#PORTUGAL: #AllAboard for the Live Blog of Festival da Canção from 22.00 CET
The last automatic finalists of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest gets picked tonight in sunny Guimarães. After two semi-finals, we have the 14 best songs who are after a trip to, erm, sunny Lisbon.
Tonight’s winner will be chosen by a combination of a jury vote and a public vote. Will Portugal make it two in a row with what they pick tonight?
If you’re tuned in early, you’ll be seeing some of the pre-show build-up from the lobby of tonight’s venue – the Pavilhão Multiusos in Guimarães. The great and the good of Portuguese entertainment and broadcasting are all there.
And here we go with the show proper. Shots of previous Festival da Canção (FdC) winning performances. Ah the memories.
It’s a party atmosphere in the arena with lots of dancers in luminous outfits and futuristic effects. A bit like a ZX Spectrum’s idea of futuristic. Or the 2018 take on Måns Zelmerlöw’s ‘Heroes’ backdrop.
After a bit of chatter between our hosts Filomena and Pedro things seem to get a little bit serious. Pedro tries a little English.
Even Jon Ola Sand gets in on the act, telling us – in English – that it’s time for FdC to begin!
More importantly, it’s about time for the songs.
Rui David – Sem medo
A song with a jazzy beat kicks us off. It’s a finger-clicky sort of thing with a piano as the main backing instrument. I can imagine this being a typical Portuguese song from contests of old, with that distinctive lagubrious sound provided by the language. It’s difficult opening, especially with the prize at stake, and Rui has a darn good go, I have a feeling we’ll be hearing better tonight.
Susana Travassos – Mensageira
A red dress – hurrah – and a downbeat jazzy sound is the motif for this song. It’s almost, but not quite fado but a bit more syncopated and, to me, a little nasal. Susana uses lots of arm movements to emphasise the earnestness of the song. It’s nice, but more your smoky backstreet hipster bar than massive arena by the coast.
Peter Serrado – Sunset
Peter has a guitar, an English language song and a backdrop of wide prairies. Obviously not Portugal. With a break from jazz, his vibe is more country/western, which is quite easy on the ear. His intonation ain’t bad and this also has a slightly optimistic quality about it. The stage presence might need a bit of working on, despite his slight movements around a fixed microphone. It’s not bad.
Joana Espadinha – Zero a zero
Ooh. We’re upbeat now with more heavy piano and song that gives the impression of a hustle bustle lifestyle. Even so, there’s an element of jazz about it. To her credit, Joana moves around a fair bit and knows how to use the camera. There’s a very busy pink and navy blue backdrop that’s a tad off-putting. She gives it a go but I think it won’t be there at the end.
Before the next song, we go to the Green Room. Ines – bless her – gets to talk to the acts we’ve had so far.
Lili – O vôo das cegonhas
A long white dress this time, which is quite striking against the blues of the backdrop. Lili has the slight look of Chrissie Hynde about her. The song demonstrates her range, which goes through the scales to something quite high and warbly. The beat is a very serious one despite the sentiment behind the song. I’m not sure.
Catarina Miranda – Para sorrir não preciso de nada
She’s got a round of applause before she’s sung a note. This is a very pleasant slow song. Not fado, not jazz, just pleasant and, dare I say, sweet. Catarina has a very nice voice and the song suits her. And if I didn’t know better, the camera angles seem very similar to Salvador’s when he was doing his stuff here last year. One or two of the notes seem a little challenged, but I think this is the best so far.
Joana Barra Vaz – Anda estragar-me os planos
A guitar starts off this very understated song. There’s almost no tune to the verse, although it picks up for the chorus. It’s a nice little chorus with the backing of what now appears to be a string quartet. And yes, there’s elements of fado here too. But I’m not sure whether this is really what we’ll be looking for once they call the votes in.
David Pessoa – Amor veloz
More jazz-influenced stuff here. David has a pianist on stage who is playing, ut doesn’t seem to add anything to the song. His sartorial elegance is without question for a man of his age, and he definitely looks the part. But this is another one that is not bad as a song per se, but not right in a competitive environment. Even the bridge-by-numbers towards the end of the song doesn’t really manage to rescue this song. Sorry.
More Green Room chat and thoughts now, before the next song. Then back to our hosts who take a selfie on stage.
