It was the third time Israel had hosted the contest, having previously done so in and However, this was the first time Israel hosted the contest outside of Jerusalem. Forty-one countries took part in the contest; Bulgaria and Ukraine were absent. Bulgaria did not enter because members of its delegation had been moved to other projects. Ukraine had originally planned to participate in the contest but withdrew because of the controversy surrounding their national final. This was the Netherlands ' fifth victory in the contest, following their wins in , , and In a similar way to , the overall winner won neither the jury vote, which was won by North Macedonia, nor the televote, which was won by Norway, with the Netherlands placing third and second respectively. It was the first time where neither the jury winner nor the televote winner ended up in the top 5, finishing seventh and sixth, respectively. Italy , Russia , Switzerland and Sweden rounded out the top five.
Asked to posit what life lessons he had gleaned from his Eurovision experience, the year-old said it had taught him to "stick to what you love and dream big always. But they weren't the only lessons to be learned from the ceremony, held this year in Tel Aviv in Israel. Here are five things we took away from the event. The organisers of the contest insist it is a non-political event. Yet events on Saturday proved they are deluding themselves. It was inevitable tensions in the region would be referenced in some fashion, and Icelandic band Hatari made sure they were by displaying Palestinian banners on live television. Earlier Madonna made her own statement by having two of her dancers, one with an Israeli flag on his back and another with a Palestinian flag on hers, walk arm in arm.
1) You can't keep politics out
But the winner, Duncan Laurence, 24, opted for a more minimalist approach surprisingly devoid of gimmicks. The boycott campaign claimed a degree of victory, citing growing awareness of its cause. But no contestants or countries dropped out of the competition, which Israelis said served as an unrivaled showcase for their country. Tel Aviv took on a carnival atmosphere, with tens of thousands of Israelis packing an open-air Eurovision village on the beachfront to watch free concerts and live broadcasts of the competition on giant screens. Israel left little to chance in its effort to rebrand itself as a hip, gay-friendly tourist destination as opposed to a fraught Holy Land wracked by conflict. The secret weapon was Madonna, a devout student of kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism, and her appearance was shrouded in mystery.
It was the third time Israel had hosted the contest, having previously done so in and However, this was the first time Israel hosted the contest outside of Jerusalem. Forty-one countries took part in the contest; Bulgaria and Ukraine were absent.