This Saturday, the Portuguese will host their annual national final, Festival Da Canção. So the Wiwi Jury — our in-house team of music unprofessionals — is heading to Lisbon, getting our tan on and roasting a suckling pig so we can offer the Portuguese some guidance when they make their decision this weekend. Here’s what the jury thought of the first three finalists.
Leonor Andrade with “Ha Um Mar Que Nos Separa”
Kristin: This is indeed a friendly pop song, like if Kelly Clarkson went Portuguese. However, I think this will definitely get lost on the big stage in Vienna. It lacks that “wow” element. But Leonor has a good voice, and I like her. I just don’t think the song is good enough.
Score: 5 /10
Liam: This girl got soul, y’all! How unusual is it too see such a soulful voice sing a country-western influenced song? Yet I feel like this odd combination works, and it could work in Vienna.
Robyn: This is like an ’80s ballad. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but the song itself is really dull. Not even a key change manages to add life to it. It’s not a good sign when the most interesting thing about the performance is Leonor’s cool rock chick hair.
Sopon: The song’s title means “there’s a sea that separates us”, but this song ain’t divisive. It’s actually a nice song, but won’t go very far in Vienna if her vocals don’t improve.
Average Score: 5.62/10
Yola Dinis with “Outra Vez Primavera”
Kristin: Fado! I LOVE Fado! This reminds me both of “Senhora do Mar” and “Vida Minha” (which I thought was brilliant. There, I said it!) Yola’s voice is like an avalanche, but in a good way. Starts out soothingly, and then it takes you by storm. I might be alone on this, but I do’´t care. I’d like to see Yola in Vienna, belting out her fado fabulousness.
Score: 8.5 /10
Liam: This woman really reminds me of Vania Fernandes! I loved “Senhora Do Mar” and while I do not love “Outra Vez Primavera” as much, it is still something I would enjoy listening to. The only thing that bugs me with this song is how long it takes to get some power. When Yola starts using a more powerful voice it really picks the song up, unfortunately that voice isn’t introduced into a fair way into the song.
Robyn: There’s something really intriguing about this. It’s a massive step up from the usual old-fashioned Portuguese entries. Yola has a mighty voice and the simple orchestral accompaniment lets her shine. Most importantly, a song like this would really stand out in Vienna. Yola just needs to learn to sing with her eyes open.
Sopon: Remember what happened the last time a Portuguese woman dressed as a heavyset drag queen won Festival da Canção? That’s right, 13th place, a great placing for the ever misfortunate Portugal. But wait, “Senhora do Mar” wasn’t a lullaby like this song is! This song just puts me (and most likely the ESC spectators) to sleep, and that ain’t good.
Average Score: 6.13/10
Goncalo Tavares with “Tu Tens Uma Magica”
Kristin: Portuguese is such a beautiful language. Even though the song is a wee bit lost in time. But Goncalo looks like a nice guy. Wouldn’t mind sitting down and have a pint with him. And this tune has some nice hooks along the way, so not completely hopeless, but unfortunately its not a winner.
Score: 5.5 /10
Liam: Sounds like Woody Guthrie trying to be Elton John. Sorry, but this song is really just not for me. Now please Portugal I beg of you! For once actually don’t send a bad song like this. Although I really do have to commend him on the note he holds at the end!
Robyn: This sounds like another act that got lost on the way to Eurovision’s Greatest Hits. The Festival de Cançao producers seem aware of how old dull and old-fashioned the song is and have attempted to liven things up with the gyrating dancing girls. Nothing works. It’s just horrible.
Sopon: Old dude trying to do ’80s pop. Nuff said.