The Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev was the second contest hosted in Ukraine. The hosting was a result of the Ukrainian victory the year before in Stockholm where Jamala won the contest with her entry “1944”. Although it wasn’t Ukraine’s first time to host the contest, it didn’t prevent the country from going through multiple events which in some cases put the whole production at risk of cancellation.
In order to choose which city will host the contest, the Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC opened the submission for all cities interested. This resulted in six cities expressing their will and placing a bid to host the contest. The cities Dnipro, Kharkiv, Kherson and Odessa placed their bid with a proposal of one venue as the potential venue. The cities Lviv and Kiev who hosted the 2005’s edition of the contest proposed two venues each. After long discussions, Kiev was announced as the host city with the international exhibition center as the official venue.
The contest in Kiev had three hosts: Oleksandr Skichko, Volodymyr Ostapchuk and Timur Miroshnychenko. This was the first time three men are chosen as the hosts of the contest and it was the second time there was no female hostess (the only time before was in the very first Contest in 1956, when the show was hosted by one host – Lohengrin Filipello). Miroshnychenko is no stranger to the world of Eurovision as he previously co-hosted the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2009 and 2013, and he acted as Ukraine’s commentator for Eurovision since 2007, and Junior Eurovision since 2005.
Although 43 countries showed their intentions to participate in the contest, the final list counted 42 countries following Russia’s withdrawal due to a conflict between Russian and Ukrainian broadcasters following a dispute over rather Russian singer Julia Samoylova can or cannot perform on the Eurovision stage in Ukraine. The question rose as Samoylova performed in Crimea in 2015 while according to Ukrainian law entry to Crimea by non-Ukrainian citizens via Russia is illegal. On the other hand, Portugal and Romania came back to the contest after year of absence. Bosnia and Herzegovina chose not to participate due to economic reasons.
This edition saw the return of five artists who already represented their country in the past. Valentina Monetta, who represented San Marino three times prior to this edition came back to represent the microstate once again. This time she was joined by Jimmie Wilson. Estonian singers Koit Tomme and Laura both represented the country prior to this contest as Koit represented the country in 1998 and Laura in 2005 as a part of the band “Suntribe”. Omar Naber represented Slovenia in 2005. The SunStroke Project represented Moldova in 2010 alongside Olia Tira, finishing 22nd with the song “Run Away”. O’G3NE, who represented the Netherlands, previously represented their country in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2007, as Lisa, Amy and Shelley. Israeli representative Imri Ziv took part in the contest in the previous two editions when he was the backing vocalist for Nadav Guedj and Hovi Star in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Tijana Bogicevic who represented Serbia was a backing vocalist for Nina in 2011.
26 countries competed in the Grand Final. From the Scandinavian bloc, Norway Sweden and Denmark qualified to the final. The former USSR countries’ bloc counted six of its members in the final. The bloc of former Yugoslav countries missed the Grand Final with the exception of Croatia which did qualify. Although being ranked out of the top 10 by the televoting, Australia and Denmark qualified to the Grand Final. On the other hand, Estonia and Switzerland failed to qualify although ranking in the top 10 of the televoting. Malta, Serbia, Georgia and the Czech Republic all managed to get to the top 10 in the jury voting yet failed to qualify due to an insufficient result in the televoting.
Yet, out of all 42 songs, one entry managed to steal the spotlight. The Portuguese entry “Amar Pelos Dois” sung by Salvador Sobral won the contest and gave Portugal its first-ever victory in the contest. Sobral won the contest with 758 points combined. Runner up Bulgaria earned 615 points and second runner up Moldova earned 374 points. Although coming third in the Semi-Final, Israel got to the 23rd position only with 39 points.
Listen to the winning entry here:
Watch the Grand Final here: