Exuberant Copenhageners braved the chill Sunday to celebrate Eurovision Song Contest winner Emmelie de Forest in Denmark’s iconic Tivoli Gardens amusement park. The Danish press lavished praise on the 20-year-old after she comfortably won the glitzy competition early Sunday in Sweden’s third-largest city, Malmoe. Scores of fans greeted the star on her return and watched her perform at Tivoli, one of Copenhagen’s main tourist attractions, local media said, after Denmark became the fourth Nordic country to win the competition in eight years.
The event was broadcast live. The Danish singer — who performed her winning entry barefoot against a flaming backdrop — took the crown from last year’s Swedish winner Loreen after gaining 281 points from viewers and jurors. Her rhythmic pop tune “Only Teardrops” had been heavily favoured by bookmakers before Saturday night’s live broadcast of the contest, which is watched by a 125 million people every year. “Denmark’s darling was the big favourite and she met all expectations,” public broadcaster DR wrote on its website.
Malmoe is connected to Copenhagen by the eight-kilometre (five-mile) Oeresund bridge, and many Danes had crossed the water to support their candidate. “Europe adores Emmelie,” tabloid Ekstrabladet wrote on its website, describing her win as “an absolute triumph”. Broadsheet Politiken chimed in too, noting that “Only Teardrops” was “the best song in Europe”. Media also pointed out that among Nordic countries only Iceland gave her the maximum 12 points, which implies that her song was popular with viewers and jurors across Europe.
Eurovision results are widely considered to be heavily influenced by neighbour countries’ votes, as evidenced in Saturday night’s contest when Cyprus and Greece gave each other 12 points. DR boss Maria Roerbye Roenn, whose company will be footing the bill for next year’s event — under Eurovision tradition, the winning country becomes next year’s host — described the win as “fantastic”.
“A big task awaits us now that we are arranging next year’s (competition). And all possibilities are open. The first step will be to find a host city and to see what our ambitions are,” she said.
“Congratulations, Emmelie… We are pleased to welcome next year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Denmark,” said Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt on her Facebook page after the final results were known.
Several countries, including Portugal and Poland, had opted out of this year’s contest amid tightened budgets at Europe’s national broadcasters. And on social networks a number of critics wondered about the costs for financially stricken Denmark of hosting a sumptuous affair like the Eurovision competition. This year Sweden had budgeted 125 million kronor (14.5 million euros, $18.7 million) for the glamorous event, 50 times less than Azerbaijan last year.
Denmark has not given any figures for next year’s contest but for DR head Roenn the spectacle will above all be “a unique opportunity to show Europe who we are and what we have to offer”. “We can afford such a show… Sweden cut the budget but what it came up with was really pleasant” to watch, she told the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
During the winner’s press conference, Jan Ola Sand, executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, said there were “several different places” where Denmark could organise next year’s event, hinting that there could be more cost-efficient alternatives than pricey Copenhagen. Lina Holm Nielsen, a journalist at Danish conservative daily Berlingske, speculated that organising the Eurovision could come at the cost of other public service programming. “Dear Denmark, say hello to three years of reruns of the ‘Midsomer Murders'” and reality show “Bonderoeven”(The Country Bumpkin), she joked on Twitter as Saturday’s voting results were announced.
In recent years the Danish broadcaster has scored several international television drama hits with crime series “The Killing”, political drama “Borgen” and murder mystery “The Bridge”, a co-production with Sweden’s SVT. It is the third time Denmark has clinched the top spot in the Eurovision Song Contest, the last being in 2000 with the Olsen Brothers’ “Fly on the Wings of Love”.
Other Danish musical exports include Aqua, best known for their nineties hit “Barbie Girl”, dance duo Infernal and pop band Alphabeat. The past decade has also seen a host of Scandinavian songwriters and producers working with some of the biggest names in the international music industry. In Denmark, songwriter and record producer Peter Biker has collaborated with US stars Pitbull, Chris Brown and Usher, among others.