Eurovision Winner Cleared of Drug Allegations After Viral Video Controversy

After Italian rock group Maneskin won the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest leader singer Damiano David was forced to defend himself after Twitter users accused him of using cocaine on live television. A clip appeared to show David with his head down on a table, using the drug. David denied this, and European Broadcasting Union (EBU) confirmed drug tests came back negative.

"No drug use took place in the Green Room and we consider the matter closed," the EBU said in a statement Monday after announcing David tested negative for drug use. The other members of Maneskin tested negative as well. "We are alarmed that inaccurate speculation leading to fake news has overshadowed the spirit and the outcome of the event and unfairly affected the band," the agency continued. The EBU said it looks forward to organizing next year's contest, which will take place in Italy.

The viral clip shows David bowing his head towards the table. Drummer Ethan Torchio noticed that they were on camera, and it appears that he kicks David under the table, and David suddenly sits up. U.K. journalist Christian Calgie also shared another brief video that appears to show David wiping his nose with his arm. This year's contest was hosted in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, which won the 2019 contest.

During a press conference after the competition, David was asked about the viral video. David claimed guitarist Thomas Raggi broke a glass, and that's what he was looking down at. "I don't use drugs, please guys," David told reporters. He then asked people not to say he was using cocaine. "Don't say that," he said. David, Raggi, Torchio, and bassist Victoria De Angelis won the contest with their song "Zitti e buoni." They also won the 2021 Sanremo Music Festival and appeared on Italy's X Factor in 2017.

U.S. audiences were able to watch the Eurovision final for free on Peacock Sunday. Although the U.S. cannot compete, the country was represented thanks to rapper Flo Rida joining singer Senhit, who represented San Marino, a small country located inside Italy. The rapper spent the rest of the competition in San Marino's booth. "I love the energy, you know, to be up there," Flo Rida said, reports the Associated Press. "I mean, it's just amazing, man. The whole set up, it's like over the top. So, you know, I'm embracing it very well."


Unfortunately, Flo Rida's presence didn't help Senhit very much. She finished in 22nd place with 50 points. This was still better than U.K. singer James Newman, who finished in last place without any points. Maneskin won with 524 points, while French singer Barbara Pravi came in second with 499 points. Swiss singer Gjon's Tears finished in third with 432 points. Winners are chosen by a mix of votes from viewers and judges' scores.