The Iberian peninsula played a starring role in last week’s Eurovision Song Contest in more ways than one. While Spain languished at the bottom of the table, becoming more and more red-faced as it was ignored completely by all the professional juries, neighbours Portugal rose to the top in style.
The moving ballad sung by Salvador Sobral gave Portugal its first Eurovision win ever in more than five decades of the competition.
Amar Pelos Dois, which was written by Sobral’s sister Luísa, a singer-songwriter who released her fourth studio album last year, is said by some to have restored the continent’s faith in Eurovision. The simplicity of the song and the fact that it was sung in Portuguese - and not English which is used for the vast majority of Eurovision songs - with no extravagant stage show or dancers, delighted some Eurovision fans keen to see the competition taken more seriously.
Other participants, however, objected to Sobral’s acceptance speech in which he criticised “disposable, fast food music without any content”.
“I think this could be a victory for music with people who make music that actually means something”, he added. “Music is not fireworks; music is feeling. So let’s try to change this and bring music back.”
Sweden’s contestant, Robin Bengtsson, who finished fifth, responded on social media saying, “Fast food pop music can be the best thing in the world at the right place and time - there’s room for everyone,” an opinion seconded by many pop-loving Eurovision fans.
Salvador Sobral, 27, who sang with his sister at the end of the show, lived in Mallorca as an Erasmus student before studying music in Barcelona, where he developed a passion for jazz.
He was unable to make some of the Eurovision rehearsals due to ill health. A serious heart condition has already seen him undergo two operations this year and he is waiting for a transplant.