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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 10:40 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 10:55 pm 
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Portugal wins Eurovision for first time
13 May 2017

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Kiev (dpa) - Salvador Sobral has won the Eurovision Song Contest in the Ukrainian capital Kiev with the heartfelt jazz ballad "Amar Pelos Dois," marking the first time Portugal has won the competition.

Sobral's song topped the scoreboard with 758 points, narrowly beating out Bulgaria's Kristian Kostov with "Beautiful Mess" on 615 points. Moldova followed in third place, while Spain came last out of the 26 finalists with just five points, which were awarded by a professional jury and viewers at home.

After being declared winner, 27-year-old Sobral took to the stage once more to sing with his sister Luisa, who wrote the song for him. She had also represented him at rehearsals when he was too ill to perform.

"We live in a world of disposable music, fast-food music without any content and I think that this could be a victory for music with people that make music that actually means something," Sobral said. "Music is not fireworks, music is feeling, so let's try to change this," he continued.

He also praised his sister, lauding her as "the best composer in the country, in Europe!"

There were lots of colourful moments at this year's contest. Italy's entry, which had been the favourite going in, included a man dancing in a gorilla suit, while Romania was represented by a yodelling duo.

But Eurovision was also overshadowed by the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko cancelling his planned attendance after four people were killed in shelling in the country's east. he contest took place in Kiev, after Ukraine won it last year with "1944" by Jamala. The song about Soviet-era repression in Crimea sparked controversy at the time due to its political overtones. Political gestures are banned at the contest.

Russia boycotted this year's competition after Ukraine banned their entry, Julia Samoylova, from entering the country for having performed in Russia-annexed Crimea. An offer by Eurovision to allow her to perform via videolink was rejected by Moscow.

Source: dpa

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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 5:43 pm 
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Eurovision winner greeted by ecstatic Portuguese nation
14 May 2017

LISBON (AP) -- Eurovision winner Salvador Sobral was greeted as a national hero upon his return home to Portugal on Sunday, a day after winning the song contest in Ukraine's capital.

The 27-year-old Sobral was a virtual unknown before his triumph in Kiev, but around 2,000 jubilant fans cheered his arrival at Lisbon's airport. "Without wanting to sound presumptuous, this win is very important for Portuguese culture," Sobral said. "But I'm not a hero. That's (local soccer star) Cristiano Ronaldo." A visibly tired Sobral added: "I'm exhausted and just want to rest. I know this won't last. I want to be known as a musician. Not as the Eurovision winner."

His gentle romantic ballad Amar Pelos Dois (Love For Both) conquered all in Saturday night's extravaganza, which was watched by millions of spectators around the world. "I'm happy my romantic song won, and I hope the gala stops being a popularity contest," Sobral said at a news conference, while thanking Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso for his support.

The weekend was a busy one in Portugal, with Pope Francis' visit to Fatima and Lisbon soccer team Benfica winning its fourth straight Portuguese league title, also on Saturday. But Sobral was the man of the hour on Sunday, after the Lisbon native with a heart condition put an end to the southern European country's long misery in the famed Eurovision contest, which he took in a landslide.

Sobral won easily, giving Portugal its first Eurovision win since it started competing in the international competition in 1964, and prompting congratulatory messages from the country's highest authorities. "When we are very good, we're the best of the best. Congratulations Salvador Sobral," President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa wrote in a message Saturday night. Prime Minister Antonio Costa followed the lead with a tweet of his own. "A page of history has been written in Portuguese this evening at Eurovision. Bravo Salvador! Bravo Portugal," Costa said.

The previous best Portuguese Eurovision ranking was 6th place, back in 1996. Unlike the 25 other competitors who performed on a wide stage backed by flashing lights, bursts of flames and other special effects, Sobral sang from a small elevated circle in the middle of the crowd, an intimate contrast to others' bombast. "Music is not fireworks, music is feeling," he said while accepting the award.

The feeling was never more mutual than Sunday afternoon, when Sobral was embraced by his countrymen and women upon arrival, as hundreds physically swarmed him at the airport concourse, chanting his name while being escorted by police. Neighboring Spain, meanwhile, finished last after a poor performance by its representative, Manel Navarro.

