Eurovision 2017: Isaiah Firebrace hits the final in Ukraine

SPOILER ALERT

AUSTRALIA'S Isaiah negotiated nerves and that tricky turntable to deliver a solid performance of Don't Come Easy at the Eurovision Song Contest grand final in Kiev.

But it wasn't near enough to take out the title, with Portugal overwhelmingly voted the winner of the 2017 competition.

Salvador Sobral won millions of hearts with his beautiful orchestral ballad Amar Pelos Dois.

 Isaiah Firebrace from Australia performs the song
Isaiah Firebrace from Australia performs the song "Don't Come Easy" during rehearsals for the Eurovision Song Contest, in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, May 12, 2017. The final of The Eurovision Song Contest 2017 will be held on May 13. AP Photo - Efrem Lukatsky

The 27-year-old singer only arrived in Kiev a week before the grand final, prevented from attending the earlier rehearsals because of a life-threatening heart condition and is reportedly awaiting a heart transplant.

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He was joined on stage to reprise the song, the 2017's Let It Go moment, by his sister Louisa who composed it.

The Bulgarian Bieber, 17-year-old Kristian Kostov came second while the infectious dance Hey Mamma from Moldova finished third.

Anja Nissen from Denmark performs during the Grand Final of the 62nd annual Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) at the International Exhibition Centre in Kiev, Ukraine, 13 May 2017.
Anja Nissen from Denmark performs during the Grand Final of the 62nd annual Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) at the International Exhibition Centre in Kiev, Ukraine, 13 May 2017. EPA - SERGEY DOLZHENKO

Isaiah finished a very respectable ninth while Australian Anja Nissen representing Denmark was 20th out of the 26 countries competing in the grand final.

The top 10 for 2017 were Portugal, Bulgaria, Moldova, Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Romania, Hungary, Australia and Norway.

Isaiah's smile shone brightly and his voice had a soulful purity but he did look a little nervous during his big moment, following in the footsteps of our previous representatives Guy Sebastian and Dami Im.

English television presenter Graham Norton complimented him on his "ballad-powered eyebrows" and the 17-year-old received plenty of love on social media.

He posted he was "so emotional right now" after his big Eurovision moment became a dream to realise after watching Jessica Mauboy perform as a special guest at the 2014 competition in Copenhagen.

The teenager from Moama and his team had worked on a handful of last-minute changes to his performance for the grand final during rehearsals on Saturday, giving the backing vocals more of a gospel flavour and smoothing the high note which came unstuck during his semi-final.

His fellow Australian at Eurovision, Anja Nissen and her backing singers could be heard warming-up ahead of the telecast with the opening line "laying down my armour", repeating it so many times those closest to her dressing rooms were praying she would move to the next lyric.

The 21-year-old Denmark representative proved practice makes perfect because she delivered a flawless vocal although her production was light-on with a waterfall of pyros the only concession to Eurovision's special effects agenda.

She did, however, have strong wind machine action.

Isaiah Firebrace from Australia performs the song
Isaiah Firebrace from Australia performs the song "Don't Come Easy" during the Final for the Eurovision Song Contest, in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, May 13, 2017. AP Photo - Efrem Lukatsky

Italy's Francesco Gabbani and his dancing gorilla scored huge cheers in the IEC stadium with Occidentali's Karma while Portugal's Salvador Sobral's quirky tics and sweet voice on Amar Pelos Dois melted hearts.

Gabbani wasn't the only artist to bring out the animal in Eurovision with Azerbaijan's Dijah performing next to a man standing on a ladder wearing a horse head.

While she always looked terrified during her performances, Belgium's teenage representative Blanche had one of the strongest songs of the competition with the Triple J-worthy City Lights.

The three decade long love affair Australia has enjoyed with the contest since SBS began broadcasting the show in 1983 has an impact on the charts and streaming services.

The official soundtrack with all 43 songs, including the banned Russian entry, was at No. 6 on the iTunes charts as the grand final kicked off.

Isaiah is closing in on two million Spotify streams for his song Don't Come Easy but his Eurovision campaign has had a bigger impact on his post X Factor single It's Gotta Be You propelled to more than 81 million streams ahead of his Grand Final appearance.

Nissen was nearing one million Spotify streams for Where I Am with her single and EP in the Danish top 30.

The most popular song for Eurovision 2017 remains Italy's Occidentali's Karma with almost 13 million streams and more than 114 million views.

In an uncanny coincidence in the wake of Brexit, Britain's Got Talent was scheduled against the BBC broadcast of Eurovision.

* The Eurovision Song Contest grand final will be broadcast on Sunday at 5am (AEST) live on SBS and repeated at 7.30pm.

News Corp Australia

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