Romania’s Alex Florea: “Salvador Sobral used cheap theatrics to win Eurovision”


Following Salvador Sobral‘s landslide victory at Eurovision 2017, countless music critics and Eurovision fans have praised the Portuguese singer for avoiding clichés and singing from the heart. But not everyone is happy with the result or how it unfolded. On Tuesday Robin Bengtsson from Sweden criticised Salvador’s victory speech, which took aim at “fast food music”. And today another top 10 act is speaking against the Portuguese singer. Alex Florea from Romania claims that Salvador “used cheap theatrics” to win the contest and that the Portuguese act “didn’t have heart problems, but head issues.”

In an interview live-streamed through the web site of Romania’s main newspaper “Adevarul”, “Yodel It!” singers Ilinca and Alex Florea were asked to give their two cents about the winner. Alex’s acidic response has left many Romanian Eurofans aghast.

Speaking of the Portuguese team, he said:

They used marketing to win, as happens in our talent shows as well. His backstory worked and the public ate it up. But from my point of view, Salvador doesn’t have heart problems, but head issues. Everybody thought that Italy would win, but there was a big fuss in Kyiv about [Salvador Sobral] because he was mysterious, he didn’t give interviews, he didn’t take photos and he wouldn’t show up for rehearsals. The Bulgarian representative could also have used his story, as he doesn’t see well, but he didn’t. The Portuguese played a role, that’s what I felt. I saw him on many occasions and I didn’t believe he had [health] problems. On the other hand, his song is excellent and it’s been a while since something like this has been written. But I am annoyed by the cheap theatrics, that’s why I’m so cynical. A lot of people have problems. But don’t use this to win. If you want to win, use what you do professionally, your voice, your show. That’s winning! I’ve had problems myself in talent shows, but I’ve never resorted to cheap deceitful tactics in order to win.

Ilinca’s answer was more diplomatic, and she suggested Salvador was a true artist.

I would have seen Armenia’s representative higher [on the scoreboard]. Gurl has a perfect voice! I also loved Moldova! Congratulations, guys! A superb show! But also Bulgaria were amazing! I am happy with Portugal [winning]. What Salvador did could be considered art, so congratulations for succeeding! Croatia’s act was also very good.

Alex Florea’s statements have drawn mixed reaction, with many asking why he didn’t voice his opinion earlier. Still others have criticised Alex for claiming that Salvador had “head issues” — a most serious and unfortunate comment that won’t go down well with Salvador’s growing army of fans, including us, who appreciate his independent spirit and quirkiness.

Alex’s comments seem decidedly ungenerous. Portugal’s entrant did give interviews — you can watch our last interview with Salvador Sobral, one of three we have from Kyiv, below.

The “Amar Pelos Dois” singer did touch on his health issues both in interviews and in the press conferences, but he never brought these up, nor did he dwell on them. As has been explained countless times, it was his doctors who insisted he miss the first week of rehearsals, as they rightly put his health before a TV programme. If the commentators mentioned that Salvador had heart problems during the live broadcast, this can hardly be considered Salvador’s fault — that’s down to the individual commentators in each broadcasting nation.

Alex Florea’s opinions, which are clearly his own and don’t reflect on the Ilinca feat Alex Florea act as a whole, should be taken with a grain of salt.

Being in the Eurovision bubble for two weeks and running from rehearsals to interviews to parties makes it very difficult to focus and take in the ever-changing information on-the-ground. Perhaps the young Romanian singer was too busy to absorb all the facts that contributed to Portugal’s victory. Such as the simple song performed in an original manner by a truly gifted artist who has never used his voice to talk about his problems, but rather to raise awareness about more important social issues, like the tragic plight of refugees.

Hopefully, like Robin Bengtsson, Alex Florea will get the occasion to nuance his comments after realising that Salvador Sobral actually won fair and square, and that a 100% jury and televote victory, just like Ilinca and Alex’s win at Selectia Nationala, shouldn’t have been put into question.

Anyway, that’s what we think about Alex Florea’s comments on Salvador Sobral. What do you think? Has Alex Florea crossed a line with this comments? Let us know in the comments box below!