After weeks of hype, allegations of musical plagiarism, and ever-narrowing odds from the bookmakers, Loreen has finally won Sweden’s Melodifestivalen—its national selection for Eurovision 2012. Earlier this evening the 28-year old singer brushed away the competition inside Stockholm’s Globen Arena with a moving performance of her song “Euphoria.” Steeped in mystery and delivered with sheer joy, Loreen’s performance won top marks from both televoters and the international jury of music professionals.
There’s no doubting she is Sweden’s lady: she won more than 32% of the public vote in a field of ten songs. Her lopsided victory saw her rack up a total of 268 points compared to runner-up Danny Saucedo’s 198. Ulrik Munther (“Soldiers”) and David Lindgren (“Shout It Out”) tied for third with 88 points, while Molly Sanden (Why Am I Crying?) came fourth with 77 points. You can see the complete jury and televoting results by clicking here.
Afterwards, Loreen was clearly moved by the show of support from the public. “I’m about to bawl. It just feels magical,” she told a presenter in a backstage interview. She overcame a throat problem that forced her to visit the doctor the day before the finale. “I had a virus in my body,” she explained. “But I gave everything I could…..Who would say no to experiencing this?”
The show opened with a parody of “New York, New York” in which the three hosts changed the lyrics to say “Baku, Baku.” About a dozen veiled women danced in the background—not the most politically correct opening number. But before there was time to object, Eric Saade, last year’s winner, jumped on stage and performed an elaborate dance number to a re-mix of his song “Popular.” Eager to show he’s not a one-trick pony, he quickly moved on to his new singles “Hearts in the Air” and “Hotter Than Fire.” Helena Paparizou, winner of Eurovision 2005, later performed a re-mix of Saade’s “Popular.”
The finale, which Swedish broadcaster SVT streamed live on its web site, attracted attention from across Europe—and the world. At various points during the broadcast, Dead by April, Lisa Misakovsky, Loreen, and Danny appeared on Twitter’s worldwide trending list.
One of the funnier moments during the night occurred after the jury vote. Sitting in the green room, a host asked Loreen what she knows about Azerbaijan. “I thought Baku was in the Caribbean,” she said.
Loreen better invest in a map. After winning Melodifestivalen 2012, she’s on her way.