Sweden's Mans Zelmerlow wins Eurovision Song Contest

Sat May 23, 2015 7:53pm EDT
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By Victoria Bryan and Shadia Nasralla

VIENNA (Reuters) - Sweden's Mans Zelmerlow won the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna on Sunday, beating Russia and Italy in the world's biggest international music show.

The 28-year-old singer and TV presenter, who had been a bookmakers' favorite, performed the winning electro-pop ballad "Heroes," dancing in front of a black screen with animated gnomes.

Sweden has won the 60-year-old competition six times, more than any other nation apart from Ireland. Sweden won most recently in 2012 with "Euphoria" by Loreen and now gets to host the contest again next year.

This year's theme was Building Bridges, which many artists interpreted as an appeal for tolerance in performances that included a gay kiss scene by Lithuania.

"We are all heroes no matter who we love, who we are or what we believe in," Zelmerlow told the crowd in Vienna after getting a hug from last year's victor, bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst of Austria.

He beat Russia's Polina Gagarina, whose song "A Million Voices" reaped top scores from most former Soviet satellite states that earned angry jeers from the crowd in Austria.

"Please remember that our motto is building bridges and that music should stand over politics tonight," presenter Alice Tumler told the audience.

The annual kitsch-fest was watched last year by more than 195 million people in 45 countries, or more viewers than the Super Bowl.   Continued...

Singer Mans Zelmerloew representing Sweden celebrates winning the final of the 60th annual Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Austria May 23, 2015. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger