Ballad beats glitz as Portugal's Sobral wins Eurovision

The 27-year-old Lisbon born singer was a firm favourite in the competition from the get-go with his catchy track, Amar Pelos Dois, the title of which means Love for Both being tipped to be a front-runner in the contest.

The Sobrals' ballad gave Portugal its first win in the 61-year-old contest.

Ukrainian Eurovision winners Jamala (2016) and Ruslana (2004) performed new material during the interval between performances and voting. Portugal also won the first Semi-Final on Tuesday, had the judged vote and the popular vote so the win was absolute. Russia, which should have been the 43rd entrant in the show, pulled out of the competition after Ukraine barred Russian contestant Yulia Samoilova from entering the country for performing in Crimea.

Italian Francesco Gabbani is leading the pack with a number, viewed almost 114 million times on YouTube, that mixes Buddhist imagery with a dancing ape, and he explains as poking fun at the West's superficial embrace of eastern culture.

"If I can bring some sort of change to the pop music in the world in general, because people only listen to the music that is thrown at us from the radio stations, I'll be more than happy". "The song was meant to be sung in Portuguese, but we need to feel whatever we are singing, no matter the language".

He posted he was "so emotional right now" after his big Eurovision moment became a dream to realise after watching Jessica Mauboy perform as a special guest at the 2014 competition in Copenhagen.

He had previous experience at Eurovision, having been a backup singer for the Israeli entrants Nadav Guedj in 2015 and Hovi Star past year in Stockholm.

#Ukraine is hosting Eurovision just two years after pulling out in 2015 over the armed conflict with pro-Russian separatists in the country's industrial east.

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

This year's competition, the 62nd, was held in Ukraine, home country of last year's victor Jamala.

This is the 62nd year for Eurovision which was started to bring recently warring European countries together.

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.

From its launch with seven countries, Eurovision has grown to include more than 40, including non-European nations such as Israel and, somewhat controversially, far-off Australia, where the event has a huge fan following.

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