60º Eurovision Song Contest
Heroes (Måns Zelmerlöw) - Sweden
The 60th Eurovision Song Contest took place at the Wiener Stadthalle in Wien, Austria on the 23rd of May 2015 after Conchita Wurst winning the 59th edition with her song "Rise Like A Phoenix". This was the second time for Austria to host the contest. The previous one was in 1966 also in Wien.
Sweden won this very special edition with the song Heroes sung by Måns Zelmerlöw. This was Sweden 6th victory, which makes the Scandinavian country the second country with more victories only after Ireland's total seven. Sweden first won the contest 1974 (with ABBA) and then they did again in 1984 (with the Herrey's), in 1991 (with Carola), in 1999 (with Charlotte) and finally in 2012 (with Loreen).
Måns Zelmerlöw adds its name to the very short eight name list of men who have won the contest as a soloist. Believe it or not only nine times the winner of the ESC has been a man in 60 years! But Johnny Logan won twice and that's why there are only eight names on the list. Yes, the Eurovision Song Contest has not treated men very well. In contrast, no less than 37 soloist women have won the contest (including Conchita, of course, although he technically is just a man in disguise)
40 countries entered the 60th edition of the contest. Cyprus and Serbia returned after two years and so did Czech Republic after a five year long absence. On the other hand, Ukraine withdrew from this edition due to financial and political reasons.
To celebrate the 60 years of Eurovision Australia was offered a one-off invitation to participate this year. They love the ESC so much down under they have broadcast it live for more than thirty years with some three million people watching despite the fact the show starts on Sunday at 6 am there. Australia is the non EBU country with most euro-fans and they have long to take part in the contest. They were already invited to sing -no to compete- in 2014 in Copenhagen. This time though it was for real. Not to reduce the chances of other countries in the semi-finals Australia got a wild-card to go straight to the final where they joined the "Big Five" plus the host country (Austria). Because of this there were a record twenty-seven countries in the final, the biggest figure ever.
Sweden was once again the favourite, and that despite the controversy regarding the animated gnome that accompanies the singer on stage. There was a copyright claim that it was exactly the same as the one in "The Alchemy of Light" by Dandy-Punk and the original official video had to be removed and the animation redesigned for the contest. But, it was not only the animated character that brought controversy. Fans all over Europe complained that Heroes was a bit "too" similar to David Guetta's Lovers On The Sun. Yet, which song does not resembles another one nowadays?
Apart from Sweden there were a handful of quite good tunes and everything pointed to a not so clear victory as in previous years. Italy and Australia were very close in the odds and after the first semi-final Russia, Belgium, Latvia and Estonia made their way into the favourite top ten too.
As the voting began Russia was in the lead and it seemed they were going to win. Sweden and Italy were always very close though and after 20 countries had already voted Sweden surpassed Russia taking the lead and the difference between them just grew bigger and bigger. In the end, Russia was second 62 points behind Sweden while Italy's elegant pop-opera like entry, was third. Minimalist, robotic and well sung Belgian entry was 4th (best result for Belgium in twelve years) and Australia was 5th, a terrific result for a newcomer after all.
At the other end of the chart, Austria, the host country, undeservedly went from winning the contest to have no points at all which made them the first country in the Eurovision Song Contest history to get the dreadful "null points" at home. Also, this was only the second time in 60 years that the host finished last, the previous one was in the Netherlands in 1958! Austria was not alone there though, Germany joined then with "zero" points too. France with 4 points and the UK with 5 were 25th and 24th. Spain, got just 15 points and ended up 21st. In the end, only two countries, Italy and Australia, out of the seven prequalified for the final did well (very well indeed)
The contest was presented for three women, Mirjam, Alice and Arabella, while Conchita Wurst, the previous year's winner, hosted the green room and fluttered around.
The motto of this edition was "Building Bridges". There were many references to this idea during the show but if I was to pick up just one it would be Conchita and Måns Zelmerlöw's strong, fond, long hug as she passed him the winner's trophy. Soon after he was chosen Sweden's representative for the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest word spread that while interviewed in a very popular Swedish TV show he had claimed gay sex was not as "natural" as heterosexual sex. He later said he stupidly used the word "natural" meaning "less common" and that he reckoned he had crossed the line in many ways and should have avoid that word. There was not a single day he didn't publicly regretted having said that, not just because of the devastating jeopardizing side effects those words could have on his chances of winning the contest but because, an always according to him, they simply did not reflect his way of thinking. So there they were, Conchita and him, before a 200 million audience in Europe, when she wittily smiles and asks him "So? Do you have something to say?" To what, and as if it was a follow up to Conchita's previous year speech, he replied "We are all heroes, no matter who we love, who we are or what we believe in. We are all heroes".