Portugal – Festival da Canção Semi 2 Preview!

So last week, the Disney song won the jury, but the weirdo song (and fan favorite) won the televote. What’s on the docket tonight for a country that’s so beautiful, and yet so so so sad? (And slow! Don’t forget about the slow! Maybe it’s the heat that makes everyone so lethargic.)

Lara Laquiz – O Lugar

What? Is this a dance beat I hear in a Festival da Cancao entry? Don’t worry! It never speeds up into a full-on banger for the dance floor. Instead, it remains at a sensible BPM, despite ever increasing amounts of percussion. Somehow, the build leads to nothing but a reset of the build and a cycle of slow to slightly less slow. White the piano chords here are quite a nice hook, the song never really achieves liftoff.

Dan Riverman – Lava

Oh, no. Riverman has a voice like lava – slow moving and destroying any pleasure I might have in this song. It’s a Leonard Cohen knockoff and truth be told,I haven’t yet been able to make it through the whole song.

Mariana Bragada – Mar Doce

This song is perfect for a sunny afternoon by the beach,of which Portugal has a lot. But what works for a holiday doesn’t always work on the Eurovision stage. The harmonies are lovely, but the song just seems to wander aimlessly, much like an afternoon at the beach drifts by. And in a competition where multiple songs seem to have this exact structural problem, I don’t imagine it will stand out on stage.

Joao Couto – O Jantar

I love O Cantar because it sounds like something that’s emerged full formed from the 1970s era of singer-songwriters. I can see Couto hanging out with Carole King. I can see this being used as a theme song for Welcome Back Kotter. But it’s just too gentle to grab the attention of the crowd at Eurovision. It’s more suited for an afternoon road trip soundtrack.

Madrepaz – Mundo a Mudar

Oh, it’s the Simon and Garfunkel of Portugal. Beautiful harmonies, but nothing that will grab my attention for after the song.

Surma – Pugna

Look, I am a big proponent of the weird in Eurovision, and I love the fact that Festival da Cancao has a bunch of entries that sound like they should be performed at Art Basel rather than Eurovision. But Surma is just too far. She’s whispering baby vocals into some heavily modified vocoder setup (or at least that is what is sounds like) and this bears no resemblance to an actual song in the least. Is it 3 minutes? Is it 30 seconds? Is it a half-hour? Time doesn’t exist in this song, because it’s jsut a collection of spacey noise. I don’t think this is bad, but I also don’t think it belongs here.

Mila Dores – Debaixo do Luar

There are so many talented singers in Portugal, and so, so many ballads for them to interpret in a lite jazz way. Again, I’d appreciate this as the background music in a Lisbon hotel bar, but nothing about it is memorable.

NBC – Igual i Ti

It’s the Heroes of the competition, and that’s not a bad thing. I like this song, and if Portugal were in any way predictable, I might pin this as the winner because it’s the closest thing to a Eurovision winner in the competition. Of course, like all the Portuguese songs, it suffers from an inabiltiy to actually accelerate one’s heartrate, but that can easily be fixed with a disco remix, right?

I don’t even know with any National Final anymore, but if I had to pick, I’d say that Igual i Ti is likely to win this semi final. Now that Conan is through to the final, I don’t imagine that anyone will be that fussed.

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