Sweden’s Mans Zelmerlow has won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, beating Russia’s Polina Gagarina.
Mans Zelmerlow won with his upbeat pop track Heroes, which was accompanied by innovative animated visuals.
Italy came on the third place, followed by Belgium. Australia finished fifth in the country’s first Eurovision appearance.
A record number of countries – 27 – took part, including Australia – which was invited to compete for the first time to mark the event’s 60th anniversary.
Mans Zelmerlow was the bookmakers’ favorite throughout the build-up to this year’s contest.
“I’m so happy and I want to say thank you for voting for me,” he told the crowd.
“I want to say we are all Heroes, no matter who we love, who we are or what we believe in – we are all heroes.”
This is Sweden’s sixth Eurovision win – meaning they are now just one victory behind the contest’s record holders Ireland, who have won seven times.
The result also means the next year’s song contest will be held in Sweden – just three years after it last hosted the show.
This year’s contest was held in the Austrian capital’s Wiener Stadthalle following Conchita Wurst’s win last year.
But this year, the hosts, along with Germany, finished with zero points – the first time since 2003 that any country has drawn a blank.
Russian contestant Polina Gagarina was beaten by Mans Zelmerlow after being neck-and-neck for much of the voting.
Italian opera trio Il Volo who have enjoyed chart success around the world, finished third. Belgium’s 19-year-old Loic Nottet managed fourth.
And it was a respectable night for Guy Sebastian, one of Australia’s biggest pop stars, who came fifth after being sent to represent his country.
After the show, Eurovision organizers revealed there had been irregularities with the votes from the juries in Macedonia and Montenegro.
The points awarded by each country are normally determined by a combination of a jury and a public vote.
A statement said: “The jury results of FYR Macedonia and Montenegro for the grand final have been excluded after consultation of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the contest’s independent voting observer, and upon the decision of the executive supervisor and the chairman of the reference group.
“In both countries, televoting applied for 100%. The exclusion of two juries will be further discussed in the next reference group meeting in June.”
Around 200 million viewers were thought to have tuned in to the event on television, and it was screened live in China for the first time.
PKN (Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat) has been knocked out of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in the first semi-final last night.
The Finnish Punk band is the first Eurovision act to all have developmental disabilities.
They are one of six entries going home, along with Danish boyband Anti Social Media.
It is the first time Denmark has failed to get to the final since 2007.
Ten acts – Russia, Serbia, Armenia, Belgium, Greece, Estonia, Hungary, Albania, Romania and Georgia – are all through to final on Saturday, May 23, in Vienna.
Netherlands also made a surprise exit.
Last year their act, The Common Linnets, came second in the contest.
Fans of PKN reacted angrily to news they had not been voted through to the final, after they ranked among early favorites with bookmakers.
Moldova, Macedonia and Belarus were also knocked out, with another 17 acts set to compete in the second semi-final on May 21.
This year, long-time Eurovision fans Australia will also go straight through as a wildcard entry, competing for the first time with their act Guy Sebastian to celebrate the song contest’s 60th anniversary.
Last year’s winner Conchita Wurst – who earned host country Austria an automatic place after storming to victory in Copenhagen – opened the semi-final with a performance of Rise Like A Phoenix, before switching to her other role hosting this year’s green room.
Votes from viewers in all 16 countries appearing in last night’s semi-final made up 50% of the acts’ total scores, with the other half supplied by professional juries.
Alex Larke, who performs with the Rolling Clones, is teaming up with Bianca Nicholas to compete for the UK in May’s Eurovision Song Contest as Electro Velvet.
Their song, Still in Love With You, is an up-tempo electric swing track.
In 2014, Molly Smitten-Downes came 17th for the UK with Children of the Universe. This year’s contest is in Vienna on May 23.
The UK has only placed in the top 10 once since Jemini’s infamous “nul points” in 2003, when Jade Ewan was fifth in 2009 with the Andrew Lloyd Webber written song It’s My Time.
The last time the UK won was in 1997 when it was represented by Katrina and the Waves with Love Shine a Light.
Bianca Nicholas, 26, was a contestant on The Voice in 2013, although none of the judges swiveled their chair round in support of her performance, meaning she did not progress any further than the initial heats.
