All opinions expressed in this article are those of the person quoted and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the other team members or ESC United as a whole.

In the national selection calendar for Eurovision, none delights the hipster as much as Portugal’s Festival Da Canção 2022. An almost Sanremo length show, subgenres you never hear in other selections, and enough fado to shake your fist at.

Tonight is Semi-Final 2, and four ESC United writers have banded together to review the ten songs on offer. We have already reviewed Semi-Final 1, and the results of that final are HERE.

The band of writers reviewing Festival Da Canção 2022 are as follows:

  • Tyler Griffith: from Alaska, a place you can say for certain is the exact opposite of Portugal.
  • James Maude: from California, and whose knowledge of Portugal comes from having visited a churrascaria once.
  • Boris Meersman: from Belgium, ESC United’s chief Vasil evangelist.
  • Roy Postema: from The Netherlands, ESC United’s chief novelty song evangelist.

This “expert” panel will give each entry a score out of ten, provide a brief description that you hopefully won’t find too maddening, and after Part Two, we will let you know who we collectively endorse to represent Portugal at Eurovision 2022 in Italy.

Os Azeitonas – “Solta a voz e canta”

Boris –  7.5 – “Early 80s discofunk making its way into a Eurovision NF <3 If Slovenia didn’t already have it’s final slice of pizza, I would have happily supported and stanned this jolly and carefree song instead. Of course, Os Azeitonas won’t ever win, but in FdC, which is fully geared towards stunning fashion, I’m already salivating at the outfits I’ll get to critique during my coverage duty on Monday.”

James – 8.5 – “This is the fun tonic we need right now: a retro funk song explicitly encouraging the audience to release its voice and sing. The only quibble is I find the vocals to be a little thin for a song like this, but otherwise this is a lively and slick composition. I can’t wait to see what they do on stage and whether or not they can rope in an audience.”

Roy – 5.5 – “It is definitely a fun little piece, the chorus is very catchy and you find yourself swaying back and forth faster than you’re willing to admit. I do think that in such a strong line-up, this song falls a bit more on the forgettable side. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this sneak through to the final, but there are way better songs to pick for Eurovision.”

Tyler – 5 – “Solta a voz e canta” sounds kinda hokey to me, as if it’s taken from a 70s throwback band. I don’t particularly care for the lyrics all that much as the title Google Translates to “Unleash a Voice and Sing” and please no songs about uniting with the power of music, I don’t like those kinds of songs at all! The style itself isn’t all that good to me, I don’t care for the lyrics all that much, but it isn’t actively terrible or anything, so average feels about right to me.”

Total: 26.5 points (Average = 6.625)

Cubita – “Uma mensagem tua”

Boris – 7 – “I cautiously like this Portuguese Inger. There are things I don’t like of course. I don’t enjoy the excessively nasal Indie Girl vocals (I only RECENTLY sat through Samira Manners and Charley and you’re giving me *this* again? Gah) and Cubita is a little bit on the nose with her “THIS IS MY MESSAGE FOR YOU x50” hook. However, the instrumentation has a warm character and despite not knowing Portuguese, I get the impression that she wants to reach out to me and embrace me in a warm friend-hug. Times have been dire for years now, and a little bit of warm sentiment is always appreciated at the end.”

James – 8 – “A warm, indie-folk number, nominally about waiting for a response to a declaration of love. In a year of absolutely horrible break-up songs, I find this introverted number about putting yourself out there to be quite refreshing. We don’t know if Cubita gets a message back, but we hope she does. This is a simple song so staging will be a challenge, but if any country knows how to win Eurovision by putting someone on a stool, it’s Portugal.”

Roy – 3.5 – “Cubita has a very pleasant voice, but the song just doesn’t get exciting enough. It stays very minimal and low-key. Which can be very enjoyable and it makes the song very streamable too. But I do think it is better to go for something more out there!”

Tyler – 6 – “I’m trying to not judge “Uma mensagem tua” too harshly as it feels like a YouTuber with a Guitar song that does less than nothing to me, but this song is cute! Doesn’t rock my world, but I don’t hate it as much as I could have. The melody is nice, the singing is okay, but if I see a guitar in the live performance, I will lose my mind and my appreciation for this song, so fair warning!”

