Eurovision 2021: UK entrant James Newman takes the stage to perform Embers

The UK’s Eurovision hopeful took to the stage at the socially-distanced venue in the Netherlands tonight as the song contest’s highly-anticipated grand final kicked off in front of a live audience.

BRIT award winner, James Newman, 35, waved to the jubilant crowds and beamed with excitement as he was welcomed to the stage along with other finalists in front of 3,500 fans at the venue.

The UK hopeful, who will be performing his track Embers later tonight, has been given odds of just 200/1 by Betfair to win the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest.  

The artist’s arrival came after crowds of Eurovision fans waved their flags in the air and beamed with excitement as they flocked to the socially-distanced venue in the Netherlands ahead of the upcoming final and prepared to watched the 26 nations competing in the final battle it out for the trophy.

Scores of jubilant fans descended upon the Rotterdam Ahoy arena, in Rotterdam, as they geared up for the highly-anticipated contest. 

After more than a week of rehearsals, two semi-finals and 53,000 Covid tests for fans, staff and performers, the Eurovision Song Contest that was cancelled last year because of the pandemic will go live tonight in front of 3,500 fans and a global television audience.   

This year’s theme is ‘Open Up’, and the Dutch government-backed coronavirus restrictions could be a model for events like Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics as the world slowly emerges from lockdown.  

The UK's Eurovision hopeful James Newman, 35, waved to the jubilant crowds  as he made appearance at the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest tonight

The UK's Eurovision hopeful James Newman, 35, waved to the jubilant crowds  as he made appearance at the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest tonight

The UK’s Eurovision hopeful James Newman, 35, waved to the jubilant crowds  as he made appearance at the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest tonight

Scores of fans sats down to watch the grand final inside the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam in the Netherlands tonight

Scores of fans sats down to watch the grand final inside the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam in the Netherlands tonight

Scores of fans sats down to watch the grand final inside the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam in the Netherlands tonight

Italy's group, Maneskin, who are the favourites among bookmakers, wave to the live audience as they are welcomed on stage

Italy's group, Maneskin, who are the favourites among bookmakers, wave to the live audience as they are welcomed on stage

Italy’s group, Maneskin, who are the favourites among bookmakers, wave to the live audience as they are welcomed on stage

Presenters Jan Smit, Chantal Janzen and Edsilia Rombley during the 65th Eurovision Song Contest tonight

Presenters Jan Smit, Chantal Janzen and Edsilia Rombley during the 65th Eurovision Song Contest tonight

Presenters Jan Smit, Chantal Janzen and Edsilia Rombley during the 65th Eurovision Song Contest tonight

Contestant Stefania Liberakakis of Greece walks on stage and greets the crowds as the final kicks off in Rotterdam

Contestant Stefania Liberakakis of Greece walks on stage and greets the crowds as the final kicks off in Rotterdam

Contestant Stefania Liberakakis of Greece walks on stage and greets the crowds as the final kicks off in Rotterdam

Contestant Eden Alene of Israel performs during the final of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam

Contestant Eden Alene of Israel performs during the final of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam

Contestant Eden Alene of Israel performs during the final of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam

Elene Tsagrinou from Cyprus with the song 'El Diablo' performs during the Grand Final of the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest

Elene Tsagrinou from Cyprus with the song 'El Diablo' performs during the Grand Final of the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest

Elene Tsagrinou from Cyprus with the song ‘El Diablo’ performs during the Grand Final of the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest 

Stefania from Greece performs her  song 'Last Dance' during the grand final aof the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest

Stefania from Greece performs her  song 'Last Dance' during the grand final aof the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest

Stefania from Greece performs her  song ‘Last Dance’ during the grand final aof the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest 

Contestant Blas Canto of Spain performs during the final of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam tonight

Contestant Blas Canto of Spain performs during the final of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam tonight

Contestant Blas Canto of Spain performs during the final of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam tonight

The scenes of celebration come after Eurovision Song Contest bosses banned alcohol from being consumed at the upcoming final in Rotterdam.  

Speaking outside the arena, one fan, Saskia Scharree, 51, said: ‘I think it’s the beginning of a new start. When something as big as this happens in Holland, you’re going to join in.’ 

Meanwhile Finnish fan Oona Sainio, 27, said she and her family had come to soak up the atmosphere despite not having tickets.

She said: ‘We’re big Eurovision fans and we wanted to be close to the action.’  

The run-up has been dominated by coronavirus scares, with Iceland’s hotly-tipped entry Dadi og Gagnamagnid ruled out of performing live when a band member tested positive for Covid.

Dutch 2019 winner Duncan Laurence meanwhile is also unable to perform his new song live in tonight’s final after coming down with symptoms of the disease during rehearsals this week. 

Now, the favourite among bookmakers is Italy’s Maneskin with their song Zitti e Buoni but their vote could be split by the similarly heavy metal sounds of Finland’s Blind Channel with their song Dark Side. 

French chanteuse Barbara Pravi is also hoping to end her country’s 44-year losing streak with her song ‘Voila’. 

Speaking outside the area, Milo Mateo, from the Italian band Maneskin, said: ‘If we win, it will be very, very nice, because the next year will be in Italy. That’s very good. Let’s hope. Fingers crossed.’   

This week, the UK’s Eurovision 2021 hopeful James Newman looked on form as he rehearsed for the second of two semi-final shows for the song contest.

The BRIT award winner, 35, was full of confidence as he belted out his track Embers while working the stage during the first dress rehearsal show at the Rotterdam Ahoy arena.

It came as the Eurovision was  given odds of just 200/1 by Betfair to win the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest. 