She released a single in 2011 – Hold on to Your Dreams – which sold enough copies to enter the top 100 singles chart.
Bianca Nicholas has the serious genetic condition cystic fibrosis, which affects the lungs, and has previously spoken about how singing has improved her breathing and lung function.
Due to her affiliation with the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Bianca Nicholas has sung in front of Royal Family members at charity galas.
Alex Larke, 35, has performed around the world with his Rolling Stones tribute act, and splits his time between performing and teaching in a primary school.
He said: “I feel incredibly privileged and humbled to be representing the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, for this massively historic 60th anniversary event.
“We have a fantastic song and will work as hard as is humanly possible to bring the contest home and make our great nation proud. It’s time to get this party started! See you in Vienna!”
The song Electro Velvet will be performing, Still in Love With You, was written by David Mindel and Adrian Bax White and chosen through an open selection process which saw hundreds of entries from both professional and amateur songwriters.
Guy Sebastian will represent Australia at its debut Eurovision Song Contest in May.
The announcement was made in a ceremony at the Sydney Opera House on March 5.
Australia was given a wildcard entry to the 60th edition of the competition, to be held in Vienna, Austria.
It has been fast-tracked to the final and so will not have to compete in the earlier rounds.
Guy Sebastian won the first ever Australian Idol competition in 2003 and has since had eight Top 10 albums and two No 1 singles.
He was a judge on Australia’s version of The X Factor between 2010 and 2012.
Guy Sebastian said he was “pumped” to be performing at the competition.
“It’s Eurovision, it’s huge and keeps growing here in Australia which is nice,” he told ABC news.
Guy Sebastian has yet to choose a song to perform.
“That is still being worked out,” he said.
“I know that I can’t sing something that has been released prior to September, so it doesn’t leave me with a lot.
“Luckily enough I released my album in November… which narrows it down a little bit or I could write something in the next few days.
“I want it to represent us as a nation well but also just be fun or be emotional. Either super fun or like a big ballad or something that showcases my voice.”
The annual song contest is hugely popular in Australia – three million watched the competition in 2014.
The European Broadcasting Union said Australia had been given a pass to the final “to not reduce the chances” of the semi-final participants.
Australia will be allowed to vote in both semi-finals, as well as the grand final.
The possibility of allowing the public to have a 50% stake in the Australian vote through televoting is also being explored.
Australians have participated in the Eurovision contest before, representing other countries. Olivia Newton John sang for the UK in 1974 – coming fourth – as did Gina G in 1996. Jane Comerford represented Germany in 2006.
Australia will compete at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Austria.
Organizers issued a one-off invitation as part of the contest’s 60th anniversary celebrations.
“It’s a daring and at the same time incredibly exciting move. It is our way of saying let’s celebrate this party together!” contest supervisor Jon Ola Sand said.
Australia will be fast-tracked to the final, which will take place in Vienna on May 23.
A total of 40 countries will now compete in the contest.
The European Broadcasting Union said Australia had been given a wildcard for the final “to not reduce the chances” of the semi-final participants and because of the “one-off nature” of its participation.
Australia will be allowed to vote in both semi-finals, as well as the grand final. The possibility of allowing the public to have a 50% stake in the Australian vote through televoting is also being explored.
The other participating countries will be allowed to vote for the Australian entry – who has yet to be selected – however should their act win the contest, next year’s show will be held in a European city and Australia will be allowed to defend its title.
Eurovision has a long tradition of being broadcast in Australia by broadcaster SBS.
“SBS has been broadcasting Eurovision for over 30 years and we have seen how Australians’ love of the song contest has grown during those years,” managing director Michael Ebeid said.
“We are very excited to have secured this historic opportunity for Australia to be represented on the world’s biggest stage and are honored that the European Broadcasting Union has supported us to achieve this ambition.”
Host broadcaster ORF added: “With the participation of Australia, together with our partners at the EBU and SBS, we have succeeded to lift [Eurovision] to a new global level and to build another bridge for the 60th anniversary.”
It is not the first time Australians have participated at the song contest.
Singer Jessica Mauboy – who appeared in the 2012 film The Sapphires – provided the interval entertainment in 2014.
Australians have also competed representing the UK – including the New Seekers, Gina G and Olivia Newton John – who lost to Swedish pop group Abba in 1974.
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