An international jury and the European (plus Australian) public choose the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. But behind closed doors, three other awards honour Eurovision artists and their composers — and the public doesn’t have a say at all.

For the last sixteen years the Marcel Bezençon Awards have been presented to the best artists and composers competing in the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest. Founded by Christer Björkman and The Herrey‘s Richard Herrey, the awards were first handed out at Eurovision 2002 in Tallinn, Estonia.

Christer, who was also one of the producers of this year’s Eurovision, runs the awards “to further enhance the Eurovision experience and to reward the excellence of the participants.”

The three categories are the Press Award, which is decided by the accredited press in Kyiv; the Artistic Award, which is voted on by all of the commentators from the participating countries; and finally the Composer Award, which is voted on by the composers participating in the Grand Final.” We should point out that these awards were revealed before the grand final, so were not influenced by the results of the actual show.

In some ways these awards act as a more exclusive jury — composers are perhaps best at judging compositions, for instance.

So, who are this year’s winners?

Marcel Bezençon Awards 2017 ceremony

Composer Award

Luísa Sobral, who wrote both the music and the lyrics to Portugal’s entry “Amar pelos Dois“, walked away with the Composer Award. Having written the song for her brother Salvador Sobral, she was able to work with his quirks and timbre in mind. The result was magical, and led to a landslide victory at Eurovision.

“It’s beautiful,” Luísa said. “I think it’s the best prize because to be seen by the other composers as a good composer or as having a good song, it’s one of the best things, so I’m really happy.”

She was also humbled by Christer Björkman’s compliments on her singing skills.

“Thank you. I am a composer and I am a songwriter. I sing my songs as well. But it’s great to be also just a composer. I like to be both.”

Press Award

The Press Award, which is voted on by the accredited media and press during the event, was presented to Francesco Gabanni, who represented Italy with the song “Occidentali’s Karma“.

“Thank you very much. It’s a pleasure and an honour for me,” Francesco said.

Asked if the award may predict the final results — as the awards were handed out before the Grand Final — Francesco said, “Maybe it’s karma”.

Artistic Award

Finally, the Artistic Award is voted on by the commentators from each of the individual broadcasters — so that’s the likes of Graham Norton from the UK and Joel Creasey from Australia. After the votes were done and dusted Salvador Sobral emerged victorious. It was an omen, as he was the eventual winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2017.

“I feel that this prize is more important than winning the competition because this is given by the commentators, people from all over Europe, that know music and listen to music,” Salvador said in his thank you speech.

“To be recognised by musicians and by people that understand music, for me it’s I think even more rewarding than by – I don’t wanna say ‘normal’ people, but I’ll say it anyway.”

The singer spoke briefly of the songwriting process of “Amar pelos Dois”, which was written by his sister Luísa.

“RTP, the public channel, called her to compose a song for the festival and they told her she could pick any interpreter she wanted, and she already knew she was gonna call me before the song even existed. So that’s how it happened.”

Salvador revealed that his sister had tried to sound and move like him as much as she could while standing in for him during the first week of rehearsals.

“I feel like she was trying to, even to the cameras and to the sound technicians, to be as more like me so that they could do their job.”

“She is now the best composer in Portugal and I feel like she could be one of the best composers in the world.”

Do you agree with the results? Who would you give these awards to if you could?

Read our Portugal Eurovision news here

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Daphine
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I’ll right away grab your rss feed as I can not find your email subscription link or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly let me know in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.

quince
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quince

Hey! Could you guys write an article about the fact that Salvador just broke the record of total % of points possible in the old system?! As per https://www.escxtra.com/2017/05/14/eurovision-2017-old-voting/ he got 417 points in the old system, of a total of 492, meaning 85%! In the last 10 years it was: 2016 Ukraine – Jamala 57% 2015 Sweden – Mans 78% 2014 Austria – Conchita 67% 2013 Denmark – Emelie 62% 2012 Sweden – Loreen 76% 2011 Azerbaijan – Eli/Nikki 44% 2010 Germany – Lena 54% 2009 Norway – A. Rybak 79% 2008 Russia – Dima 54% ……… 2001 Estonia… Read more »

