When Portugal’s Eurovision contestant Suzy and her songwriter Emanuel took their seats at last night’s press conference in Lisbon, we expected sparks to fly. We didn’t anticipate a full-on fire bomb. Suzy and Emanuel, along with their communication guru Vasco da Camera Pereira, announced that they have filed a criminal complaint against the people they allege are behind a Eurovision smear campaign. “We are not against people who do not like the song,” said lawyer Joaquim Guerra. “We’re against people who persecute us physically and psychologically, commit slander and write posts that threaten to kill Emanuel and singer Suzy.”
Da Camera Pereira opened the press conference by countering claims that the song is unoriginal. Unhappy fans have complained that the song sounds a lot like Koama’s Lambada. Not so. He argued that the song’s African sound refers to the historical links between Portugal and Africa. He also argued that ‘Quero ser tua’ is indeed populair among fans, as the song is getting a lot of airplay on Portuguese radio stations.
Suzy was very emotional. She recounted how the allegations have tormented her and her family. She has tried to ignore all of the insults and comments, but temptation led her to open Pandora’s box and log on to Facebook. Some people said nasty things about her song. Others said they hoped she would catch a nasty disease and die.
Emanuel said that he has never before encountered such a hostile atmosphere at Festival da Canção (he wrote Sabrina’s Danca comigo, ESC 2007). The death threats and surrounding drama grew so intense that he had to change his personal phone number. He pointed out that the song has received good reviews from abroad, and that the majority of the negative comments come from Portuguese fans.
As part of their official complaint, Suzy’s team has compiled a series of videos and written material that they say prove a smear campaign is afoot. The evidence was handed over to the police today.
Rumours suggest that a direct competitor is involved. When journalists probed who that might be, attorney Joaquim Guerra advised Suzy not to answer the question. Guerra’s surname translates as “war” in English.
It’s still a long way until the semi-final at ESC. Will Suzy survive the storm and make it to Copenhagen?
Daphne Dee contributed this report from Belgium. Follow her on Twitter @JacinthaD1. You can also keep up-to-date with the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page