Man with serious heart condition wins Eurovision
KIEV: Portugal won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time yesterday with a melancholy ballad performed by a singer who suffers from a serious heart condition.
The fado-tinged song Amar Pelos Dois was performed by 27-year-old Salvador Sobral, who is awaiting a heart transplant.
It scored a crushing victory, winning top marks both from the televoters and the countries' professional juries.
The black-clad singer took to a small separate stage for his minimalist performance of the song composed by his sister Luisa.
"I don't know about national hero," Portugal's first ever winner told journalists afterwards.
"I think the real hero is (Portuguese footballer Cristiano) Ronaldo," he added jokingly.
"I just wanted to sing a beautiful song as it is - it's in Portugese," he said of his decision to sing in his native language despite speaking fluent English.
"If I can help to bring some change to music, I will be really joyful."
The ceremony in the capital of Ukraine began with a glittering light show as the contestants took bows on a stage lit up in the colours of their respective national flags.
Jon Ola Sand, executive supervisor of Eurovision, afterwards praised the "amazing set-up" in Ukraine and Sobral's performance. He said the winner was "bringing music back to the Eurovision Song Contest".
But the glitzy contest was marred by the ongoing fighting with Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko opted not to attend after four civilian deaths.
The annual celebration of catchy europop, ludicrous costumes and glittering divas watched by some 200 million TV viewers was being hosted by Ukraine for the second time.
Bulgaria's big-voiced 17-year-old singer Kristian Kostov came second with a confident performance of Beautiful Mess. - AFP