Portugal’s search for their Eurovision star of 2020 continues tonight, with Festival da Canção’s second semi-final taking place. Will our team find a winner amongst these eight entries? It’s time once again to review the songs, with Daniel, James, Roy and Sean!

Dubio ft. +351 – Cegueira

Daniel – 4 – “This is like the Adam’s Family take a vacation in a grungy Portuguese island. This is a very unique entry in both the thematic elements as well as the musical composition. I think I generally like it, it is just hard because even after three listens, I still get surprised by the structure of the song. I will say this song is missing mostly that comfort factor, because it is so edgy and unpredictable, it can seem somewhat off-putting in the first listen which is rather detrimental in a competition like Eurovision.”

James – 9 -“There’s two stories going on here, one with a sad man, one with a forlorn woman, both pondering what it is to live in a life that seems without meaning. It’s a great blend of the Portuguese traditional and electro pop, especially the cracking bass that comes in before launching into the chorus. It’s creative, and very hard to pigeonhole, but it’s slickly produced with intriguing lyrics. This is the “Open Call” winner chosen from over 300 submissions to RTP (the others were artists invited directly), so they’ll have a point to prove. So far, so good.”

Roy – 7 – “This song leaves me so indifferent, but also very excited. The second verse especially takes a bit too long and the song leaves you a bit puzzled. You feel like there was more left in the tank and you aren’t fully sure what’s missing, but something is missing. Still a really cool and unique piece and I am really curious to see how well it will do.”

Sean – 9 – “I love the tempo changes and violent swings from one genre to another in this one. The rasping guitars weirdly complement the lounge-like verses to give us a song that is impossible to ignore. I hope this has the eye-catching staging it deserves, as I would love to hear something like this on a big stage with a proper speaker system!”

Total = 29 (avg. 7.25)

Luiz Caracol & Gus Liberdade – Dói-me o país

Daniel – 4 – “This is a super feel good song that plays with some as those traditional Portuguese folk elements with a slightly modern musical beat. While I can appreciate a good rap disruption, I felt that this time, the rap section did not work well within the composition and muddled the song a bit. Ultimately, I think this song is a good three minutes, but nothing more than good if I am being perfectly honest.”

James – 6 – “I did not expect an easy-going acoustic guitar song to all of the sudden start breaking out into rap (with nothing more than a drum and a whistle accompanying it). The lyrics suggest this is not a breezy song but subtle political commentary about Portugal, making this perhaps a touch too parochial for Eurovision.”

Roy – 2 – “This is just a bit boring. Would be fun to sing around a campfire, but this shouldn’t be put forward as a song for competition. The rap-part gives the song some much needed life, but overall it just doesn’t cut it.”

Sean – 5 – “This is sweet, a nice low-key son…wait, what the f***? The rap comes out of nowhere to bring in the mood lift in the final thirty seconds, but it’s just so jarring that it ruins the ambience of the song up until this point. A shame, as it was a pleasant listen on the whole at that point.”

Total = 17 (avg. 4.25)

Judas – Cubismo enviesado

Daniel – 3 – “I think this is a very interesting song in structure that starts off quite strong but then becomes somewhat repetitive. Also the music loses some of its intrigue, especially compared to the surreal title it holds. I mean if I have to hear another ves ou nao, I swear I will nao be rooting. Yeah this song gave me high hopes and then what it delivered in my opinion was relatively flat.”

James – 7 – “Nice little organ solo to break up the song after the second verse. It’s a little repetitive, and clearly the lyrics are playing with the Portuguese language more than what Google Translate can comprehend and relay into English. The chorus of “Vês ou não?” (“Do you see it or not?”) gets repeated over and over and over again. I am wondering if that is the point? If anyone knows, please tell us what this one is about. The good score suggests I am eager enough to stick and around and find out.”

Roy – 1 – “Hhhhmmmmmm, mehh. Too repetitive, uncreative.”

Sean – 7 – “Some proper indie music from Portugal here! This has great production with a wide variety of rock instrumentation intertwined seamlessly with the wobs and synths that punctuate the song. The lyrics don’t seem to be much more than basic which is a shame, but I’m digging this regardless.”

