Azerbaijan Wins Wacky Eurovision Contest

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Azerbaijan‘s duo Ell/Nikki won the annual Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday in Düsseldorf. Germany‘s Lena came in 10th overall.

It was the first time the Caucasus country won the competition, in which 43 countries participated. Of those, 25 made it through to Saturday‘s final round.

Their ballad Running Scared earned the duo 221 points, ahead of rivals from Italy and Sweden.

The result means that Azerbaijan can host next year‘s Eurovision Song Contest, four years after first entering the competition in 2008. Points are allocated half by a professional panel and half by telephone voting from all participating countries. VIDEO

The result came as a surprise after acts from Ireland, France, Finland and Denmark had all been touted as favorites. The winning entry by duo by Nigar Jamal, 31, and Eldar Gasimov, 22, was a moving love song, performed in English and displaying contemporary Western influence.

This year‘s entries were of an unusually high calibre and included Georgian gothic rock, Italian jazz and Corsican opera alongside the usual catchy euro-pop tunes, while traditional musical influences were muted.

Italy‘s Raphael Gualazzi reached second position in the final moments of voting, after a 14-year absence in the competition, followed by Sweden‘s Eric Saade and his catchy tune, Popular.

The audience was treated to striking stage acts by spiky-haired Irish twins John and Edward Grimes, or Jedward, as well as Moldovan group Zdob si Zdub, whose performance included tall pointy hats and a fairy riding a monocycle.

Austria's Nadine Beiler earned 64 points with The Secret Is Love. The least successful of the finalists was Anna Rossinelli from Switzerland, whose song In Love For A While earned just 25 points.

Broadcast from a Düsseldorf football stadium, the show included a live audience of 36,000 and was watched by an estimated 120 million people across all competing states.

The stage, on which competitors had up to three minutes of airtime, included a huge LED screen. The entire event cost an estimated 25 million euros (36 million dollars).

The contest provided Germany with the opportunity to advertise its European credentials, as each entry was preceded with a brief video featuring nationals of that country, integrated into various German cities.

For pre-contest story ckick HERE

dpa

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