Sweden has emerged victorious in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, with singer Loreen making history as the first woman to win the competition twice, having previously taken the crown in 2012. Her win for dance-pop anthem “Tattoo” also means that Sweden has now won the contest seven times, drawing level with Ireland for the country with the most Eurovision wins.
Quirky Finnish Singer Kaarija Comes Second
Finland’s Kaarija, whose hyper-pop-rap tune “Cha Cha Cha” had been a popular act in the build-up to the grand final, came second. The 29-year-old arrived in his own customized sauna van and posed up a storm on the red carpet in his trademark neon green sleeves-only puffer jacket and bowl haircut. Israel’s entry, sung by Noa Kirel, which featured the most energetic dance routine of the night, came third.
UK’s act, Mae Muller, who sang “I Wrote A Song,” came second to last in the competition, which was a blow to the 25-year-old from north London, who had been widely tipped to make it into the top 10 with her catchy pop track, especially after the UK’s success in the contest last year.
The night had a surprise up its sleeve, with the Princess of Wales giving a pre-recorded piano performance in the opening of the show. Other guest appearances included last year’s Eurovision runner-up Sam Ryder performing “Mountain” with Queen legend Roger Taylor accompanying him on the drums, Liverpool songstress Sonia, and Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus giving advice to future contest winners.
The first time two countries have jointly hosted Eurovision, Liverpool put on the event on behalf of Ukraine, because the war-torn nation was unable to do so. Eleven Ukrainian artists performed in the ceremony itself, with Ukrainian motifs and the Ukrainian identity playing a central role throughout the night.
Despite controversy ahead of the competition, after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was banned from making an address at the grand final, Liverpool had “done the United Kingdom and Ukraine proud,” according to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), a group of national public broadcasters that produce Eurovision, said they feared his message would “politicize” the contest.
Inevitably Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was referenced by other performers during the night. Nods to the ongoing war included the Ukrainian act Tvorchi, whose song “Heart Of Steel” was inspired by the siege of Mariupol, Croatia’s Let 3, who performed anti-war song “Mama SC!” in front of giant nuclear warheads, and Czechia’s Vesna, singing part of their song “My Sister’s Crown” in Ukrainian.
In more light-hearted fare, Eurovision’s love of novelty acts shone through with some real corkers on offer this year. Austria’s “We Need To Talk About Edgar Allen Poe,” opened the competition, with singers Teya and Salena channelling the ghost of the literary great to take a swipe at music streamers. Acts that particularly got the auditorium buzzing included Germany’s pop-metal act Lord Of The Lost singing “Blood And Glitter,” Australia’s Voyager belting out “Promise” while rocking out on the bonnet of a vintage Toyota MR2, and Croatia’s Let 3 stripping off to their pants and vests mid-way through “Mama SC!”
While it may all be over for another year, fans of the world’s most-watched live non-sporting event will already be getting excited over next year’s performance in Sweden. It will be the country’s third time on hosting duty in the last 12 years.
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