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News 14 May 17

Teenage Bulgarian Pipped to Post at Eurovision

Bulgarians had something to celebrate Saturday night when Kristian Kostov came second in the Kiev Eurovision.

BIRN Team
Sofia
Kostov performing at Eurovision. Andres Putting/Eurovision

A teenage singer from the Balkans narrowly missed seizing the crown at the 2017 Eurovision song contest staged in Kiev Ukraine on Saturday night.

Juries were wowed by 17-year-old Kristian Kostov’s song “Beautiful Messdespite a brief row over the youngster’s brief appearance in a Russian TV show in Russian-occupied Crimea – a sensitive subject in Ukraine.

Kostov performed strongly - and at one point even seemed poised to clinching the top place.

However, as the night went on, Portugal’s Salvador Sobral pulled further ahead, winning convincingly with 785 points with a gentle French-style “chanson”.

His victory was a sign that European juries had wearied of the noisy pop ballads that have claimed the prize in recent years. Kostov scored 615 points.

 

Other contestants from the region also performed robustly in this year’s contest, with Moldova coming in third place, Romania in seventh place and Croatia in 13th place.

Croatia may have suffered from a minor backlash over allegedly homophobic remarks that singer Jacques Houdel made a decade ago.

Some fans of the show took to social media to urge juries not to vote for him, claiming his views conflicted with this year’s theme of “diversity”.

Although Bulgarians were disappointed that their contestant did not come first in the musical contest, he was welcomed at Sofia airport on Sunday like a winner by a crowd of people, cheering and singing his song.

“This year’s Eurovision celebrated diversity. This is small revolution, as the contest has not been so diverse for long time,” Kostov told reporters.

The success of the Moscow-born singer was also cheered by the Russian embassy in Sofia.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, the embassy noted that “Kostov has admitted more than once that he owes his talent to Russia”, recalling that he took part in Russian vocal band and has participated in the Russian musical format of the children’s “The Voice”.

While Portugal relished its first Eurovision win in 53 years, neighbouring Spain was covered in humiliation. Its own song, “Do it for your love”, failed to evoke any love from the juries, languishing at the very end of the table with only five votes.

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