With Portugal rallying around its new national musical hero, even recently-crowned soccer champion Benfica took the time to congratulate Sobral. "We aren't the only winners this evening...! Well done Salvador Sobral!" the team posted on its official Twitter account.

But one of the most surprising tweets came further north, from British novelist J.K. Rowling, author of the popular Harry Potter book series. "Yay Portugal!" Rowling wrote.

Sobral captured 758 points in the contest, 143 more than second-placed Kristian Kostov, from Bulgaria. His win ensured Portugal would host next year's Eurovision contest. "I hope to keep making music that means something and remain happy, playing it. Emotion always prevails," Sobral said. "The song was meant to be sung in Portuguese, but we need to feel whatever we are singing, no matter the language."

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:46 am 
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Eurovision Song Contest 2018 to be held in Lisbon
25 July 2017

Lisbon (dpa) - The Eurovision Song Contest 2018 will be held in Lisbon, Portuguese broadcaster RTP and the organizers said Tuesday.

The final will take place on May 12 in the Portuguese capital's Meo Arena on the banks of the Tagus River, with the semi-finals taking place on May 8 and 10. Portugal won the right to host the annual contest after singer Salvador Sobral took home the trophy from this year's competition in Kiev with the song, "Amar Pelos Dois."

The cities of Braga, Gondomar, Guimaraes and Santa Maria da Feira had also made bids to host the contest. "We are very pleased to announce that RTP will be hosting the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon," Jon Ola Sand, the contest's executive supervisor said. "The city has presented an exemplary proposal, and we look forward to working together to make Portugal’s first ever Eurovision the most exciting one yet."

Source: dpa

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 12:18 pm 
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Eurovision carnival comes to Portugal for first time
by Daniel SILVA
12 May 2018

LISBON (AFP) - A peaceful Danish Viking, an Estonian soprano in a giant dress and a gay-themed dance will be on display at Saturday's Eurovision final in Portugal, which is toning down the frills at the annual song contest.

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Favourites include Cyprus' fiery song "Fuego" by Eleni Foureira and Israeli singer Netta Barzilai's "Toy", whose lyrics "I am not your toy" sum up the concerns of many women who have adopted the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment. The 25-year-old former singer in the Israeli Navy band accompanies the uptempo song with trills, clucking sounds and chicken-like dance moves.

The final gets under way at 8 pm at Lisbon's riverside Altice Arena, Portugal's largest entertainment venue. Highlights will undoubtedly include Denmark's red-bearded Rasmussen, whose song is based on a legend about a Viking who refused to fight, and a special dress worn by Estonian soprano Elina Nechayeva which flows down from her waist, beyond her feet and out across the stage. The dress comes to life with lightening displays and laser effects while she sings.

Eurovision was first held in 1956 with the aim of uniting Europe after World War II. Today it has a combined global audience of around 200 million people -- more than the Super Bowl in the United States -- and has served as a global launching pad for the likes of ABBA and Celine Dion.

This year's final won't be seen in China though. The European Broadcast Union has barred a Chinese video service, Mango TV, from airing the event after it edited out a romantic dance sequence by two men from Ireland's entry in the first semi-final on Tuesday, and blurred out rainbow flags in the audience.
Ireland made it to Saturday's final.

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Despite an ever-increasing number of TV music contests such as Pop Idol, fans say the show -- the longest-running international TV competition according to Guinness World Records -- is in a category of its own. "I like the mix of flags, and the singing in the local languages and the mix of people," Lorenzo Formento, a 40-year-old Italian logistics manager who lives in Madrid and came to Lisbon for the final, told AFP. "I think it is very cheerful, it is more about this than the songs. Everyone knows the songs are not that good."

Portugal is hosting the event for the first time after its entry, jazzy solo ballad "Amar pelos dois" ("Love for two") by Salvador Sobral, won the contest last year in Ukraine. Cash-strapped public broadcaster RTP has vowed to stage a more "theatrical" contest that makes less use of flashy electronic visual effects, following in the footsteps of Sobral who said after his win that "music is not fireworks, music is feeling". This year's contest will cost around 20 million euros ($24 million) to stage, the lowest amount since 2008 when it started to have two semi-finals.

