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Eurovision Song Contest 2012, a tribute to active ageing

Eurovision Song Contest 2012, a tribute to active ageing © Thomas Hanses (EBU)

A group of Russian grannies, all in their seventies, finished runners-up, beating 24 other contenders, in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, which took place on May 26th in Baku, Azerbaijan.

For the first time in its history, the 57-year-old pan-European competition viewed by some 125 million people worldwide featured a pair of elderly acts among its most high-profile semi-finalists.

In fact, UK’s veteran crooner Engelbert Humperdinck, 76 years old, whose 1960s hits include “Release Me” and “The Last Waltz”, was in charge of the opening performance.

Prior to the competition, Humperdinck, the oldest solo artist to reach a final in Eurovision history, said that he doesn’t see his age as a disadvantage – quite the contrary.  As a true champion for the European Year 2012’s goals, he declared to Danish broadcaster DR: "It makes me feel happy that I can represent my country at this stage in my career. I have been in the business for over 45 years. Perhaps I have some experience to share with the younger performers".

The six-member group Buranovskiye Babushki (Buranovo Grannies), with a combined age of 484, performed an ethno-pop tune in their local Finno-Ugric language, “Party for Everybody”.

The humble pensioners, acclaimed as stars in their country after being discovered and heavily promoted by state television, will be soon visited by President Vladimir Putin, according to a statement quoted by Russian news agencies.

“We're no stars, we're just ordinary grannies”, they’ve said to Russia Today.

The winner of Eurovision 2012 was 28-year-old Swede Loreen.