por A-24, em 17.05.10
Last updated at 12:12 PM on 17th May 2009
The Londoner's result was a significant improvement on last year's bottom-of-the-league rating, succeeding in reversing the UK's bad run of results in the contest with It's My Time by Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Diane Warren.
It raises hopes that the landscape of Eurovision's voting process has been changed - with votes being cast on acts' musical merit instead of for tactical reasons.
The last time the UK enjoyed victory in the competition was in 1997 when Katrina And The Waves won in Dublin with Love Shine A Light.
However the 21-year-old singer's effort failed to secure enough points to compete with record-breaking Norway, who was crowned winner in Moscow.
With a score of 387, singer and violinist Alexander Rybak beat 24 other contestants and broke the record for the most points awarded during the competition with his folk-inspired song Fairytale.
The 23-year-old ethnic Belarussian, who grew up outside of Oslo, had been a pre-tournament favourite. This is the third time Norway has won the competition.
Iceland came in second with 218 points and Azerbaijan third with a score of 207.
For the first time, voting in the final was split between televoting and panels of musical experts, designed to reduce the controversial 'neighbourly' voting practice.
Tonight's result could now mark an end to the controversial practice of tactical voting which has blighted the competition in recent years.
Last year's UK hopeful Andy Abraham finished joint last, raising questions about whether there was any point in the UK bothering to enter the competition if political voting took precedence.
This year, for the first time, phone votes from the public were combined with the votes of national juries to decide the marks and although alliances between neighbouring countries remained apparent, the winning Norwegian violin song Fairytale won praise across the borders.
This year was also the first without Eurovision legend Sir Terry Wogan, who quit after last year's contest.
Sir Terry, who had been associated with the competition from the early 1970s, built up a huge following with his humorous comments but after Abraham's disappointment he said it was 'no longer a music contest' and that prospects for Western European participants were 'poor'.
But this year Graham Norton slipped easily into the role and injected some of the tongue-in-cheek sarcasm Wogan was famous for.
Introducing opening act Cirque du Soleil, Norton observed: 'I didn't realise Janette Krankie was performing'.
And before Albania's entry he quipped: 'The bad news is you're about to watch Albania. She's only 17 so please bear that in mind. Where was her mother? Why didn't she step in a say no?'
Finalists from 25 countries performed an array of songs in the musical bonanza that is one of the most watched annual television events on the continent.
Flames licked the stage's periphery and vast electronic screens blazed stunning backdrops in a spectacular show, which featured cheesy, high-energy pop and tear-jerking ballads.
In a Eurovision first, crew members of the International Space Station gave the command to start telephone voting in a video message from the orbiting science laboratory.
Among the highlights was a saucy striptease routine from burlesque star Dita Von Teese, who performed as part of Germany's entry, receiving a riotous reaction from the audience.
But not even the skin-tight silver trousers of German singer Alex Swings Oscar Sings - or his bizarre tap dance routine - could distract from his bum notes.
Despite Dita's impressive performance, they only managed 20th place.
Apart from a minor collision with a violinist's elbow, the UK's Jade Ewen dazzled on stage with Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Azerbaijan's offering, Always from AySel & Aras, received a standing ovation while Iceland's Yohanna, Malta's Chiara and Sweden's Malena Ernman were met with rapturous applause.
However Romania's performance sparked speculation that the foxy lead singer could have been lip-syncing.
As the scantily-clad women performed, a lone figure was seen in the shadows, but Romania insisted she was simply a backing singer.
This speculation was fuelled by Norton who revealed competition rules state all performers must be present on stage, but that the rules said nothing about whether others could mime.
Unsurprisingly, the contest featured its share of strange performances.
France's entry, a heavily made up Patricia Kaas, wailed her way through a truly forgettable number made only slightly more interesting with a strange, writhing dance routine at the end.
Greece's answer to Ricky Martin pranced on stage in white, skin-tight trousers, with over-enthusiastic dance moves to match his high-energy Euro pop number.
Dressed in what looked like a net curtain and performing in front of a giant image of herself as a old woman, Russia's Anastasia Prikhodko was a last-minute contender. Norton revealed her father is a billionaire.
A Bosnian Boyzone-style group didn't amaze with their drum-led performance. But if viewers thought Denmark's offering also sounded remarkably like the Irish pop band, it's not surprising as Ronan Keating was one of the song's writers.
Russia tried to capitalise on the prestigious event to showcase the nation's hospitality and growing role in modern society, but those efforts were undermined several hours earlier when riot police attacked gay pride rallies in the capital.
Gay rights activists sought to use the international competition to draw attention to what they call widespread discrimination against homosexuals in Russia. No injuries were reported.
Dima Bilan, who won the 2008 competition held in Serbia, performed his victorious 'Believe' R&B-style song before the competition kicked off with the Lithuanian entry - a piano ballad featuring various pyrotechnics.
Britain, which has traditionally fared well in the contest, has struggled in recent years. But a campaign of musical diplomacy by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who composed the country's offering, won the country unlikely support from Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Bookmakers also gave highly favourable odds to Greece, which was pinning its hopes on an elaborately choreographed stage performance involving a giant flashing treadmill.
Israel made an appeal for peace and harmony with 'There Must Be Another Way', sung in Arabic, Hebrew and English by Arab-Jewish duo Noa and Mira.
Russia, which earned the right to host this year's event with Bilan's victory, was pinning its hopes on 'Mamo', an overwrought ballad composed by a Georgian songwriter and partially performed in Ukrainian by a Ukrainian-born artist Anastasia Prikhodko.
Some contestants had tried to use the competition as a venue for settling international scores.
Two months ago, the pop group Stephane and 3G from Georgia vowed to perform 'We Don't Wanna Put In', a frenzied disco song that took a rhythmic rapier thrust at Putin.
The group pulled out when organisers warned that politically charged songs would not be permitted, including one referring to last year's Russia-Georgia war.
Georgia responded by organizing its own state-supported songfest this weekend, Alter/Vision, drawing groups from 10 countries, including Russia. Stephane and 3G were to perform at the festival in Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, and young Georgians sang the 'Put In' lyrics on the streets as it got under way Friday evening.
Moscow authorities worked hard to turn the Eurovision contest to display Russia's hospitality and prestige, splashing out 24million euros ($32.5 million) on the show and a week-long series of decadent parties.
But the climate of goodwill was shattered in the hours ahead of the competition, when riot police broke up several gay rights demonstrations in Moscow.
Eurovision enjoys considerable support from the gay community, and Russian activists hoped to take advantage of the event to draw international attention to what they describe as rampant homophobia in the country.
Police hauled away around 40 demonstrators, including Britain-based activist Peter Tatchell and American activist Andy Thayer of Chicago, co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network.
'Today's arrests go against the principles of Eurovision, which are about peace, harmony, cooperation and unity between all the peoples in Europe,' Tatchell said after being released by police.