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  • Writer's pictureFleur Menezes

Festival da Canção - the Aussievision team rank the songs 1st to 8th

It’s Festival da Canção final time this weekend. Early favourites such as Blasted’s ‘Rebellion’ and Dubio feat. +351’s ‘Cegueira’ may have been eliminated in the semi finals but Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP) have delivered another stellar contest.

In recent years the competition has become a must watch for Eurovision fans as Portugal have found their niche of cool. Who will be Conan Osiris’s successor? You can find out on Sunday 08 March at 08.00 (AEDT).

In the meantime, let’s see how the Aussievision team have ranked the qualifying songs. Here they are from 1st to 8th.

1st. Elisa - ‘Medo de sentir’ (61 points)

  • Highs: 10 points from Steven, Kyriakos and Emma

  • Lows: 7 points from Ruby

Kyriakos: I love Elisa’s performance of ‘Medo de sentir’. She just sings from the soul, and lets her emotions pour out all over the stage. I found her performance as an overall package rather touching. I can see a lot of potential in her performance.

Steven: This is a contemporary, radio-friendly song and Elisa succeeds in conveying the song’s title and narrative (being afraid to feel) well to a non-Portuguese speaker through her delivery, helped by strong vocals. It also builds nicely and, hopefully, allows scope for more vocal power in the latter part of the song, which had it been there might have edged this into first place for me.

Emma: Stands out as a strong piano ballad which showcases Elisa’s gorgeous vocals. Lots of potential for this with some dramatic staging as I feel the track strays into sleepy territory at times.

Dale: I really like this, well put together and performed. Very smooth Portuguese ballad, not sure it'll have the impact at Eurovision.

Fleur: This was one of my pre-contest favourites and it did not disappoint. It’s so heartfelt and Elisa conveys this song so beautifully. That said I don’t think it would be the right song to send to Eurovision this year.

2nd. Bárbara Tinoco - ‘Passe-Partout’ (55 points)

  • Highs: 12 points from Ruby and Steven

  • Lows: 3 points from Emma

Steven: This charming tale of incompatible lovers (a cultured young woman and someone who can’t even love Edith Piaf!) and the protagonist’s decision to take her life back is from a different era. Similarities to La La Land (in the styling and music) and Amélie (in the sweet vocals and spunky performance à la française by the adorable Bárbara) will be made, but this song would stand out in Rotterdam. My sole criticism is that this well-written musical theatre number perhaps lacks “a moment”.

Kyriakos: Now Bárbara Tinoco does really stand out against the other acts. She shows personality and has great stage presence. Her performance is cute and fun. I wouldn’t mind seeing this make it to the Eurovision stage.

Dale: Super cute French infused Portuguese, this has 'something' but needs a staging revamp.

Fleur: I prefer this song live than on the studio cut. Bárbara really sold this to me with her performance in the first semi final. This stands out because it is so different to any other song in any National Final this year. It’s cute but it is very polished as well.

Emma: Bárbara has a great voice and she sings this well but we’re not in a Broadway show. This is very musical theatre and would need some epic staging to do well in the main contest in my opinion.

3rd. Filipe Sambado - ‘Gerbera amarela do Sul’ (49 points)

  • Highs: 12 points from Dale, 10 points from Fleur

  • Lows: 4 points from Emma and Steven

Dale: Really interesting dramatic song and staging. I find it really compelling and couldn't take my eyes off it. Not sure about the 'reveal' but this one stood out for me.

Fleur: I am really enjoying this avant-garde genre that the Iberian nation seem to have discovered lately. Felipe has a certain stage presence that looks a bit out there at first but on closer inspection he looks very much in his element. This is art. However, the Southern yellow gerbera might be shining a little too brightly for most viewers.

Kyriakos: Wow this performance is something! It is in the same genre as Conan Osiris’ ‘Telemóvies’ it has the same quirky art house feel. I just feel like his vocals let him down. I also don’t get the same emotive connection that Conan gave me last year. Filipe has great legs though!

Steven: This song escapes coming in last place for me solely because I adore Filipe’s styling: a quasi-deity on a throne wearing chandelier crystal droplets as earrings surrounded by veiled mourners. This is more art piece than song. The translated lyrics didn’t make the narrative any clearer to me.

Emma: Stereotypical flamenco. Portugese track which ventured into midi music territory at times. Too middle of the road.

