Welcome back, Portugal. They’ve only been away for a year, avoiding 2013’s contest in Malmö for financial reasons, but they are back. They have a score to settle – Portugal debuted at Eurovision 50 years ago, and so far have yet to pick up a victory.
Even worse, they’ve never even managed to get to the top 5 in all that time, and haven’t even seen the top 10 since 1996. What are they doing wrong? Perhaps their insistence on performing in Portuguese – their prerogative of course – is maybe stopping Europe enjoy the intricacies of Portuguse song-writing. Or more likely they haven’t sent many great songs in recent memory.
Sure, they’ve never been that bad, but I don’t think I’ve ever been blown away. Festival da Canção hopes to resolve that, with a semi-final thinning the herd from 10 finalists to 5, where a televote decides the final winner.
Zana – Nas asas da sorte
Ooh I like the intro, very festive and traditional. That lady is a GIANT! Is she on a box, she towers over the male dancers! This is amazing, it’s like a sea shanty, but instead of some grizzled old sea dog, it’s this fabulous and statuesque woman. LOVE IT! I may be overreacting but this is Portugal, talk about low expectations being smashed. She MUST be on a box! This is fantastic, what a CRIME she only came 4th or 5th (it’s not clear).
Raquel Guerra – Sonhos roubados
More excitable uptempo mayhem now, what bizarre earrings. Is she on a box too, it looks like her legs are about 50 inches long! There’s a bit of an out-of-control feeling to this one too in the drama stakes, but the vocals are just a little bit too controlled. This is still pretty great, even if it’s straight out of 90s Eurovision. Is this even Portuguese? It doesn’t sound anything like I expected. A crazy tempo, and some insane bits of armography from everyone concerned. Still very good, even if it’s not quite as good as Zana.
Rui Andrade – Ao teu encontro
Oh don’t give us a ballad now, I was just having fun! A Disney ballad at that – he’s quite dishy though, I’m listening. It’s a bit of a megamix of any Disney Prince song from the 90s (I’m thinking Aladdin, Beauty & the Beast, maybe a bit of Lion King), with touches of Portgual’s sweet but dull 2010 entry. A good singer and a nice enough song but that would have totally sunk at Eurovision.
Catarina Pereira – Mea culpa
The gays were getting all excited about this one, and as a tit-shaking Euroslut anthem in a year with practically none of those making it through, it’s a shame this didn’t blow the cobwebs out of Portugal’s fusty image at Eurovision. Any pretence it’s going to be modern in any capacity are smashed by that mid-90s Europop chorus that might as well have been performed by No Mercy. The vocals are creaky, there’s some ludicrous choreo, I’m calling this one a hot mess right now. Key change!! A bit basic but still a lot of fun. Poor cow has come twice now, what could have beaten this?
Suzy – Quero ser tua
I hear on the grapevine that this was a bit controversial as a winner, with an audience stacked with Catarina supporters. WTF is that bongo guy, he sounds awful. At least it’s something a bit more appealing than the turgid old ballads Portugal turns out year after year. There’s not much between this and Catarina, it’s another tit-shaking Euroslut anthem but I take back what I said about Cat being basic, THIS is basic. Still, a step in the right direction, just kill that bongo man. Though that last note!! Leave them with a great last impression, Suzy!
I can’t see this being the one to finally take Portugal to the top 5, but just by being a half-decent uptempo it’s got a decent shot of qualifying. A bit of faint praise there but you never know.
I take back my low expectations, that’s a pretty solid top 5 there – the ballad was a bit iffy, and none of them were exactly life changing, but a hell of a lot more fun than I was expecting! Peri Peri good (*klunk*)