Russian singer Dima Bilan won the Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade on Saturday night (May 24) with his pop ballad "Believe."

Bilan, who was one of the favorites heading into the 53rd annual competition, soundly beat out 24 contestants with a score of 272 points.

On the night, Ukraine came second and Greece third.

Bilan won-over voters in 43 countries with a performance which saw him flanked on stage by Hungarian violinist Edvin Marton and Olympic skater Yevgeny Plyushchenko.

It was a case of second-time lucky for Bilan, who was runner up at Eurovision in 2006.

His victory ensures Russia will host the Eurovision ceremony for the first time in 2009.

Serbia's Beogradska Arena hall hosted this year's song contest after Marija Serifovic scored the big points at Eurovision 2007 before an estimated audience of 100 million people.

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