#PORTUGAL: Live blog of Festival da Canção Semi-final 1 at 22.00 CET
Tonight Portugal launches is mission to retain the title that it won last year in Kyiv. Due to Salvador’s win, broadcaster RTP is pushing the boat out with two semi-finals of 13 songs. Will one of tonight’s be the one we see in May? Follow this blog and see what we at Eurovision Ireland think.
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And it’s started. We’re in black and white for starters, to show clips from years gone by. Madelena Iglesias kicks us off. Well, footage of her anyway.
Sorry for the technical issues. We appear to have things back now.
And on to the songs (sadly we’ve missed songs 1 and 2)
Bruno Vasconcelos – Austrália
Rui David – Sem medo
Beatriz Pessoa – Eu te amo
This is a jazzy little song, which is the sort of music that Salvador Sobral excels at. It’s nice and catchy, but jazz can be an acquired taste. You can imagine it being sung in some hipster bar where the craft ale and the tapas are freely available. Beatriz is assisted by a guitar and trumpet which adds to the laid back feel of this song. It’s not bad though.
Anabela – Para te dar abrigo
Remember her from 1993? I do, and her voice is just as sweet as it was back then. Her song has a very Latin vibe to it. Something to dance to, and not in a death metal sort of way. She’s clearly enjoying this little song, and so am I. It’s very Portuguese and thankfully no fado, even though she sings of ‘saudade’. With her accordionist, guitarist and drummer on stage, this is really really pleasant.
Catarina Miranda – Para sorrir não preciso de nada
This is a nicely slow song. Catarina is going for the sweet and innocent look and to an extent manages it. Her song is full of long soaring notes and that shuffly accompaniment to go with a piano motif. It’s pleasant, but maybe not quite enough to catch the ear. Sadly, it might even send some people to sleep.
Joana Espadim – Zero a zero
We have another song with a funky, slightly jazzy vibe here. It’s a bouncy little number and Joana has the full compliment of five backing singers. No instruments this time but there’s what sounds like a bontempi organ in the background. At parts, you can tell she’s really getting into it, but at others she appears a little self-conscious. It’s not a winner.
Janeiro – (sem título)
This singer was Salvador Sobral’s pick for FdC, and you can tell. He’s alone with a guitar plugged into an amplifier, and he’s wearing headphones, à la Maraaya. It’s a very gentle song, so I fear it might get lost amongst all the others we’ve heard tonight. Occasionally, just occasionally though, he opens his eyes.
José Cid – O som da guitarra é a alma de um povo
It’s legend time. Or is it an young Elton John? José’s not aged that much since 1980 and you can pretty much call this song before you hear it. Lots of traditional instrumentation, him at a piano, a darn pleasant song sung very very competently. It’s very well orchestrated and if the Portuguese public are feeling nostalgic, this is the song for them.
Joana Barra Vaz – Anda estragar-me os planos
A soloist in the truest sense of the word, and has another slow lilting song which only has a guitar (offstage) for accompaniment. There’s elements of fado about this. Joana BV is giving this her all, but it’s a challenging song to give your all too. It may be a Portuguese thing, but I’m not sure how much wider appeal this will have.
Peu Madureira – Só por ela
More ballad and more guitar. Peu has a very breathy delivery. There’s fado and it’s also a very acquired taste of it too. However, once the second verse gets going the orchestration kicks in, and lends it a bit more class. In ESC terms, the Portuguese entered this sort of stuff in the 1970s. However some said Salvador’s winner was a dated ballad, and we know how that did. I do fear for this one though.
Rita Dias – Com gosto amigo
This is – you’ve guessed it – fado inspired and seems to have a lot of words. It does hang together OK, and has a nice enough beat to it. Rita’s stage presence is better than some we’ve seen, and she’s dressed quite colourfully, which might give her an edge too.
JP Simões – Alvoroço
This is a serious little number, and you can tell by the trendy camera angles. JP has the style of João Oliveira (Girl from Ipanema etc) and has a very orchestral accompaniment. It’s more upbeat that other songs we’ve heard tonight, to the point it goes a bit mad for the middle eight and final chorus. JP can do different I’ll give him that. Bustle is apparently the English title, and it imparts a busy situation.
Maria Amaral – A mesma canção
Finally, we get something slightly anthemic – making a change from fado. Is it coincidence that this is on last? Hmmm. I’m not mocking; this is actually very good and gets you hooked very early on. It’s one you can probably call from start to finish, but that might be the song’s charm. Seven songs will make it through to the final tonight, and this will be one of them.
With the songs over, we’ll be opening the lines soon for the public vote. Of course, as with many other selections, this will be a 50/50 split of voting between the public and the jury.
And an ideal time to cut to some adverts…
Recap times, including the songs we missed earlier. From the 10 second clips it’s difficult to decide whether they’re worthy of a place in the final of FdC or not.
We get the usual stuff from the Green Room (which is the same in Portuguese) and see the acts having a high old time sat around tables, on their phones. No doubt ringing in for the public vote.
Interval act time, and it’s the house band singing some very Portuguese songs. They’re songs made famous by the late Carlos Paião (PT 81).
More Green Room japes now. People are still on their phones.
The phone lines have closed, so we get a tribute to Dina (PT 92). She’s done lots of other stuff too, and we see a selection of her work. The presenters send her their regards.
It’s result time. Here’s what the jury thought…
And yes, that is Salvador (left) with Janeiro (right).
And with the televotes, converted into points 1-12…
The ones on the left are the seven qualifiers. Joana Espadinha got through on count back. No José Cid or Maria Amaral. Just shows what I know.
Hope you enjoyed the show. See you next week.
Author: John Stanton
Source: Eurovision Ireland, RTP Portugal