Saturday, May 16, 2009
Norway has won the Eurovision Song Contest 2009, held Saturday evening in Moscow, Russia, by the largest margin in the Contest’s history. Alexander Rybak‘s song “Fairytale” received 387 points, 169 points more than the second place entrant, Yohanna, who represented Iceland with the song “Is It True?“
Rybak, 23, was the runaway winner from the beginning of the voting, and was the odds-on favorite with British bookies. The other bookie favorites, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Greece, all found places in the Top 10, placing fourth, fifth and seventh, respectively. It was the first Top 10 showing for the United Kingdom in seven years.
Other notable scores included Estonia, who finished in sixth place after qualifying for the final for the first time ever since the pre-qualifying round was introduced five years ago, and France, who placed eighth for their first Top 10 finish since 2002. Spanish singer Soraya Arnelas placed joint twenty-third after a difficult week, which included public outcry against her and her national broadcaster.
Russians hoping to repeat a victory on home turf were disappointed as Anastasiya Prikhodko‘s song “Mamo” placed eleventh. Israel’s song “There Must Be Another Way,” sung by a Jewish-Arab duo, marking the first time an Arab performer represented Israel in any capacity, placed sixteenth. Germany, despite having lots of publicity before the event for signing on burlesque performer Dita von Teese to appear on-stage with their entrants, Alex Swings Oscar Sings!, placed twentieth, the third year in a row Germany placed in the bottom quartile.
For the first time in 29 years, Sir Terry Wogan did not provide a commentary on the UK’s broadcast, Irish comedian Graham Norton replaced Sir Terry, who has complained that “it was no longer a music contest.”
According to Norton, the event was blemished by the Russian policing of it, and he commented on-air that “heavy-handed policing has really marred what has been a fantastic Eurovision.”
This is Norway’s third Eurovision win. They previously won in 1985 and 1995. As winners, Norway and its national broadcaster, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), will host the event next May.
Here are the results of the finale night.