We are now facing real Eurovision history. A country, which has never been really successful in the ESC is now the hosting it! Nobody really expected that Portugal could ever win the contest anymore. But never say never. With a good song every country is able to win.
It does not mean that Portugal has never send good songs, the opposite is the truth. The Portuguese entries were musical pearls, not every year, but often. And often these songs have not been appreciated enough, in particular by the juries in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Due to this unfair votings it was often rumoured that Portugal would possibly withdraw from the ESC.
But it could have many reasons, why Portugal was mostly be found on the bottom part of the scoreboards. Portugal came last for three times. And 10 times Portugal made it in the Top10, but never a second or third place.
The Portuguese entries often included ethnic music elements, such as Fado style, sometimes sad and melancholic melodies and slow ballads. This has often not matched with the pan European taste. There were too less happy songs, which could have been radio hits. The contribution of 1974 “E Depois Do Adeus” sung by Paulo de Carvalho has been taken as song for the “clove revolution”, even if it came last with 3 points only. Dulce Pontes has represented Portugal back in Rome 1991 with “Lusitana Paixão” and made one of the best rankings so far #8. After that she became very famous and been appreciated as the “new Alma Rodriguez” – due to her talent to sing Fado.
Furthermore the language rule of the previous decades prevented that the lyrics would be understood, by non-Portuguese. Nowadays there is a trend that the native language could be either successful. It depends on a good composition, a certain magic of the song, a good voice and an impressing stage show. Marija Šerifović from Serbia is a perfect example, as she won with a great song “Molitva” in her native Serbian language, because of all these reasons in 2007. Hence Salvador Sobral also sang his winning song “Amar Pelos Dois” in Portuguese with the highest points ever in the ESC. This year a lot of entries will be sung in their native languages. There is a certain nostalgia as well, as in former years it used to be like this and good traditions should live on.
Some of the Portuguese entries have become real evergreens in Portugal and sometimes even beyond. But nowadays contemporary Portuguese music is seldomly played at international radio stations, only traditional music can be heard on special cultural programmes. So the Eurovision Song Contest was always a very good opportunity to present Portuguese music to the world, even if it was only for 3 minutes.
Last year there has been the 60th anniversary of the Portuguese broadcaster RTP. Therefore a huge national final has been evolved. And there were two great medleys being performed with former Eurovision singers like Rita Guerra.
These are the medleys:
And in that year, Portugal was able to win the ESC for the very first time with Salvador’s beautiful ballad. Portugal was the ESC winner! Salvador has made the entire country proud. And it has proofed that a country, which has never won before is able to win it. Therefore it is to be expected that this year’s organizers will put even more effort to make this historic ESC event to an unforgettable.
Furthermore this year is also the 50th time Portugal is participating. Due to various rule changes, Portugal also had to pause some years here and there. The debut Portugal had in 1964. Since the introduction of the semi finals, Portugal only qualified four times. This year as a host country it has a guaranteed place in the final.
Public relations, Editor, Journalist
About me: As one of the founders of eurovisionlive.com I am responsible for the interviews with the singers and the editorial content. My passion for the Eurovision Song Contest exists since my early childhood. The exotic music, different cultures and languages have given a lot of inspiration to me. Since my very first ESC in Dublin 1994 I particularly appreciate the get together and friendship of all the nationalities and Riverdance was a thrill!