Salvador Sobral - “Amar Pelos Dois”
Oh snap! “How dare you boot Salvador this early, you monster!!” um i think he’s just fine, chill out?
I used to be fully on board the Salvador Speedboat, but sadly, he tarnished himself in my eyes by delivering one of the most self-serving, pompous winner speeches ever. “MUSIC ISN’T FIREWORKS, MUSIC IS EMOTION, THIS IS A VICTORY FOR ALL MUSIC” is a pretty rich statement coming from someone who was a blatant camera-mugger,
a provocateur pur sang,
and just in general took the mickey at this contest;
Like, all of the above moments are AWESOME but please do not insult our intelligence by pretending as if these didn’t definitely, DEFINITELY aid you in achieving that landslide win. Yes, Salvador, TELL us more about how you saved the face of Real Music  or invented jazz, BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T YOU BLOWHARD TWAT :@
(but thanks for calling out the Demys and Robsaiahs anyway because god was it necessary).
Fortunately though, in spite of all the self-righteous hypocrisy, i’m mostly here for Salvador’s journey as it truly fascinates me. Yeah, sure, I just YELLED at the man but I actually respect his role as enfant terrible quite a bit and even if you dislike “Amar Pelos Dois”, I feel like you should too.
How DOES one transform a hipster, extremely non-conformist entry such as “Amar Pelos Dois” into the most universally beloved Eurovision song of this decade exactly?
Well, children, it’s time to delve DEEPLY into how this contest truly fuctions and how Portugal managed to exploit one of the biggest, but most overlooked Eurovision loopholes.
I hope you’re ready because this write-up will be LONG.
To truly understand why Salvador won, we must first understand what he represents. Ask any casual eurofan what they think of Salvador and chances are they’re going to answer with finding him “genuine and heartfelt” if they’re a fan and “a con artist” if they’re not. Both ideas seem mutually exclusive but are in fact the two halves of the whole. The Yin and the Yang, if you will.
You see, Salvador’s entire mantra was indeed that he was “genuine” and free of all the frolics the other entries dabbled in. His act was just the song, bare and plain. By presenting “Amar Pelos Dois” intimately and keeping the tics to a minimum, Salvador managed to cast a mind-controlling spell over all of Europe, dismantling the language barrier and taking it home for Portugal.
The lusophone liberator
There is however a strong element of crafty subterfuge involved and no, I’m not talking about the tics. Salvador is a jazz singer and Jazz singers are weird by default; they have honky voices (evidenced by other ESC alumni who sang jazz in their early musical carreers, such as Jamala and Jana Burceska) and often improvize. Jazz Improv is virtually unheard of in our Eurovision bubble, but it’s a common performance method within the jazz circuit. This is why Salvador mimes, switches his voice’s pitch around, plays an air violin. It’s all part of the heat of the moment. There’s nothing overtly fake about this at all.
HOWEVER, by deliberately presenting yourself as guileless and then using seemingly gimmickless emotion AS YOUR MAIN STRATAGEM… that, my friends, is an A+ example of artifice. Salvador is not phony in SPITE of the emotion, but BECAUSE of it.
Naturally, this exploits a huge flaw within the system and not the one about “fastfood & borrowed music” (though that one should be addressed too imo). Why did “Amar Pelos Dois” win? Because of the song? Paradoxically, I don’t think the song itself ever mattered. “Amar Pelos Dois” didn’t win because of *what* it is, but because of what it *is*.
In other words, Eurovision is evolving into something bigger than just a song contest. Songs aren’t by themselves winning anymore, despite Salvador’s victory signalling otherwise..Instead, concepts win and the country which executes an attractive concept the BEST during those three minutes, takes it home.
Ergo, “Real Music” won in Eurovision 2017 but not in the way Salvador claims it did. He won because he successfully MARKETED his song as “real music” so everyone believed him and voted for him, juror and televoter alike.
What about other years? If we count back to the past three years, did ANY of Conchita, Mans or Jamala win because of their song… or because of what their songs represented at the time?
This may sound bleak, but I actually don’t think it’s bad. It means that yes, a bad song could theoretically win for what it represents. However, in practice we find that a good performance IS key because without one you can’t ever sell it properly. All of this actually makes me love “Amar Pelos Dois” more than I normally would have because this is the VERY first time I felt a country acknowledges this tactic and deliberately uses it to win. and It’s Portugal, OF ALL COUNTRIES.
I love how a bullied, unfairly maligned country like Portugal managed to troll all of Europe without them realizing it. <3
I love how Salvador spent every day in Kyiv mocking the SHIT out of the contest and was rewarded for it <3
I love how they -through sheer lack of gimmicks- managed to produce the gimmickest winner this contest has ever seen. <3
I love how they produced the biggest blowout winner this contest has seen since the early 80s. <3
I also love the woman, the legend, the CHIN that is Salvador’s sister Luisa, who owns one of my fave singing voices this year and got to share the limelight with Salvador during the winner’s reprisal, as she very much deserved!!
Finally, I love how this year has ended as a huge Portugese middlefinger against Europe for screwing them over for years and years and motherfucking YEARS and then managed to figure out the EXACT way to circumvent the language barrier and slay all opposition. It truly and finally establishes that any country is capable of winning. See you in Bern or Vilnius next year! (jk, it’ll probably be Saint Petersburg if the Only Returnees Win pattern keeps up. SAVE US, BOSNIA!!!)
Decade rank: 105/324
THE 2017 RANKING SO FAR:
17. Portugal (105/324)
18. Croatia (115/324)
19. Austria (119/324)
20. France (138/324)
21. Poland (154/324)
22. Armenia (158/324)
23. Romania (164/324)
24. Iceland (174/324)
25. Ukraine (190/324)
26. San Marino (203/324)
27. Albania (217/324)
28. Denmark (228/324)
29. Spain (237/324)
30. Cyprus (240/324)
31. Germany (258/324)
32. Montenegro (263/324)
33. Sweden (270/324)
34. Serbia (275/324)
35. Australia (280/324)
36. Switzerland (286/324)
37. Czech Republic (288/324)
38. Malta (291/324)
39. Georgia (301/324)
40. Greece (303/324)
41. Slovenia (307/324)
42. Ireland (312/324)