Denmark's folksy ballad wins Eurovision

Sat May 18, 2013 7:51pm EDT
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By Mia Shanley

MALMO, Sweden (Reuters) - Denmark's Emmelie de Forest won Eurovision on Saturday before an international TV audience of around 125 million, securing the coveted crown of euro-pop with a folksy ballad backed by flutes and drums.

The barefoot 20-year-old stole the show as predicted by bookmakers with "Only Teardrops" in a final that saw 26 countries battle it out in the southern Swedish city of Malmo for the top prize in glitzy European pop music.

"I could feel the fans and all the energy in the arena. ... It's a once in a lifetime experience. I'm just the happiest girl in the world," de Forest said after the event. She said she was proud to win in Sweden as her late father was Swedish and a Eurovision fan.

Denmark, which has won the contest twice before - most recently in 2000 with the Olsen Brothers' "Fly on the Wings of Love" - was clearly in the lead even after just half of the votes were cast.

The show's host, Swedish comedian Petra Mede, went ahead and announced the country's win before the final votes were read out, with the red and white Danish flag flashing on her gown in a classic over-the-top Eurovision moment.

Azerbaijan took second place in the competition with "Hold Me", followed by third place for Ukraine with "Gravity".

"How many times can we win and lose? How many times can we break the rules between us? Only teardrops?" the Danish performer sang, beaming ear-to-ear as she repeated her winning song to the audience against a fiery backdrop.

Denmark's victory means the contest will move just across the bridge between Sweden and Denmark next year, keeping the contest in the Nordics for a second year running after Loreen won last year's contest in Azerbaijan with her dance track "Euphoria".   Continued...

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt (L-R) pose during the arrival party for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest at Malmo Arena Hall in Malmo May 18, 2013. REUTERS/Janerik Henriksson/Scanpix