x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Sweden star Loreen triumphs in Eurovision 2012

Swedish star Loreen beat off a challenge from dancing Russian pensioners to win a spectacular Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan.

Sweden’s Loreen, the winner of the Eurovision 2012. Vyacheslav Oseledko / AFP
Sweden’s Loreen, the winner of the Eurovision 2012. Vyacheslav Oseledko / AFP

Swedish star Loreen beat off a challenge from dancing Russian pensioners to win a spectacular Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan.

Loreen, 28, wowed voters with a catchy dance number called Euphoria featuring an upbeat chorus accompanied by a high-kicking dance duet and a storm of artificial snow.

She brandished the glass microphone trophy in a shower of gold ticker-tape at a post-contest news conference.

"It's just a question of taste. This year it happened to me," she modestly explained her victory.

She hugged her mother and smiled, referring back to the title of her song as she explained she felt at her win: "I know this sounds corny, but euphoric."

The victory brings Eurovision back to one of its heartlands. Sweden's most famous band Abba gained worldwide fame after winning the contest in 1974 with Waterloo - for many the song that defined the kitschy contest for all time.

Loreen's win took Sweden's total of Eurovision trophies to five, making it one of the most successful countries at winning the quirky contest. But it last struck gold more than a decade ago in 1999.

Second place went to Russia's heartwarming Buranovskiye Babushki, a choir of elderly women from a village who performed a disco song Party for Everybody in English and their local Finno-Ugric language with a stove and a tray as props.

Third was Serbian Eurovision veteran Zelijko Joksimovic who had already competed in three previous contests, once as a singer and twice as a composer.

Eurovision is the biggest event ever hosted by energy-rich Azerbaijan.

There was disappointment for Britain after veteran crooner Engelbert Humperdinck - brought in to revive its notoriously bad Eurovision fortunes - scored just 12 points and came second last with his ballad Love Will Set You Free.

* AFP