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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Sweden among favourites after leaping through to Eurovision final

Cornelia Jakobs, Sweden's entry to the Eurovision Song Contest, burst into tears and jumped onto presenter Mario Acampas, after shooting through to the final on Thursday night.

Sweden among favourites after leaping through to Eurovision final

Jakobs was emotional at the press conference after her victory, telling the story of her progress from an “largely unknown” indie artist to the Eurovision stage. 

“There are a lot of feelings right now in this little body, an extremely large amount of feelings that can’t really fit in, so they’re exploding,” she said, before beginning to cry. “But I’m so happy and overwhelmed by all the support I’ve got from all these fantastic countries.” 

When the time came to pick lots for which half of the final she would appear in, she leapt onto Mario Acampas, the presenter asking questions at the press conference, wrapping her legs around his waist and clasping herself tightly to his torso. 

He then walked her over to the bowl where the lots were lying. 

“I want you to choose the second half,” she said to him. “Imagine that I have a pistol here and on the count of three I’m going to shoot you if you don’t choose.”

He refused to pick for her so she took one herself and got the second half. 

Jakobs, with her song, “Hold me closer”, was the clear favourite to go into the final, and will go through alongside Finland’s The Rasmus, and his song Jezebel, Serbia’s Konstrakta with “In corpore sano”, as well as entries from Belgium, Czechia, Azerbaijan, Poland, Estonia, Australia, and Romania. 

You can see her performance on Thursday in the video below. 

In the final, she will meet the other favourites, which include Ukraine, Italy, and the United Kingdom. 

The final will be shown on Sweden’s state broadcaster SVT at 9pm on Saturday.