Sweden’s Loreen wins historic second Eurovision Song Contest, after emotional display in Britain celebrating Ukraine

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Swedish entrant Loreen performs during the grand finale of the Eurovision Song Contest final in Liverpool.

(CNN) — Sweden’s Loreen has won the Eurovision Song Contest for the second time, achieving a historic triumph in an extravagant and popular performance staged in Liverpool, UK, on ​​behalf of Ukraine.

She became the second performer to win the competition more than once, claiming victory with the pop ballad “Tattoo” and cementing her legacy at the kitschy and highly celebrated music competition.

Loreen had already won the competition in Baku in 2012, with her hit “Euphoria”, which changed her career. His latest victory means Sweden ties Ireland for the most wins in the competition, with seven – and it came 50 years after ABBA’s victory with ‘Waterloo’, the moment that propelled them to the superstar rank.

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Sweden’s Loreen celebrates with the trophy after winning the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final in Liverpool.

The show took place in Britain for the first time in more than two decades, after the country – which came second last year – stepped in to handle hosting duties on behalf of winners Ukraine of 2022. Hosting honors will go to the winners from Sweden next year.

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Armenian contestant Elen Yeremyan AKA Brunette during the grand finale.

The UK put on a dramatic and moving show that paid tribute to those displaced by war and celebrated the music of both countries. But a request by President Volodymyr Zelensky to address the show was turned down, organizers said on Friday.

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Ukrainian contestant TVORCHI performs during the grand finale of the Eurovision Song Contest final.

Ukrainian electronic duo Tvorchi finished a solid sixth, while Great Britain returned to their traditional position down the leaderboard, coming in at 25th – the second-to-last place.

Sweden’s winning act, Loreen, told CNN ahead of the final that her first win was “one of the most important moments of my life.”

“Before ‘Euphoria,’ I was a struggling artist trying to find my way,” she said. “It’s like home, the Eurovision community,” added the singer. “It’s a safe space for me.”

She is the first woman to win the pageant twice; only the Irish Johnny Logan has already done so.

“It’s crazy,” she said after her victory was announced. “It’s so surreal man, I’m happy and I’m grateful, I’m grateful to everyone who voted for me.”

“The only thing I feel right now is so much love. Not in my wildest dreams, I didn’t think this was going to happen,” she said.

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Pasha Parfeni, Moldovan participant, during the grand finale.

But she had to beat stiff competition from Finnish rapper Käärijä, whose energetic performances of “Cha Cha Cha” throughout the week wowed fans and made him a strong contender to claim the crown.

The top five were completed by Israel, Italy and Norway.

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Eurovision fans enjoy the festive atmosphere as they gather in Liverpool to watch the Eurovision Song Contest final.

Around the host city of Liverpool, ticketless Eurovision fans rushed to theaters to watch the show on the big screen, many of them waving Ukrainian flags.

The UK government has this week made 3,000 discounted tickets available for the country’s displaced people.

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The French participant La Zarra during the grand finale.

Eurovision is a famous and quirky festival, and this year’s show lived up to the bill with an array of solid performances from 26 finalists.

It also catapulted the port city of Liverpool – home of the Beatles – onto the cultural map of the continent.

“I knew that if we wanted to do this, it wasn’t just to tick boxes for Ukraine. We wouldn’t just put up posters,” Claire McColgan, Liverpool’s cultural director, told CNN during the build-up. “What you see in the city is a real Scouse-Ukrainian mashup, which is what we wanted.”

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