Greece won the 50th Eurovision song contest Saturday (May 21) in Kiev, with Helena Paparizou's fast-moving "My Number One" beating 23 other competitors.

Greece won the 50th Eurovision song contest Saturday (May 21) in Kiev, with Helena Paparizou's fast-moving "My Number One" beating 23 other competitors. Paparizou, who finished third in Eurovision in 2001, scored 230 points in telephone voting from viewers in 39 countries for a performance relying heavily on Greek folk music.

Finishing far behind in second place was Malta's Chiara, who sang "Angel," perhaps the most traditional of all the performances. Romania's Luminita Anghel and her group Sistem, singing "Let Me Try" with a variety of steel drums on stage, was third.

Ukraine, last year's winner, hosted the contest in what was widely seen as a means to showcase the country after last year's "Orange Revolution" protests. Hundreds of thousands watched the contest on screens erected in Independence Square, the focal point of last year's rallies.

The contest has in recent years attracted far more attention in post-communist eastern Europe than in the West, where the performers and their songs are treated with a degree of disdain.

President Viktor Yushchenko, who has pledged to take Ukraine closer to Europe after winning last year's bruising election, took to the stage to present an additional prize, a golden fern. "This is a Ukrainian prize for the best European performer in favor of uniting Europe," Yushchenko said.

An estimated 120 million viewers tuned in to the broadcast.


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