Thanks to Salvador Sobral and his song "Amar pelos dois" (Loving For Both of Us) - written and co-performed by his sister Luísa Sobral - Portugal will play host to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, in just over a week. Kiev 2017 was Portugal's first win, and first top-five placing, in 53 years of participation, the longest win-less run by a country in Eurovision history. It was also the first winning song entirely performed in a country's native language since Serbia's "Molitva" in 2007.
As we gird our loins in readiness, here’s a little Good Morning Portugal guide to the annual endurance test that is guaranteed to create a marathon, ‘marmite’ mix of music and performances:
A whopping 43 countries will be sending one musical act to Lisbon, where the 63rd Eurovision Song Contest will take place. Each participating broadcaster that represents their country has chosen their performer (maximum 6 people) and song (maximum 3 minutes) through national televised or internal selection. Each is free to decide if they send their number-one star or the best new talent they could find.
The winner of the Eurovision Song Contest will be chosen through two Semi-Finals (8th and 10th May) and a Grand Final (12th May). Traditionally, six countries are automatically pre-qualified for the Grand Final. The so-called 'Big Five' - France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom - and the host country.
On Grand Final night, the ultimate 26 participants must sing live, while no live instruments are allowed. After all songs have been performed, each country will give two sets of 1 to 8, 10 and 12 points [I don't understand that either]; one set given by a jury of five music industry professionals, and one set given by viewers at home. Viewers can vote by telephone, text and through the official app. To keep things fair, you cannot vote for your own country.
Once the voting window has closed, the presenters will call upon spokespersons in all 43 countries and ask them to reveal their jury points live on air. Next, viewers' points from all of the said countries will be added up, and revealed from the lowest to the highest, culminating into a climax that will eventually reveal the winner of this upcoming Portuguese-flavoured finale.
The winner will perform once again, and take home the iconic glass microphone trophy!
You’re welcome! (-;
[With thanks to www.eurovision.tv and Wikipedia for background information and image]
PS I took the further liberty of working my way through the winners of previous years to prove that some decent, if not certainly memorable, tunes have blessed our souls thanks to this unique event. That two-hour ‘special’ can be heard below...
As well as hosting the "Good Morning Portugal!" Radio Show, I write about this wonderful country - the places, people and the lovely experiences I'm having here.