Sweet victory for Sweden. Swedish singer Mans Zelmerlow won the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest, an annual singing competition, this year involving 27 countries. Zelmerlow sang a pop tune called “Heroes.” The performance included animations and strobe lights. The visuals were designed to interact with Zelmerlow, with him high-fiving drawn figures and moving around lights and balloons.
“We all are heroes no matter who we are, what we love or what we believe in,” Zelmerlow said on stage as he accepted the award. He then performed the award-winning number again.
This was Zelmerlow’s third time participating in the contest, according to Eurovision. Zelmerlow, 28, has appeared as a television host while also working as a recording artist.
Sweden won with seven country votes and 365 fan votes. Russia was in second with five country votes and 303 fan votes. Italy came in third with eight country votes and 292 fan votes. However, two countries were disqualified after the event, which will affect the final numbers but will not change the winners, London tabloid the Mirror reported. Montenegro and Macedonia reportedly were disqualified for wrongfully submitted votes.
The 2015 contest marked the 60th anniversary of the event. Sweden’s win was its sixth. Past winners have become celebrities, including Abba.
The winner is determined 50/50 by a panel of judges from 40 countries and fan votes. Fans voted through the Eurovision app and by sending phone or text messages. Residents could not vote for their own country, however.
The voting style led some organizations to criticize the choices, alleging they were influenced by international affairs and conflicts. For example, Euromaidan PR, an citizen media site about Ukraine, cited Australia for awarding 10 points to Russia.
— Euromaidan PR (@EuromaidanPR) May 23, 2015
The finals were held Saturday with contestants who were eliminated during two semifinals held Tuesday and Thursday. More than 180 million people had been expected to watch the event, BBC reported. The contest was live streamed on YouTube where it can now be re-watched.