Oscar
Guest
Oscar

In fact, it’s 414 and not 417 which is not that different, so 84% (not 85%). Very impressive!
Here are the corrections to the excel file they use:
Aus: 8, Bul: 3, Est: 10, Ita: 5, Mal: 10, Mon: 5

Mattias Sollerman
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Mattias Sollerman

Every now and then someone needs to come in from the outside and bring a new perspective to a world we know all too well. Sobral managed to, in his own way, express the fears of many. “Love for the both of us” can in this context be seen as a metaphor for an entertainment marketplace which has left many people behind. He’s willing to love music, even when the music industry doesn’t love him. Yes, it’s always satisfying to have a winner like Måns, who’s childhood dream had been to win Eurovision. He’d worked for years to achieve that… Read more »

quince
Guest
quince

wow, so true..

Viking
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Viking

Wow! Best comment I’ve read so far.

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

As someone who has followed the contest since the 1960s, I think you’re reading too much into this. I think Zelmerlöw and Sobral both won the contest for the same reason, they had an idea which stood out best on the night. In 2015 it was the Man’s interaction with the video stick man. No-one else did that. In 2017 it was Salvador’s “anti Eurovision” presentation. No-one else did that. When juries and televoters had to pick one song from 26, many of them will pick the one they remember.

John
Guest
John

Congratulations Portugal. You deserve it. Record points ever, record 12 points given, unanimously highest score from jury votes and televote from 42 countries with 400 millions people. Beautiful and a hearthbreaking song. Eurovision made history.

quince
Guest
quince

And record points out of the total possible in the old system (417/192 = 85%).

He would have also gotten 20 times the 12 points!

John
Guest
John

A beautiful song from Salvador Sobral. You thank me later.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Nglpp3QSiI

AngieP
Guest
AngieP

Both composer’s and artistic award for Portugal!
Press award for Italy! At least we took sth!!
Congatulations to the winners!

Misteriks
Guest
Misteriks

ESC 2017 was the year of the corrupt ‘professional’ jury’s. Disgusted by the majority of them. EBU has a lot of wotk

John
Guest
John

What?? Europe vote for Portugal too.

Charli Cheer Up
Guest
Charli Cheer Up

In a way the new system of presenting the points was good in that we can see which juries aren’t doing their jobs properly when it comes to eliminating geographical/political bias. This year it was pretty evident with Greece and Cyprus so that’s why they got booed xD

Michaela
Guest
Michaela

Well Francesco didnt win Eurovision but Im sure we will hear about him very soon! Lots of artists didnt win Eurovision and they are more popular than the winner. He won OGAE, Marcel Bezençon Award and lots of peoples heart. 115 milions views on his clip and still counting. And for sure – Occidentalis Karma will a new summer hit. Im glad that I find this charismatic and talented artist and I cant wait for his concerts in Europe. As he said, rather sell 50 milions copies of his album than win Eurovision 🙂 Thank you Francesco! #GabbaFamily

Michaela
Guest
Michaela

*will be

Jo
Guest
Jo

Don’t worry about Francesco, he has a pretty solid career in Italy. He will host MTV Italy Awards on May 27th.

Michaela
Guest
Michaela

@Jo Yay! Great news!

AngieP
Guest
AngieP

Totally agree! I believe what he actually gained from Eurovision is become well known to people! His European career and success starts now!

Mattias Sollerman
Guest
Mattias Sollerman

Gabbani has impressed everyone and presented a positive image of Italy, once again establishing the country as one of the most energetic forces in Eurovision this decade. You can’t ask for more tbh.

