At least we didn't come last! Engelbert Humperdinck avoids finishing bottom as Sweden races to victory

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By Colette Fahy

For a while it looked as if he could be in for an embarrassing last place finish but luckily Engelbert Humperdinck managed to avoid total humiliation tonight.

The 76-year-old crooner opened the 57th Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan with a performance of his ballad Love Will Set You Free and although he had hoped to break the curse of opening acts failing to win, unfortunately it just wasn't his night.

Even taking to the stage wearing a special 'tcb' [taking care of business] necklace given to him by the late Elvis Presley as a good luck charm, couldn't help him defeat the Sweden's Loreen, the runaway winner on 372 points with her track Euphoria.

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Opening act: Engelbert Humperdinck performing Love Will Set You Free for the UK at tonight's Eurovision Song Contest in Baku, Azerbaijan but viewers appeared to have forgotten about him by the time voting came around

Speaking after her win Loreen thanked all of those who had believed in her.

She said: 'I want to say thank you so much thanks you for believing in me, I wouldn’t have been able to do with this without you. This is not just mine, it is ours, I love you.'

She then took to the stage for another rousing rendition of her winning track.

Thank you to my fans: Sweden's Loreen paid tribute to all of those who have believed in her as she was named winner of the Eurovision Song Contest tonight

No surprise: It was obvious early on that Loreen was going to romp home to victory with Euphoria but the Swedish singer still looks stunned

Euphoria! Loreen's runaway victory is official as she is named the winner of tonight's Eurovision with 372 points

Humperdinck, nicknamed The Hump, scored a total of 12, with only Belgium, Estonia, Latvia and Ireland voting for him and ended up just one position above Norway, famous for gaining 'nul points' in the annual competition.

Questions will be asked about the decision to hand the Eurovision Song Contest baton to a 76-year-old, leading to one of the worst outcomes for the UK.

Winning performance: Swedish entrant Loreen takes to the stage for a performance of Euphoria after being named winner of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest

Until 2011, the public had a say in who represented the UK and with which song, but that was abandoned when boy-band Blue were chosen to sing I Can, in the hope an established name could bring home the title.

They managed to come 11th last year, a respectable position in comparison to this year.

Popular act Buranovskiye Babushki - the six strong group of pensioners nicknamed The Russian Grannies - came second with Party for Everyone.

They were notable for performing with a revolving oven on the stage.

Oldest contestants: The Buranovo Grannies were among the favourites to win the Eurovison tonight but were no match for Loreen

Humperdinck, who used the name Gerry Dorsey during the early years of his career, kept the Beatles off the number one spot in the singles chart with Release Me in the 1960s.

Speaking after his performance, he said: 'I had a great time, a very wonderful time. I hope everyone listening to the song... we shared the song with every generation. I sang it from my heart.'

Humperdinck’s song was written by Sacha Skarbek - who teamed up with James Blunt to compose You’re Beautiful - and record producer Martin Terefe.

Ivi Adamou (top) representing Cyprus performs with the song La La Love during the Grand Final of the Eurovision but was no match for eventual winner Loreen of Sweden

Don't win: Spain's officials will be happy Pastora Soler did not win after reportedly telling her that the country cannot afford to host the competition next year

There was a UK link to another act as jazz musician Jamie Cullum wrote the German entry, Standing Still, performed by Roman Lob.

Meanwhile, Irish twins Jedward were also disappointed as they returned to the competition for the second year in a row.

The pair received 46 points and came in in 19th place, a poor contrast to last year's eighth.

Irish entrants Jedward gave a high energy performance of Waterline, in direct contrast to Engelbert's ballad but were no match for Sweden's Loreen

Loving it! Jedward make the shape of a heart during their performance of Waterline at tonight's Eurovision Song Contest

The pair – John and Edward Grimes – ditched their usual quiffs for flatter hairstyles and took to the stage wearing futuristic gold suits as they performed Waterline, incorporating their trademark scissor kicks and slightly out of sync dance moves.

The show, watched in the Crystal Hall by 20,000 people, started at midnight local time, finishing in the early hours of the morning.

26 countries performed at tonight’s competition which up to 125 million people watched.