We reach the bronze medal position and it is last year’s host Portugal. This may come as a surprise to some of my friends how highly I have placed this but I enjoy this immensely. Portugal had a classy number last year when they hosted the contest, though shamefully the juries and televoters did not appreciate it and they finished last. Their entry this year in the form of Conan Osíris is even more arty and “out there”. How will it fare?
Once again the national selection was done via Festival da Canção (now in its 55th year) and I think it was probably my favourite of all the national selections when looking at the whole piece. They had a really diverse array of songs, high quality, and distinctly Portuguese. Now Conan Osiris and his song “Telemóveis” swiftly turned into a favourite and duly swept the board in the final (after having come through a semi-final).
Conan’s real name is Tiago Miranda but takes his stage name from the Japanese series Future World Conan and the Egyptian god of the afterlife, the underworld and rebirth, Osíris. He’s had an interesting path, graduating university with a graphic design degree, he also started a musical career over a decade ago, but in addition worked in a famous Lisbon sex shop until 2018 before moving to his musical career full time. He was invited to compose a song for Festival da Canção and decided to enter himself with song he wrote.
The song (the title of which in English is “mobile phones”) is a complete mix of world influences. There is Portuguese fado there, but you also have strong Brazilian musical influences in song, and also Arabic and African sounds and even some sounds/influences from further east. It’s a real worldbeat song.
I think this is clearly a divisive entry but it’s a real complete performance not just a song, from the costumes, the movements, the dancer (who does some great moves including a death drop, and dances on point a lot in trainers). It’s not just Marmite song, it’s Marmite art and I have friends who loathe the song but do appreciate there is a real artistry here.
I really commend Portugal for really not compromising in the songs they usually send. They bring Europe to their music rather than adapting to a common denominator and use opportunity to showcase both Portuguese music but also the music of the Portuguese language – notably that of Brazil of course, but also places like Angola and Mozambique.
I sincerely hope that this qualifies but it’s going to be a damn close run thing. At the time of writing, I’ve seen news that the Portuguese delegation are very unhappy with the host broadcaster/production team as they haven’t incorporated their requests in the performance (probably for things like camera angles etc.) so I do hope that gets resolved before the actual shows.
All being well, I feel that juries could and should appreciate this – it’s whether or not enough of the public do. I think a lot of people will just find this plain odd/baffling but I am hoping there will be enough to appreciate the performance, and the difference this brings to ensure it gets a place in the final, as it truly deserves it.
Official music video (national final performance):
My preview video:
Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 1964
Appearances (excluding this year): 50
Best result: Winner in 2017
Last year’s result: 26th (last place)