Kai
Guest
Kai

bitch please…
Portugal finally made it! After half of a century of bad results…
They won with a smashing victory both in juries and televote.Europe fully agreed with the result And they won with their native language, with a simple, gentle and emotional entry.
Fair winner. Stop hating! Enjoy the moment..celebrate diversity and get ready for Lisbon 2018 🙂

El
Guest
El

Ok Salvador is now starting to anoy me. That award is more imoprtant then the Eurovision one ?! voted by “normal” people ?! Since he came he’s done nothing but bring down Eurovision, ESC fans and its music. Why is he even there then?! He doesn’t care about any of this and YES he did deserve to win, his performance, voice, the song everything was on point but as a person I would like to see a winner who truly wanted this and who would appreciate this as it should be appreciated. Don’t get me wrong he is a great,… Read more »

Fishy
Guest
Fishy

Italy not doing better remains a mystery to me. Perhaps performing in the semi final like other countries on broadcast would have benefited him?

El
Guest
El

Same, lower then Sweden, Moldova, Belgium wtf! And yea semi final would help him with the televoters for sure but I don’t get the jury

Jo
Guest
Jo

The running order was pretty bad for Francesco.
He came after Moldova, which was a very funny act and stole many televoting points from him
Denmark was one of the best vocalist and made him look like a bad singer.
Then Portugal came and stole all the jury points.
In this situation, most people probably took him like a random joke act.
Italy should be #13, not #9. Amir and Cascada were Big 5 favourites and both got better positions (#11). There was absolutely no reason to put Croatia 13th, since Jacques didn’t finish so well in SF2.

El
Guest
El

Yep agree. I was saying since the moment we found out that he is in the first half that he should be 13th and I was expecting that they would give him a good spot but when I saw the running order and that also original up beat songs like Moldova and Hungary are befor him and Salvador close after that it isn’t good. They really screwd him with the running order. And I still don’t get Croatia being 13th

Fishy
Guest
Fishy

Cascada did pretty bad though she was 22nd overall…
Amir had the same spot.

Jo
Guest
Jo

Yes, but both were Big 5 and performed at #11.
Cascada had bad staging, copyright issues…not strong enough, but it was a pre-favourite.
Amir did well, he was 3rd with the juries but 9th with the public.
The 13th is usually a favourite as well (Dami Im, Loic, Sanna Nielsen).

chessguy99
Guest

Staging was not good enough, but Italy has never been all the great at staging anyways. Part of this comes from the contest used to select the artist/song. Sanremo has always been a stand at center stage and sing type contest. Its only been a few years since they added a video element to the stage and Francesco was the first to have a choreographed performance. The current director, Carlos Conti, has been pushing it to conform more with Eurovision standards. But, he’s only been there for three years. The performances are shown in the semifinals, so familiarity is not… Read more »

Fishy
Guest
Fishy

They are only shown on the semi briefly. Maybe if they joined the running order they would gain more televotes. The staging was better than in 2015 but he didn’t end as high as Il Volo did. Il Volo managed to get third with the staging of Mans so why couldn’t he? In fact his song was more overhyped… I expected it to do better than Moldova because of how popular the song was but that didn’t even happen. (I loved Moldova’s entry)

Anda
Guest
Anda

Don’t translate YouTube views and likes as points! Reminder most of the people saw that act for the first time then and there, most viewers don’t fillow the contest religiously and for me no he wasnt at his best (nothing worked)! I remeber when i saw his san remo winning act i felt joy – clear joy and happiness, but on the ESC stage it was nothing, dark staging, no energy, no vibe from the people. Thats why it didnt won!

D
Guest
D

Totally agree. His whole mantra has been about how he is better and more pure than all the others. You had a sweet, charming, dated, song aboit love. You’re not Bjork all of a sudden. Congratulations for winning Eurovision but you’re not better than everyone else.

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

I wonder if he will be involved much in the 2018 contest. I imagine he’ll be off touring somewhere like South America, if his health allows it.