Swedish Moroccan singer Loreen wins Eurovision Song Contest
Swedish Moroccan singer Lorine Talhaoui, who goes by the stage name Loreen, won the Eurovision Song Contest early Sunday as she beat out 25 competitors in the finale of the world’s biggest live music event, hosted by Britain on behalf of war-torn Ukraine.
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A previous victor in 2012, Loreen is the first woman to win the eccentric, much-loved competition twice and only the second person to do so after Johnny Logan for Ireland in the 1980s, AFP reported.
Born in Sweden to parents of Moroccan Berber origin, the 39-year-old’s win for Sweden was celebrated in the northern European country.
It is a record-equalling seventh Eurovision crown for Sweden and means the Scandinavian nation will host next year’s contest on the 50th anniversary of ABBA’s win — the country’s first — with breakthrough hit “Waterloo.”
Loreen told reporters that her victory with dance-pop track, “Tattoo,” felt “surreal” and “so beautiful,” and had left her “seriously overwhelmed,” according to AFP.
She narrowly triumphed over Finland’s Kaarija after the public and jury votes were combined following an evening of typically eclectic musical acts in Liverpool.
Sweden and Finland had been the bookmakers’ favourites heading into the contest beloved for its quirky performances.
Sweden’s biggest broadsheet Dagens Nyheter on Sunday hailed Loreen’s victory an “enormous, unbelievable feat”, praising her ability to touch audiences “like few others do.”
“She’s a strange combination of vague and ethereal,” it mused.
Rapper Kaarija, representing Finland, came a close second after a memorable performance of “Cha Cha Cha,” delivered in his distinctive green bolero-style jacket with spikes around the neck, which has become a craze in his homeland.
After coming in 16th place, France’s contestant La Zarra showed the cameras her middle finger, later defending her “gesture of disappointment” to French media.
The home crowd went wildest for the UK’s entry, Mae Muller, who flopped in the vote count.
Britain’s Sam Ryder, runner-up in 2022, performed his latest song — with Queen’s Roger Taylor on drums — during the voting for this year’s spectacle.
Last year’s winners, Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra, reappeared Saturday to kickstart the night.
The band performed in a pre-recorded video, featuring a surprise appearance by the Princess of Wales Kate Middleton playing the piano, and also gave a live performance.