Total: 24.5 points (Average = 6.125)

Inês Homem de Melo – “Fome de viagem”

Boris – 9.5 – “What in the supercalifrangilisticexpialidocious is this??? A whole lot (of EPIC), that’s what. Were the drug dealers specifically targeting kindergarden teachers last autumn? Inês is like a Tinoco on crack, infected by the travel bug that compels her to burst into song like she’s in a bootlegged Disney movie. “Fome de viagem” is SO hyperactive I just can’t not be obsessed with it. It has lines in TEN languages, including Russian and Swedish. Like, Inês rhymes “Viajar” (in Portuguese) with “Revoir”, and “Sweet and fun” with “Autobahn” and “Tapas con pan”. This while effortlessly whiplashing back and forth between all the languages. It’s too ridiculous for words, I need to see this live and BASK in its chaotic glory because it’s live potential runs on endless. May the Music Gods BLESS the Portuguese audience for voting this into the contest. I f’cking hope it wins FdC and then Eurovision. ”

James – 10 – “The lamest cliche I hear from people when you ask them something about themselves is “I like to travel.” Like your whole identity is picking a suitcase, flying in a metal tube and ooh-ing over some old building in some foreign land. I have never heard “I live to travel” expressed in such a manic and endearing form as this song, though. The vocals come thick and fast and in multiple languages on top of a whimsical, 1960s Disney music soundtrack. I can’t even fault her Moscow reference, which will probably be changed anyway. This frenetic release is what we need for 2022, and this is, in a strange way, the Gen Z counterpart to Gianni Morandi’s superb “Apri tutte le porte.” Though the world seems intent on shutting us down through pandemic and warfare, the desire for release and freedom is still there, and this whimsical little number is a great soundtrack for that.”

Roy – 5.5 – “CRACK, but a good kind of crack! So much is happening that the listener will likely get a bit exhausted after it is over. Perhaps not the best song in the selection, but you got to admire it for what it is.”

Tyler – 8 – “Fome de viagem” suffers for me from sounding like it’s from Mary Poppins, and it feels like a more childish “Passe-Partout”. That all being said, I quite like this song still lol whoops. It captures the wanderlust for travel that I’ve felt ever since I was younger, and just imagining all of the fun that’s to be had traveling all over Europe, it makes me excited to go to Italy this year (barring any craziness). I don’t think this has a chance, but I’ll still enjoy this entry all the same, for I think it’s a lot of fun!

Total: 33 points (Average = 8.25)

Syro – “Ainda nos temos”

Boris – 8 – “Ballads are difficult to sell, if you’re a sceptic like myself, but this one hits the right notes. “Ainda nos temos” has good build-up, powerful vocals, subdued but effective instrumentation that frames the story well. It’s a tad trope-y, but it has character. Assuming the live is good, I wouldn’t mind this as the winner of FdC after my other faves have been inevitably ground into dust by Portugal’s Opposite World Tastes.”

James – 7 – “A sweet, tender, heartfelt ballad that does not get stuck in its own sentimentality. Syro’s voice is powerful, and he can swing from delicate to exhortation in a heartbeat. There’s an opening for a handsome balladeer at Eurovision 2022 with a love song, and Portugal could do worse than fill the void with Syro.”

Roy – 9 – “An amazing ballad that is more likely than not going to be amazing live as well. Syro has an amazing voice and this song perfectly showcases that. This would be a stunning pick for Eurovision!”

Tyler – 6 – “A male power ballad that I don’t hate! Is it because it’s in Portuguese? Maybe! But I don’t mind this. Do I love it though? Not really, and I barely like it. I think Syro could give a good performance for this. And I think the performance for “Ainda nos temos” is going to have to be bigger and memorable for it to qualify, as while I remember the vibe of this entry being a ballad, it isn’t enough for me to add it to my playlist. Hopefully this surprises me.”

