Bring on the 'gorilla:' Eurovision final brings glittery fun

Wearing a long red dress, The Voice Australia victor struck a confident figure in front of a 50-second-long waterfall of fireworks, the longest in Eurovision history.

Portugal have won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in the competition's history.

"Italy has a fantastic song, it embraces the Eurovision spirit", said British fan Matthew while entering the venue.

Another favourite with the bookmakers was Bulgaria's big-voiced 17-year-old singer Kristian Kostov who gave a confident performance of "Beautiful Mess".

(AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov). NaviBand from Belarus performs the song "Historyja Majho Zyccia" during rehearsals for the Eurovision Song Contest, in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, May 12, 2017.

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Vying for first place is Portugal's Salvador Sobral, performing a jazz-style ballad written by sister Luisa.

Many people blamed the drop in votes on a man draped in an Australian flag who stormed the stage during a half-time performance and mooned the audience. "This is a victory for music. music isn't fireworks, music is feeling".

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

Italian Francesco Gabbani invoked Hamlet and Desmond Morris's anthropology book "The Naked Ape" in his song, while a gorilla-costumed dancer boogied alongside him.

The contest is aimed at good, apolitical fun.

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And rounding out the top five was Sweden.

Russian Federation boycotted this year's competition after Ukraine barred its contestant from entering the country - a symptom of the countries' toxic relations since Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in 2014.

This year's competition saw some controversy when Ukraine barred Russia's entry, Yulia Samoilova, from coming to Kyiv because she had performed in the Russia-annexed Ukrainian region of Crimea in 2015.

The Moscow-Kiev split is a headache for Eurovision's producer, the European Broadcasting Union, which strives mightily to keep pop and politics separate.

The acrimony is ironic, since Eurovision was founded in 1956 to bring the recently warring countries of Europe together.

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From its launch with seven countries, Eurovision has grown to include more than 40 states, including non-European nations such as Israel and - somewhat controversially - far-off Australia.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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