Portugal wins Eurovision song contest for the first time

Salvador Sobral wins with a jazz-style ballad written by his sister Luisa

Portugal has won the Eurovision song contest for the first time, taking the prize in Ukraine on Saturday night.

Salvador Sobral, performing a jazz-style ballad written by his sister Luisa, was a clear winner in the annual song contest held this year in Kiev and broadcast to an expected global audience of over 200 million people.

The theme of this year’s contest was “celebrate diversity”, although there was widespread criticism on social media of the fact that all three presenters for the show were white men, while there was an overwhelmingly white roster of performers.

The contest also saw a streaker interrupt the programme.


The stage invader, wrapped in an Australian flag, took to the stage during a performance by last year’s winner Jamala, and bared his bottom. He was wrestled off the stage by a security guard as the singer continued to perform.

The contest took place against the backdrop of continued fighting between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists hundreds of kilometres east of Kiev.

Russia boycotted this year’s competition after Ukraine barred its contestant from entering the country - a symptom of the countries’ toxic relations since Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014.

Ukraine won last year's Eurovision with its Crimean Tatar entry Jamala. In a grim reminder of the continued conflict in the east, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko cancelled his scheduled appearance at the competition after four civilians were killed in artillery attacks that Kiev blamed on the separatist rebels.

“We were planning together with (my wife) Maryna to attend the final competition and invited our soldiers and people with disabilities to cheer on Ukraine together,” Poroshenko said in a statement.

“But due to the shelling on Avdiyivka and deaths of civilians, I decided to cancel (my attendance).”

It was the 62nd edition of Eurovision, recognised by Guinness World Records as the longest-running annual TV music competition. It began in 1956 with just seven countries. Ireland have won most often - seven times in all - following by Sweden.