Portugal has competed in Eurovision for the last forty-nine years and has barely troubled the top ten. In fact their best placing in the last twenty years has been 13th. Eurovision fans have longed for a Portuguese win, but until last night, Portugal has sent songs and performers which were consistently quirky or a little to ethnically Portuguese. The songs, usually sung in Portuguese have been rather inaccessible to the viewing public across Europe.
A Resounding Victory Margin for Portugal
However, this was put to rights last night with a spectacular win by Salvador Sobral with “Amar Pelos Dois” – a jazz inspired, crooned song, unlike anything that has ever been presented at Eurovision in its 62 years. Not only was the song unique to Eurovision, Salvador’s presentation and appearance was also unique – disheveled and scruffy, with an ill-fitting suit, a man bun and fly-away hair, he also has something of an odd delivery on stage.
The 200 million plus viewers however, found the whole package quite endearing, and he trounced all comers in both the jury vote and the public vote – both of which make up 50% of the overall vote. Rarely has there been such unanimity between both professional juries and the public vote.
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Italy Stuns All with a Poor Sixth Place
Right up until the votes started coming in, it was assumed that Italy would steal the trophy with ease, but instead Francesco Gabbani with his song “Occidentali’s Karma” started slipping early with few maximum votes from either juries or public. Astonishingly, instead of runner up, he found himself in sixth place behind Portugal, Bulgaria, Belgium, Sweden and Moldova.
Ukraine’s Eurovision a Big Success
The capital city of Kiev managed a highly successful Eurovision. The European Broadcasting Union had spoken of its concern about Ukraine TV and the City of Kiev being able to manage such a massive event successfully. But the whole two-week event was marred only by a local publicity-seeking streaker who was yanked off stage quickly during the intermission act. Fans and delegations alike were all speaking very highly of the efforts of the organization in Kiev.
A Challenge for Lisbon in 2018
Portugal is one of the poorest countries in Europe with only 10 million people. Winning Eurovision means that they will host the event next year, and all are assuming that Lisbon will be awarded the right to host the show. However, hosting for the first time could be a challenge for them – they will probably need to seek the assistance of the same experienced team from Sweden who stepped in and assisted Kiev and Ukraine TV with their production activities.