Eurovision 2017: Portugal takes home top prize for the first time



Portugal has won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time ever.

Salvador Sobral's tender ballad, Amar Pelos Dois, challenged the contest's kitsch reputation as he dedicated the win to "music that means something". What I have to do is continue to make my music, that it has some meaning... and that passes to the audience he stated showing how humble an artist can be.

"I want to congratulate Salvador Sobral, the victor of Eurovision 2017, not only because he gave Portugal the victory for this first time, but also because he was an Erasmus student", the spokesperson for the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas said on Monday.

Moldova's Sunstroke Project finished a surprising third in the 2017 contest with a bouncy, jazzy song called "Hey Mama" in which the female backup singers hid their microphones in bridal bouquets.

Romania came seventh with an unlikely combination of yodelling and rap, while Azerbaijan's act in 14th place featured a man wearing a horse's head on a stepladder.

The UK achieved its highest points haul in eight years as former X Factor contestant Lucie Jones received 111 for her performance of Never Give Up On You.

Eurovision, now in its 62nd year, is intended as apolitical global entertainment.

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

Russian Federation is one of Eurovision's heavy hitters, tied with Sweden for the most top-five finishes this century.

Kiev barred Russia's singer Yuliya Samoilova because she had illegally entered Crimea to perform there after Moscow's disputed annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine.

"However due to the shelling of Avdiivka and the death of peaceful civilians, I took a decision to cancel my presence at the Eurovision final", he wrote on Facebook.

In response, Russia's state-owned Channel 1 television refused to broadcast the contest.

In 2009, the EBU nixed the Georgian entry "We Don't Wanna Put In", a dig at Russian President Vladimir Putin after Russia and neighboring Georgia fought a brief war.

This year, Ukraine has used the contest to take tentative steps to soften the climate of homophobia prevalent in the ex-Soviet Union. It was launched a year before the founding of the European Economic Community, the forerunner of the European Union.

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".