Eurovision 2017 moral tale, in a world desperate for positive references

Photo from The Independent — fair use

Portugal won the Eurovision Song contest 2017 and although I’m Portuguese, I woke up this morning proud of my European counterparts.

Salvador — “savior” in Portuguese — made history for my country but also for all that feel that is is OK to have true feelings, that to be humble and hard work are qualities to emulate.

I have to confess that I had initially no interest on the show — my report might be a bit inaccurate due to this fact — as I was preparing myself for the same old story: politics, neighboring countries cross vote, sense overload with tricks and at the very end of my cynicism list, a song that would hit an emotional chord…but that didn’t happen in that particular order.

Many gimmicks were used to win over the “populist vote”. Lot’s of high technological visual effects, fireworks and strobe lights, 38 of the 42 countries singing in English (easier to win listeners with a memorable soundbite), the appeal of youth to prompt people’s protective instincts (3 countries participated with 17 year old singing wonders), beautiful long legged woman singers with dresses leaving little to the imagination, a man singing in two different voice registers, yodeling, a man with a horse head, a gorilla, acrobats and dancers, etc.

Then came the vote. To my -limited- knowledge of the contest, the vote is divided in two parts. There is a “Jury vote” which I believe are experts in the music industry and then the “Popular vote” which is gathered by the count of paid calls to a specific number.

After a couple of minutes of the Jury vote, it became clear that the professionals were able to see behind the “circus” and evaluate the emotional quality of the Portuguese song, making it their winner…but there was still the popular vote to come. Result after result, the “grand finale” revealed as well, that the people was also emotionally attached to the Portuguese song and that the “bells and whistles” could not distract them from their feelings — I remember seeing the Armenian singer crying whilst Salvador sang his song

The winner was a man, not particularly well dressed and with a rough beard, singing in Portuguese, alone on a dark stage and a piano (not on stage) singing from the heart. Simplicity, humility, feelings, hard work was the formula and I’m proud that the Europeans (also including Australia, Israel, etc. present at the contest) made him their choice, letting me to believe that there is hope for us all.

Thank you Salvador and team, thank you Europe