Portugal has been one of the most consistently predictable countries in ESC over the years. They usually show up with an up-tempo latino pop stomper performed by a scantly clad bombshell who can’t sing, or a sad and dreary fado, mournfully performed by a prudishly clad bombshell singing in perfect pitch. And end up scoring terribly bad, since the rest of Europe can’t make head or tail of neither.
That’s why we’re somewhat surprised by this year’s entry which is actually a contemporary pop rock number. When listening to Há um Mar que nos Separa we never in a million years would have guessed this be Portugal’s entry hadn’t it been sung in Portuguese. And we’re not exactly sure how to relate to that. Because despite being completely clueless on how to do well in Eurovision, we have always admired the Portuguese for their uncompromised approach and the way they use this yearly opportunity to display the domestic music scene and national character. We wish it could pay off in the end with Portugal finally getting a victory and we’d all be off to Lisbon the following year.
This being a competition and all we suppose it’s daft not to look at the formula and try to do something differently when it’s obviously not working. We just don’t think a watered out, middle of the road, commercial radio track with no hook or a decent chorus is the solution. It starts off rather promising with a cool guitar riff that catches our attention, but 10 seconds in when Leonor Andrade starts singing we lose interest almost immediately. It ends up as an overproduced mess with a cascade of different melody lines canceling each other out. Poor Leonor is trying to stay on top of her game, but ends up sounding strained and increasingly more desperate to keep command. By the time she gets to the key change it’s almost painful to listen to.
Such a shame really, since the final this year really could use a song which is at least something close to an up-tempo rock song. We’re guessing the Portuguese will go back to the usual formula next year.