Ballad beats glitz as Portugal's Sobral wins Eurovision

Eurovision Song Contest fans await grand final in Kiev

The finale of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest was an intense nail-biter, but Portugal officially took home the gold with Salvador Soobral for his emotional song "Amar Pelos Dois".

Among them was Claudia Zellen, a 39-year-old social worker who, like many others across the country, praised the winning song, which Sobral performed in Portuguese next to his sister, Luisa, who wrote the tune and sat beside him at the welcoming news conference.

Ukraine has won the competition twice, including past year with a song about the mass deportation of Tatars from Crimea by Josef Stalin, and its winners performed on Saturday.

A year ago its contestant Jamala won with a song called "1944", referring to the Stalin-era deportation of her Crimean Tatar ethnic group from the Black Sea peninsula. The gentle, lyrical jazz/pop ballad was written by his sister, Luisa Sobral, a graduate of the esteemed Berklee College of Music in Boston, and is Portugal's first win. Finally, Russian-Ukrainian tensions over Crimea reached boiling point (again) when Ukrainian authorities banned Russian contestant Yulia Samoylova from entering the country because a 2014 visit to the Crimea violated Ukrainian law.

Sobral's quietly sensitive performance set it apart from the more flashy displays, such as the bookmakers' favourite Italian Francesco Gabbani and his "dancing naked ape" as well as Azerbaijan's entry which featured a man on a stepladder wearing a horse's head. "Lets try and change this and bring music back that matters".

According to the Guardian, as a result of this ban, Russian Federation will not be broadcasting the Eurovision Song Contest this year.

Grand Final ResultsSo we'll be flying to Portugal next May for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest!

We've also finished last in three contests over the years.

The stage invader, wrapped in an Australian flag, took to the stage during a performance by last year's victor Jamala, and bared his bottom.

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

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-Kyiv split is a headache for Eurovision's producer, the European Broadcasting Union, which strives mightily to keep pop and politics separate. The union, however, has been criticised for not barring 1944' past year, allowing Russia-Ukraine tensions to fester.

His fellow Australian at Eurovision, Anja Nissen and her backing singers could be heard warming-up ahead of the telecast with the opening line "laying down my armour", repeating it so many times those closest to her dressing rooms were praying she would move to the next lyric.

Eurovision began 1956, with seven countries from continental Europe competing.

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