Salvador Sobral Of Portugal Wins Eurovision Song Contest

May 14, 2017
Originally published on May 14, 2017 4:36 am

The performance by Salvador Sobral, this year's winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, was different than the others.

Most of the performances are noted for a lot of glitz and being pretty cheesy.

Twenty-five competitors carried on that tradition this year — performing on a wide stage backed by flashing lights, bursts of flames and other effects.

Sobral took a different take in his performance on Saturday — singing from a small elevated circle in the middle of the crowd.

His song "Amar Pelos Dois" — "Love For Both" — struck an intimate chord with the audience.

While accepting the award, Sobral said, "Music is not fireworks, music is feeling."

Kristian Kostov of Bulgaria was runner-up and Moldova's Sunstroke Project finished third.

The early favorite, Francesco Gabbani of Italy, finished sixth.

This is the 62nd year for Eurovision which was started to bring recently warring European countries together.

This year's contest was hosted by Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, and it was not without controversy.

The Associated Press reports:

"Russia's participation was scuttled by host Ukraine over the two nations' diplomatic and military conflict.

"Russia is one of Eurovision's heavy hitters, tied with Sweden for the most top-five finishes this century. But this year's Russian entrant, Yuliya Samoylova, was blocked from competing by Ukraine because she had toured in Crimea after Russia's 2014 annexation of the peninsula.

"In response, Russia's state-owned Channel 1 television is refusing to broadcast the contest, replacing Saturday's final with a screening of the film "Alien."

"The Moscow-Kiev split is a headache for Eurovision's producer, the European Broadcasting Union, which strives mightily to keep pop and politics separate. Overtly political flags and banners are banned, and lyrics are monitored for provocative content.

"In 2009, the EBU nixed the Georgian entry "We Don't Wanna Put In," a dig at Russian President Vladimir Putin. The union, however, has been criticized for not barring "1944" last year, allowing Russia-Ukraine tensions to fester."

Eurovision has a major following, and it has helped to boost the careers of many performers — including Sweden's ABBA which won in 1974 with the song "Waterloo."

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