russia-polina-gagarina-eurovision-2015Polina Gagarina from Russia came second in the final round of Eurovision 2015, as announced in the early hours on Sunday May 24 in Vienna, Austria, with Swedish Måns Zelmerlöw taking the prized title after Saturday’s finals. The popular European song contest celebrated its 60th anniversary this year, and was viewed by an estimated global audience of 200 million people.

The dramatic live voting bridge among all participating countries kept viewers in suspense until 36 countries had revealed their scores, after which Sweden was called an early winner, being so far ahead in the results that no other country could catch up. It is the sixth time that Swedes win the crown of Europe’s best singers, with legendary ABBA being among past victors.

The 28-year old Russian performer has been tipped as one of favorites along with Sweden’s Måns Zelmerlöw, the highest scorers of 1st and 2nd semi-finals, with Internet bookmakers giving the two nearly identical betting odds. Italy’s group Il Volo, Belgium’s Loïc Nottet, and Estonia’s duo Elina Born and Stig Rästa were also not far behind in preliminary viewers’ ratings.

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Halfway through the voting Russian singer Polina Gagarina was leading with 187 points.

2015 Eurovision competition also included for the first time a representative of Australia, seasoned performer Guy Sebastian, who received a streamlined entry to the grand final, and at the end managed to score a place in the top 5. Another popular personality was Poland’s finalist Monika Kuszyńska, the first wheelchair-bound contestant, although she didn’t get in the top 10.

Other countries that had a guaranteed placement in the final were Italy, France, Spain, Germany, UK, and the host country, Austria. In total, 27 finalists competed for the coveted title in the spectacularly decorated arena of Wiener Stadthalle in front of live audience of 16,000 people. Surprisingly, Germany and Austria scored zero points in the final jury results from 40 countries.

Måns Zelmerlöw’s song Heroes captivated audiences around the world with its amazing interactive graphics, which had been in works for months. “We are the heroes of our time”, sang the handsome Swede, connecting with millions of fans in Europe and Australia, which also had a chance to cast a vote in this year’s competition.

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Eurovision 2015 winner Måns Zelmerlöw hugs 2014 title holder Conchita Wurst.

The Russian singer performed her song, A Million Voices, an upbeat anthem with a powerful and touching message. Moscow-born songstress was dressed in a beautiful white silk gown with a flowing skirt, which apparently took hours for the costume personnel to iron before every performance, and required several people to carry and assemble on the podium. Gagarina’s strong voice and stage presence had many industry professionals backing her for a win, and it seemed probable, as halfway through the voting process she was leading with Sweden being a close second.

One by one country’s spokespeople gave 8, 10, or 12 points to the pretty blonde from Moscow, whose song was composed by a team of international writers including Swedish creative input and an Australian living in Europe. “Praying for peace and healing” and the desire to “start again” expressed in its English lyrics were finding resonance with many Europeans.

However, a smart computer-generated algorithm designed the order of voting countries to build up the maximum suspense, and after the initial triumphant run, Russia’s performer started to miss on placements in the top 3, with Sweden quickly jumping to the top of the scoreboard. With Italian entry trailing close third, it wasn’t clear until the last vote was cast in, which countries would take certain placements in the Top 5. Nevertheless, once 36 countries had provided their scorecards, Sweden became unreachable, to the delight of the cheering crowds at the event.

sweden-eurovision-2015-winner

Sweden’s winner Måns Zelmerlöw singing Heroes.

2014 Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst presented emotional Måns Zelmerlöw with the trophy, and then the former and new winner hugged each other, prompting cheeky comments from female presenters about two most beautiful men on stage. “Good morning Australia and good night Europe”, said the presenters closing the broadcast.

While Sweden’s win was not unexpected, some commentators immediately called the voting “political”, implying that Russia’s second placement might be caused by alliances beyond professional performances in the singing contest. Still, the substantial difference between the winner of the first place as compared to the second and third positions (62 and 73 points respectively) demonstrates reasonable consensus among the voters.

Ukraine’s absence in this year’s contest was notable, with the official version being the lack of finances to pay hefty entrance fees, as well as political issues.

