From winning the contest in 2017 to finishing last in 2018. That seems to be a recurring theme for Portugal who can’t seem to find consistency at Eurovision. Despite that, their national selection is becoming stronger, and it seems that Portugal definitely have a hunger to succeed. This year Portugal will be represented by Conan Osíris with the song Telemóveis, but will it give Portugal their second Eurovision win in a matter of three years?
Song + Vocals
Upon the release of this year’s competing national final entries, Conan Osíris very quickly emerged as a fan favourite, but this is Portugal we are talking about – anything goes when it comes to their national selection, and being the fan favourite doesn’t guarantee being voted to represent the nation. The jurors perhaps were seeing the support Conan was receiving not only in Portugal but also abroad, and thankfully we get to see this play out at Eurovision.
Telemóveis is quite easily the biggest risk Portugal has taken at Eurovision. We have seen some crazy things from Portugal over the years (yes we are looking at you, Homens da Luta) but this year the risk potentially has a massive reward – Portugal could be in the running for another Eurovision win.
The first time I heard this song, I am sure I had a similar reaction to many people. I was puzzled. This was unlike anything I had ever heard before, both in terms of the instrumental as well as vocally, so piece these two unique elements together and you’ve got a song that is bound to pique interest. This song is a drug, and it’s addictive.
This song is very interestingly composed, and there are some strong oriental elements through the entirety of the track, but also at times it feels as if there is some Middle Eastern influence. The beat is wacky, but yet so catchy, especially as the song progresses. If the unique beat wasn’t enough for you, it’s matched with Conan’s distinctive vocals which feature that melancholy tone that is popular through Portugal as part of the Fado style. The result of the combination of vocals and music is a very emotion driven song that takes traditional elements but packages them in such a futuristic and inspired way. Quite simply speaking, this song is art.
Act + Performance
Much like Salvador had his quirks on stage, Conan seems to have just as much of a quirky personality which shines through during the live performance. Looking back at the national final performance, even just in terms of the outfits, who would have thought that sword fingers, a face plate, feathers and futuristic sneakers could all coexist harmoniously. Elements of this performance worked with the song, but I would hope for Eurovision we see something next level.
This is a strong entry for Portugal, but it absolutely needs a strong stage performance at Eurovision to ensure that the potential is reached. The song lends itself to contemporary choreography, and that part of the national selection was done well. Clever use of lighting and camera shots will play a huge part of how the viewer sees this at home, especially the later as I think it’s important to showcase Conan in a way that really highlights the uniqueness of both him and this song.
The song has had mixed reviews from fans, but I think if the stage performance reaches its potential, the ratio of people who like this song to people who don’t will work in Portugal’s favour. This is a risk that I think Portugal needed to take, and I do think it will pay off in the end. Will it win? I cannot be certain that it will top some of this year’s favourites, but I would certainly think that Portugal will not reach the same fate as last year.