People in the News

The Netherlands wins Eurovision Song Contest

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The Netherlands won the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv Saturday, with Duncan Laurence’s doleful piano ballad “Arcade” crowned champion of Europe’s annual music extravaganza.

The 25-year-old was tapped as an early front-runner before the Grand Final but was only ranked third after the vote of professional juries from the 41 participating countries, trailing Sweden and North Macedonia. He surged ahead thanks to the fan vote, securing The Netherlands its fifth win ever in the competition. Italy finished second, followed by Russia, Switzerland and Norway.

“This is to dreaming big. This is to music first, always,” Laurence said, as he was handed the trophy from last year’s winner, Israel’s Netta Barzilai.

Some 200 million people around the world were believed to have watched the annual campy contest with 26 nations battling in the Grand Final of the 64th Eurovision.

Madonna was the star attraction, performing her hit staple, “Like a Prayer,” marking 30 years since its release, and a new song “Future” from her forthcoming album “Madame X.” She took the stage after participants wrapped up their performances shortly after midnight when the elaborate voting process got underway across Europe.

To maximize onscreen tension, performers are ranked by a mix of fan votes and professional juries. Spectators could not vote for their own country, but like-minded nations tend to fall into blocs that back their regional favorites, with politics meshing into art.

The Eurovision debuted in the wake of World War II to heal a divided continent. Over the years, the earnest show of European unity has ballooned into an over-the-top, gay-friendly spectacle that brings together acts from across the continent, including those with little or no connection to Europe, such as Australia.

Matthew McConaughey finally receives diploma

LONGVIEW, Texas (AP) — Actor Matthew McConaughey has finally received his high school diploma, more than 30 years after graduating.

McConaughey was given his original diploma Friday night when he returned to his Texas alma mater to address the class of 2019.

A Longview High School spokeswoman told the Longview News-Journal that graduates normally receive diploma holders during commencement ceremonies and that the actual diplomas must be picked up later. She said McConaughey never got his.

The 49-year-old graduated from Longview in 1988. He responded to receiving his diploma with one word: “proof.”

McConaughey lives in Austin. He won an Oscar for his performance in “Dallas Buyers Club.”

He told the new graduates that he’d succeeded because he followed his heart, and that they should guard and follow theirs.