Portugal gonna Portugal.
I mean that as a compliment. The entire nation has a vibe that seems to exist out of “Eurovision” which, ironically, often means they end up sending things which do much better than a paint-by-numbers pop tune. Even their so-called failures, like Conan Osiris, are wholly original and entertaining and delightfully polarising in a way that entries from Sweden are not. (Love you, Melfest! No shade intended!)
This year, Portugal has sent Mimicat, who is performing a madcap, zany number titled Ai Coracao, or Oh Heart!
For the longest time, I did not *get* this song. It is cute. It is sung well. It is performed competently. But there just seemed to be a whole whiff of hectic energy on stage, like everyone was running madly in place to keep the whole thing from falling apart. Mimicat shows up, tosses about some zingers about the state of her heart, and then whirls again off the stage.
This week, however, I had a relevation – Ai Coracao is not a Eurovision song. Now before you start complaining – this is not me gatekeeping about what songs can or can’t be Eurovision songs. Any song that competes in Eurovision is a Eurovision song. Blah blah blah.
But Ai Coracao is done a disservice by appearing as a disconnected three minute chunk of song. The reason I’m not connecting with it is that it we’re dropped in media res into something that clearly has a huge amount of backstory behind it.
Ai Coracao not a song, but a musical number from a 1950s Freed Unit MGM picture. Mimicat is the second female lead, the dizzy blonde who’d be played by Betty Garrett or Vivian Blaine or Jean Hagen, and she’s given a showstopping number where she gets to mourn her romantic life.
Ai Coracao is the Eurovision equivalent of numbers like this:
Now, the problem with this is that we won’t get any of that background in Semifinal 1. We’ll have a block between Latvia’s moodiness and Ireland’s optimism, and it’s all a bit of a mood whiplash. I worry that the frenzied screwball comedy that Ai Curacao needs to shine won’t have a chance to breathe.
Ah well. Portugal won’t care. Portugal will keep being Portugal, and we love them for that.