Salvador Sobral will sing Amar Pelos Dois at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv but he’s not been able to get to rehearsals.
Instead his sister Luisa (the songwriter) has stepped in during the technical rehearsals. Salvador has a heart condition and cannot leave his medical team for two weeks.
He will arrive in time for the dress rehearsals as second favourite to win Eurovision. The news was confirmed in Portugal’s Eurovision press conference by his sister Luisa.
Initially, Savador wanted to keep his potentially life-threatening condition a secret but following his performance of Amar Pelos Dois in the Portuguese national final, he required urgent surgery to repair two hernias.
He was able to perform in the final and won the ticket to Eurovision despite still being in recovery. In a moving moment, his sister Luisa joined in to reprise the song.
Make no mistake, this song is a big contender and the performance has been kept as simple as possible to help Savador compete without problems when he arrives.
It’s almost unchanged from the national final winning routine. There is no movement on stage, but that only strengthens the impact of this timeless melody.
Sticking to Portuguese maintains the charm and charisma of this song that pulls at the heartstrings through musical composition. It could have been a Eurovision winner in the 1950s, and it could be a Eurovision winner in 2017.
Salvador shies away from the media and does not want Eurovision votes out of sympathy. He doesn’t want to make an issue out of his medical condition and there is no reference to it on the official Eurovision website. He won’t need sympathy votes with a song like this anyway.
It’s so different to anything else in the competition this year, it is almost certain to become Portugal’s most successful Eurovision entry.
Portugal has been trying to win the Eurovision Song Contest since 1964 and their best result was 6th place in 1996. The Western European nation has not been seen at the Eurovision final since 2010 and has only qualified from the semis three times in 11 years (though they didn’t compete in 2013 or 2016).
Salvador Sobral should put that record to bed when he performs Amar Pelos Dois in the first Eurovision Song Contest semi final on Tuesday 9 May. The show will air on BBC4 at 8pm.