Portugal’s Festival da Canção returns tonight, with the Iberian nation hoping to put a few unfortunate results since their record victory behind them and continue to look forward in their Eurovision journey. Can any of these songs take Portugal back to the Eurovision final and move up the scoreboard once more? Our team will certainly have some opinions on that!

This time, it’s Daniel, James, Roy and Sean who will take on the reviewing responsibilities…

MEERA – Copo de Gin

Daniel – 8 – “Welcome to the new era… my gosh this year is just known as the year of the retro beat! I mean I really like the rhythm and build of this song, it is so crisp and fun and modern. It really brings the funk to this year’s festival and does it an a way that is somewhat commercially viable. And how can you not love a song about alcohol (or is that just me?)”

James – 7 – “A glass of gin? Right, perfect spirit for Eurovision! It’s loungy modern pop, though it does not really get out of second gear and some of the percussive elements towards the end clash. But it’s chill, like a poolside party on a hotel roof in Hollywood. Whether they can recreate that vibe in staging is another matter. There are a few production issues here and there, but nothing that can’t be fixed with a good revamp. The core of the song (the bass, the tempo, the breezy lyrics) is solid though the danger here is whether it can move on “as is.””

Roy – 5 – “I would totally dance to this very much. Yet it lacks some quality. it feels like it has loosely been put together even though that isn’t really the case. I am also very uncertain how they would perform this well live. They could bring a massive party to the stage, but it could also fall flat on its face.”

Sean – 6 – “You can tell the influence that Isaura has had on this track, but I wouldn’t have expected such a sun-tinged electropop track from her! When the warmer nights arrive in May this will feel more at home. It’s a little generic as far as this type of song goes but I can’t really pick much fault in a solid entry.”

Total = 26 (avg. 6.5)

Filipe Sambado – Gerbera amarela do Sul

Daniel – 6 – “Oh come through ethnic and Portuguese folk. I appreciate this song for what it is and for the unique approach it takes, just like Festival da Canção likes to do. This is not a winner, I do not even think it will qualify from the semi-final but it is really interesting and different from everything else so that gets brownie points.”

James – 8 – “The metaphor of the Southern yellow gerbera flower is lost on me. That flower is also native to South Africa (where I recall it being called the Transvaal Daisy). Or is he referencing a Brazilian version? Either way, I do enjoy this throwback slower paced indie rock number with Latin American flair (I like the main flute riff running through this). It’s like Paul Simon discovered fado and tried to make a tourism board ad for a Portuguese island. Unlike some of his fellow contestants, Sambado pick a track of his that has a chance of appeal outside Portugal.”

Roy – 2 – “I can totally imagine music like this playing in a Portuguese themed restaurant. It has an authentic sound, but it is just a bit too much in the background-music category for me.. It just doesn’t really move me or transport me anywhere.”

Sean – 5 – “If Portugal want to really represent their culture I think they wouldn’t go too far wrong with this one. I like the general vibe of the entry although it’s not really to my taste. It seems this is another track about the plight of climate change affecting us all, so perhaps a staging to hammer this point home may help, but I feel this may not be accessible enough for people watching the contest.”

Total = 21 (avg. 5.25)

Ian Mucznik – O dia de amanhã

Daniel – 6 – “This is a smooth jazzy composition that integrates a small build into a 60’s style pop song.  I don’t think that dated is the right word, but it definitely is not as contemporary sounding as many of the other songs. I will say the piano has me feeling all sorts of warm feelings. It is just too sweet of a song, like not high impact enough, but still, so cute.”

James – 6 – “I am not sure this guy’s voice works for a predominantly piano driven ballad. It’s a perfectly fine ballad with some positive life-affirming lyrics about the light of the world within you making it the reason to be here, etc. Unless you’re a fan of adult contemporary, this one will be lost on you. It’s a pleasant, soothing melody, but a few strings coming in and out are about as racy as it gets. Fine for a sunset cruise in Key West, and the Portuguese selection is usually great at putting forward musicians about creating a mood and an ambience, but I am not sure many jurors or televoters under 50 will be going for this.”

Roy – 1 – “This feels like a San Remo entry of an old and respected artist that is in it for the fun and the flair of the competition. This should be nowhere near an opportunity to go to Eurovision though. It is slow, predictable, plotting and just a bit boring. I am also not a fan of his voice.”

Sean – 3 – “A bit plodding. I’m sure this will have its fans but I become bored to tears with this one after two minutes. Might come alive with the live performance, but Portugal would be taking a backwards step if they select this dirge in my opinion.”

