Tender ballad by Portugal's Sobral wins Eurovision


Sobral won in a landslide, capturing 758 points, 143 more than second place.

The WINNER of the #ESC2017 is Portugal! "I think that Ronaldo is a real hero", he joked.

Though the event has run smoothly, it has done so under the watchful eye of an nearly overwhelming police and army presence at the venue, Kiev's International Exhibition Centre, and key locations in the city, such as Independence Square.

"Say hello to the world!" shouted co-presenter Volodymyr Ostapchuk.

Runner-up Kristian Kostov of Bulgaria wasn't short on feeling - his powerful song "Beautiful Mess" was awash in melodrama, the singer appearing nearly wrung out by romantic turmoil.

Third was Moldova's SunStroke Project with a raucous song called "Hey, Mamma" featuring a saxophonist in sunglasses and dancers in wedding dresses and veils. It began in 1956 with just seven countries.

Italian Francesco Gabbani is leading the pack with a number, viewed almost 114mn times on YouTube, that mixes Buddhist imagery with a dancing ape, and he explains as poking fun at the West's superficial embrace of eastern culture. Romania fielded a duo that combined rap and yodelling.

Ahead of the show, fans streamed into the venue, an exhibition centre outside the city centre, wearing flower garlands and draped in national flags while some waved rainbow gay pride flags.

Israel's Imri Ziv perform the song "I Feel Alive" during finals of of Eurovision Song Contest, in Kiev, Ukraine, May 14, 2017.

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Amid heightened security, some 10,000 police were deployed on the streets, some carrying semi-automatic weapons.

In a sobering footnote to the event, Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko and first lady Maryna Perevedentseva cancelled their attendance at the final at the last moment, due to heavy shelling and civilian casualties in Avdiivka.

"A page of history has been written in Portuguese this evening at Eurovision".

Though the competition itself explicitly forbids political messaging from the performers, it has not escaped the bruising of a minor political kerfuffle in the leadup: Russia's entrant, Yulia Samoylova, was banned by Ukraine for breaching their laws on unauthorised travel in the Crimea.

Russian Federation responded by refusing to air the contest and viewers in separatist eastern Ukraine were also unable to watch. Russian Federation should have been the 43rd entrant in the show, but pulled out last month amid a row over its chosen singer, Julia Samoylova.

Another contestant who scored a surprise high placing was Roma singer Joci Pápai, the first Roma to represent Hungary in the continental song competition among 42 countries.

But last year's victor Jamala, whose victory brought the 2017 competition to the Ukrainian capital, struck a more serious note with a song about the 1944 forced relocation of Crimean Tatars by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

The authorities handed out a map of gay-friendly venues to fans of the contest with a massive gay following.