Final Results of Eurovision Song Contest 2015

eurovision 2015 finals results

Eurovision 2015 Final Results (click to enlarge)

Top 10 (# of points scored):

  1. Sweden (365)
  2. Russia (303)
  3. Italy (292)
  4. Belgium (217)
  5. Australia (196)
  6. Latvia (186)
  7. Estonia (106)
  8. Norway (102)
  9. Israel (97)
  10. Serbia (53)

Russian Singer Polina Gagarina

Polina is not new to competitions. “A Million Voices” is her 19th entry to the Eurovision festival. Her previous accolades include the third placement in Baltic’s New Wave singing contest in 2005, and winning a highly rated Russian reality TV show Star Factory in 2003.

polina-gagarina-russia-eurovision-2015-winners

Polina Gagarina (centre) was shocked to be on top of the scoreboard halfway through Eurovison 2015 voting, supported by smiling Conchita Wurst (right).

Polina grew up in Greece, where her ballerina mother had a long-term performing contract. The smart girl completed her high school education at 15, after skipping a grade when she returned from Athens to Russia. During the last school year she was simultaneously studying at a professional school of jazz and pop music, and joined the reality TV competition that launched her stardom on referral of her music teacher at the age of 16.

Since the breakthrough in her singing career Gagarina released several popular tracks, took part in TV series and reality shows in Russia and Ukraine, and received numerous awards. Scoring the second place in a large international singing contest Eurovision 2015 is her highest achievement to date.

The singer songwriter, who is also dabbing in modeling and acting, is married for the second time to a well-known Russian photographer Dmitry Iskhakov, and has a 7-year-old son from her first marriage to a Russian actor, which dissolved after only 3 years. Gagarina has a degree in performing arts and theatre.

A former long-haired brunette, Gagarina is currently sporting a fashionable short do in a bright shade of blonde, a transformation that changed her image from a sweet young girl with the looks of Snow White to a stylish, modern European woman. Scolded in her own country by politicians and church officials for hugging Conchita Wurst in public, the young Muscovite was excited to score the coveted second placement.

Russia had high hopes for Polina, with TV channels devoting prime segments to interviews with the lovely star, and Eurovision finals broadcast live on the major national channel. However, the male spokesperson giving scores during the virtual bridge attracted some boos from the live audience, when attempted a joke by giving Russia 12 points (no country was allowed to vote for its own entry).

Will Russia be happy for Polina Gagarina and or take it as another snub by Europeans? For the beautiful young blonde, her prominent results promise a brighter future and broader recognition throughout the close-knit continent. She is now on top of the charts and the name on everybody’s lips in Russia, seen as the ray of light and hope by many, and the voice of millions calling for peace and a new beginning.

Updated 25 May, 2015:

Polina Gagarina’s transformation 2003-2015

From a cute brunette with the looks of Snow White in 2003 to the stylish lady wowing international crowds in 2015, the young mother is a true star. Polina’s son was born when she was only 20 years old. After gaining nearly 30 kg (66 lbs.) during her pregnancy, she lost 40 kg (88 lbs.) and radically changed her image in the following years, and had to explain to acquaintances that it was still her, only with a different hair colour and thinner.

Polina Gagarina photos

 

Video: Polina Gagarina, Russia (2nd place in Eurovision 2015 contest)

Video: Måns Zelmerlöw, Sweden (1st place in Eurovision 2015 contest)

 

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Stasy
Guest

As for me, I could not suggest that Polina will perform so well at Eurovision. But I was struck by her song. When I listened to it, I plunged into the wonderful atmosphere of love and happiness. Besides, I agree with you, Elena! To my mind, participants provided many good songs at Eurovision. Especially, I liked participant of Australia. So, I think Eurovision was better this year’s.

Littlefinch
Guest

I’m not such a big fan of this contest, so this morning I was pretty surprised. Polina Gagarina’s performance was truly great. She is just adorable, her singing was so sincere! I wish she took the first place.

Natalya_wr
Guest

Polina was fabulous! I didn’t expect so much from her. Her performance had so many feelings and it was really amazing. But the second place is good too. Besides, Sweden really earns first place, for such fantastic show.