Minnie & Rhayra – Patati patata
This little duet takes us upbeat, and probably the nearest thing we’ll have to a novelty song tonight. Or it celebrates their Lusophone heritage from around the world. Thankfully it has a good beat to it and is a pleasant change. Some of the notes seem challenging for the two singers and that could count against them. There are non-Portuguese words in this song. Generally it’s quite charming and is making me smile.
Janeiro – (sem titulo)
Salvador’s buddy Janeiro sits on the stage with his guitar with a very different song. It’s as if he’s busking at a main railway station, but late in the day. It’s not jazz, it’s not fado, it’s just a guy with an electric guitar with a song that somehow draws you in. It’s by no means dull or boring. You could even imagine Mr Sobral singing it himself. It’s between him and Catarina at the moment.
Maria Inês Paris – Bandeira azul
More stuff that could only be Portuguese, or from a Portuguese-speaking country. The laid back beat gives it away. Think ‘girl from Ipanema’ and you’re about there. As to where it goes, it could be lacking. It moves along OK, but there’s no killer hook or instant when you think “this could win”.
Anabela – Para te dar abrigo
Veteran Anabela has Fernanado Tordo (PT 73) in her corner. So this has the pedigree. It’s about as Portuguese as Portuguese can be with it’s long notes, accordian accompaniment, a fado opening, and then a more upbeat motif later on. Foot-tappy – yes. A celebration of what it might be to be Portuguese – yes. A winner tonight? It has an outside chance.
More Green Room chat. Lili is there with her two daughters. Shouldn’t they be asleep by now?
Cláudia Pascoal – O jardim
Another popular bunny, even with pink hair. This starts slowly, but you know it might get going at any moment. Cláudia also has a good range which is used effectively and economically. The ‘gimmick’ is the seated backing singer that spend much of the time with her back to the audience. There’s a downbeatness to this song which draws you in like a few other songs. It’s nice, but I don’t think it will appeal to all of Europe.
Peu Madureira – Só por ela
Fado? OK, just for a change. But a good example of the genre. It’s serenade with a guitar backing to help him along. And a very heavy orchestration. This is great and could also carry on where Salvador left off last year. Thus stands a chance and would be a great home entry in the same way that Peppino di Capri was in 1991. Have they saved the best till last?
With that, we have our 14 songs. So it’s the usual recap time with the numbers for the Portuguese public to call. They start ‘760 100 8**’, with the last two numbers of the song added at the end, if you’re interested.
The best three in my opinion were by Catarina Miranda, Janeiro and Peu Madureira. But what do I know?
Ad break time – well, this isn’t due to finish for over two hours.
We’e back, and there’s a big balloon on stage. I think the idea is to pass it around the crowd. It does, and gets back to Ines in the Green Room. She doesn’t quite know what to do with it, so she bats it away.
More chat and recaps.
And now comedy, courtesy of Cristiano Ronaldo’s bust. He apparently talks like a farmer. And is an absolute hoot.
Blimey! It’s Doce (with a medley). But it might not quite be the 1982 line up.
And they finish by singing Bem-bom! What a song.
More Green Room chat, and we’ve now spoken to each of the 14 acts. One of them will be a winner.
Time to looks back now. FdCs of old. The orchestras, the over the top performances, the musical notation. And some songs that didn’t quite win. And some that did win. I’m looking at you ‘Dai-li-dou’.
And now, Simone de Oliveira – a tribute. She sang Portugal’s first song ‘Sol de inverno’. ‘Apenas a meu povo’ follows. And here she is, with ‘Desfolhada’. Can we send this to the contest in May?
She gets a standing ovation, and who can blame the audience. An absolute legend!
We’ve had a countdown. The televoting has stopped. You’re too late. And with that, it’s time to cut to more ads.
Back for the final part of tonight’s transmission. And someone has a selfie from last year.
Next on stage is Luisa Sobral. She’s performing ‘Maria do mar’ whilst playing the guitar.
It’s time to call in some regional jury votes. They’ll award the usual votes to their favourite 10 songs.
Five sets of regional jury votes in (out of seven) and Cláudia Pascoal is leading, followed by Catrina Miranda and Peu Madureira.
After the seven juries, we have the first set of results.
They in turn get allocated points 12, 10, then 8-1. The last four songs are therefore now on zero points.
The public vote will follow, so to fill in we get a retrospective of 2017.
Here’s the public vote…
Author: John Stanton
Source: Eurovision Ireland, RTP Portugal