Total: 30 points (Average = 7.5)

Pepperoni Passion – “Código 30”

Boris – 6 – “The notion of gearing an entry specifically so it appeals to Straight People is hilariously impossible, I know, but if one asked me to could imagine a Heterosexual Fanwank, this would be it? (This or “Odisseia” from the other semi). “Código 30” has rapping, excessive electric guitars, the usual bromosexual back and forth between the two vocalists, a choir, all the basic tools it needs to be enthralling, and yet I have zero confidence they’ll be even remotely good live; the problem for ME lies in the fact that the song has no catchy melody, so everything hinges entirely on the their live charisma. “Movimiento’s“ do happen once in a blue moon, but *this* man is preferring a more cautious approach for the time being.”

James – 4 – “What’s fuzzier? The guitar tone or the weed smoked during the composition of this early onset mid-life crisis funk/rap song?  Is it a commentary on millennials, in that they seem to be old before their time, leaving a weird hollowed out feel at every night club where it’s Gen-Zers being uncomfortably hit on by Gen-Xers who have “Rage against the dying of the light” tattoos? It would be an indictment of Eurovision 2022 if Portugal picks this sad novelty track.”

Roy – 7.5 – “I should hate this right? Right? Then why do I keep coming back to it and why do I low-key love it? The beat is strange, cool and raw. The rapping/singing is unpredictable, interesting and diverse. I cannot wait to see this live! I feel like this could be a massive party on the stage and it could surprise a few people!”

Tyler – 6 – “A pleasant sounding enough song, at least to me, “Código 30″ definitely stands out among all of the other songs here with its musical style. While the sort of rock Pepperoni Passion brings is something I like, and I enjoy the lyrics enough, I don’t really remember much of how the music goes? Seems to be a bit forgettable, but it doesn’t take away completely that I do like this song.”

Total: 23.5 points (Average = 5.875)

Milhanas – “Corpo de mulher”

Boris – 7 – “A Body Positivity Anthem featuring a copious amount of harp. Yes, I can get behind this charming song.”

James – 7 – “Another melancholic special coming up! I can’t find much fault with this one. I will have more to say on this should Portugal send her to Eurovision.”

Roy – 6 – “From the first note, Milhanas captures me with her wonderful voice. The song stays very small for a while to really get used to her mellow and comforting voice. It did perhaps need to break open a bit more in the final third of the song. I feel like she could have really hammered home the feelings, but right now that doesn’t fully happen.”

Tyler – 6 – “Not nearly as dreary for other Portuguese ballads that made it to Eurovision, but still feels uplifting and hopeful at the same time for me, “Corpo de mulher” is kinda good! The music is sweeping and nice, and while I don’t think I was particularly wowed by this entry, it was still good and would be interesting to see performed live. I don’t think this would do wonders past the national selection though, but still a decent song all the same.”

Total: 26 points (Average = 6.5)

O Vampiro Submarino – “Ao lado de mim”

Boris – 8.5 – ““Ao lado de mim” is SO repetitive I’m impressed they get away with it? Lol. To be fair, repetition isn’t a bad thing AT ALL if the melody is enticing enough, and this song easily hits that level, you know? This song is a three-minute vibe of (staged) bumbling incompetence which makes it loads of fun. I can certainly *imagine* fun staging with this, but even if not, it will be fun to loop this song on repeat.”

James – 9 – “Some goofy old time rock ‘n roll is not what I expected at FdC. ’50s retro has pretty much died off, so it will be refreshing to see someone resurrect it for Eurovision 2022. This has to be staged with the flair of Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis to work, though I imagine he’d aim for it. This is quite charming and I would not be averse to this representing Portugal. Whether the rest of Europe would agree remains to be seen, but it is a gamble worth taking at least.”

Roy – 8 – “I love that Portugal has wonderful quirky entries in its selection like this one. It is sure to make you move to the catchy tunes of the song and the main vocals have a very captivating sound to it as well. It nearly becomes hypnotic in a way. But hypnotic in a way that you have to keep dancing. On and on and on and on and on and on and on. And you would love it! I would at least!!”

Tyler – 7 – “The 50s jukebox style isn’t something I expected from “Ao lado de mim”, but it doesn’t feel too outdated to me. I don’t like all of the humming, even if it feels like ambience at this point, as it feels more like filler to me than enhancing the song. The performance in the live could be quite interesting, but this also feels like a novelty act. I’m still very interested to see how this goes as I like the entry though!”

