BAKU, Azerbaijan — Sweden’s Loreen has clinched the top spot at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with her dance hit “Euphoria,” pushing aside competition from a sextet of Russian grannies and a Serbian balladeer.
Juries and television viewers from across Europe awarded Loreen a total of 372 points, handing her an easy win in an event that ended in the early hours Sunday in host country Azerbaijan. Sweden will host next year.
Russia’s Buranovskiye Babushki, a group of six elderly ladies, garnered much public affection for their cute onstage presence, but couldn’t match Sweden’s more contemporary offering.
Zeljko Joksimovic, a Eurovision regular from Serbia, came in a distant third with his slow and stripped-down “Nije Ljubav Stvar.”
The night opened with some two-note crooning by the U.K.’s black-clad veteran act Engelbert Humperdinck, who Scottish comedian Robert Florence acerbically remarked on Twitter looked “like an inaccurate waxwork of Johnny Cash.”
The 57-year-old pan-European competition viewed by some 125 million people worldwide is hailed by its legion of devoted fans as harmless, kitschy fun that allows Europeans to forget their differences and economic troubles for at least one night. The winner is picked by juries and TV viewers across the continent, so a broad appeal is deemed key to success.