Portugal's Sobral Wins Eurovision Contest With Tender Ballad

A commercial from Icelandair was for many one of the highlights of last night's preliminaries

A commercial from Icelandair was for many one of the highlights of last night's preliminaries

"Here we have Luisa Sobral, the composer of the song, the best composer I've ever met, I think one of the best composers of the world, and I think you should listen to her" was the introduction Salvador Sobral gave her sister before the two performed the song together.

It scored a crushing victory, winning top marks both from the televoters and the countries' professional juries.

The annual celebration of catchy europop, ludicrous costumes and glittering divas watched by some 200 million TV viewers was being hosted by Ukraine for the second time. According to the bookmakers, third favourite is Bulgaria's Kristian Kostov, the youngest entrant at 17.

Scoring 758 points with his ballad "Amar Pelos Dois", Dobral beat out competition favorites Italy and Sweden, who came in at sixth and fifth respectively. Romania fielded a duo that combined rap and yodelling.

Britain may be experiencing a post-Brexit vote chill in Europe, but pulled out all the stops with a big ballad performed by Lucie Jones, coming 15th.

More recently, the contest has launched artists such as Lordi, who won with Hard Rock Hallelujah in 2006 and Conchita Wurst, whose anthemic Rise Like a Phoenix in 2014 has become one of the most memorable Eurovision songs of the past decade.

Fans with flags painted on their faces snapped selfies, danced, sang and drank beer.

"A page of history has been written in Portuguese this evening at Eurovision".

The contest's organising body, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), tried to negotiate a diplomatic solution, either by Russian Federation submitting a new song and artist or by having Samoylova perform via satellite, but neither side could be brought to a satisfactory solution.

The Eurovision Song Contest features singers from the 43 countries that make up the European Broadcasting Union (EBU.) This year's finalists have been whittled down from a total 42 entries through semi-finals held Tuesday and Thursday.

Russian Federation boycotted this year's event after Ukraine barred its contestant from entering the country - a symptom of the countries' toxic relations since Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in 2014. The move allowed Russia-Ukraine tensions over Eurovision to fester.

The union, however, has been criticized for not barring "1944" by last year's victor Jamala of Ukraine, which focused on the 1944 forced relocation of Crimean Tatars by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

The authorities handed out a map of gay-friendly venues to fans of the contest with a massive gay following.

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