Eurovision 2020

#PORTUGAL: Live Blog of Festival da Canção SF1 from 22.00 CET

PORTUGAL: Live Blog of Festival da Canção SF1 from 22.00 CET

Portugal’s broadcaster RTP starts the search for a song for Rotterdam tonight. In this first semi-final, ten songs will compete for five places in the Grand Final of Festival da Canção on Saturday 6 March.

A familiar 50/50 combination of expert jury and televote will determine the five songs that will proceed.

And we’re about to start, after a word from our many sponsors… Here are our hosts Sónia and Jorge.

Ines (PT98) is in the Green Room

And it’s on to the songs:

The Black Mamba – Love is on my side

We open with a nattily-dressed group singing in English. The lead singer has a marvellous hat. The song is a very mellow number with a slightly repetitive chorus. But it builds rather nicely. It’s a very safe number with a nice attempt at a memorable guitar riff towards the end. Safe might not quite be enough though.

Valéria – Na mais profunda saudade

Now here’s a frock. Yohanna in salmon. It’s good old traditional fado, full of saudade and emotion. And how she emotes. There is a tune in there, but it’s not always easy to pick it out in this genre of music. It’s OK, and Lisbon’s Bairro Alto is an ideal place for it. But maybe not a international singing competition in the Netherlands.

Mema. – Claro como água

Frocks of the night so far. We’re still in classic Lusophone territory. Again there is a tune in there, and there’s some striking choreography that we only see in Eurovision-related events. I’m not sure. Local it is, but the international audience may miss the point.

Nadine – Chegui aqui

Another song with the fado elements in it, and is shaping up to be quite a pleasant little ballad. There’s even a guy with a lute(?) sat at the front of the stage to give this more authenticity. I can spot something familiar about this song, and I’m liking what I’m hearing. It’s beautiful, and the best thing I’ve heard so far.

Miguel Marôco – Girassol

Miguel is a guitarist with an upbeat song. It strikes me as very very wordy and it’s times like this I wish I could speak Portuguese. The words are many, but the tune seems to have a hint of something from the 1960s. Something summery. Mamas and Papas perhaps. That’s not a bad thing. However, it ends very suddenly.

Half way through the songs, we cross to the Green Room.

Fábia Maia – Dia lindo

Another ballad now. Fábia has three instrumentalists on stage with her, to add a bit of class. Her song is very pleasant. Not over-dramatic. Not weak. Just pleasant, innocent, inoffensive. Now if she culd open her eyes a little more during the song, and we might have something. Should qualify though.

Irma – Livros

Irma too has a ballad. But she also has big hair and a park bench to lean on. Said bench has a black & white picture on it, and some graffiti. She’s giving another pleasant performance. However, there’s no easily discernible tune to this, and it might be a bit too subtle to be instant.

Karetus & Romeu Bairos – Saudade

More fado from a collective this time. And props you’d expect to see in a similar Swedish competition. But this is a funkier fado, still with traditional instruments and maybe, just maybe, Balkan rhythms. Towards the end, we get some dancers in very sinister outfits. The different bits shouldn’t work. But they do.

Sara Afonso – Contramão

Sara has a ballad for us. She has a voice with a slightly harsh quality. But a good harshness. The song has a very familiar structure to it, and that adds to its charm I think. There’s also a very friendly orchestral arrangement that really give this song some quality. It’s a yes from me.

IAN – Mundo

We finish in English. Pregnant IAN is a striking woman dressed like a porcupine. The short verse moves quickly into a chorus, and then there’s an extended instrumental break. And then she moves into Portuguese. This song works well in both languages and is drawing me in. It’s bonkers enough to do something tonight.

That’s the songs. It’s now Green Room time again. The five I’d put through are Nadine, Fábia Maia, Karetus & Romeu Bairos, Sara Afonso, and IAN. I’m notoriously bad at this though. Stay tuned.

Recap time and the phone lines are thrown open for the Portuguese public to vote.

There is of course a jury headed by the lovely Rita Guerra. She’s hardly aged since 2003.

We also meet jurors Paulo de Carvalho, Vanessa Augusto, Rita Carmo, NBC, and Marta Carvalho.

To fill the time, we go back to the Green Room. And another recap.

We now get a short retrospective of the songs picked for the contest in 2020. Culminating with Diodato’s showstopping performance at the Verona amphitheatre.

Interval act now. Elisa performs Na ilha.

More recap, and a reminder about the Facebook page and Twitter hashtag. And then a break for adverts. Stay tuned.

More wise words from the jurors. I think. And then the Green Room. Just to build the excitement.

And the phone lines are closed.

Now we’re getting a song for Norway, which of course was Dora in 1986. Who could forget Não sejas mau p’ra mim? And here is Dora! She’s looking well.

It’s results time!

Who’s going through?

It’s Valéria, Karetus & Romeu Bairos, The Black Mamba, Fábia Maia, and Sara Afonso!

I got 3 out of 5. How many did you get?

Thanks for tuning in and staying the course. The second semi-final is on Saturday 27 February at 21.00 GMT/22.00 CET

Author: John Stanton

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