Total = 18 (avg. 4.5)

Kady – Diz só

Daniel – 8 – “This song is a mood (I know I say that a lot), but it really brings a cool factor with a bit of attitude in the delivery. I think this song is more of a dark house because while not immediately making a splash in the fandom, if you listen closely to the song, you see that it really gets all the necessary components right. The instrumentation is innovative and clean, the lyrics are not superficial, the delivery is sweet and sultry. We have to wait for the live performance but this song may surprise.”

James – 7 – “A soft, smooth R&B number from Cabo Verdean songwriter Dino D’Santiago which brings to mind American R&B from the 1990s. I had to double-check Kandi Burruss didn’t write this, the sound is so reminiscent of that era. I am not sure if this a song about cheating (hints about wandering gaze, women’s names being called out) or if there is something more going on here. Again, if anyone knows what this one is about, please drop us a line.”

Roy – 4 – “I miss a little bit of energy here. The general idea was really good, but the execution a bit mediocre. The song needed to open up a bit more at some point and it never really does. Fun little musical piece to casually listen to though, but it won’t stand out in a competition like Eurovision.”

Sean – 6 – “This feels very current and wouldn’t sound out of place in the American market if… you know, it wasn’t in… Portuguese… but aside from that! It’s good! Kady fits in well with the current rising contingent of female RnB stars and this would be great for the musical diversity in Rotterdam if it went all the way.”

Total = 25 (avg. 6.25)

Elisa Rodrigues – Não voltes mais

Daniel – 9 – “Oooooh I am really feeling this song. Those tropical vibes with a calypso twist in an eternal build, I mean I eat that stuff up. This song really strikes a chord with its musicality and spiritual dimensions. Like I cannot wait for some of those harmonies. It is varied enough that you are always interested. It is mellow enough that you can get a feel without being overburdened by some of those overtly dramatic moments. Yeah I really liked this song.”

James – 9 – “Is this a dumping song? In that the protagonist is telling her hapless dude to get lost? I have never heard “get lost” be expressed in such a pleasant sounding jazz song before. With a sweet guitar solo thrown in! This is actually quite good as contemporary jazz goes, and somehow the tone of the song and the lyrical content pair nicely. If this doesn’t make Eurovision, Elisa might be able to make a mint in the States with it. Americans make an occasion out of anything! Why not have a standard song playing when every divorce paper is signed? This one is perfect for two tired lovers to fly away, fly away to.”

Roy – 4 – “This could have been really cool, but as it is it sounds a bit unfinished. It is a bit like they had the melody, they let the singer sing her bit and then only added a couple of small things. It just sounds like a demo, but it could become a lot cooler with the staging.”

Sean – 8 – “A very tropical, summery, Afro-Caribbean vibe to this one, further showcasing the cultural diversity of Portuguese music. Some of the lyrics are nonsensical but are still aurally pleasing and this song is designed to put a smile on your face. Would be amazed if this didn’t at least reach the FdC final.”

Total = 30 (avg. 7.5)

Cláudio Frank – Quero-te abraçar

Daniel – 7 – “I like the rhythm and the simplicity of the song. I feel as though the English lyrics slightly cheapens the song that otherwise is a quite pleasurable moment. My only other critique is that some of those high notes do not come off super clean in the studio version, so I would be intrigued to see how they will come out in a live performance. What I like about this song is that it effortlessly combines a chill rhythm with an emotive delivery, which I appreciate.”

James – 7 – “For those wanting to learn how to romance a lass in Portuguese, the lyrics to this R&B number will do the trick. There’s some good lines in here for someone looking for handwritten notes on a Valentine’s Day card. The queen of my castle, flower, honey, etc. It’s a slow, seductive jam and yes, the lyrics mine familiar tropes, but they’re familiar tropes for a reason. Because they work and they’re good shortcuts to getting to the point (Lord knows Eurovision 2020 national selection season is full of whiny young plonkers futzing around for the right thing to say).”

Roy – 1 – “They found an interesting and fun beat, but they could and should have done so much more with it. The entire composition misses quite some energy and flair while the beat keeps thumping energetically in the background. I also have the sneaking suspicion that this will fall flat on the stage.”

