Michela placed 16th in the Eurovision Song Contest, as the favourites the Netherlands walked away with the prize.

Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands won the festival with his ballad Arcade in a tight race which went straight to the wire. He had been the bookmakers' favourite to win, and went to the top of the leaderboard after the public vote.

Laurence, 25, came out as bisexual in 2016 and has used his new high profile to call for tolerance and understanding.

Italy placed second and Russia came in third. 

The Gozitan 18-year-old singer opened the 2019 edition of the festival with a convincing performance of her track Chameleon. She obtained 95 points in total. 

In the jury voting, Malta obtained 10 points from Azerbaijan, 8 points from the Netherlands and Italy, 6 points from Montenegro and Russia, 5 points from North Macedonia, 4 from Israel, Poland and Armenia, 3 points from Germany, the Czech Republic and Cyprus, 2 from Sweden, and one point from Finland, Slovenia, Latvia and Moldova.

But Malta's 10th place from the jury was dented when it received just a total of 20 votes from the public, the poor result clearly reflected on the faces of the Maltese performers and delegation. 

The Maltese jury gave the maximum points to Italy's Mahmood. 

Support for North Macedonia’s Tamara Todevska surged in early voting returns, bucking bookmakers’ expectations, making for nervous moments for the other contestants.

The UK's Michael Rice placed bottom, after getting just three points from the public vote, and a total of 16 points.

Read: How the internet reacted to Michela and Malta

High spirits

Michela entered the final night in high spirits, having made it through Thursday’s semi-final in a nerve-wracking manner, as the last qualifying contestant to be called out. It was the first time in three years that Malta qualified for the final. 

The participants were judged by both the voting public as well as panels of expert jurors, with the vote weighting split evenly, 50/50.

Each of the 26 competing countries, as well as the 15 countries eliminated in the Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals, had a five-member jury.

Netherlands' Duncan Laurence performs the song "Arcade" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition.Netherlands' Duncan Laurence performs the song "Arcade" during the Grand Final of the 64th edition.

Scoreboards of the semi-finals published after Saturday's final showed Michela's Chameleon placed 8th in Thursday's semi-final. Just one point separated Denmark, which qualified, and Lithuania, which was eliminated. 

The Netherlands placed first, followed by Sweden.

The semi-final results.The semi-final results.

Madonna falls flat

One of the highlights was the 'queen of pop' Madonna, who performed her 1989 hit Like a Prayer, accompanied by a 35-strong choir, and the world premiere of the song Future from her forthcoming album. But her performance was panned by many online. 

The glamorous and famously kitschy finale gave Israel a chance to showcase its credentials as a culturally progressive nation.

Israel won the right to host the extravaganza thanks to last year's victory by Israeli singer Netta Barzilai, who opened the show on Saturday night at a Tel Aviv concert hall.

Pop stars sympathetic to the rival Israeli and Palestinian causes have taken very different positions on Israel hosting it.

Palestinians organised a simultaneous alternative event dubbed 'Globalvision'.

Parties took place in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Haifa in northern Israel - home to a significant Arab population - and London and Dublin.

Anti-occupation NGO Breaking the Silence erected a billboard in Israel with the slogan 'Dare to Dream of Freedom'. playing on the 2019 contest's slogan 'Dare to Dream'.

Israeli singer Netta Barzilai, winner of the 2018 Eurovision, performs during the final. Photo: AFPIsraeli singer Netta Barzilai, winner of the 2018 Eurovision, performs during the final. Photo: AFP

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