Azerbaijan win 2011 Eurovision Song Contest!

Azerbaijan have won the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest in Dusseldorf with their duet Running Scared – fighting off competition from Blue and Jedward.

Their song Running Scared, a mid-tempo duet by singers Ell and Nikki – aka Eldar Gasimov and Nigar Jamal – triumphed with 221 points in the final, beating Italy’s Raphael Gualazzi into second place with 189 points.

Sweden’s Eric Saade gave the former Eurovision winners their best result in years, finishing in third place with 185 points. The top five was completed by Ukraine, scoring 159, and Denmark with 134 – while host nation Germany, represented once again by 2010 winner Lena, finished in tenth place.

And it wasn’t a bad night for the UK’s Blue or Irish hopefuls Jedward either.

Boy band Blue finished in 11th place with 100 points for their anthemic song I Can, although they were beaten by Jedward, whose song Lipstick finished eighth with 119, giving Ireland its best result since 2006.

Both acts had been tipped as possible winners of the contest beforehand, with Jedward second favourites and the UK fourth in the betting just behind eventual winners Azerbaijan.

The UK started off well in the voting, scoring a 12 from Bulgaria and a 10 from Italy which put them briefly at the top of the scoreboard. However they dropped down after a surge from the eventual winners as well as the other countries in the top five.

Jedward meanwhile started off slowly but benefitted from a handful of top marks – including from the United Kingdom who predictably gave the Grimes twins their 12 – but never reached any higher then third place.

Meanwhile it was a disappointing night for the favourites France, who had been the favourites to win with their operatic track Sognu.

The song – by tenor Amaury Vassili, finished 15th with 82 points, while another favourite, Estonia’s Rockefeller Street, finished in second last place, scoring 44.

However this year it was the turn of Switzerland to finish bottom of the heap with their song In Love For A While, which could only muster up 19 points.

The result will mean that the 2012 contest is held in Azerbaijan, which due to the four-hour time difference could potentially see the event taking place in the middle of the night.

Azerbaijan are one of the newest countries in Eurovision, having only taken part for the first time in 2008.

Since their debut they have yet to finish outside of the top ten – their lowest ever position was their 2008 debut Day After Day which came eighth.

Their best result prior to their victory was 2009’s Always which finished third, while in 2010 they came fifth with Drip Drop.

The winning duo Ell and Nikki – a mother of two who actually lives in North London – were chosen in a TV talent search to find a singer to represent Azerbaijan at Eurovision.

Among those who took part were Nicola Barclay, a teacher from Scotland who now lives in the capital Baku.

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