A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Portugal in need of a makeover

Portugal and Finland used to walk through the Desert of Eurovision together, sharing the distinction of being the countries participating the biggest number of times without winning. Then, on their respective 40th participation, Finland won while Portugal crashed and burned in the semi final.

Watching parts of this year's Festival da Canção made me think of Albania's Festivali i Këngës more than anything.

They both have long and rich traditions and have meant a lot to their respective countries, especially while they both were isolated countries with little influence from abroad.

FiK has several times failed to select the best song for Eurovision, since that wasn't the original aim of the contest. It was there to reward the right song for Albania.

Festival da Canção was indeed set up to be the national selection for Eurovision but has steadily declined since its heydays. This year it had failed to attract a single contemporary pop song or anything that would feel up to date or relevant.

Simone de Oliveira is marvellous and a living legend of song, but her entry could easily have been the follow-up to her 1965 ESC entry "Sol de inverno". Not an international hit in the making, perhaps.

Maybe it would just be time for RTP to lay Festival da Canção to rest. Create a new national final where new and exciting names from the pop world are invited to take part or start making internal selections. Anything would do. But the way things are, Portugal will never get anywhere close to their first Eurovision victory.

But out of the songs we have to work with, it seems Simone de Oliveira already said she would not go to Vienna in case she wins. Two winners declining the trophy in the same week - what were the odds?

So I say the best choice would be Yola's fado ballad. Also Leonor Andrade's rock ballad would do, especially with a bit of work and improvement. Either one of these could possibly take Portugal to the final in Vienna, while RTP figures out what to do for next year.

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