Entertainment & Arts

Sweden tipped for Eurovision success

Image caption Sweden's Loreen is of Moroccan descent

Sweden is being tipped as favourite to win the Eurovision Song Contest, which gets under way in Baku, Azerbaijan, next week.

Singer Loreen, 28, will sing club track Euphoria in the semi-finals early next week - in which 37 countries will compete for the final 20 spots.

But veteran star Englebert Humperdinck, representing the UK, believes he could win with Love Will Set You Free.

"I think it has a very strong chance," he said of the ballad.

The crooner, best known for his number one hits Release Me and The Last Waltz, said he believed the track has "a great melody, a great storyline and... longevity".

"It's a Viennese waltz and waltzes have a romantic feel and people usually dance slow to it. I think this has a great, great chance."

Image caption Humperdinck, who has a strong global fanbase, lives in Leicester

UK bookmakers have Sweden down as the strongest contender for the Eurovision crown, with odds of 7/1 to win; William Hill is reporting betting odds of 10/1 for Humperdinck to take the title.

Humperdinck, who set off for Baku from his Leicester home on Friday, does not have to compete in the semi-final stage. The UK has an automatic pass to the finals as one of the contest's five biggest financial donors - alongside France, Spain, Germany and Italy.

The 78-year-old singer told reporters that he is proud to be performing at Eurovision, which he said had provided "an uplift in my career" despite some comments in the press about his age.

"I don't think age has got anything to do with the singing, with the contest.

"It's not a talent competition, it's a song contest and because of my experience of travelling around the world and being an ambassador for my country, I think it stands a good chance."

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