Aftermath 2017 (14): Portugal goes crazy for first victory

In the final article of our series The Aftermath, we look back at Portugal’s first ever win at the Eurovision Song Contest. Salvador Sobral was welcomed home as a hero in Portugal, as thousands gathered in Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado Airport to greet the victorious team.

Salvador Sobral’s victory in Kiev was not just another Eurovision Song Contest win. Portugal debuted in the contest in 1964 and in more than 50 years the country had never reached the Top 5, achieving their best placing in 1996 when Lúcia Moniz ranked 6th with ‘O Meu Coração Não Tem Cor’.

With their 49th entry, ‘Amar Pelos Dois’, the country achieved what had never been done before, not only finishing in the Top 5 for the first time ever and winning the competition by a landslide, setting a new record for points along the way.

Check out the winning performance:

The Aftermath

After returning in Lisbon, the host city for the 2018 contest, Salvador received a hero’s welcome. When asked about the reception in the press conference after his victory, he replied: “Me the national hero of my country? I want to live a peaceful life, maybe there will be some fuss at the beginning, but if I thought of myself as a hero of Portugal it would be a bit weird.”

The winning songwriter, Luisa Sobral, who is none other than Salvador’s sister, was very touched upon their arrival in Portugal. “I couldn’t control myself and cried like a baby when I saw this sea of people. It is so good to see that art also moves people this way.”

She followed with a message of gratitude. “Thank you very much to all who came to greet us. To all those who cheered for us, to our fellow musicians who sent us beautiful messages. And to the Portuguese broadcaster, RTP, for always having defended our song tooth and nail.”