Portugal finally managed to win the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2017 with Salvador Sobral, after a string of fairly average results. This unfortunately has proven to be a ‘one hit wonder’ situation, with their host nation entry finishing in last place, and the following entry failing to qualify to the final. This year, Elisa was hoping to return Portugal to the final with the ballad, Medo de Sentir, but would that have eventuated?
Anita (Eurovision Union)
Song and Vocals
Coming off the non-qualification with Conan Osiris, perhaps the most unique Portuguese entry to hit the Eurovision stage, it’s understandable that this year we ended up with something more traditional. Elisa was one of the favourites to win the national final, but not THE favourite. While everyone was cheering on Passe-Partout, I was firmly team Jimmy P, but I had a feeling that he wouldn’t win the competition, and Elisa was my next pick.
Medo de Sentir is a stunning ballad that captured my heart from the first listen. While not revolutionary (as Conan was), this is a well composed ballad. I absolutely love the melody, and I like that despite not understanding a word, the emotion still finds a way to come through. The instrumentation is simple, and I think in the studio version it worked but I don’t know if that translated well to a live performance. The live performance felt a bit empty, and in that sense, the song could have benefitted from a revamp, perhaps with a stronger strings section to really enhance the backing music. With a simple backing, Elisa had nowhere to hide with her vocals, and although it was a decent live performance, I don’t think it was spectacular. The big notes didn’t quite hit the spot, and a different dynamic was created with Marta backing her in the national final performance.
Performance and Act
The stage performance at the national final was simple, as it needed to be. I don’t think anything physical needed to be added, in terms of dancers, props and so on, but I think they could have really boosted the song with better camera angles and a more impressive light show. It was possible that Marta would have joined Elisa on stage on piano as she did in the national final, and I think that would have been a nice addition, but I think the key factor would really be how they captured this intimate style of song, and making sure that the lights flow with the song.
Next Up: 2021
I believe it’s confirmed, or at least discussed that Elisa will not be back to represent Portugal, which is a shame. When you look at the Portuguese national selection, it’s not that often that artists return either, so I am not hopeful that we will see Elisa return. I think in all fairness, she should have had an open invitation – again, I can’t confirm the full details of what the process has been, but I personally would like to see her again with an even stronger song.
Although I really enjoy this song, I just have this sinking feeling that at Eurovision, had there been no revamp, this would have failed to qualify. Looking at the semi, Switzerland and Albania offered up stronger ballads, and even though it was in a relatively good position in the running order, I just don’t know if it would have captured enough votes from either jury or televote. Sad, because this is a nice song from Portugal.
Song and Vocals
The song ‘Medo de Sentir’, meaning Afraid to feel, was supposed to be the Portuguese song at Eurovision 2020. And it was a lovely song. Would it have made enough impact at Eurovision? I don’t know. It’s small, intimate and lovely. Elisa gives a more than good performance. But at the final in Portugal, it didn’t convince the jury nor the televote. It finished second with both.
Performance and Act
The performance of ‘Medo de Sentir’ was what it needed to be. Small and full focus on Elisa and her emotions. Sure, you can change some camera shots. Some different lighting. But there is not much more you can do with such a song, because it will be a distraction rather than adding something.
Next up: 2021
It is not known what Portugal will do after the cancellation of Eurovision 2020. Will they drop Festival da Cancao? Or set it up again, and allow Elisa to take part, maybe directly in the final? At this point it does not seem likely they will select her internally, because then that word would have already been spread, I would assume? I wouldn’t mind if they did, because this song was one of my favourite ballads in the 2020-field. And another nice Portuguese song would be much welcome.
I love how Portugal always sends something diverse to Eurovision. Because they keep their songs in Portuguese, it gives them a unique hook already. With ‘Medo de Sentir’, sung by a charming singer, they would have had a chance to capture the hearts of Europe again. I hope Portugal sends something similar, a bit more mainstream and accessible then the entry of 2019.
Additional Scores from Eurovision Union and ESCDaily editors:
Average Score: 5.9/10
What do you think of Medo De Sentir? Follow our Eurovision 2020 reviews here.