Sweden wins Eurovision Song Contest

 

Sweden's Loreen thanked voters before performing her winning track Euphoria

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Favourite Loreen has triumphed for Sweden at the 57th Eurovision Song Contest, with her club track Euphoria.

The former Swedish Idol contestant led from early on in the voting at Baku, challenged only by Russia's Buranovo Grannies, Serbia and hosts Azerbaijan.

British entry Engelbert Humperdinck, who opened the contest with his ballad Love Will Set You Free, finished second from last - despite high hopes.

The 76-year-old said he "did the best for my country".

"I've had many highs in my career and Eurovision has been a wonderful experience," he said.

"I want to thank everybody, especially my fans around the world for their words of support.

"I did the best for my country, the rest was out of my hands."

However, at least the British star was spared the humiliation of 'nil points'.

Poor draw

The crooner, who has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, received just 12 points - from Estonia, Latvia, Belgium and Ireland.

The UK has not won since 1997 and has come last three times in the past 10 years.

There were high hopes for Humperdinck - affectionately known as "The Hump" - given his huge global fanbase, but his draw as first to sing in the contest seemingly proved detrimental.

Viewers often tune in late and miss the early contenders, and no opening act has gone on to win since 1984.

Russia's Buranovskiye Babushki Russia's Buranovskiye Babushki were well received in Baku but it was not enough to clinch a win

Twenty six countries took part in the final in Azerbaijan's spectacular Crystal Hall, in front of a live audience of some 20,000.

Up to 125 million typically watch the annual contest on television around the world.

Loreen racked up a massive 372 points on the leader board, leaving a trail of disappointed contenders in her wake.

A combination of points from televoting and national juries decides the winner.

Each country awards points to 10 competitors based on judges' scores and a public vote, with 12 points being the maximum awarded.

"I love you so much. Thank you for believing in me," the 28-year-old Swede told her supporters, as she took to the stage to sing one final time.

"I wouldn't have been able to do it without you."

Eurovision Song Contest

  • Created by Marcel Bezencon in 1955
  • First held in Lugano, Switzerland, in 1956, when the winning song was Refrain performed by Lys Assia
  • Twenty-six countries competed in the 2012 final
  • Watch clips and find out more at the Eurovision website (www.eurovision.tv)
  • Country profile: Azerbaijian

Euphoria has already topped the charts in five countries, including Sweden and neighbouring Finland. Norway had the dubious honour of last place.

Bagpipes, blindfolds and water fountains all featured in a typically extravagant contest, as well as a celebrated group of Russian pensioners, who performed Party for Everyone, a cross between a traditional folk tune and a dance track, to rapturous applause.

Ireland, who were represented by Jedward for the second year in a row, came 19th - with 46 points - an unexpected slump on their previous performance in 2011, which saw them come eighth.

Their performance of pop track Waterline closed with the 20-year-old Grimes twins jumping into a fountain in the middle of the stage.

 

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