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49 tries later, Portugal wins and then hosts the Eurovision Song Contest

The Eurovision song contest started in Italy in the early 50's at the Sanremo Music Festival. Thought up by Marcel Bezenco, President of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) Program Committee at the time, it gathered seven founding countries in a singing competition on May 24 of 1954 and it grew to be a phenomenon. 

A broadcasting success, uniting Europeans through live television in times where there was no common euro, internet, or low cost flights, Eurovision reached young people who would sit in front of their big TVs and memorize the lyrics that went on.   

Names like ABBA, Celine Dion, Julio Iglesias or Bonnie Tyler graced its stage forming a legacy of fans, whose excitement rose when the national juries started to be replaced for the public's direct voting by telephone. 

With some political controversy, it's interesting to see which countries stand together on the votings and the ones that, for being the major donors Big Five (FR, UK, GR, IT, SP), get a place in the Grand Finale despite of the voting results. 

Even when presented as an impartial competition, some of the songs will also carry political issues between lines, like Israel's "Push the Button" in 2007 or Ukraine's "1944" that referred to the deportation of the Crimean tatars to the USSR and won the 2016's edition.


Portugal's first participation, in 1964 with a dictatorship ruling the country, was booed by the crowd and came home with zero points .  Then came London, Paris, and only after 49 participations, of which only 6 visits to the top 10, Portugal at last got a taste of glory.

A rather odd contest, recently Eurovision's results aren't so predictable.  From a finnish hard rock band in 2006, to a drag queen in 2014, it was a Portuguese romantic ballad  "Amar Pelos Dois' by Salvador Sobral that brought joy to the Eurovision generation that, after years of disappointment, saw Portugal win.

Now Lisbon is hosting the show, Salvador is singing on stage, and a pink haired Claudia Pascoal is taking "O Jardim" to represent the country. The odds so far give Israel the first place and "O Jardim" is ranked in  the top 20. Maybe we will be surprised on May 12nd?


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