Not every country is sending last year’s artists from 2020, so the Portuguese broadcaster RTP decided to organizes a new Festival da Canção. Last year’s singer Elisa Silva was not among this year’s participants. One’s bad luck is the other’s luck.
The Portuguese national final Festival da Canção had a lot of traditional music as always, but also one really outstanding song, even sung in English. At the end there was a tie between Carolina Deslandes, with a traditional Portuguese song “Por Um Triz” and the established band The Black Mamba with “Love Is On My Side”. While Carolina received the highest votes from the juries and The Black Mamba came second, the televoters voted for The Black Mamba as their favourite and Carolina Deslandes came third, there was a tie with 20 points each. In such a situation the regulations of the Festival da Canção say that if there is a tie the more decisive votes are from the televoting. Hence The Black Mamba made the race.
The band The Black Mamba was founded in 2010 and consists of Pedro Tatanka, Miguel Casais, Marco Pombinho, Rui Pedro “Pity” Vaz and Guilherme “Gui” Salgueiro. The music style can be described as a mix of soul, funk and blues. They have been touring around the world and gave gigs and played on international festivals in Luanda (Angola), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Philadelphia (USA). So these are the best conditions to be part of the Eurovision Song Contest, with its international atmosphere.
The song “Love Is On My Side” is a very interesting song. It will be the first Portuguese entry, which will be presented in English. Judging by the video clip and the live performance at the national final in Lisbon, the blurred screen with sephia colours is dominating, it’s matching with the style of the song, dreamy but cool, a bit John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” can be heard as well. “Love Is On My Side” was composed a year ago, when the band was visiting Amsterdam. There they met an older lady, who had a difficult life. Her motto was, whatever happened “Love Is On My Side”. This was the inspiration for Pedro to write this song and it’s just beautiful.
With this kind of song, Portugal is on a very good way to bring contemporary world music to the contest. It’s adult and sophisticated and will certainly get a lot of attention by the international juries. The sympathetic group will give a special authenticity to the ESC.
Finals: 42 (5 since 2004)
Top 10: 10
Chances for Top 10: 19%
Chances for Final: 33%
Portugal has joined the Eurovision Song Contest in 1964 with the debut song “Oração” by António Calvário and came last with zero points, unfortunately. This should not been taken as a bad omen, but Portugal is a country which has never won the ESC before, it all changed in 2017, when Salvador Sobral could achieve the first victory for Portugal with “Amar Pelos Dois”. Portugal has made it 42 times in the Grand Final, out of 51 participations, that’s a chance of 33%. Portugal reached the Top10 only 10 times, the Semi-Finals have been introduced in 2004. So there is a chance of 19% chance to achieve a top place in the Grand Final.
There were so many great and outstanding songs in the past. Especially the 80’s were packed with outrageous songs, which would probably have shaped better nowadays. Especially the juries have always been strict and not very generous with the points for Portuguese songs. The songs from Portugal have often been very folkloristic and nostalgic. Sometimes the Portuguese even send traditional Fado to the ESC, which is a great cultural enrichment. The Portuguese songs have become more modern in the recent years. A lot of emotions and drama can also be found in songs from nowadays. Salvador Sobral is the best example that calm and emotional music will also be heard and awarded.
Let’s hope that the general interest and the enthusiasm remains in Portugal, a national final is still being kept. We could witness the wonderful Eurovision Song Contest from Lisbon 2018. For the first time the Portuguese capital has been in real Eurovision spirit, banners could be seen all over the city, a big Eurovision Village on the main square close to the water was spectacular.
Publisher, Editor, Journalist
About me: My first Eurovision Song Contest I watched behind the walls of the former GDR in 1987. This was even possible at that time! Since then I am following the ESC every year on TV. In 2004 I had the chance to watch it live in Istanbul. Due to the fact that Jens and Bernd have collected many interviews, photos, etc. the idea came up to show all this contest to the public. We founded the website eurovisionlive.com and we have been one of the first to offer the medium internet for the Eurovision Song Contest.