.

France’s Europe minister called on Monday for “total transparency” over speculation that one of Italy’s victorious contestants used cocaine during the song contest, saying it should be punished if confirmed.

Damiano David, the vocalist for Roman rockers Måneskin, volunteered to take a drug test after video footage appeared to show him snorting something from a table backstage during Saturday’s contest.

READ ALSO: Italian rockers win Eurovision: ‘We just want to say to the whole world, rock’n’roll never dies!’

David on Monday again denied drug use, saying the footage shows him bending down to inspect a glass that his bandmate had broken.

“I feel really offended” by the allegations, he told BBC television from Rome. “I think that these kind of things are outrageous. We’re young guys with huge passion for the music and this is actually overshadowing our win.”

“We will get drug-tested and prove that it’s all speculation,” David said, adding that he was due to take a test later on Monday.

“I think there needs to be no doubt here, and total transparency,” Europe Minister Clement Beaune, who attended the show in Rotterdam, told RMC radio.

“If there is a problem, there are penalties… Provisions are made for sanctioning measures, including potential disqualification in case of problems,” he said.

French hopes had been riding high on singer Barbara Pravi, who was a favourite to win with her moody ballad Voila. But she was edged out at the last minute by a surge in public votes for Måneskin, whose song Zitti e buoni (‘Shut up and behave’) earned them a final tally of 524 to Pravi’s 499.

“I don’t want to be a sore loser,” Beaune said, but “in terms of image, we can’t let people think that such competitions can result in such behaviour.”

Damiano David, lead singer of Måneskin, celebrates with his bandmates. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP

The president of France’s public broadcasting group, however, said on Monday that France would not contest its second-place finish, no matter the speculation over David’s backstage antics.

“France has absolutely no intention to lodge an appeal,” France Televisions chief Delphine Ernotte told the Parisien newspaper.

“The vote was quite clearly in Italy’s favour — it didn’t steal its victory and that’s what matters,” she said.

Pravi herself said she was not interested in the speculation. “What’s true is that they were chosen by both the public and the jury. Afterwards, if they use drugs or they put their underwear on backwards or whatever… it’s not my problem,” she told France 2 television on Sunday.

The four members of Måneskin landed in Rome on Sunday evening amid cheers and applause from onlookers.

The band, the first Italian Eurovision winners in 31 years, have a large following in Italy after coming second on the TV song contest X Factor and releasing several hit singles as well as a number-one album, Il ballo della vita.

Member comments

  1. I’m very pleased Maneskin won. Well done to them! And may they rock and roll for many years.

    I’m wondering if the Europe Minister, Clement Beaune, is going to apologise for his terrible remark? Of course not. (Chi fa male, pensa male!)

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Turin chosen to host Eurovision Song Contest in 2022

The next edition of the Eurovision Song Contest in May 2022 will be held in the northern Italian city of Turin, organisers confirmed on Friday.

Italy's Maneskin performs during the final of the 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 in Rotterdam.
Italy's Maneskin performs during the final of the 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 in Rotterdam. Photo: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP

“Turin has won the race to become the host city of the 66th Eurovision Song Contest, having triumphed over 16 other competing bids,” read a statement on the contest’s official website.

“The Grand Final will be held in PalaOlimpico on Saturday 14 May with Semi-Finals on 10 and 12 May.”

“We won! Turin has won!” mayor Chiara Appendino wrote in a celebratory post on Facebook.

Italian state broadcaster Rai said Turin had beaten off competition from the cities of Milan, Bologna, Rimini and Pesaro to host the event.

READ ALSO: Italy wins Eurovision: ‘We just want to say to the whole world, rock’n’roll never dies!’

Turin will be the third Italian city to host the event after Naples (which hosted in 1965) and Rome (1991), after Rome-based rock band Måneskin’s victory in Rotterdam earlier this year with the song ‘Zitti e buoni’.

That event, watched by 183 million people, was Italy’s third Eurovision win and its first for three decades.

‘Turin is the perfect Host City for the 66th Eurovision Song Contest,” said Eurovision Song Contest Executive Supervisor Martin Österdahl.

“As we saw during the 2006 Winter Olympics, PalaOlimpico exceeds all the requirements needed to stage a global event of this scale and we have been very impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment from the City of Turin who will welcome thousands of fans next May.”

“This will be the first Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Italy in 30 years and, together with our Host broadcaster Rai, we are determined to make it a special one.’

Turin was home to the 2006 Winter Olympics and is hosting the ATP Finals tennis tournament next month.