Salvador Sobral, the almost incognito Portuguese singer, has done the unthinkable.
Portugal never won a Eurovision contest in its 53 years of participation.
This time it was done in style, breaking the highest score record and splitting with the last decades trend of pop song supremacy.
A hard and painful road
Salvador Sobral was not the favorite singer entering the competition. Infact, Portugal has had a long and painful history of bad scores on the Eurovision Festival. In fact, the closest ever to the task was Lúcia Moniz, back in 1996, with her “O Meu Coração Não Tem”. Even then, she was only able to reached a respectable 6th place.
With a streak of bad songs, the Portuguese Eurovision organization decided it was time to go back to the basics and stick to what the nation is good at – sad songs of broken hearts and hope for better times.
Hence, the task was to get a simple but elegant song that would contrast with the pop tendency set by the industry. Some of the best portuguese composers were contacted. Luisa Sobral, Salvador’s sister, was one of them. According to Salvador Sobral, Luisa put together the song at the very last moment possible and chose him to give his voice to it.
The song is called “Amar pelos dois”. You can check out the original and translated lyrics at Wiwibloggs.
Salvador Sobral wins Eurovision 2017
Portugal started the voting in style. Sobral got the first 12 points and never dropped to second place at any point of the process.
It was quite clear who the winner was going to be. Salvador Sobral was winning by a margin of more than 100 points even before the popular vote, followed by Bulgaria. It was 382 points against 278, respectively.
In the end, after a painful to watch distribution of the popular vote, Portugal got 758 votes, against Bulgaria’s 615. This not only set a first for portugal, winning a Eurovision contest, but also a record high score for the event itself. The previous highest score had been achieved by the Ukrainian singer Jamala. She got 534 points for her song “1944”.
A different kind of song
“Music is not fireworks. Music is feeling”
Despite the trend in having english songs at the Eurovision, Salvador Sobral made a point to sing in his native language. In addition, this wasn’t the usual firework-background-filled pop song we’ve been getting used to in this kind of events. Rather, “Amar pelos dois” is much closer to Lisbon’s traditional Fado sad and sorrow kinda song. Most noteworthy, instead of getting rejected by the public and jury alike, it seemed to have been collectively received as a breath of fresh air.
Asked about the result, Salvador made a point to say that this is a victory against what he called as disposable or fast food music. “This could be a victory for music […] that actually means something. Music is not fireworks. Music is feeling”.
I guess you don’t need no monkey business to be recognized.