Total = 16 (avg. 4)

Bárbara Tinoco – Passe-Partout

Daniel – 8 – “I know it is cheesy and super campy with the full-on French charm, but I like it a lot. It is super cute and super bubbly. It most certainly is not a winner but it is at least not taking itself too seriously and is quite the palette cleanser. I can at least say, as compared most of the other songs of the national selection season, this one is original and it gets some points for me on that.”

James – 9 – “Going back to the ‘50s worked well for Portugal in 2017, so why not Tinoco hitting up France and its jazz scene of the ‘50s as well? She does it so well. It’s a song about a girl who tried to make a bozo ex more sophisticated and failed, and lists off the authors and jazz singers she tried to get him to appreciate. I hear her – I tried with an S.O. who didn’t appreciate Fear Factory and Jean-Claude Van Damme movies, and if they can’t appreciate true art, Barbara’s right and they got to go! This song’s playful and breezy, and I am intrigued to see how this will be staged. Yes, it’s a simple ditty, but if done right this one could do the business in Rotterdam.”

Roy – 6 – “I still don’t fully know what to think of this one. One moment I love it, the other I am annoyed by it. Firstly it is doing something that is a major pet peeve of mine in naming known people, songs or objects. It is something that takes me out of a song massively. I just don’t think this should win. This to me is that perfect National Final gem that will be treasured by the fandom. I fear that it will be too campy and taste-dependant to do well at Eurovision. It does make me sway and smile and I will always support young and creative artists, so this definitely isn’t bad.”

Sean – 6 – “I could see this being a huge hit in Rotterdam if chosen. It’s not radio friendly, and not something you would generally listen to, but it fits into the Eurovision ethos perfectly and these kind of genuine entries with a local flavour are always strongly rewarded by the fans if selected. Personally I appreciate this despite it not being to my tastes. I’m not sure whether the televoters or juries would favour it more though. File this under ‘wildcard’.”

Total = 29 (avg. 7.25)

Blasted Mechanism – Rebellion

Daniel – 10 – “This is captivating from the very beginning where you feel something sinister is coming. The eeriness and haunting voices with those guitars in the background. And then the Castlevania portion of the song comes up, and while it is excessively over the top, I kind of really like it. You know I feel like this is Portugal possibly filling a void that Turkey use to have with dramatic rock songs, and that served them super well. The double transition from slow to Dracula’s personal jam really shows you that this song is all about subverting expectation.”

James – 4 – “Listen astroturfers. You ain’t no voice of the grassroots. You are representatives of a government owned television station trying out for a contest run by an international organization of mostly government owned broadcasters. Who are you kidding with your “This is a Rebellion” chants? This is as real a rebellion as that Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial. Give me a break. Nice organ riff coming in at the one minute mark, though.”

Roy – 9 – “This song is absolutely brilliant. The composition of it, the way that the energy in the song is built up. This is a masterpiece in song writing and shows that you can convey a message in any way imaginable. I would love to see this at Eurovision and it is my winner by a landslide. Read it as a 9.5, but I want to see the staging first! (which they are known for being very elaborate at their own shows)”

Sean – 10 – “If the Portuguese really want to build on the excellent work they’ve done in recent years, this has to be the choice. It’s a fantastically powerful, anthemic piece which will hopefully have a grand performance to match up to it. There’s an element of local flavour mixed with the contemporary that works so well. This has been a major sticking point in my head since it was first revealed and could really stand out amongst the crowd in Rotterdam. The only shame would be Portugal finally breaking their streak of Portuguese lyrics in every entry, but we can change that right? Utterly fantastic!”

Total = 33 (avg. 8.25)

Elisa – Medo de sentir

Daniel – 7 – “Wow what a beautiful song. It starts so soft-spoken and starts crescendo-ing into something even more grandiose. I love the message behind the lyrics and the retrospective lyrics. This song could be a bit more impactful at the end, but I do like that there is a noticeable build. It really is standard in form but it is a good song.”

James – 6 – “I feel we’ve heard this ballad a few times at national selections lately. This is fine as a heartfelt piano driven ballad with modern touches goes. The one thing I prefer about the female versions of these is that they tend towards the optimistic if the song starts in a despairing situation such as a break-up whereas the guys tend to stew in their misery. Still though, this one doesn’t stand out from her rival acts at Festival da Cancao let alone the other singer-songwriters mining the misery of feeling too much space.”

