KIEV, UKRAINE (MAY 14, 2017) (REUTERS) – Portugal’s Salvador Sobral won the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday (May 13) performing a jazz-style ballad written by his sister, taking the top spot for the first time in the country’s history and celebrating with a call to “put emotion back into music”.
Along with singers from Italy and Bulgaria, Sobral was a favorite going into the final of the annual song fest, which was hosted in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, and he led the voting throughout the evening. Portugal finished ahead of Bulgaria and Moldova.
A soft-spoken, 27 year-old with a scraggly beard, Sobral won with “Amar Pelos Dois” (“Love For Both of Us”), sung in his native Portuguese. This is the first time Portugal won since it first entered the contest in 1964. After being announced as the winner, Sobral performed the ballad again, this time in duet with his sister Luisa.
Asked later at a news conference whether he was now a national hero, he said: “Honestly man I just want to live a peaceful life, if I thought of myself as a national hero it would be a bit weird, you know.”
Ukraine hosted the competition while it also fights a war, hundreds of kilometres (miles) away in the east, against Russian-backed separatists.