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  • Writer's pictureSteven Garner

Eurovision 2023 Portugal profile: 'Ai coração' by Mimicat

Photo credit: Jorge Simāo

Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest

Portugal has been a Eurovision stalwart since its debut in 1964, missing only five Contests over the years. However, despite the country's 53 appearances to date, Salvador Sobral is the only Portuguese entrant to lift the coveted crystal trophy, sweeping all other competitors aside in 2017 with 'Amar pelos dois', written by his sister Luísa.

Since then, the fortunes of Portuguese Eurovision acts have been mixed: a bottom place finish on the Grand Final table when Lisbon hosted the Contest in 2018 (Cláudia Pascoal - 'O jardim') and a non-qualification in 2019 (Conan Osíris - 'Telemóveis'), followed by left-hand side of the board results in subsequent years, including a 12th place in 2021 courtesy of The Black Mamba's 'Love Is On My Side'.

Last year, Maro qualified for the Grand Final with her hauntingly powerful ballad 'Saudade, saudade', ultimately placing 9th out of 25 acts.

2023 Entry: Mimicat - 'Ai coração'

  • Mimicat will compete in 5th spot in semi-final 1

  • My Eurovision Scoreboard ranking: 19th

  • Odds to win ranking: 27th

(Rankings as of 8 April 2023)

About the artist

Marisa Isabel Lopes Mena (aka 'Mimicat') is a 38-year-old pop and soul singer-songwriter from Coimbra, a city in the north of Portugal.

She has released a string of singles and two albums since starting her musical career in 2014. In 2001 she sought, unsuccessfully, to represent her home country on the Copenhagen stage by entering the annual celebration of Portuguese music (and national Eurovision selection process) Festival da Canção (FdC) under the stage name Izamena with the song 'Mundo colorido'.

This year, Mimicat was one of two acts to perform at FdC after having applied through the open submissions process rather than being invited by national broadcaster RTP. It clearly paid off!

About the song

'Ai coração' is a peppy, poppy, flamenco/fado-inspired cabaret-style number that tells of a woman who is so swept up by feelings of love and her heart (the eponymous 'coração') is feeling the full effects.

The song's lyrics, which are entirely in Portuguese, are the work of Mimicat, who also collaborated on the music with fellow countryman Luís Pereira. Following her FdC triumph, Mimicat revealed that the song actually came to her 10 years ago whilst sitting at home bored waiting for someone and that the whole song-writing process took just five minutes. Now *that's* impressive!

How Mimicat was selected for Eurovision

The aforementioned Festival da Canção (FdC), a staple of the national final season, was again the format used to select Portugal's 2023 Eurovision representative. It was held over three weekends and consisted of two semi-finals and a (lengthy) final of 13 acts.

Mimicat placed second in the first semi-final (behind 2018 Eurovision artist Cláudia Pascoal), having been ranked 4th by the jury but receiving the maximum douze points in the televote.

In the final, she saw off strong competition from Edmundo Inácio's 'A festa' (unusually, both Mimicat and Edmundo tied with the jury, each receiving its top points) with a convincing 19.33% televote percentage, which translated to a further 12 points, giving Mimicat the highest possible 24 point score and, of course, victory.

Portugal will compete in semi-final 1 on May 9 (European time) in Liverpool.

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