Portugal – Festival da Canção Roundup

On Sunday night, Spain chose the most crowd-pleasing banger. I mean, it’s real hand-clapping, foot-stomping stuff.

So on Monday, I was like: “I wonder what their peninsular neighbour Portugal will deliver? I can’t wait to hear what kind of bangers they’ve come up with!”

And then this was my thought process:

Let’s dive in with Surma!

Is that a baby singing through a voice modulator? Seriously, folks – how old is Surma? I mean, she looks like an adult, but she sounds like she isn’t even old enough to enter Junior Eurovision. But this is just one song. I’m sure an upbeat, four to the floor banger is coming up soon. Let me see what Matay has brought us:

Oh. Okay. He’s brought the song that was cut out of Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast. Beautiful voice, beautiful tune, but I miss the candelabra.

Hmmm. What about Madrepaz? They’ve got scary looking eye makeup. Maybe they are a death metal band?

Oh, it’s a Portuguese boy band trying out for the remake of Inside Llewyn Davis? Okay.

Let me see what Mila Dores has for us. Maybe she’s bringing the big pop banger:

Oh, it’s jazz night at a Lisbon hotel bar? Hmmm. Let’s try Marlon:

It’s great to hear the Portuguese equivalent of the Welcome Back Kotter theme song, isn’t it? I feel like I should be having a Harvey Wallbanger in a fern bar. But it’s still not quite a banger – something with a disco beat that’s going to get the whole arena on their feet.

Maybe Ela Limao will bring me a banger? She looks a bit like Ke$ha. Let’s see what we’ve got:

Awwww, that was an adorable surf ballad, but still a ballad.

Portugal, you’re killing me. Lara Laquiz looks like a diva. What has she brought us?

Ooooh! It’s the first click track of Festival da Canção! But these beats don’t get above…what? 30, 40 per minute? I’m looking for the banger that I can bop to on public transport. Conan Osiris, are you delivering what I need?

Wow, Conan. You are delivering something that I did not know I needed. I cannot wait to see this performed live on the Festival da Canção stage, and I hope this goes to Tel Aviv because I can’t wait to see all of Twitter lose their minds trying to figure out what this is. I love it.

(And look, I know that I didn’t cover all the Festival da Canção entries above, but some of them are just run-of-the-mill slow ballads. And that’s fine! It’s a valid aesthetic choice! But I’m not going to have much to say about those other than, “that was slow and not my cup of tea”.)

But Portugal, I think we need to have a talk. I visited you last year for the first time ever (because of Eurovision) and you were spectacular. Your weather was divine, your culture was fantastic, and your food was delicious. It was a dream vacation, you were excellent hosts, and I want to come back.

However, it seems like you may have deliberately engineered these entries to ensure that you would not win. Look – there are some great songs in here, but I was listening to them in the evening and was worried about accidentally falling asleep. There are some real snoozers in here, and not a single song that’s going to get my head bopping along. I mean, you faked me out a couple of times, but you have essentially pulled together a contest of 16 songs, all of which are ballads or slow.

Is Portugal so beautiful that everyone is just relaxed all the time? Do people who write poppy Ibiza-style dance songs just end up spending all their time drunk on a beach?

In Sweden and Norway and Iceland and Estonia, the weather is awful, and they churn out amazing pop. Perhaps it’s that everyone in Portugal is just spending their time outside doing normal things, and not stuck in a basement trying to kill time by making happy noises with their computers.

If so, more power to you Portugal. But I’ll miss the chance of Lisbon 2020.

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