Azerbaijan wins 2011 Eurovision Song Contest

Sat May 14, 2011 6:38pm EDT
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DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - Azerbaijan won the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest Saturday, taking top honors with a love song in the annual competition of 43 countries that was watched by an audience of more than 100 million people.

Eldar Gasimov and Niga Jamal, known as Ell/Nikki, won with their duet "Running Scared." Italy finished in second place while Sweden was third in the 56th annual edition of the contest that is famous for light entertainment and heavy-duty kitsch.

It was broadcast live from the Atlantic Ocean to the Caspian Sea.

The Eurovision Song Contest has been a launching pad for international careers. Swedish pop group Abba became famous after winning in 1974 with "Waterloo" and Canada's Celine Dion took top honours in 1988 while competing for Switzerland.

(Reporting by Erik Kirschbaum, editing by Alison Williams)

<p>Ell and Nikki of Azerbaijan perform their song 'Running Scared' after winning the Eurovision Song Contest final in Duesseldorf May 14, 2011. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay</p>