Azerbaijan win Eurovision Song Contest

Azerbaijan won the Eurovision Song Contest in Dusseldorf with the romantic ballad “Running Scared” last night in the annual cheese-fest that grips the European states and is watched by a television audience of more than 100 million people.

UK entry Blue came 11th with 100 points, not as well as the London guys would have wished for, but a lot better than the past years. One of the pre-event favourites, Jedward, representing Ireland, could only muster 8th with 119 points. Despite a wealth of support on twitter and other social media channels, the brothers Grimes, never got close to Azerbaijan.

Blue didn't win but were better than many UK acts of latter day

The song about a love-struck couple was performed by 21-year-old student Eldar Gasimov and Nigar Jamal, 30, a mother-of-two who lives in London. The duo, known as Ell-Nikki, won a total 221 points.

Italy was second with 189 points and Sweden came third on 185 in the 56th edition of the contest, hosted by Germany. Widely heralded pre-contest favourites Ireland, Britain and France all had disappointing results.

Jedward in all their glory

The extravaganza, dubbed the world’s biggest music competition with one of television’s largest audiences, was beamed to countries from the Atlantic Ocean to the Caspian Sea – and to nations around the world that were not even competing.

“Oh my gosh, we won, we won,” said Gasimov, whose face was drenched with sweat as he celebrated on stage in front of 36,000 spectators in a soccer arena in the German city of Duesseldorf that had been converted for the event.

Ell-Nikki

“I’m the happiest man in the world right now,” he said.

Jamal, who has an economics degree, said it was hard to grasp the fairytale victory for Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic of eight million that regained independence in 1991.

The Eurovision Song Contest has been a launching pad for international careers. Swedish pop group Abba became famous after winning in 1974 with “Waterloo” and Celine Dion took top honours in 1988 while competing for Switzerland.

Many deride the contest for serving up mediocrity, while others are enthusiastic followers, mainly anywhere but our dear, satanic hills!

From its start in Switzerland in 1956, the contest conceived by the European Broadcasting Union has grown into a giant event where performers, often dressed in spangly costumes, belt out their songs in different languages.

The weirdest act of the night Moldova... still beat us!

Fans draped in national flags and clad in exotic outfits packed the arena, cheering the 25 finalists who mixed glitz and kitsch with ballads, rock ‘n’ roll and disco to try to win votes from viewers and 43 national juries.

It was also a disappointing night for Germany after Lena (whose hypnotising dance had me on the edge of my seat, so I guess if ever voted in these things – she would have had my vote and the left hand side of my bed) won last year in Oslo.

Lena became an instant national hero for ending Germany’s three-decade Eurovision drought. Her song “Satellite” went to the top of pop music charts in six countries and was a top 10 hit in seven others. She was a distant 10th on Saturday night, one place above the British boy-band, Blue.

Other famous participants in past contests included Julio Iglesias, Olivia Newton-John, Secret Garden, t.A.T.u., Lordi and Patricia Kaas. Riverdance was created in 1994 when Ireland hosted the contest.

Ell-Nikki celebrate

How they finished –

1. Azerbaijan – 221 points
2. Italy – 189 points
3. Sweden – 185 points
4. Ukraine – 159 points
5. Denmark – 134 points
6. Bosnia & Herzegovina – 125 points
7. Greece – 120 points
8. Ireland – 119 points
9. Georgia – 110 points
10. Germany – 107 points
11. United Kingdom – 100 points
12. Moldova – 97 points
13. Slovenia – 96 points
14. Serbia – 85 points
15. France – 82 points
16. Russia – 77 points
17. Romania – 77 points
18. Austria – 64 points
19. Lithuania – 63 points
20. Iceland – 61 points
21. Finland – 57 points
22. Hungary – 53 points
23. Spain – 50 points
24. Estonia – 44 points
25. Switzerland – 19 points