Portugal shares in the radiant Iberian weather of Spain and Andorra. Unfortunately it also shares their abysmal record at Eurovision. Lisbon may not have placed last, but it’s also never had cause to cheer ‘Saúde’ at points pouring in from across Europe because…well…that’s never happened. In fact they’ve never been given enough points to crack the Top 5, and considering that they’ve had 46 goes at it, you’d think they’d have at least made it once. Norway have multiple times and they’ve placed last more times than any other country in the history of the Contest. With Portugal’s best showing only being a 6th place in 1996, you do feel for the Portuguese at the Contest. All that being said, they have made it to 3 out of the 6 Finals since 2008, and they didn’t even compete in 2013, so things could be worse: they could be San Marino. They’ve won 4 sets of 12 Points in the Semi-Finals, though never seen those scores repeated in the Grand Finals and have averaged 28 Points at the Finals since 2008. A record like that is enough to leave you reaching for the port…

Recent History:

2013: Withdrew Due To Financial Concerns

2012: Filipa Sousa with ‘Vida Minha’, 13th  Place with 39 Points in the SF

2011: Homens da Luta with ‘A luta é alegra’, 18th Place with 22 Points in the SF

2010: Filipa Azevedo with ‘Há dias assim’, 18th Place with 43 Points

2009: Flor-de-Lis with ‘Todas as ruas do amor’, 15th Place with 57 Points

2008: Vânia Fernandes with ‘Senhora do mar (Negras águas)’, 13th Place with 69 Points

Portugal By Numbers:

How many times did Vânia Fernandes reach out longingly for the camera on stage in 2008? About 300. Where’s the variety girl? Maria Storeng was twirling all over the stage in her power ballad!

If you were circumnavigating the globe in the amount of time it took Filipa Azevedo to learn to walk in her dress, how many laps would you make before you could stop? 7: that was a crazy big dress. Mad props Filipa, you’re a braver woman than most at Eurovision.

On a scale of 1 to 10 how wrought was Filipa Sousa with her dramatic number in Baku? 8.5 – there was angst on that stage.

Best Scoring Recent Entry:

2008: Vânia Fernandes with ‘Senhora do mar (Negras águas)’, 13th Place with 69 Points

It’s a song about a lady of the sea. As seems to be a bit of a trend with Portuguese music, there are sounds mixed in that sound overtly French and oceanic at the same time. It’s very floaty and melodic, like a fountain bubbling away to itself. Vânia’s vocal is flawless and she blends well with the backing vocalists, the staging just lets it down. It’s way too reserved and boring. A little less dark dress and dark lighting, and a little more of the radiant Portuguese sunshine most of us recognize and she probably wouldn’t have been so colossally out-dazzled by the dance entries that year.

Most memorable lyric: Oh high sea, bring me, my endless love. This is all getting a bit Little Mermaid for my liking.
http://youtu.be/lfZWEs37P6Y

Worst Scoring Recent Entry:

2011: Homens da Luta with ‘A luta é alegria’, 18th Place with 22 Points in the SF

I’m equal parts bemused and confused by this. The little flute traces through this are quite nice, but the songs random and so wrong for Eurovision. This is all children’s teatime show, not Europe’s biggest TV show. The outfits are terrible, and because it’s a fairly unconventional group number there’s nobody to focus on or hold your attention. They’re just a forgettable, if ostensibly quite nice, group of Portuguese people. Bless them.

Most memorable lyrics: There’s no point in tightening the belt.There’s no point in complaining. Yeah! Sack the economic prudence European governments and blow it all on Eurovision – the economy might be in tatters at the end of it, but who cares – you just got 12 Points from Bulgaria! 

Honourable Mention:

1996: Lúcia Moniz with ‘O Meu Coração Não Tem Cor’, 6th Place with 92 Points

A lovely entry that deserved 6th place, and listening back to 1996, probably deserved a place or too higher that year. The outfits are also nicely if a bit bizarrely coordinated with the colours of the Portuguese flag. The song’s pretty catchy and Lúcia’s singing with real gusto. The passion of her performance is in fact something characteristic of the Portuguese and is reflected across more recent efforts like their songs in 2008 and 2012 which mimicked the classiness and traditional tone of  ‘O Meu Coração Não Tem Cor’.

Most memorable lyric: Shake the funaná, go deep into the malhão. I honestly haven’t the foggiest, but I feel obliged to shake something. 

