Eurovision 2017: Less is more as voters opt for a simple winner

14th May 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ CDs Tapes and Vinyls,In The News,Jazz,Jazz Blues,Music Business News,Music News,New Singles,On Television,Pop,Rock and Pop,Singer,Singers and Vocalists,Talent Shows & Competition,TV Concerts,TV Specials,Vocals

The Eurovision Song Contest has gone back to basics, with a stripped-down jazz ballad taking the prize in the 2017 edition of the world-famous competition.

Hosted by Ukraine in Kiev, the contest featured a familiar high-tech stage using projections, fireworks and pyrotechnics to illustrate the 26 songs.

But the winning song, which dominated the voting, made little use of the bells and whistles on offer in its staging, turning recent Eurovision history on its head.

Portugal was the country with the longest streak in the contest without a win.

Its 2017 entry Amar Pelos Dois (Love For Both Of Us) by Salvador Sobral was the nation’s 50th song performed at Eurovision.

There was a projected backdrop of a forest, but the focus was squarely on Sobral — whose sister Luisa wrote the song — standing on a smaller stage in the middle of the arena, surrounded by a hushed crowd.

The song that had been tipped as the winner since all the songs became known earlier this year was Italy’s Francesco Gabbani with Occidentali’s Karma.

Gabbani qualified for Eurovision by winning the San Remo Song Contest in Italy.

His catchy pop number, with lyrics about people’s lifestyles in the west, and name-dropping of philosophical ideas, became famous in performance for the inclusion of a man in a gorilla suit dancing with Gabbani on stage.

It had slipped in the betting in the lead-up to the final, as Portugal’s audience-pleasing performance raised expectations.

Gabbani’s song garnered a huge ovation after the performance. But the voting then highlighted the two very different voting blocs needed to win at Eurovision.

In its early days, the contest was decided purely on the votes from national “juries”, containing music industry representatives.

In the late 1990s, however, Eurovision underwent some modernisation, ditching the traditional orchestra accompaniment to songs, introducing a free language rule to end the advantage for English-speaking countries and introducing a televote to allow the TV audience to register a preference.

The types of songs that won changed greatly following these changes, as all-round performance and visuals became much more important.

Winners like Mans Zelmerlow’s Heroes for Sweden in 2015 showed the new target entry: a modern song accompanied by an electronic light show.

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