4th. Jimmy P- ‘Abensonhado’ (47 points)

  • Highs: 12 points from Kyriakos and Fleur

  • Lows: 3 points from Guy

Kyriakos: I love this song, along with the rapping with gospel and when that beat drops near the end of the song, amazing! This is something I would expect Kanye West to do (when he’s not getting himself lost in rabbit holes). I really connected to Jimmy P’s emotions. This could become something big at Eurovision.

Fleur: I admit that I am not a fan of this genre but there is something very captivating about Jimmy P and this song. He makes you take notice and that’s what you want from a performance. He was easily my winner from Semi Final 2. Who knew that I could dig Portuguese rap.

Dale: I like his style but worry that it needs more than his smooth rapping

Emma: A very contemporary production but the rap style vocals put me off. This took a while to get going but he did convey the emotion of the song well, particularly towards the end of the song. The small use of English definitely helps to get the message across.

Steven: Portuguese rap meets English gospel. The biggest issue for me here is that the language barrier (for me as a non-Portuguese speaker) stopped me from understanding the message behind the rapped sections. Not knowing what the song was about, and without a melody or vocal to enjoy, this didn’t work for me.

= 5th. Throes + The Shine- ‘Movimento’ (45 points)

  • Highs: 12 points from Emma, 10 points from Dale

  • Lows: 3 points from Steven and Ruby

Emma: Musically I found this the most interesting of the Portuguese finalists. I enjoyed the music more than the vocals but found it impossible to stop tapping my feet to this catchy number.

Dale: I am not sure what is happening here but I like it. He has some stage presence, and it's an interesting performance and song. It has some grit to it.

Kyriakos: Ok the rapping in this song reminds me a little of ‘To GUCCI Forema’ by Giorgos Mazonakis when he tried his hand in rapping in the early 00’s. ‘Movimento’ does have a quirky vibe though and it could stand out.

Fleur: This is a toe-tapper for sure, but I found the live performance a little lacking. The song itself has a great vibe.

Steven: This couldn’t be further from the genre of music I enjoy. I can appreciate the energy, but I didn’t enjoy the song or performance and found the weird sounds in the background initially distracting and then just plain annoying.

= 5th. Kady- ‘Diz só’ (45 points)

  • Highs: 10 points from Ruby

  • Lows: 5 points from Dale, Kyriakos, Fleur and Guy

Steven: Kady’s vocal is good and the song is pleasant to listen to, giving off a chilled out, lounge music style vibe. This is a well-crafted package but by no means overly exciting.

Emma: Another cafe music track although quite modern sounding. This gives me vibes of being out on the water somewhere relaxing. Although pleasant, I don’t think this stands out enough to do well at Eurovision.

Kyriakos: I like this song, it has groove lounge music feels. I can picture myself in a retro bar with ‘Diz só’ playing while I am sipping my cocktail. But that is as far as this song takes me.

Dale: Nice choreography but the songs is a little lacking.

Fleur: This was a good well-put together package. I love Kady’s voice, I could listen to her sing all day but the song is not my favourite. It’s a pleasant listen but it’s certainly not a winner.

7th. Elisa Rodrigues - ‘Não voltes mais’ (44 points)

  • Highs: 10 points from Guy

  • Lows: 4 points from Dale, Kyriakos and Fleur

Emma: I love the smoothness of her voice and the instrumental section in the last thirty seconds of the song. It does sound a bit like background music and there weren’t enough peaks and troughs for me.

Steven: A good vocal, a decent beat, but I really didn’t like the section in which the backing singers joined in more. Resorting to clapping also isn’t a sign of the strongest performance, in my view.

Fleur: I can only describe this as contemporary café music. For me it sounded better on the studio version than live. It is an enjoyable song but there is something lacking. I felt that the backing singers let the song down too. There is a very unmistakable Portuguese element in this that I do enjoy though.

8th. Tomás Luzia - ‘Mais real que o amor’ (39 points)

  • Highs: 12 points from Guy

  • Lows: 3 points from Dale, Kyriakos and Fleur

Steven: A more “poppy” sounding entry delivered well, straddling the divide between something fairly mainstream and something rather distinctive, albeit with some nods to a traditional sound. It’s just rather lacklustre.

Emma: Tomás’ voice is the star here. His voice is so smooth and velvety, I could listen to him sing all day even though musically this is not my cup of tea. Got a bit repetitive after the first two minutes.

Dale: Feels like something Portugal would have sent 15-25 years ago. Nice but not for 2020.

Fleur: This is rather dated and I really cannot see this making a huge impact. I feel that his vocals could be stronger too. I did enjoy this live more than the studio version though.

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