Tag Archives: portugal

Eurovision 2012 Preview Part 8 – Malta, Belarus and Portugal

Time to preview three more countries all bidding to qualify from the second semi-final on 24 May. Unlike any of the other trios being previewed this year, none of today’s threesome have ever won the contest, although the first country, Malta, has come very close on a number of occasions, most recently in 2005. This year, they’re sending Kurt Calleja (who appears to have the same stylist and wardrobe as Marcus Collins), singing This is the Night. The video starts with what appears to be a resurrection of those grisly Doritos “Friendchip” ads from about a decade ago, in which Kurt and friends watch a home video of him somewhere very cold. It then turns into a riot of quiffs, bow-ties, floodlights and Tulisa on drums. Really it just needs the shouty voiceover man to go “KURT CALLEJA!”

It even has the vibe of an X-Factor runner-up’s debut single (i.e. okay but fairly unmemorable). On now to everyone’s favourite European dictatorship, Belarus. Last year, they sent someone telling everyone how much she loved her home country. The rest of Europe wasn’t buying that one, but undeterred Belarus are sending another self-aggrandising entry, as boyband Litesound (who appeared to have pilfered from will.i.am’s wardrobe) perform We Are the Heroes.

A testament to the perils of overusing straighteners (apart from the one with the blond hair, who’s testament to the perils of using eyeliner). Incidentally, they actually came second in the selection contest, only for the winner to be disqualified after it was discovered there had been shady dealings in the voting process. Ironically, this was uncovered by the country’s president.

Last up today are Portugal. The Portuguese are arguably the greatest under-achievers in the history of Eurovision – they’ve been entering almost every year for nearly half-a-century, and have still yet to achieve a Top 5 finish. Indeed, it’s 16 years now since they last made the Top 10. This year they’re hoping to restore their fortunes with Filipa Sousa, who sings Vida Minha, or “Life of Mine”. Potentially this is quite a powerful ballad, but unfortunately it’s serially undermined by backing singers who look like they’ve stepped out of the Apprentice boardroom; a pair of dancers whose peripheral presence keeps forcing the cameras away from the singer; and by increasingly enthusiastic deployment of a wind machine towards the end.

Given the rule about not having more than six people on stage at any one time, something will have to give at the Contest itself between the backing singers and the dancers. As that performance stands, you get the feeling there’s a lack of confidence in the song and the singer in themselves being enough to get Portugal through to the final.

And that’s it for today. Next time, the 2012 efforts of Ukraine, Bulgaria and Slovenia will be getting a thorough examination. See you then!

Chris x

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Eurovision 2011 Preview – Iceland, Hungary and Portugal

It’s a beautiful sunny afternoon outside, so naturally I’m sat here at my computer typing up another Eurovision preview post. The sacrifices I make etc…

Anyway, first up today are Iceland. It’s 25 years since Eurovision’s most northerly participants first entered the contest (in the same year that they started broadcasting TV on a Thursday). After some poor initial results (including nul points in 1989), Iceland started to get some good showings and have twice been runners-up, most recently in 2009. This year sees them represented by Sigurjon’s Friends with Coming Home. There are 1920s stylings and a bridge that sounds as though it’s going to turn into Take That’s Shine – a comparison bolstered by the one who sounds a bit like Robbie (but looks like James Corden):

Nice, and hopefully good enough to see them into the final. Iceland, I suspect, could probably do without winning in terms of the expense entailed in hosting Eurovision next year. But one day. One day…

On now to Hungary. Hungary made an impressive Eurovision debut in 1994 when they finished 4th. Since then however, their fitful participation in the contest has only yielded one other Top 10 finish, in 2007 – also the last time that they managed to qualify for the final. This year they’ve entered Kati Wolf singing What About My Dreams? What about the bit nicked from I Wanna Dance With Somebody? What about the bit in the aerobics class? What about all the “life-affirming” dance-pop numbers in this year’s contest?:

How about we move on to Portugal? This is the country that famously used its 1974 entry as a trigger for the Carnation Revolution that overthrew the Fascist Estado Novo regime. Unfortunately, the Portuguese have never quite been able to inspire a revolution on the Eurovision scoreboard. They haven’t finished in the Top 10 since 1996, and although they’ve performed well in the semis for the last three years, on each occasion they’ve then faded into mid-table anonymity on the big night. So this year they’ve decided to get all political again with Homens da Luta performing A Luta e Alegria. Unfortunately the satire is lost in non-translation, leaving a group who seem to be the result of a marriage between the Village People and the cast of Ugly Betty:

Entering a satirical song in Eurovision is always a bit of a risk. Even more so if you choose to perform it in a language that none of the other countries speak. Still, this is Eurovision and much, much stranger things have happened.

Right, it’s classic time now. First up are Iceland. This is the first of the two entries to date that have seen them finish runners-up. Sporting a hairdo borrowed from Bjork, here’s Selma with All Out of Luck from 1999:

Complete change of tempo now for the Hungarian classic, their debut from 1994. It finished 4th as I mentioned earlier, although it led in the early rounds of voting (before giving way to an Irish entry that was actually worse than My Lovely Horse). This is Friderika Bayer with the rather lovely Kinek mondjam el v├ętkeimet?:

And finally for today, the 1974 Portuguese entry that triggered a revolution, E Depois Do Adeus, performed by Paulo de Carvalho. Sadly, despite the commendation of the performance right at the end of this clip, the song came last. And in the year that a song about a relationship used to trigger the defeat of a regime finished last, a certain song in which the defeat of a military might is used as an analogy for a relationship came first…:

There’s a great film to be had in the idea of 70s lounge-pop triggering the overthrow of a government, if that film hasn’t already been made. Tomorrow, I’ll be previewing the last three entries performing in the first of this year’s semi-finals – hope you can join me then…

Chris x

Eurovision 2010 Haiku #14: Portugal

Girl does Leona
But what did happen to her
Piano player?

Eurovision Haiku #16: Portugal

A folky girl with
Boy George hair extensions and
Euphoric bongos