Sweden’s Loreen clinched the top spot at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with her dance hit “Euphoria,” pushing aside competition from a sextet of Russian grannies and a Serbian balladeer.
Juries and television viewers from across Europe awarded Loreen a total of 372 points, handing her an easy win in an event that ended in the early hours of Sunday in host country Azerbaijan. Sweden will take over hosting duties next year.
Turkey, which was represented by 24-year-old Can Bonomo with the song “Love Me Back,” ranked seventh in the contest.
Soft-spoken Loreen, a 28-year-old of Moroccan-Berber descent, thanked her fans for their support.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do this without you. Thank you so much,” she said after her victory was announced.After Loreen kissing the trophy made by Kosta Boda
Russia’s Buranovskiye Babushki garnered much public affection for their cute onstage presence, but their folksy dance ditty “Party for Everybody” couldn’t quite match Sweden’s more contemporary offering and ended up second with 259 points.
Zeljko Joksimovic, a Eurovision regular from Serbia, came in a distant third with his slow and stripped-down “Nije Ljubav Stvar.”
The 57-year-old pan-European competition viewed by some 125 million people worldwide is hailed by its legion of devoted fans as harmless, kitschy fun that allows Europeans to forget their differences — and economic troubles — for at least one night. The winner is picked by juries and television viewers across the continent, so a broad appeal is deemed key to success.