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Portugal Wins Eurovision Song Contest; Bulgaria Second; Moldova Third

Salvador Sobral from Portugal performs the winning song at the Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv.

Portugal was the top vote-getter in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, the annual festival traditionally watched by a television audience of an estimated 200 million people.

Portugal, behind singer Salvador Sobra, was declared the winner early on May 14 in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. The winner was determined by a combination of points awarded by national juries and voting by telephone and text message from participant countries.

Ukraine won the right to host the event by virtue of winning the event last year.

The winning song was titled Amar Pelos Dois, giving Portugal its first victory since it initially entered the contest in 1964.

The final featured performers from 26 countries, including artists from Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, and host Ukraine.

Portugal had 758 points. Bulgaria finished second with 615, while Moldova was third with 374.

Azerbaijan was 14th with 120 points, Belarus 17th with 83, Armenia 18th with 79, and Ukraine 24th with 36.

The 27-year-old Sobral and Italy's Francesco Gabbani, who finished sixth, were touted as the favorites, according to bookmakers. The youngest entrant, Bulgaria's 17-year-old Kristian Kostov, had been ranked third.

Security was reportedly intense, as the country is fighting a conflict against Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine

President Petro Poroshenko announced on Facebook that he was canceling a planned appearance at the event because of a shelling incident in the eastern city of Avdiyivka that left four civilians dead.

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.

Russia, in response, decided not to allow her to participate by video or to send another contestant. Russia has also decided not to show the event on television.

Before the final night, it emerged that Bulgaria’s Kostov had also performed in Crimea soon after Moscow's illegal annexation, but Ukrainian officials said she was allowed to enter Ukraine now because she had been just 14 at that time.

The Eurovision contest began in 1956 with just seven entrants.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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