The 2011 Eurovision Song Contest is over and it's time to have a look at what happened yesterday night. Azerbaijan achieved their first win, which means that next year's contest will be held in that country, most likely in Baku. Let's have a look at some facts from last night's show.
The Caucasus region has always been strong in Eurovision since 2006. Armenia was the first country from this area to enter the contest that year. With the exception of 2011, when Emmy failed to make the final, Armenia's lowest placing was 10th in 2009. Georgia debuted the year after, reaching their lowest placing (12th). Since then, the country has made a slow but steady progression, reaching 9th place in 2010 and 2011. Azerbaijan, the winner this year, made its first appearance in 2008 and has always finished within the top 10 since (8th, 3rd, 5th and 1st place).
The Azerbaijani win means that the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in that country, with Baku being the host city. Eurovision has never been as far east as Moscow in 2009. Now, this record also breaks. Besides that, the contest will return to ex-USSR land. A total of five ex-Soviet nations have won the competition: Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine, Russia and now Azerbaijan.
The wooden spoon
On the opposite side is Switzerland. The country managed to qualify for the final for the first time since 2006. However, they were very close to miss it once again as they occupied the 10th qualifying spot in the first semifinal, just 1 point ahead of Malta and Armenia. This weak support had consequences in the final: Switzerland came last despite being represented by a fresh and talented artist with a good voice and a nice song.
Let's take a look at the numbers of the final now. Azerbaijan received 221 points, the lowest score for a winning country since the semifinals were introduced in 2004, even though this year more countries than ever took part, 43, equalling the 2008 record.
There were some favourites to lift the trophy last night. Azerbaijan was predicted by fans and bookmakers to take a good placing, but its victory was ruled out by many. France and the United Kingdom topped the pre-contest popularity charts, being tipped as the strongest contenders. Well, finally France only managed to finish 16th, and the UK 11th. Also Hungary and Estonia had winning chances, but their results have been disappointing: 22nd and 24th respectively.
It's interesting to see how the rest of the big-5 did. The host country Germany can be really proud of their representative Lena, having brought home the first victory since 1982 and a 10th position this year with an interesting entry and an effective performance. Italy was one of those so-called 'gems', songs that are very good in terms of musical quality but then in the actual contest are underrated. Nonetheless, silently climbed to the 2nd position. The case of Spain is different - the Iberian country got back to the 'below 20' positions - 23rd. Only Soraya achieved a worse result in recent years (24th in 2009).
The top ten
Finally, it is always interesting to pay attention to the top-10. Apart from the already mentioned countries, Sweden was also very successful, breaking a 4-year severe decline that reached a low last year when the country failed to make the final for the first time. Eric Saade achieved the best result for Sweden since their last victory in 1999.
Ukraine with Mika Newton ended up 4th, the best result since 2008. Denmark consolidates its top-5 results. Bosnia & Herzegovina is back into the top-10 with a 6th position. Greece continues to be one of the most successful countries of the last decade, with yet another top-10 place - the 8th in a row. Ireland turns green again after a very long results drought.
Next year's Eurovision Song Contest has been initially set for May 22nd, 24th and 26th May 2012. A new Eurovision season will commence by the end of the year with plenty of national finals and selection shows. Start loading your batteries!