On March 29, wiwibloggs began our annual search for Eurovision’s Next Top Model with 26 beautiful contestants from across Europe. Slovakia’s Kristina Pelakova brought youth and vitality. Moldova’s Olia Tira brought an edgy look and Lady Gaga-like costumes. And Armenia’s Eva Rivas brought long legs and an uncanny resemblance to actress Angelina Jolie. But in the end one woman rose above them all. Following two months and nearly 8,000 votes, Wiwi is proud to announce that Romania’s Paula Seling is Eurovision’s Next Top Model.
1. Romania, Paula Seling (1,359, 31.35%)
2. Azerbaijan, Safura (978, 22.56%)
3. Armenia, Eva Rivas (601, 13.86%)
4. Croatia, Feminnem, Nika Antolos (283, 6.53%)
5. Germany, Lena Meyer-Landrut (259, 5.97%)
6. Ukraine, Alyosha (186, 4.29%)
7. Georgia, Sofia Nizharadze (129, 2.98%)
8. Portugal, Filipa Azevedo (82, 1.89%)
9. Moldova, Olia Tira (81, 1.87%)
10. Sweden, Anna Bergendahl (78, 1.8%)
11. Slovenia, Barbara Ogrinc (77, 1.78%)
12. Albania, Juliana Pasha (75, 1.73%)
13. Slovakia, Kristina (74, 1.71%)
14. Latvia, Aisha (73, 1.68%)
Paula won over European voters with her porcelain skin, Hollywood smile and attractive curves. She’s clearly a natural beauty, but she also knows how to work a variety of looks. As you can see in her official preview video of “Playing With Fire,” Paula feels as comfortable in a frock as she does in a leather bodysuit.
Paula has the looks of an international superstar, but she also has the talent. The 31-year old is already one of Romania’s biggest pop stars, having released 13 albums, and she’s opened for the likes of Joan Baez, Chick Corea, Michael Bolton and Beyonce. Romanians love this woman. Avantaje magazine named her Woman of the Year in 2002 and she won “Best Music Video” at the 2002 Romanian MTV Music Awards for “Serile Verii” (Summer Nights).
Wiwi was lucky enough to see Paula perform at London’s Shadow Lounge ahead of Eurovision. She was so kind to all of her fans and clearly loved performing in front of a crowd. But Wiwi gathered as much from this video of “Get Up Now” in which she takes a shower for her fans!
Unlike a number of her competitors, Paula doesn’t have an ego problem and she doesn’t take her fans for granted. Following her third place finish at Eurovision, she posted this “thank you” video on www.paulaseling.com.
Paula looks particularly stunning in this video for “Timpul” (Time).
The Road to Becoming Eurovision’s Next Top Model
During the first week of voting, readers cast 310 votes. Armenia’s long-legged beauty Eva Rivas jumped into the lead with 35% of all votes. Azerbaijan’s Safura followed closely behind with 18%. And Germany’s Lena Meyer-Landrut made a case for herself with 8%. At this stage of the contest, Paula sat in fifth position with just 5% of the vote and Wiwi was worried the Romanian beauty might not make it to the top. But she wouldn’t be sent home this week because seven women received no votes or just one vote, equivalent to 0%. Wiwi decided to send home Finland’s Susan Aho and Johanna Virtanen, and Belarus’ Yulia Shishko and Alyona Karpovich.
Eliminated: Both halves of Finland’s folk duo Kuunkuiskaajat
Things took a dramatic turn during the second week of competition. The vote tally climbed to more than 2,200 as voters across the Republic of Georgia logged on to support their candidate Sofia Nizharadze. She jumped from ninth place with just 3% of all votes to first place with 59%. Armenia’s Eva Rivas, who had just planted apricot trees in Cyprus as a goodwill gesture, remained in contention with 14%. Paula fell to seventh place following the surge from Sofia and from Latvia’s Aisha (who went on to finish last in the first Eurovision semi-final).
Once again, Wiwi had to send four women home: Iceland’s Hera Bjork, Ireland’s Niamh Kavanagh, Malta’s Thea Garrett and Belarus’ Ninel Karpovich. None of them received more than 8 votes, and Wiwi could not justify sparing any of them. In fact, Wiwi actually took a sick pleasure in sending Ninel home: she was the last female member of 3 + 2 and Wiwi really didn’t care for their song.
The final Belarusian bites the dust
Only 18 women remained in the Top Model House during the third week of competition. At this point, more than 3,300 votes had been cast. Georgia’s Sofia continued to push ahead, eating up an impressive 66% of all votes. Wiwi had to say goodbye to Chanée, Denmark’s most famous singer of Thai descent, Sieneke, the plus-size representative from the Netherlands, and Neda Parmac and Pamela Ramljak, two-thirds of the Croatian trio Feminnem.
By the end of the semi-finals, more than 3,500 votes had been cast and it looked like Georgia was going to walk away with its first victory in Eurovision’s Next Top Model. Unfortunately for them, all votes were reset. This was only fair given that people had voted for contestants who had been eliminated. Now everyone had a chance to vote again. To help them make their decision, voters could now review interviews with each contestant, check out online portfolios and watch them on stage at Eurovision.
This shook things up dramatically. A total of 4,344 votes were cast in the final and all of Europe’s love took a sharp turn toward Romania. Georgia’s Sofia fell from first place to seventh; Romania’s Paula jumped from seventh place to first. Paula’s spectacular performances during the second semi-final and the final clearly earned her a lot of votes. Wearing a black leather cat suit probably didn’t hurt either.
Paula had a fantastic career before Eurovision, and Wiwi knows she is going to have an even better one now that it’s over. The voters and sponsors of Eurovision’s Next Top Model are all behind you Paula. Now go out there and make Wiwi proud!