Eurovision 2013 is shaping up to be quite a good year with a solid selection of songs, perhaps not the strongest edition ever but more than acceptable.
Too bad then that there are several good friends from the past who decided, for various reasons, to give the Malmö party a miss. I thought I'd lend some of them a thought, at least. To show them they are not forgotten.
Portugal being absent isn't really a big shock, there were indications already last year that the budget of RTP might not allow any kind of excesses. As far as I can understand, they plan on being back as soon as the figures have improved.
Portugal has the less than flattering distinction of being the country with the biggest number of participations and no victory - but they have had some really good entries through the years.
Anabela - A cidade até ser dia (Portugal 1993)
Already from an early age I had an ear and an eye out for the underdogs of the contest, the countries whose songs stood out but kept scoring poorly, and was happy whenever they did a bit better than expected. I was cheering when Anabela got two top marks during the voting, but still would have wanted this very sweet song to do even better.
But regarless what the Portuguese opted for, the juries remained unimpressed. Ballads got thumbs down as well as this truly bang-up-to-date pop number from Dora.
Dora - Não sejas mau p'ra mim (Portugal 1986)
Well, whatever the Portuguese say or do, the remain the only country to date to ever enter a piece of revolutionary socialist disco. That must be worth something.
Os Amigos - Portugal no coração (Portugal 1977)
During the days of the Portuguese dictatorship, the local musicians and intellectuals gladly made use of this naive and innocent song contest in order to whip up some controversy and - if possible - protest about the regime without the censorship picking up too much of it.
Maybe it didn't result in fantastic scores or high placings, but it created some really original and engaging songs, most of which really should have done better.
Simone de Oliveira - Desfolhada portuguesa (Portugal 1969)
These are just a few of my personal favourites - I could easily have added at least ten more - and I really hope Portugal soon will burst back into the ESC in top form. I know they have it in them - it was only three years ago that they contributed a masterpiece like this.
And typically for Portugal it should have scored much better.
Filipa Azevedo - Hà dias assim (Portugal 2010)