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.

It’s 2 days to go until Junior Eurovision 2022, and we are counting down the 16 nations who are participating in Yerevan, Armenia on Sunday, December 11, 2022.

Every day we will do an overview of a participating nation in alphabetical order, recapping how they got to Junior Eurovision, a brief history of the nation’s participation, a brief biography of the artist, and finally, our “expert” panel of editors give the entries a score out of 10 and a brief review.

Next up, we look at Portugal, another nation that took a decade off after flopping early on. And have still not found good form at Junior Eurovision. Until 2021, when massive televote support told cyberbullies where to stick it.

Portugal’s history at Junior Eurovision:

To be frank, Portugal’s form at Junior Eurovision has been terrible. Portugal debuted at Junior Eurovision 2006 with Pedro Madeira’s “Deixa-me sentir,” which came in 14th.

Madeira appears to have carved out a performing career for himself after this, but after Jorge Leiria’s “Só quero é cantar” finished 16th, Portugal left the competition and did not return until 2017.

It did not work out much better after that. Mariana Venancio matched Madeira’s 14th place with “Youtuber,” but Rita Laranjeira’s “Gosto de Tudo (Já Não Gosto de Nada)” came in 18th in 2018. That song was also about social media. You’d have thought Valentina Monetta’s social media song would have been a warning to not sing about this subject.

Joana Almeida’s “Vem conmigo” was an environmental song, based on Almeida’s personal experience fleeing forest fires in Portugal in 2017. Too bad, thought the audience. 16th place for you. Portugal withdrew from the 2020 contest due to COVID-19.

Simão Oliveira represented Portugal in 2021 with “O Rapaz.” The so-called fandom ridiculed his beautiful tribute to his fado loving grandmother. From his old-fashioned dress style and delivery, every unimaginative and pathetic online bully came out to make fun of him. But the real fandom recognized the beauty of his entry, earning him the third highest televote score of the night. The juries sided with the cyberbullies, fickle as they are in response to online chatter, but enough televoters rallied around “O Rapaz” to land Portugal in 11th place, their best ever placement at the contest.

Before Junior Eurovision 2022:

It had been an unofficial stance of Radio and Television of Portugal (RTP) to internally select the winner of Portugal’s The Voice Kids as the Portuguese representative at Junior Eurovision. For 2022, they made it official.

However, the winner of The Voice Kids would be too old per EBU rules for Junior Eurovision (she would be 15 by the time of the contest), so instead of winner Maria Gil representing Portugal, the honor went to Nicolas Alves.

The Artist:

Nicolas Alves was born in England to Brazilian parents, and moved to Portugal when he was 10 years old. As you can tell from the hair, the 13-year-old from Torres Vedras, a small town near Lisbon, he is quite the fan of rock.

Alves made waves on his season of The Voice Kids with a cover of Maneskin’s take on The Four Seasons’s “Beggin’.” He is a fan of Queen and Elvis Presley, and also plays guitar.

The Song:

“70 Anos” was written by Carolina Deslandes and Agir. As is typical with Portuguese JESC entries, the songwriters are usually experienced and prestigious.

You may recognize Deslandes from her coming in 2nd to The Black Mamba at Festival de Cancao 2021. She beat Black Mamba on jury votes, but they beat her on televotes, and as FDC uses televote as the tie-breaker, it was that tight margin that kept her from representing Portugal at Eurovision 2021.

Agir is a popular Portuguese songwriter and composer who has won an MTV Europe award and a Portuguese Golden Globe for his music. His 2017 album “Leva-me a Sério” reached Number 1 on the Portuguese album charts, with his single “Como ela e bela” reaching Number 13 on the singles chart.

With the background out of the way, here is what we at ESC United think of Portugal’s entry for Junior Eurovision 2022.

Providing their thoughts for Junior Eurovision this season: Alice Christine (Washington, D.C.), Boris Meersman (Belgium), Gianluca D’Elia (New York City, New York), James Maude (Los Angeles, California), Roy Postema (The Netherlands), William Carter (Dallas, Texas), and Zephaniah Gabriel (The Philippines).

The Verdict:

Alice – 9 – “My first thought is that this song is more like “Anos 90” in its sound. The unique vocal and genre are really cool and will stand out in the contest.”

Boris – 5 – “Once you’ve wrapped your head around the curious notion that PORTUGAL are sending old school ROCK to a JESC contest, not much else is left. Sure it’s a quirk and my brain’s a buttered pretzel, but then what? The *idea* of an “Anos 70” is much more appealing than its execution, which is that of a midcarding FiK Dadrock song. “Anos 70″ isn’t interesting or catchy or whelming (unless you’re ofc Albanian). Its only trump card is its genre and that’s a dicey strategy. I’m not disappointed, although that’s largely because I’ve learned to expect nothing good from the likes of Carolina Deslandes.”

Gianluca – 6 – “Between pop songs and ballads, this is a smart, stand-out entry to watch this year. In a time when Gen Z’s music taste dips into the 1970s, 80s and 90s, this song has a message that a lot of listeners will connect with! It’s not at the top of my list, but I appreciate what it offers to the contest.”

James – 6 – “I am not sure what Toad the Wet Sprocket translates to in Portuguese, but Alves sure delivers the vibe of that ’90s American grunge band. Many doubted Black Mamba at Eurovision 2021, and I wonder if there’s a similarly sneaky strategy at work here by Portugal. You wouldn’t think a song that sounds like it’s from the soundtrack of a ’90s surfer action movie like Point Break would work at a kids’ contest in 2022, but Portugal have done well with weirder choices. As for the song itself, it is all vibes and lacks a killer hook or riff to make it stick in the memory.”

Roy – 4 – “Nicolas has a dope rock voice, the build up is that of a dope rock song and then the chorus is… well… not that. Really unfortunate because Nicolas had a lot of potential that isn’t really utilized right now.”

William – 8 – “God bless Portugal. What other country would send alt grunge rock to Junior Eurovision? They are always authentic, and I think viewers and voters sense that. No idea how this will do, but Portugal did surprisingly well at the 2021 contest with straight up, classic Fado, so who even knows? Very into this. C’mon, Nicolas!”

Zephaniah – 8 – “Finally, something different. I think the choruses could be better but it’s a good song. I don’t know if it can stand against all the upbeat songs here. It could be a grower as well.”

Total: 46 points (Average = 6.571)

Are we again underestimating Portugal? Probably. But such is the danger in reviewing Junior Eurovision entries for a hobby. Portugal comes in towards the lower end of the mid-pack, though we shall see if there’s a large “O Rapaz” type support for this song on Sunday.

1.) The Netherlands – 58 points (Average = 8.286)

2.) Ireland – 56 points (Average = 8.0)

3.) Italy – 55.5 points (Average = 7.926)

4.) Armenia – 54.5 points (Average = 7.786)

5.) Georgia – 52.5 points (Average = 7.5)

6.) France – 52 points (Average = 7.428)

7.) North Macedonia – 48.5 points (Average = 6.929)

8.) Poland – 47.5 points (Average = 6.786)

9.) PORTUGAL – 46 POINTS (Average = 6.571)

10.) Kazakhstan – 45 points (Average = 6.429)

11.) Albania – 42.5 points (Average = 6.071)

12.) Malta – 38.5 points (Average = 5.5)

What do #YOU think of Portugal’s entry? Do #YOU think Portugal could have another sleeper televote hit on their hands? Let us know in the comments below, on social media, or in our forum.

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