Eurovision 2012 winner Loreen avoided any political messages after winning the singing contest in Azerbaijan early this morning, instead taking a decidedly routine route home.
The 28-year-old’s pop-dance hit Euphoria triumphed over Russia’s singing grannies and Serbia’s lone troubadour.
After making headlines for meeting with human-rights protesters earlier in the contest, Loreen stayed away from the politics after winning.
“This is about all of us! Thank you so very much! … Time has stopped,” she told reporters, according to Reuters.
Twenty-six nations competed in Eurovision 57th annual contest, where judges and television viewers decide on the winner.
Russian folk group Grannies from Buranovo finished second while Serbian Zeljko Joksimovic was third.
Engelbert Humperdinck, the 76-year-old showbiz veteran, was next to last representing England despite generating some early buzz.
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“I did the best for my country, the rest was out of my hands,” Humperdinck told BBC.
An estimated 100 million people watched the program, which pits rival nations against each other in a bid to claim European cultural supremacy.
Or something like that.
Sweden’s ABBA and Canadian Celine Dione, representing Switzerland, are two of the more famous past winners.
It’s also considered a political animal, with critics chastising nations for voting along political lines; yes, there are politics behind text-message voting.
Nations cannot vote for their own entry, however.
Azerbaijan, the oil-rich former Soviet republic along the Caspian Sea, faced criticism for its human rights while spending millions to woo business and tourists.
The country’s authoritarian president, Ilham Aliyev, took heat when police whisked away protesters.
Others say the contest is becoming too expensive for many nations to host.
Just as each country spends more to host successive Olympic Games, there are fears economically wounded nations like Greece and Spain won’t spend the millions needed to host in future.
“If the costs are growing more and more every year and it needs to be more splendid, there are countries that would have huge difficulties, especially with financial situation in Europe at the moment, in organizing it,” European Broadcasting Union representative Annika Nyberg Frankenhauser told The Associated Press.
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