Adrian
Guest

Gratulations to the winners!

0 Points for my country 😀 (Germany)

SGNaumov
Guest

Her performance was great. And the result was great. Seems crazy, but i’m glad that she takes the second place, not the first. Why so? Cuz we don,t need to spend money for organization in the next year. Extremely topical in crisis.

NatalieKo
Guest

Polina’s voice touched my soul ! She was so elegant. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She was look like the snow queen from cartoon “Frozen heart “.
Thanks for the interesting information from her biography,because I didn’t know about her living in Greece.

Translater01
Guest

I can’t agree with the others. To my mind it wasn’t the best song! I thought she would have the 6th place. In my opinion the best singer was a girl from Slovenia. My friends are always telling me that she has a funny voice. I don’t think so. I thought Belgium would have the second one.

Boris44
Guest

I was watching the concert, and to tell the truth , I was pleasantly amused. Of course, some singers underachieved to take the first places, but in general everything was rather good than previous years. Polina was amazing. She was a brilliant voice of the whole country, of Russia. I believe she could have reached hearts of million people. I also liked performers from Sweden, Estonia and Italy. Thanks to organizers of this annual TV song competition.

Val
Guest

There is something magic in Polina’s voice. I like all her songs. She is really a talented person. Congratulations!

Violet
Guest

I can`t say that I like watching Eurovision. But this year my friends invited me to watch this music contest all together. So I didn`t have a choice. And you know I was really shocked. Most singers presented really good songs. The contest was organised perfectly. And in my opinion the first three places were given to the best singers. Their songs were amazing and outstanding. And, of course. my congratulations to Polina Gagarina. I really like her image and songs.

Leaur
Guest

I rarely watch Eurovision. But this year I saw Polina Gagarina at semi-final. It was so great that I decided to watch final and to see other singers. I thing Polina has strong and wonderful voice, music is amazing, but lyric isn’t. She just repeat the same words. But for all that I believed she became winner. But… second part was dissapointed. Almost all countries gave us less than 8 points. Anyway, my congratulations to Polina and, of course, to winner.

Katharine
Guest

I did not watch Eurovision last year. But Eurovision 2015 was difinetely much more better then the last one! To tell the truth till the last moment I believed that Polina would be the 1st! Her song is so touching… But I should say that the other singers were good too! I’m totally in love with the Italian representatives. But Polina Gagarina is the best! Congratulations to her.

Michael
Guest

An amazing song that shows the real Polina’s level. And it was really a kind of a victory for us as a country. We don’t have to organize the competition, and still have shown our level.

JaneBard
Guest

I’m so proud of Polina! Her performance was breathtaking. “A Million Voices” is a song which touch my soul and fill it with happiness. And Polina’s voice is wonderful and magnetic. I can’t stop listening to this song!

Natalilys
Guest

Hooray! In this year, the first place took a man, like a real man! Polina Gagarina is also excellent! I really like this singer. I wish her a good career, and to us – many of her new emotional songs.

Tanya
Guest

As for me, this performance was great! I am really take pride in Polina. She is the best sample of Russian women. Her voice and appearance are extremely beautiful. I think people in all over the world were enjoyed by her singing.

Наталья
Guest

I prefer other kinds of music. But the result of Polina Gagarina is really good. Moreover, I like her changing during recent years. As for the winner I should say that I was impressed by the way he presented his song. And, of course, he is handsome.

Анна
Guest

I didn’t see her performance, my friend said it was great! Polina is a good singer, I thought a song will be much better!

Marina
Guest

I respect Polina because she is very talented! Winner of Eurovision is really good singer too. I watch Eurovision annually and like it very much. There were many interesting songs this year, as for me. Congratulations to Polina and, certainly, to Mans!

Svetlana Shevchenko
Guest

It seems to me the contest became a little bit bowring and it’s even hard to find a real hit song. Polina’s song didn’t impress me so much but the performance was great. It doesn’t matter if some people say it was very similar to J Lo’s performance. Congratulations!

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