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17 May, 2009 11:28

Fairytale win for Norway in Eurovision

Norway is the runaway winner of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Violinist and singer Alexander Rybak triumphed with "Fairytale" after a spectacular show in Moscow. Iceland came second with Azerbaijan in third place.

Belarusian-born Rybak led from the start, finishing with a record 387 points. It’s the third time the Scandinavian country has claimed the prize. The first time was in 1985 when Bobbysocks sang "La det swinge" ("Let It Swing"). Norway did it again in 1995 with Secret Garden's celtic-sounding "Nocturne".

Russia finished a disappointing 11th with Anastasia Prikhodko’s song "Mamo".

But Russia was among the 16 countries to pick the eventual winner. It gave a maximum 12 points to Rybak along with Spain, Belarus, Germany, Sweden, Iceland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland, the Netherlands, Estonia, Denmark, Slovenia and Hungary.

For those lucky enough to get tickets to the Olympiysky Stadium, it was a spectacular show, filled with fireworks, extravagant costumes and amazing special effects.

Organizers said about 20,000 tickets to the final were sold. Many slapped on the party frocks and dusted off the national flags to get that special Eurovision mood.

Around 500 Russian and foreign journalists watched from a special press center. And it was jammed to capacity.

Across the world, a TV audience of 100 million people were expected to have tuned in to watch the show – the most expensive extravaganza in the event’s history.

Famous Russian singer Alsu along with actor and showman, Ivan Urgant, hosted the show in Moscow.

This year saw a change in the voting procedure. As well as text votes from the general public, panels of judges from the 42 participating countries also had a say. The votes were then combined to give a final tally.

The 25 acts put on an unforgettable show in Moscow, each giving it their best shot to win over judges and viewers. The finalists were: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK and Ukraine.

Among the bookmakers’ favorites this year were Norway, the UK, Turkey and Armenia.

The winner received a crystal microphone, presented by last year’s champion Dima Bilan, and the first ever Eurovision winner, Lys Assia.