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Old 24-05-15, 03:35   #1
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European Union PhOtOs-Australia Joins EURO Song Contest >Sweden Wins

Australians Dance, Cheer in 'World Class' - Eurovision Debut

AP, 23 May 2015

Excited Australians partied and sang, with some dressed up in glittering costumes as they cheered on their wildcard entry to Eurovision on Sunday despite the song contest airing in the early hours

The country's love for the kitsch competition took on a patriotic bent this year as its entrant Guy Sebastian wowed audiences in Australia, with many delighted with his final fifth place ranking.

"Everyone was so happy that Guy was in the top five," said Kate Hansen, who organised an overnight Eurovision party in the western city of Perth for almost 50 people, with many donning costumes and drinking wine from sparkling glasses.

Fans of Australian singer Guy Sebastian who represented his country as a wild card at the 60th Eurovision Song Contest, cheer during a live broadcast to Federation Square in Melbourne, on May 24, 2015 ©Theo Karanikos (AFP)

"That was amazing. There was a lot of noise whenever Guy was on and they mentioned Australia," Hansen, who wore a colourful, butterfly-themed costume to reflect the Malmo logo of the 2013 contest in Sweden, told AFP.

Dozens of fans braved the near freezing temperatures in the southern city of Melbourne, wearing beanies and scarves to dance and sing at an outdoor live screening of the musical spectacle in the heart of the city from 5:00am local time (1900 GMT).

Others watched the final -- which is marking its 60th anniversary -- from their bedrooms in pyjamas and dressing gowns, with Eurovision the top trending topic on Twitter in Australia as they took to the social media site to support Sebastian.

"Whatever the outcome @GuySebastian just showed the globe how bloody good he is. That was a world class performance #AUS #SBSEurovision," one user tweeted.

Another wrote: "Totally #TeamGuy!! So proud to be Australian right now! You smashed it,@GuySebastian !! #Eurovision #SBSEurovision."

Music lecturer Catherine Strong, who woke up early in Melbourne to catch the extravaganza, said Australia's inclusion this year made watching the scoring announcements "very tense".

"You feel more invested emotionally," Strong said. "It probably wouldn't have mattered who was singing, you'd still get behind them and cheer them on."

Another avid fan, Adele Adell, who has watched the event since it first started airing on local host broadcaster SBS in 1983, said she and her partner Jeff Neal were already booking tickets to watch next year's Eurovision in Sweden following Mans Zelmerlow's win.

"It was very different with Australia in it. It was pretty exciting being able to vote... we were very lucky to be invited to participate as a guest," Adell said.
"We've been to two -- 2013 and 2014. Now we're just planning on where we're going to stay in Sweden for 2016."

Australia's Guy Sebastian performs during the 60th Eurovision Song Contest final, in Vienna, Austria, on May 23, 2015 ©Dieter Nagl (AFP)


Sweden Wins Eurovision Song Contest

Sweden has been crowned the winner of the 60th Eurovision Song Contest for Mans Zelmerlow's performance of Heroes.

It is the sixth time in the contest's history that Sweden has come out on top, this time fighting off strong competition from Russia and Italy to take home the prize and be confirmed as the host of next year's competition.

UK act Electro Velvet came away with a disappointing five points for their track Still In Love With You, which saw primary school teacher and Mick Jagger tribute Alex Larke perform alongside former Voice contestant Bianca Nicholas for an electro-swing number.

Mans Zelmerlow celebrates after winning the final of the Eurovision Song Contest for Sweden (AP)

Australia was welcomed to the competition for the first time as a special guest to mark the 60th anniversary, with Guy Sebastian, a successful musician in his home country, offering Tonight Again as the country's debut track and ending up in fifth place.

Lithuania drew praise for what appeared to be its support of gay rights by including a double same-sex kiss during the performance.

Serbia impressed with Bojana Stamenov singing Beauty Never Lies, a song penned by Charlie Mason who wrote last year's winning song Rise Like A Phoenix for Austria's Conchita Wurst.

Russia, Belgium and Latvia were also among the favourites and drew in the votes from across Europe.

Other notable acts included show opener Slovenia, whose act wore headphones throughout the performance and featured a dancer on air violin.

Voting followed the typical bloc system often seen in Eurovision, with neighbouring Balkan and former USSR countries awarding each other top points.

However, many countries strayed from their traditional voting patterns to send Russia, Sweden and Italy into the lead.

Austria and Germany were the only countries to receive the embarrassing Eurovision score of nul points.

This year, TV cook Nigella Lawson called in the UK's votes, showing off her German, Italian and French language skills as she read out the results which included 12 points for Sweden, 10 for Australia and eight for Italy.

The contest this year was held at the Wiener Stadthalle and saw 2014's victor Wurst as one of the hosts, who also kicked off the competition with a song based around the competition's theme, building bridges, and gave a performance of a new track later in the evening.

Electro Velvet said: "Obviously it is disappointing to finish on the right hand side of the board but we have had the most amazing, brilliant, unforgettable time being part of this unique competition in this special year.
"We put our hearts and souls into representing our country and would like to thank everyone back at home and around the world that got behind us, it really means a lot and of course we also want to congratulate Sweden and Mans Zelmerlow on their well-deserved victory."

Mans Zelmerlow celebrates with the trophy after winning the final of the Eurovision Song Contest (AP)


NB Folks: China or Mexico may be in the contention race to see which country will be offered a 'Wild Card' in the
next Eurovision Song Contest...

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