Serbia wins Eurovision Song Contest 2007

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Serbian Marija Šerifović performs the winning song Molitva.
Image: Indrek Galetin.

Serbia's entry, Molitva (A Prayer), performed by 23-year-old Marija Šerifović, has won the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki, Finland, with a score of 268 points.

Second place was claimed by the Ukrainian drag queen Verka Serduchka, and third place went to the Russian entry of Serebro. Turkey took the fourth place with Shake It Up Shekerim. Greece with Sarbel's Yassou Maria came 7th as the first Western-European country, while Ireland took only 5 points, finishing below France and the United Kingdom which shared the second-last place.

16 out of 24 finalists came from Eastern Europe, which caused many Western European countries to doubt the possibility that a country from Western Europe could ever win the final. Although France, the U.K., Spain and Germany are the big sponsors of the festival and are automatically selected for the final round, they all ended up at the bottom of the ranking. The fact that affiliated countries vote for each other (neighbourhood countries such as Scandinavian, Balkan or ex-Soviet countries) is also an annually returning matter discussed in the media.

A record 42 countries entered the 52nd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, but 18 didn't make it through the selection rounds. Serbia competed as an independent country for the first time, separate from Montenegro or Bosnia-Herzegovina, and immediately won the competition. This year's edition was the first to host new styles like jazz side by side with traditional ballads and rock. The winning song was also the first non-English song to win since the transsexual artist Dana International won for Israel in 1998.

The competition took place in Finland because last year the Finnish hard rock song 'Hard Rock Hallelujah' by Lordi won the competition. The song kicked off the final in Helsinki. Hosts were Jaana Pelkonen and Mikko Leppilampi

After the victory, many Serbs took to the streets with flags to celebrate the victory. Aleksandar Tijanic, director of RTS state television, was glad that Serbia made the news in a positive way: "I'm so glad it wasn't some war song. Hosting this event in Belgrade next year will mean we have finally crossed into normality." The country is still sometimes associated with the Yugoslav wars which led to the disintegration of Former Yugoslavia.

Sources

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