Total: 32.5 points (Average = 8.125)

Jonas – “Pontas soltas”

Boris – 7.5 – “Jonas apparently provided backing vocals for “Senhora do Mar” (one of my favourite Portuguese entries). Thus it feels fitting he gets to compete with a fado ballad that would fit in line with the work of Andrej Babic. “Pontas soltas” doesn’t have the ~dramatic panache~ the genre as a whole is capable of, but it’s nevertheless a fun offering of something my non-luso ears could imagine as The Sound of Portugal.”

James – 8 – “Life is frustrating for narrative junkies. Not every story has a satisfactory ending. People die, people leave, stories started rarely finish in a neat fashion or at all. This fado song feels the pain of that, telling a love story where the antagonist is someone who leaves the protagonist for reasons unknown (or at least unsaid).”

Roy – 6.5 – “This song starts very mysterious and would lend itself perfectly for a good staging with some nice opening shots. The little instrumentation in the middle of the song are nice, but I really feel like Jonas should have hammered it home a bit more after that. Instead, it takes another half a minute to get there. The pay-off in the end is nice, but it perhaps has taken a bit too long to get there.”

Tyler – 6.5 – “A decent fado that also feels somewhat updated, “Pontas soltas” is nice! I think it’s good to listen to, and Jonas does a good job with the vocals too. While I think the music itself is more modern than previous entries into FdC with fado-esque entries, it still feels like a song from a few years ago to me. I think this can be good and maybe it can qualify to Portugal’s final! But I think this is still good enough for this score.”

Total: 28.5 points (Average = 7.125)

Blacci – “Mar no fim”

Boris – 4 – “Notionally, “Mar no fim” isn’t too bad, even for a stripped-down ballad. It did dodges the painful pitfalls you often find in the death ballads that clog up these selections (lack of tension, no resolution, bad instrumentation, vocal masturbation), but offers me very little in return. This one just isn’t for me. Oh well. Not everyone has the panache of bringing 80s-inspired synthwave to the table I guess.”

James – 6 – “There’s some great build-up, but there is no pay-off at the end. Like the title of the song implies, we’re Middle Ages sailors and we just fall off the edge of the sea. Lyrically, it’s a break up song, but Portuguese lyricists are experts in being poetic in pain, so I don’t mind. There’s more whimsical and more bombastic songs in this selection, so I think this may get lost in the shuffle. But I can’t really fault it too much as Blacci took us on a three minute journey that, like her relationship, died suddenly just as it was getting going.”

Roy – 3 – “Blacci’s voice definitely sounds pretty in the studio version, but the song doesn’t do quite enough to enhance that pretty voice. The song stays too much on the same excitement level and it is a tad forgettable in this selection too.“

Tyler – 5.5 – ““Mar no fim””Mar no fim” is a perfectly fine song. Next! Okay fine, Blacci seems to be doing a good job with this song, but not nearly enough for me to feel engaged in it the entire time. “Mar no fim” feels forgettable to me as well, and barely registers as anything. This song doesn’t put me to sleep or anything, and could be engaging and fun on stage, but until I see that, this score it will receive. Goodbye!”

Total: 18.5 points (Average = 4.625)

Pongo and Tristany “Dégrá.dê”

Boris – 5 – “Pongo & Tristany have me stunned in confusion, UNFORTUNATELY not the sort of confusion that results in a high mark. What on Earth is this crazy art school project style entry? What’s the statement here? The music is all over the place and gives me no narrative, the song constantly morphs into different styles and rhythms only to drop them haphazardly, the vocals are jarring and noisy. I just don’t get it. And I usually LIKE the weird artistic entries in FdC. I loved “Pugna” and “Telemóveis”. But both of those were also musically viable. “DÉGRÁ.DÊ” on the other hand is a bit too absorbed by its own “Look At Me, I Am Art” side (as if the pedantic, tryhard spelling of the title wasn’t enough of an indicator) for something that *melodically* isn’t even good. I’m still giving a five because I trust the live to be entertaining at least, but this one has fanflop written all over it.”