Sean – 4 – “Cláudio has a nice song to relax to by the beach or the pool on holiday, but for Eurovision? I don’t think so… His vocals even in studio don’t feel strong enough for the song, and he has a weird nasal quality to his voice that I can’t get on board with, but the song itself is pleasant enough if I can ignore this…”

Total = 19 (avg. 4.75)

Tomás Luzia – Mais real que o amor

Daniel – 5 – “I really like this song but that is because I grew up with these Iberian pop songs from the early-mid 2000’s. There is an effect of nostalgia between the guitar and the vocals of a young singer (a la David Bisbal). That is a long-winded way of saying that while I like what the song is going for, it is a bit dated and a little too reserved in its delivery to make a splash either here or possibly in Rotterdam.”

James – 6 – “I am not sure about his voice being the right fit for this song as he songs a little too high pitch for a song this smooth and sultry. Ultimately, this is a serviceable ballad and with its acoustic guitars and bass track comes off like a late ‘90s boyband track (with one boy, no band). It flows smoothly and just at the point where you expect a key change and a triumphant outro, the song just ends. Like flat out ends. It feels a little incomplete.”

Roy – 4 – “Tomás has a very interesting voice. I could see him being popular among young teenage girls who scream loudly at his concerts. He sings them a little small “Acoustic” song and they love it. Lighters (cell phones in modern times) in the air and people being into what he makes. It is tough , if not impossible, to replicate that for Eurovision. Cool for a festival though.”

Sean – 3 – “Eeeeeeeh. It’s okay as a guitar track and he has a nice emotive voice, but what else is there really to sink my teeth into here? It’s very background music, very shopping mall-lite, very much “having a cheeky Nandos with the lads and this is on in the restaurant”. Not one to be judged in competition I think.”

Total = 18 (avg. 4.5)

Jimmy P – Abensonhado

Daniel – 6 – “What poetic and beautiful lyrics, I really feel that his song tackles some powerful themes. Speaking musically, and being rather practical, a song that is mostly rap and not pop-rap, and pure rap does not tend to do well in Eurovision.And while we appreciate all genres of music, I feel like this one might push the boundaries a bit too much. But the soulfulness is something that cannot be denied. Congratulations on that at least.”

James – 8 – “Is this a rap song about addiction, Jimmy P’s troubles in life in general, and then his salvation culminating in a life with a wife and two daughters? Jimmy P’s vocal delivery is pretty on point, but for the first half he is pretty much alone until piano and the beat kicks in. A slow track with a life story jam packed in. This one may struggle to find fans in Europe as it’s literally just Jimmy P, a minimalist backing track, and a lifetime’s worth of hurt and redemption in three minutes.”

Roy – 8 – “To me this is a prime example of it not mattering what language you sing or rap in. The way the music is produced and orchestrated already give a sense of emotion. Combine this with the tone of Jimmy’s voice, it’s intensity and how it changes throughout the song and the beautifully sounding words in the Portuguese language and you have to me a masterpiece. This genuinely brought a tear to my eye at first listen and after looking up the lyrics it further cemented it’s place in my top. I love listening to this, but I am just uncertain whether this would do well in the contest.”

Sean – 7 – “Portuguese rap is fascinating to listen to, so many syllables… This would absolutely tank if it made it to Rotterdam but at least Portugal would go down swinging with their head held high, having brought something real different to the usual mould to Eurovision. You can really get a sense of the feeling behind this song even without understanding the language. I rate this a lot!”

Total = 29 (avg. 7.25)

So, which of the songs did we think deserved to reach the final next week?

  1. Elisa Rodrigues – Não voltes mais – 30
  2. Dubio ft. +351 – Cegueira – 29
  3. Jimmy P – Abensonhado – 29
  4. Kady – Diz só – 25
  5. Cláudio Frank – Quero-te abraçar – 19
  6. Judas – Cubismo enviesado – 18
  7. Tomás Luzia – Mais real que o amor – 18
  8. Luiz Caracol & Gus Liberdade – Dói-me o país – 17

In the end, it seemed to be a pretty clear top four, but will this be the case in tonight’s results? We don’t have long to wait to find out!

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

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