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Azerbaijan takes Eurovision crown

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Winners Ell/Nikki, Nigar Jamal and Eldar Gasimov, from Azerbaijan celebrate winning the Eurovision Song Contest in Dusseldorf, Germany (AP)

Winners Ell/Nikki, Nigar Jamal and Eldar Gasimov, from Azerbaijan celebrate winning the Eurovision Song Contest in Dusseldorf, Germany (AP)

Winners Ell/Nikki, Nigar Jamal and Eldar Gasimov, from Azerbaijan celebrate winning the Eurovision Song Contest in Dusseldorf, Germany (AP)

A pop duo from Azerbaijan has won the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest in which finalists from 25 countries took the stage.

Nigar Jamal and Eldar Gasimov, who go by the name Ell/Nikki, earned the most points in Saturday night's grand final for their classic pop ballad with a catchy refrain, Running Scared.

It was the first time that Azerbaijan has won the contest in the competition's 56-year history. This year's contest had entries from 43 countries.

Gasimov said he was "the happiest man in the world right now" after receiving the trophy from Germany's Lena Meyer-Landruth, who sought to defend her title in Dusseldorf.

Meanwhile, the UK's challenge falter after a strong start to the voting, being swiftly overtaken by other countries.

Hopes of the UK winning its first Eurovision Song Contest since 1997 had been resting on the shoulders of newly-reformed boyband Blue. But they could not hit the heights achieved by Katrina and the Waves 14 years ago, ending up in 11th place.

They scored a total of 100 points however - 10 times more than last year's British entry Josh Dubovie, who came last.

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Blue's song, I Can, written by members Lee Ryan and Duncan James, was received with enthusiastic applause, despite what BBC host Graham Norton tactfully described as a "tentative start".

Irish twins Jedward - who were awarded the maximum 12 points from the UK vote - came in 8th place with Lipstick.

Former X Factor stars James and Edward Grimes impressed with their big-shouldered red sparkly jackets and trademark quiffs as they gave a high-energy performance of their song.


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