Betfair spokesperson Sam Rosbottom said of his chances: ‘Brit hopeful James Newman has gone from 125/1 to 200/1 to win the Eurovision Song Contest following some strong semi-final performances, meaning victory for the United Kingdom looks out of reach for another year.’ 

Those in charge of the highly-anticipated event in the Netherlands have taken the decision to prohibit drinking at all hotels and venues taking part in this year’s competition. 

According to reports, organisers felt that allowing drinking would risk spreading the disease, and could impact strict social distancing measures that are in place.      

A source in Rotterdam told The Sun: ‘The decision to ban alcohol has gone down like a lead balloon. There were already strict social-distancing measures in place. Having a drink was at least one enjoyable part of being out here – but now that’s gone too. 

Fans donned flags across their shoulders as they flocked to the socially-distanced venue in the Netherlands ahead of the upcoming final

Fans donned flags across their shoulders as they flocked to the socially-distanced venue in the Netherlands ahead of the upcoming final

Fans donned flags across their shoulders as they flocked to the socially-distanced venue in the Netherlands ahead of the upcoming final 

The scenes after Eurovision Song Contest bosses reportedly banned alcohol from being consumed at the upcoming final in Rotterdam

The scenes after Eurovision Song Contest bosses reportedly banned alcohol from being consumed at the upcoming final in Rotterdam

The scenes after Eurovision Song Contest bosses reportedly banned alcohol from being consumed at the upcoming final in Rotterdam

A group of fans pose for photo as they arrive to the socially-distanced venue ahead of the highly-anticipated final tonight

A group of fans pose for photo as they arrive to the socially-distanced venue ahead of the highly-anticipated final tonight

A group of fans pose for photo as they arrive to the socially-distanced venue ahead of the highly-anticipated final tonight

Fans prepare to watch the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest at the Rotterdam Ahoy arena tonight

Fans prepare to watch the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest at the Rotterdam Ahoy arena tonight

Fans prepare to watch the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest at the Rotterdam Ahoy arena tonight

Those in charge of the highly-anticipated event in the Netherlands have taken the decision to prohibit drinking at all hotels and venues

Those in charge of the highly-anticipated event in the Netherlands have taken the decision to prohibit drinking at all hotels and venues

Those in charge of the highly-anticipated event in the Netherlands have taken the decision to prohibit drinking at all hotels and venues 

Fans wait in queues and have their tickets checked as they arrive to the Eurovision song contest in the Netherlands

Fans wait in queues and have their tickets checked as they arrive to the Eurovision song contest in the Netherlands

Fans wait in queues and have their tickets checked as they arrive to the Eurovision song contest in the Netherlands

A fan poses for a picture as they arrive to the Rotterdam Ahoy arena, in Rotterdam, and gear up for the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest tonight

A fan poses for a picture as they arrive to the Rotterdam Ahoy arena, in Rotterdam, and gear up for the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest tonight

A fan poses for a picture as they arrive to the Rotterdam Ahoy arena, in Rotterdam, and gear up for the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest tonight

Fans carry their flags and wear face masks as they arrive to the Rotterdam Ahoy arena and prepare for the final

Fans carry their flags and wear face masks as they arrive to the Rotterdam Ahoy arena and prepare for the final

Fans carry their flags and wear face masks as they arrive to the Rotterdam Ahoy arena and prepare for the final

Crowds of fans wear face masks as they have their tickets check outside the Dutch venue ahead of the final tonight

Crowds of fans wear face masks as they have their tickets check outside the Dutch venue ahead of the final tonight

Crowds of fans wear face masks as they have their tickets check outside the Dutch venue ahead of the final tonight 

‘Lots of the artists are absolutely furious that this has happened. They don’t believe the virus incident in the Icelandic team had anything to do with alcohol being consumed.’    

The decision has reportedly sparked anger among some performers, with the Russian team making a complaint. 

Before the decision, contestants and staff could drink alcohol at designated venues and hotels until midnight. 

This week, Iceland’s Daði og Gagnamagnið star Daði Freyr admitted that his group, one of the favourites to win the competition, were ‘disappointed’ after being forced to pull out of the competition after a member tested positive for Covid-19.

Speaking on Friday’s episode of Lorraine, the musician, 28, said that they are trying to ‘make the best’ of the situation as they remain in the hotel.

It came after 2019 Eurovision Song Contest winner Duncan Laurence tested positive for coronavirus and will also be unable to perform live at Saturday’s grand final in Rotterdam.

Daði explained their decision not to perform without their sixth member Jóhann Sigurður Jóhannsson, who tested positive, as it ‘doesn’t really work’.

He said: ‘The song is written for the band as a six member thing and the performance, the song is written for the performance, one member missing doesn’t really work.’

An artist performs on stage at The Clapham Grand night club in London as thousands of music fans prepare to watch the final

An artist performs on stage at The Clapham Grand night club in London as thousands of music fans prepare to watch the final

An artist performs on stage at The Clapham Grand night club in London as thousands of music fans prepare to watch the final 

Performers take to the stage at The Clapham Grand as the nation gears up for the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest

Performers take to the stage at The Clapham Grand as the nation gears up for the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest

Performers take to the stage at The Clapham Grand as the nation gears up for the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest

This week, the UK's Eurovision 2021 hopeful James Newman was full of confidence as he belted out his track Embers while working the stage during the first dress rehearsal show at the Rotterdam Ahoy arena

This week, the UK's Eurovision 2021 hopeful James Newman was full of confidence as he belted out his track Embers while working the stage during the first dress rehearsal show at the Rotterdam Ahoy arena

This week, the UK’s Eurovision 2021 hopeful James Newman was full of confidence as he belted out his track Embers while working the stage during the first dress rehearsal show at the Rotterdam Ahoy arena

Link hienalouca.com

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