Damiano David, the flamboyant singer for Eurovision-winning Italian rockers Maneskin, tested negative for drugs, contest organizers said Monday, following a furor over speculation that he snorted cocaine in the final.
The vocalist dressed in red leather pants was tested after images of him bending over a table in the competition’s hospitality area in Rotterdam went viral.
Eurovision, the kitschy annual televised pop music extravaganza watched by hundreds of millions each year, is hosted by the European Broadcasting Union.
The Geneva-based EBU said the following behind-the-scenes drug use allegations had reviewed the facts, including verifying all available images.
He said David voluntarily submitted to a drug test on Monday “which came back negative as seen by EBU.”
“There was no drug use in the Green Room and we consider the matter closed.
“We are alarmed that the inaccurate speculation that led to fake news has overshadowed the spirit and outcome of the event and unfairly affected the band.”
Favorites Maneskin battled stiff competition from France and Switzerland, claiming victory on Saturday thanks to the public vote to win with 524 points for his song “Zitti e Buoni”.
Zitti e buoni is number 9 on the Spotify Global Chart. It is the most played Italian song of all time, something like this never happened. Like we told you, Rock’n’roll never dies⭐️ pic.twitter.com/WU1qxqDgoj
– ManeskinOfficial (@thisismaneskin) May 24, 2021
“We wish to congratulate Maneskin once again and wish them great success,” said EBU.
“We look forward to working with our Italian member Rai on the production of a spectacular Eurovision Song Contest in Italy next year.”
Such was the furor that even the French government intervened, seeing reasons for disqualification if David had tested positive.
The French Minister for Europe, Clement Beaune, had called for “total transparency”.
“I think there should be no question,” he told RMC radio.
“If there is a problem, there are sanctions … Sanctioning measures are envisaged, including possible disqualification in case of problems,” he said.
French hopes were high on singer Barbara Pravi, who was the bookies’ favorite to end France’s 44-year Eurovision drought with her moody ballad “Voilà.”
But it was overtaken at the last minute by an increase in public votes for Maneskin.
“I don’t want to be a sore loser,” Beaune said, but “in terms of image, we can’t let people think that such competitions can result in such behavior.”
However, the chairman of France’s public broadcasting group said on Monday that France will not contest its second place, regardless of speculation.
David was asked about the footage during a press conference early Sunday, and said he had been looking down because guitarist Thomas Raggi had broken glass.
“I don’t use drugs. Please guys. Don’t really say that, no cocaine. Please don’t say that,” said David, who sprinkled champagne on his bandmates during the conference.
The quartet, which also features Victoria De Angelis on bass and Ethan Torchio on drums, told fans on Twitter: “We still can’t believe what’s going on, these last few days have been incredible and this is just the beginning.
“Our new album ‘Teatro D’Ira’ just went platinum, as did ‘Le Parole Lontane’. This is all thanks to you.”
“We can’t wait to tour the world and share our music with all of you.”
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)