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:
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.”
— TAP Portugal (@taportugal) May 14, 2017
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.”
Não me controlei e chorei como um bebé ao ver este mar de gente. É tão bom ver que a arte também move as pessoas desta maneira. Muito obrigada a todos os que nos foram receber, a todos os que torceram por nós, aos nossos colegas músicos que nos enviaram mensagens lindíssimas, e à RTP por ter sempre defendido a nossa canção com unhas e dentes. Agora sim vou poder dizer um dia ao meu filho: “Sabes que eu e o tio já ganhámos a Eurovisão?”
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.”