Sunday 18 March 2018

UK 17th as Austria wins Eurovision

Austria's Conchita Wurst won this year's Eurovision Song Contest (AP)
Austria's Conchita Wurst won this year's Eurovision Song Contest (AP)
Molly Smitten-Downes, performing for the UK, came 17th (AP)

The UK's drought of Eurovision Song Contest victories continues after the nation's entry again fell well short of the top spot.

Despite optimism of a strong showing in this year's competition, former shop assistant Molly Smitten-Downes could only place 17th with Austria's "bearded lady" Conchita Wurst finishing the clear winner.

Smitten-Downes had been among those tipped to place highly with self-penned song Children Of The Universe and wowed a lively audience in this year's host city of Copenhagen.

If she had managed to win, it would have been the first British entry to do so since Katrina and the Waves came top of the leaderboard in 1997 with Love Shine a Light.

But it was not to be for the 27-year-old singer-songwriter on the night.

It is estimated the competition was watched by 180 million viewers across 45 countries.

After securing her victory, Conchita said: "This award is dedicated to everybody who believes in a world of peace and freedom.

"You know who you are - we are unity and we are unstoppable."

As the voting began, Smitten-Downes opened her account with five points from the principality of San Marino, and continued scoring steadily throughout before eventually finishing on 40.

Despite the loss, her performance will go some way to easing memories of Britain's poor run of form in the competition in recent years, with dire scoring condemning both Engelbert Humperdinck in 2012 and last year Bonnie Tyler to the bottom end of the voting table.

On the night the talented songstress, who was the last act to perform, faced off against other strong pre-competition favourites Sanna Nielsen representing Sweden, The Netherlands and Austrian drag artist Conchita.

Conchita elicited huge cheers from the crowd as she took the stage in a fitted gown, and her trademark facial hair, before delivering an accomplished performance of her song Rise Like A Phoenix.

She went on to secure her victory with three rounds to spare eventually accumulating 290 points.

Sweden finished third with 218 points, behind second placed Dutch act The Common Linnets who totted up 238 points.

Press Association

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