And here’s what Team Wiwi have to say on Portugal at Eurovision:

Katie Wilson: My favourite was 2010 because the live vocals were brilliant! I couldn’t fault them at all, and it was probably the best live vocals from that year. It was a typical ballad, but surprisingly not boring considering it is in a foreign language. It wasn’t a song that stood out especially compared to the rest of the songs from 2010, but it was a good song, and definitely one of the best entries Portugal has sent to Eurovision recently.

I hate to say it, but my least favourite entry was 2011. It could have been a very funny and catchy song, if it had have been performed well, but it wasn’t. It was like a cheap version of the village people and the live vocals were completely out of tune. Everyone looked really awkward on the stage, and it was all a bit embarrassing rather than funny. It probably didn’t help that I couldn’t understand what they were mumbling on about either.

James Puchowski: Portugal’s most underrated recent entry has to be ‘Todas As Ruas Do Amor’. That being said their efforts have been lax. For example ‘A luta é alegria’ was, despite the politics, a wasted entry. Not making the Top 5 for decades probably meant it made sense to make a scene. I don’t see a reason for their lack of success. The language is beautiful and singable – but perhaps after such recent poor results it made sense to withdraw.

Zach Thomas: For me the best Portuguese entry was their 2012 entry – it was hella classy! I also suspect that had it not been in the Semi-Final with Loreen, it would have progressed to the Final. Filipa also had lungs on her – girl was belting out that ballad! Their worst was their mess of a protest song in 2011. All I can say is ewww and WHY?

Wiwi: The singer from 2008 reminds me of Ursula, the evil sea witch, from The Little Mermaid. But that’s where the similarities end. You see The Little Mermaid was actually gripping. This song was not. Fortunately Flor-de-Lis totally redeemed Portugal in my book in 2009 with ‘Todas as ruas do amor’. It’s so sweet. A Technicolor dream! (But I’m pretty sure the lead singer borrowed the dress from the singer in 2008).

Photo: Alan Douit (EBU)

Angus Quinn contributed this report from the U.K. You can follow him on Twitter at @Angus_Quinn17. Then like our Facebook page to keep up-to-date with all the latest news and gossip.

10 Comments
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Kristín
Kristín
6 years ago

Vania should´ve won in 2008! My all time Portuguese favorite.

Wouter
Wouter
6 years ago

Filipa stole my heart, great singer, i LOVE Ha Dias Assim, My favorite song of the last 10 years.

Mike
Mike
6 years ago

our economy sucks, we are in the other spectrum of europe well far way from the eastern eurovision group, we only have one “neighbor” and we are a small old country that always sings in their own language… why would anyone care for us in that contest? the reason we sent that 2011 entry was to mock eurovision because no one in the country cares for the contest… most people don’t even know it still airs!

AzeBoy
AzeBoy
6 years ago

I loved 2008, 2009, 2010 songs of Portugal! I hope that next year they will join in Eurovision party with such beautiful songs as “Ha Dias Assim” or “Senhora do Mar”! 🙂

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 years ago

Portugal was outsandingly great at 2008 and 2009. Different songs, but I love both of them! 2008’s for it’s intensity and drama and the great lyrics. 2009 for it’s happiness on stage and for me it has the SOMETHING! 2010 was also a good year for Portugal. 2011 was disastrous and 2012 was for me a boring copy of 2008’s great fado song. COME BACK PORTUGAL!

D
D
6 years ago

My favourite Portuguese song will forever be ‘Todas as ruas do amor’. It’s so catchy, sweet, and reminds me of just a happy, sunshine-y day. Definitely deserved a higher placing.

Zack
Zack
6 years ago

Great article!
1996, 2008, and 2009 were great entries. 2010 and 2012 were sorta too old-school for me. However, 1981 and 1982 will always be my fav two Portugal entries. “Playback” and “Bem Bom” are annoyingly catchy and fun, and the lyrics of “Playback” actually still are relevant today. That and I thought Carlos was so adorable

Celioski
6 years ago

Todas as ruas do amor has always been in my top 10 of my favorite ESC songs ever. The song is simply magic and everytime I hear it I can picture myself in a lovely day in the sunny coast of Portugal.

Senhora do mar is amazing, an extremely intense song. I just don’t understand why they are not more successful. Might be that their only neighbour is Spain? 🙁

paco
6 years ago

quiero que buelvan mis queridos vecinos a esc los hechos de menos con sus dulces melodias,memorable acto en 1981 vestidas de mosqueteras petardeo fino chao.

Tiggeh
Tiggeh
6 years ago

I loved Lucia Moniz. Her song is by far my favourite entry by Portugal. It was also a joy when she starred in Love Actually.