Roy – 7 – “Probably the big favourite for the win in Portugal. She is already smashing it in Portugal’s Spotify Viral top 50 charts. She is miles ahead (4th) in that versus any of the competition since no other song appears on this list. This obviously doesn’t say everything and I fear that this may struggle in Rotterdam. Compared to the (power)ballads that we have confirmed so far, this sounds a bit pale and weak. It is still a very heart-warming and lovely ballad and I hope she will be able to deliver live!”

Sean – 5 – “Elisa has a soothing voice, and her song is easy listening, but I’m missing a spark or any bit of drama to really grab my attention. I’ve heard worse slow-paced songs this year, but this doesn’t have enough to stand out amongst the crowd.”

Total = 25 (avg. 6.25)

JJaZZ – Agora

Daniel – 9 – “This is what Portugal is very good at sending, these alternative sounding sounds that to me personally are super cool. This is a bizarre duet with jazz tones but still a modern twist. I actually really like it because it is able to balance the classical (the hard) with the modern synthesized sounds. Their voices complement each other and tell a story. It has a sort of out-of-this world quality that I very much appreciate because it sounds still very classy.”

James – 5 – “Oy, there’s a lot going on here. It’s jazz, and it sounds like they got a harp but with a few modern pop touches such as slight influence of trip hop. I don’t think the male vocalist works for this duet – might have been stronger if the female vocalist took the lead. They work as a back forth in principle (one with no, no, no and then the yes, yes, yes response), but come off a little lacking in heft in execution. This is a little too muddled in concept and execution to really stand out.”

Roy – 4 – “Lounge-music with twist. In parts it is really cool and enjoyable, but it is just a bit forgettable and plain.”

Sean – 8 – “I love this! JJaZZ bring us just that; a jazzy, soulful laid-back track with a lo-fi production and so many points of interest that it’s easy to get lost in the colours and vibrant soundscape of this song. This would be a really novel choice and unlike anything we have heard in Eurovision so far. Would the public be receptive to it? I think the casual viewer may like this more than many would expect.”

Total = 26 (avg. 6.5)

Throes + The Shine – Movimento

Daniel – 9 – “This is a song that is imbued with spunk. It starts with that rap section that I felt might not be poppy enough but then it takes that extra fast build and adds those backing vocals and I see this song as rather viable. Even more than viable, it is modern, fun and exciting and could be accompanied by killer choreography particularly in those moments where no words are sung or rapped. This song strikes a very balance and I am a huge fan of it currently.”

James – 9 – “Alright, we got some Angolan hip hop in the mix! A distinctive blend of kuduro and European electronica with a great bass drop at the bridge. They’re selling movement and I’m buying. I’m glad that Festival da Cancao is not afraid to utilize the music of Cabo Verde, Brazil, Angola, and Mozambique, which opens up new sonic territory for the selection. It’s a great education for the casual music listener, and Throes + The Shine should end up on the radar of many new fans after this.”

Roy – 7 – “I can literally just imagine how this would look on stage. If these guys have good live vocals and chemistry than this could maybe even snag a win in Portugal. This has massive potential, but could use a bit of polishing to make it perfectly suitable for Eurovision. In its current state I fear it may face another non-qualification and nobody wants that to happen now that Portugal went a lot more modern and diverse in their selection. It definitely makes me and possibly the entire crowd move and that is a massive positive.”

Sean – 7 – “I’m really intrigued to see how this one is portrayed live. I think energy will be a big thing on stage for this to suceed. It may have a lot of lazy comparisons to Conan Osíris but this type of electro-breakbeat rap is streets apart from “Telemóveis” and may be more accessible for Europe. I’d love to hear this with a bassy speaker set and think it could be a huge party hit in Rotterdam if they won FdC!”

Total = 32 (avg. 8)

Here’s how our points add up into a ranking!

  1. Blasted Mechanism – Rebellion – 33
  2. Throes + The Shine – Movimento – 32
  3. Bárbara Tinoco – Passe-Partout – 29
  4. MEERA – Copo de Gin – 26
  5. JJaZZ – Agora – 26
  6. Elisa – Medo de sentir – 25
  7. Filipe Sambado – Gerbera amarela do Sul – 21
  8. Ian Mucznik – O dia de amanhã – 16

So, our team thought it would be a narrow race for victory between Blasted Mechanism’s “Rebellion” and Throes + The Shine’s “Movimento”, with Bárbara Tinoco and MEERA also making it through to the FdC final. But will these be the qualifiers on Saturday night?

What do #YOU think of this year’s Portuguese selection? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE or join the discussion below and on social media!

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