Portugal Picks Homens Da Luta to Perform in Düsseldorf

Portugal has previously competed at the Eurovision Song Contest on 44 occasions, with only a 6th place from 1996 to show as their best placing. They hope to change all that however with the selection of Homens Da Luta tonight to perform at Düsseldorf.

Portugal has managed to succesfully qualify from the semi finals for the last three years, an encouraging sign in itself, whereas final qualification still eludes countries such as the Netherlands. If Finland’s victory in 2006 seemed like a long time coming, then the wait must seem like an eternity for Portuguese fans, having participated since 1964. State broadcaster RTP hope to improve on Filipa Azevedo’s 18th placing from Oslo last year. This year sees the 47th edition of the Festival da Canção, with 12 competing hopefuls vying for the opportunity to represent their country at Düsseldorf. The line up for tonight’s contest is found below.

The songs:
Song 1: Sete SaiasEmbalo do Coração/Feelings of the Heart (Ana Rita Rebello/Páquito C. Braziel)
Fans of traditional music will love this! The song has everything, a rich, ethnic feel,drama, feeling and driving rhythms as well as a sweeping melody to boot! Colourful local costumes gave plenty of eye candy with a similar traditional motif in warm orange hues projected onto the screens behind the group. The sight of the female drummer bashing away on her drumkit in said outfit also made for entertaining viewing. An extremely confident performance made this a fantastic opening number. Met with roars of approval from an appreciative audience.

Song 2: Carla MorenoSobrevivo/Survival (Carlos Coelho/Andrej Babic)
Bubbly Carla does a great job at interpreting this up tempo dance number, that would easily fit into any discotheque. Extremely catchy and danceable with a memorable chorus, another uplifing number, this will have you tapping your feet in no time. One of the stronger efforts tonight. Piercing blue patterns provided Carla with a backdrop to her pulsating number. She took to the stage in a irredescent aqua dress, flanked by 5 dancers in black, and really belted out her stomper of a number as if she were one of the Weather Girls. At times she sounded a little flat, but managed to get away with it.This one also had the audience whooping along throughout, a good sign.

Song 3: Nuno NorteSão os Barcos de Lisboa/The Boats of Lisbon (Carlos Massa)
This gentle ballad is perfectly complemented by sweeping strings and flamenco guitars, giving it a melancholic feel, before the song shortly becomes much darker and passionate. The stage was atmospherically lit by dark green screens changing gradually to oranges and reds as Nuno performed the third number of the night. Dressed in a charcoal grey suit, he looked very much the part, exuding confidence in what gradually became a fiery number. He even stood on stage after his performance to lap up the crowd’s feverent reaction!

Song 4: Rui AndradeEm Nome do Amor/In the Name of Love (Carlos Meireles/Artur Guimarães)
Rui, bearing more than a passing resemblance to Enrique Iglesias, is bound to set many hearts a flutter with his offering tonight. With more echoes of Greece or the Balkans than Portugal, his song is a dark affair, moody, mysterious and quite fetching. Sombre blacks and blues were the perfect stage choice for the opening of Rui’s song. He was immaculately turned out in a black and white blazer with grey trousers. The camera provided many intense shots of his face as he exuded emotion as if he was gunning for an oscar! His perfomance was strong, both vocally and visually. He brought the house down with his performance!

Song 5: Henrique FeistQuase a Voar/Almost Flying (José Fanha/Nuno Feist)
Accordions and swirling eukeleles blend together perfectly in this musically beautiful song. The tempo starts slowly, gradually picking up pace as heard at many a Bar Mitzvah. He delivers his lyrics with much empathy and sincerity. Henrique sported a beret and otherwise a simple outfit consisting of white collarless shirt and grey trousers. His four dancers managed to convey the shift of tempo brilliantly. The azure colours of the stage perhaps conjured up images of Greece rather than Portugal. He threw off his beret towards the end of the song, to great cheers from the crowd. Kept expecting him to burst into a Zorba dance routine, and that last note left us breathless. Bravo!! Many gave him a standing ovation.

Song 6: Wanda StuartChegar à tua Voz/Getting Your Voice (Paulo Teixeira de Sousa)
Gentle harps suddenly make way for Wanda’s unmistakeable voice. Oddly engaging with her quirky appearance, she definitely stands out in the vocal stakes. Starting off as something of a lullaby, the song gradually builds into an inferno of emotion. Not bad at all. Wanda’s choice of outfit can best be described as eccentric. A gold dress paired with what looked like a black ringmasters jacket and her striking blue hair took us into sensory overdrive. Her performance was spirited and she also looked very comfortable in front of the camera. Not as polished vocally as some of the other acts on show tonight, it made nonetheless for a great entry. Wanda also seemed to have her entire fan club present, judging by the reactions!

Song 7: Tânia Tavares Se Esse Dia Chegar/If That Day Comes (Tânia Tavares/Nuno Valério/Gorgi)
Sultry Tânia  delivers this ballad with great gusto and with a powerful vocal performance. The song meanders along at a pleasant enough pace, but lacks that little extra to really make it stand out from the field. Tânia’s choice of frock for the night was more conservative but stunning, a creation in black taffeta, perfectly contrasting the purples on the stage backdrop. Her performance was intense, oozing sensuality. She ended her act on the floor, lapping up the applause. A little flat in places, still strong nevertheless.

