Switzerland Wins Eurovision, as Protests Give Way to Spectacle

The run-up to this Saturday’s Eurovision Song Contest final in Malmo, Sweden, was unusually tense and anguished, with months of protests over Israel’s involvement in the competition, a contestant suspended just hours before the show began and confrontations between the police and pro-Palestinian demonstrators outside the arena on the night.

But when the final began, the uproar swiftly disappeared. Instead of protests and outrage, there was the usual high-camp spectacle, featuring singers emoting about lost loves, near-naked dancers and, at one point, a performer climbing out of a giant egg.

At the end of the four-hour show, Nemo, representing Switzerland, won with “The Code,” a catchy track in which the nonbinary performer rapped and sang operatically about their journey to realizing their identity. “I went to hell and back / To get myself on track,” Nemo sang in the chorus: “Now, I found paradise / I broke the code.”

The performance was delivered while Nemo, whose real name is Nemo Mettler and who uses they/them pronouns, balanced on a huge spinning disc.

Nemo received strong support from music industry juries in the competition’s participating nations and viewers at home.Credit…Martin Meissner/Associated Press
Fans cheer in Malmo Arena after Nemo’s victory was announced.Credit…Gaetan Bally/EPA, via Shutterstock
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