Thousands welcome Eurovision queen Loreen home to Sweden

Large crowds welcomed Eurovision Song Contest winner Loreen home to central Stockholm after she claimed the Scandinavian country’s seventh title triumph at the weekend. Thousands of fans turned out in the Kungstradgarden park in central Stockholm despite gloomy weather to watch the 39-year-old artist perform her winning song “Tattoo”, a pop anthem about unconditional love. “I’m so grateful you sent me off to represent you, with everything my song stands for: compassion, hope, love and constructive solutions,” she told the cheering crowd made up of young and old. “That’s what we’re all about.”

“I think she’s a really great artist,” Viktor Rydefors, a 26-year-old student, told AFP. “It really is a performance, she totally captures the audience.” Andreas, a 40-year-old unemployed fan, called Loreen a “unique” performer. “If you’re going to win Eurovision, you have to do it with a unique song, a unique artist, and a unique performance, and in that way she beats everything that’s come before her.”

Born in Sweden to parents of Moroccan Berber origin, Loreen—her real name Lorine Talhaoui—already won the contest in 2012. She is just the second artist to achieve a Eurovision double, 36 years after Johnny Logan for Ireland in the 1980s, and the first woman to do so.

Eurovision is hugely popular in Sweden and speculation is already rife about which city will host the show next year—exactly 50 years after ABBA’s victory with its breakout hit Waterloo. “Perfect timing,” the daily Dagens Nyheter said the day after Loreen’s victory.—AFP

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