James – 3 – “I don’t know what to make of this cacophonous mess. I usually enjoy the occasional Angolan and Cape Verde entry, but this one jams both influences in together like the food at a terrible hipster Asian fusion restaurant (“I’ll have the Daing Na Bangus! With mushy peas and chips!”). The percussion sounds off, with the main beat sounding like a child hitting the backseat of a Toyota Corolla with rebar. On the plus side, Pongo’s vocals slay, and I am curious to hear Pongo’s work and Tristany’s work separately, as I suspect this mash-up is less than the sum of its parts.”

Roy – 10 – “WE ARE DOING IT AGAIN BABY!! My 4th ever 10/10 score! Maaaannnn I love African influenced music. I had been following Pongo for quite a while already and her music is so cheerful and are always bangers! This song is unique, it is different, it builds, it is raw, it is experimental, it is super out there and in my eyes absolutely perfect! The thing is, we NEEEEDDD African music in Eurovision! Europe simply isn’t used to this type of sound and everyone is missing out on such amazing music scenes. Maybe this could be an amazing step forwards to bringing that wonderful African sound to Europe! LET’S GET IT!!”

Tyler – 10 – “Okay, I need to see “DÉGRÁ.DÊ” live, because I think this has potential to make so many waves at Eurovision. I love it. I love the music when I’m not focusing on the vocals, because they are so good! When Pongo comes in and drops her flow, I just can’t help but start dancing and convulsing all over. Tristany is good too, but is overshadowed by Pongo by miles. It’s fantastic, and when this is live and it’s nailed just right? This could do very VERY well at Eurovision. Or it could flop for being so different. But “DÉGRÁ.DÊ” is also not safe, and there’s more reward in more risk.”

Total: 28 points (Average = 7.0)

 

This Semi-Final 2 had more divisive results, but the one with the biggest schism eeked into our Top Five (Pongo and Tristany), alongside our Semi-Final 2 winner Ines Homen de Melo, O Vampiro Submarino, Syro, and Jonas.

Sadly, our overall favorite and our winner of Semi-Final 1, Fado Bicha, did not make it to the Grand Final. I hope that is not the case for our Semi-Final 2 winner.

1.) Inês Homem de Melo – “Fome de viagem” – 33 points (Average = 8.25)

2.) O Vampiro Submarino – “Ao lado de mim” – 32.5 points (Average = 8.125)

3.) Syro – “Ainda nos temos” – 30 points (Average = 7.5)

4.) Jonas – “Pontas soltas” – 28.5 points (Average = 7.125)

5.) Pongo and Tristany “Dégrá.dê” – 28 points (Average = 7.0)

——————————————————————————–

6.) Os Azeitonas – “Solta a voz e canta” – 26.5 points (Average = 6.625)

7.) Milhanas – “Corpo de mulher” – 26 points (Average = 6.5)

8.) Cubita – “Uma mensagem tua” – 24.5 points (Average = 6.125)

9.) Pepperoni Passion – “Código 30” – 23.5 points (Average = 5.875)

10.) Blacci – “Mar no fim” – 18.5 points (Average = 4.625)

 

Our Top Ten from Semi-Final 1 was as follows (bold indicates act did not make it to the Grand Final):

1.) Fado Bicha – “Povo pequenino” – 35 points (Average = 8.75)

2.) TheMisterDriver – “Calisun” – 29.5 points (Average = 7.375)

3.) Diana Castro – “Ginger Ale” – 28.5 points (Average = 7.125)

4.) Maro – “Saudade, saudade” – 28 points (Average = 7.0)

5.) Kumpania Algazarra – “A minha praia” – 26.5 points (Average = 6.625)

6.) Os Quatro e Meia – “Amanhã” – 25 points (Average  = 6.25)

7.) FF – “Como é bom esperar alguém”

8.) Norton – “Hope” – 23.5 points (Average = 5.875)

9.) Valas and Os Astronautas – “Odisseia” – 22 points (Average = 5.5)

10.) Aurea – “Why?” – 12.5 points (Average = 3.125)

Who do #YOU want to see make it out of Semi-Final 2? Who do #YOU want to represent Portugal at Eurovision 2022 in Turin, Italy? Let us know in the comments below, on social media, or in our forum and Discord server.

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