Song 8: Inês BernardoDeixa o Meu Lugar/Leave Me Alone (Joana Ferraz/Leonel Moteiro)
Fresh faced Inês gives us one of the more original offerings of the evening. With lazy, seductive vocals, the melody is a delicious blend of easy listening tinged with sadness. Young Inês seemed a little nervous, missing some of her notes during the performance. Elegantly attired in a floor length powder grey frilled dress, she stood still for her performance. The dancers proved more of a distraction in the background. Sadly dissappointing when compared to the preview.  The crowd positively loved it, though. 

Song 9: Filipa RuasTensão (Pressure) (Filipa Ruas/Pedro Sá/Daniel Nilsson/
Henrik Szabo/Johnny Sanchez/Jonas Gladnikoff/Michael Eriksson)
Tensão is unmistakeably Europop, well constructed to tick off all the boxes for those who like the poppier numbers. A punchy intro, builds up to an infectious chorus which practically explodes once she gets going! Vibrant colours of purples and yellows as well as psychedelic patterns provided Filipa with her backdrop. In a red military inspired halter top with gold hot pants, she writhed her way seductively through the number. Yet another artist to sing quite a few duff notes, but that didn’t seem to put a dampener on her enthusiasm. Her backing singers/dancers in gold lamé also proved a good contrast. All in all she managed very well.

Song 10: Homens da LutaA Luta é Alegria/The Fight is Joy (Jel/Vasco Duarte)
This jolly bunch offer a cheerful, upbeat entry, again in the more traditional Portuguese mould. It will undoubtedly appeal to many, but is unfortunately marred by a rather messy arrangment. The six members began by shouting to the audience from the stage, looking like they’d just come from a fancy dress party. With slogan banners, they’d fit right into a protest march. Unsure as to whether they were trying to be humourous. Regrettably just as messy as anticipated, with off key vocals painful to listen to at times. The song sounded more like a nursery rhyme in places.

Song 11: AxelBoom Boom Yeah (Axel/José Félix)
Despite the English title, this is also sung entirely in Portuguese. Albeit it an uptempo number that sweeps along, the title Boom Boom Yeah is repeated unashamedly, and after a short while the song begins to grate and sound rather cheap. So Axel clearly fancies himself as some kind of Michael Bublé…Michael, you can rest easily. Dressed in in a silver jacket and dark trousers, he tried desperately to be hip. Boom Boom Yeah was projected onto the big screen behind him just to emphasize the message. His vocals were actually not as bas as expected, but the act nevertheless seemed somewhat contrived. Even the 3 female drummers on stage behind him hardly lifted this sorry affair.

Song 12: Ricardo SousaO Mar, o Vento e as Estrelas/The Sea, Wind and Stars (Fernando Guerreiro/Carlos Freitas)
Another for those fond of accoustic numbers, Ricardo’s entry sounds quite romantic with its string arrangement, if slightly outdated. Pleasant enough on the ear it plods along without really going anywhere. Chirpy Ricardo took to the stage in a sober black suit, looking rather stiff in places. There was a nice rippling water effect on the backdrop, tying nicely in with the theme of the song. Melodically very interesting, and his vocals were confident, the song lived up to its expectations and was a fitting finale to the 12 songs on show tonight. 

The show:
The 47th edition of Portugal’s most beloved music contest is brought to viewers from the Teatro Camoes in Lisbon. The hostess Silvia Alberto looked stunning in a white shoulderless floor-length creation. The intimate venue was packed to the rafters and the crowd were extremely enthusiastic, applauding almost her every word! The stage was most impressive, with a respectable amount of floor space flanked by a huge wall formed by smaller individual video screens. When the show got underway, viewers were treated to lots of footage taken during the preparations for tonight’s event, giving us unique insight into just what has gone on behind the scenes. Bubbly Silvia brought plenty of warmth and laughter to the show, a pleasant surprise. Each act was introduced by a brief film introduction of themselves. 

After a lengthy advertisement break, Silvia reentered the stage looking the part of glamorous presenter, dressed in a sleek pillarbox red creation, much to the appreciation of the audience. Glen Vella, the Maltese representative was sitting in the audience and was called up onto the stage, given a crash course in Portuguese, gaining praise for his Portuguese accent! She also interviewed him briefly about his participation last year and the sentiments behind his entry this year. Glen also serenaded Silvia, which she seemed to love before giving a performance of part of his entry One Life.  The interval act was a dance number consisting of ABBA’s Waterloo in various guises, covering all musical genres, very cleverly done. Waterloo in Carribean style with steel drums was a stroke of genius!
The result:
Points were announced regionally, with 20 juries helping to build up the suspense. Rui bagged the first 12 points of the evening. The voting procedure was modelled on the recently introduced system to Eurovision, with votes 1-7 appearing on the screen with the spokesperson announcing who’d been given the points 8, 10 and 12. There was no clear cut favourite, with the leading entry changing after each jury had announced their results. Voting was interspersed with backstage reports from the green room. By the middle of the voting however, young Inês was garnering 12 points left, right and centre! The excitement kept on building as points accumulated and things were very close between Inês and Nuno. Mid voting, we were also treated to a live reprise of last year’s winner, Filipa with Há Dias Assim. Then came the turn of the televoting, scores being added to the existing scores. Homens da Luta came from out of nowhere however to snatch victory from both Inês and Nuno, a result which caused many in the audience to boo. You can watch their winning reprise and hear the reactions for yourself below: 

Source: EuroVisionary
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