Eurovision winner Mans Zelmerlow: We are all heroes no matter who we love
Swedish singer Mans Zelmerlow has paid tribute to equality after winning the Eurovision Song Contest.
The Swedish singer took the trophy for his song Heroes, after a close race with Russia’s Polina Gagarina.
Accepting the trophy from last year’s winner Conchita Wurst, he said: “I’m so extremely happy. I want to thank all of you for voting and supporting me.
“I just want to say that we are all heroes, no matter who we love, who we are or what we believe in. We are all heroes.”
He eventually received 365 points, above Gagarina on 303.
Mr Zelmerlöw caused controversy in Sweden in 2014 – after claiming that gay sex is unnatural on a celebrity cooking show.
The singer had stunned other guests into silence by calling homosexuality abnormal, claiming “it isn’t equally natural for men to want to sleep with one another”.
When asked by the Swedish Metro newspaper if he would consider dating a man, he said: “Yes, if I feel that way – absolutely, I could do that”.
He scored a narrow victory over Russia’s Polina Gagarina – who had sparked fears among the contest’s LGBT fans by taking an early lead, as the winning country traditionally hosts the contest next year.
The contest had attempted to deploy “anti-booing” technology to limit gay rights protests when Russia was performing – but booing was audible at many points during the voting.
However, Mans added in the winners’ press conference: “We all actually applauded when our hosts intervened tonight and said this is a musical competition and not a political competition. I think that’s really important.”
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Graham Norton has predicted the contest will be “quite straight” this year following the victory of Conchita Wurst.
He said: “It’ll be interesting this year – I think it’s going to be quite a straight contest.
“Austria are taking it quite seriously, they’re delighted to have it. And there are lots and lots of ballads this year. There aren’t that many upbeat songs.”
He added: “Conchita was really special, that night was just great.
“We’ll see if that can be replicated this year, I doubt it can be because it was just – I don’t know, it’s stupid, it’s a singing competition, who actually cares?”
Watch Zelmerlöw’s entry below: