27-year-old Sobral performed with the song Amar Pelos Dios (Love for Two), composed and written by his sister Luisa
Singer Salvador Sobral of Portugal won the 2017 Eurovision song contest that ended in Ukraine’s capital Kiev early on Sunday.
27-year-old Sobral, who was seen as the frontrunner of the contest by European bookmakers, performed with the song Amar Pelos Dios (Love for Two), composed and written by his sister Luisa Sobral. The song is entirely in Portuguese.
Sobral, who is reported to suffer from a serious heart condition that requires a heart transplantation surgery, was not able to leave Portugal in time to take part in initial rehearsals. His sister, Luisa, stood in for him during technical rehearsals and press conferences before the singer arrived to take part in the first semifinal.
The Portugese singer won both the most points awarded by judges from each country in the contest and from residents of the nations taking part. With 758 points in total, he had a solid lead over Bulgaria’s Kristian Kotov, who came second with 615 points. The third place went to SunStroke Project from Moldova, who received 374 points.
Speaking to reporters after the vote, Sobral ironically said he “could not understand the vote.” “It is very hard to understand it,” he said.
The singer said that although he helped Portugal to snatch its first Eurovision victory, he was not considering himself his country’s new hero. “I think that Ronaldo is a real hero,” he joked.
Portugal is the longest running Eurovision contestant never to have won the competition. Its previous highest place was back in 1966, when it came sixth.
Sobral also said his victory was important because his performance was intended to draw attention to the refugee problem in Europe, but stressed that it was not a political mission.
Although Eurovision supposed to be non-political, this year’s contest saw its share of political controversy. 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.