Sobral will perform his winning song from last year at the final with his idol, Brazilian music icon Caetano Veloso. It will be the first time that he hits the stage since he underwent a heart transplant in December. "I think I will faint. Before I never get nervous and now I can?t sleep. It's surreal," he said in an interview published Wednesday in Portuguese daily Publico.

After two semi-finals held this week, 20 countries moved to Saturday's final while Britain, Italy, Spain, France and Germany got free passes as they are the biggest contributors to the European Broadcasting Union. Host Portugal also automatically qualified. Viewers and professional juries in all 43 participating countries will pick the winner, with the televoting and juries each representing 50 percent of the outcome.

Source: AFP

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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 6:15 am 
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Israel wins Eurovision with #MeToo inspired song
13 May 2018

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LISBON (AFP) -- Israel won the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon early Sunday after singer Netta Barzilai beat 25 other contestants with her uptempo song "Toy" whose lyrics have been embraced by the #MeToo movement.

The winning track, which contained refrains such as "I am not your toy, you stupid boy", summed up the concerns of many women who have adopted the growing global movement against sexual harassment. "I am so happy. Thank you so much. Thank you for supporting diversity," Barzilai said as she took the stage after her win was announced. The 25-year-old former singer in the Israeli Navy band accompanied her winning performance with trills, clucking sounds and chicken-like dance moves in an eye-catching and bizarre performance that is often typical of the Eurovision contest.

Portugal hosted the event for the first because it won the contest last year in Ukraine with a jazzy solo ballad by Salvador Sobral. Barzilai's victory is the fourth time Israel has won the contest. The annual musical extravaganza has long been known for its ludicrous costumes, glitz and high-tech stage effects. But cash-strapped Portuguese state broadcaster vowed to stage a more "theatrical" contest that made less use of new technologies, following in the footsteps of Sobral's bare-bones performance. It stripped the Eurovision stage of the walls of LED screens that have formed a backdrop to performances in recent years.

Nonetheless many of the 26 acts that took part in the final at Lisbon's Altice Arena found other gimmicks to get the audience's attention -- and their votes. Norway's Alexander Rybak played an imaginary guitar, violin, piano and drum as graphics of those instruments were overlaid onto the feed of his performance on viewers' TV screens at home. Italy used the same trick but with brightly designed subtitles spelling out the lyrics to their song, which deals with recent terrorist attacks in Europe.

Estonian soprano Elina Nechayeva wore a giant, interactive dress which flowed down from her waist, beyond her feet and out across the sprawling stage. The dress, which weighs around eight kilos (18 pounds), came to life with colourful animations while she stood in place and sang her pop opera entry "La Forza" in Italian. Ukraine's Melovin went a step further, ending his vampire-themed performance by playing a piano while the stairs leading up to it were set on fire.

This year's contest cost around 20 million euros ($24 million) to stage, the lowest amount since 2008 when it started to have two semi-finals. British singer SuRie's performance was interrupted by a man who jumped on stage and snatched her microphone as she performed her entry "Storm". She calmly turned to one side and clapped while the man was escorted away before quickly resuming singing after being handed another microphone. The man is in police custody, the European Broadcast Union, which stages Eurovision, said in a statement. SuRie and her team were offered the chance to sing again but opted not to because they were "extremely proud" of her performance, it added.

Eurovision was first held in 1956 with the aim of uniting Europe after World War II. Today it has an estimated global audience of around 200 million people -- more than the Super Bowl in the United States -- and has served as a global launching pad for the likes of ABBA and Celine Dion. "It's just harmless fun, it is just a really good atmosphere," said Lee Torrance, a 43-year-old from Worcestershire in the United Kingdom who wore a vest and bowtie with the Union Jack pattern to the final.

Although the contest is supposed to be nonpolitical, this year's Eurovision, like many others before it, was no stranger to controversy. The European Broadcast Union barred China's Mango TV from airing Saturday's final after it edited out a romantic dance sequence by two men from Ireland's entry during the contest's first semi-final. Mango TV also blurred out rainbow flags in the audience.

After two semi-finals held this week, 20 countries moved to Saturday's final while Britain, Italy, Spain, France and Germany got free passes as they are the biggest contributors to the European Broadcasting Union. Portugal automatically qualified because it was the host.

Source: AFP

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