It took Portugal almost 50 attempts at Eurovision before they won the contest, with their history featuring some fairly mediocre results. Salvador Sobral won the contest with a record 758 points back in 2017, but since then, the nation finished in last place while automatically qualified to the final, and failed to qualify the year after. Hoping to get Portugal back on track is The Black Mamba who will be performing the first full English song for Portugal, Love Is on My Side.
Anita (Eurovision Union)
Song and Vocals
Who would have thought that Portugal would be sending a song completely in English. Despite some poor results over the years, the one thing that Portugal was consistent with was the use of Portuguese language in their entries. I’m all for a song in national language, so it was nice to know that we would get a bit of linguistic diversity thanks to Portugal. With that said, I think that this is a great song to break the tradition.
Love Is On My Side is a wonderfully soulful song that absolutely stands out from its competitors this year. We don’t usually get to hear many songs like this at Eurovision, and with fans constantly expecting songs in the pop genre (primarily), I think this entry has remained totally under the radar. Lead singer Tatanka has a beautiful voice, and it’s his voice that really carries the song. His voice may also be the most divisive feature of the song, and that could be a worry when it comes to televoting. In terms of the song itself, it’s a slow paced song and quite simple allowing the vocals to be showcased. If anything, I think that the backing music needed to be revamped to include more instrumentation. This would have given the song a bit more depth.
Overall, the song is an enjoyable listen. It’s not necessarily a song I would have on repeat, but when it does come on, I’m completely won over by the opening notes from Tatanka. In terms of Eurovision, it’s quite a niche song that will likely achieve a higher result with the jury rather than the televote.
Performance and Act
Watching the acts perform in the Portuguese national final isn’t always the best indicator of what we will see at Eurovision. Their stage is simple, and doesn’t boast all the technical abilities of the Rotterdam stage. I would hope that the group has considered their staging so that the performance isn’t as static. Whether that’s images on the backing screens, better lighting or more fluid and intimate camera shots. They really need to capture that sense of closeness for this performance for viewers to really be able to connect with the emotions.
I totally believe that Portugal is underrated this year, and while fans haven’t quite got on board yet, I actually can’t rule this out for qualification this year. I think it will be borderline, but it also doesn’t help that Portugal doesn’t have a great starting position in the running order. Stuck behind a big vocalist and before a big favourite, The Black Mamba will need something special to stand out.
Song and Vocals
The Black Mamba gives us an English song for Portugal, which is rather unique. The tone of voice from the lead singer Tatanka is not for everyone’s taste, but the quality of this song should be recognised by all. It’s a song in the style of the Beatles around their Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band period. Refreshing in the field, but didn’t get the best starting position, being followed up by Bulgaria.
Performance and Act
I expect The Black Mamba to come up with a similar performance as saw in the Festival da Canção final of 2021. Opening in black-white, very strong with the retro sound of the song. Changing to colour, displaying the full band. I think Portugal makes the most of it as it already is.
Portugal is a bit underestimated in my opinion, as I certainly ain’t ruling out their qualification. However, I read that a lot of people really dislike the voice of the lead singer Tatanka, and this hurts their chances most. When I combine this with the draw, being followed up by Bulgaria in the same slower song market, Portugal could be in trouble this year.
Additional Scores from Eurovision Union and ESCDaily editors:
Average Score: 7.1/10
What do you think of Love Is On My Side? Follow our Eurovision 2021 reviews here.. You can support your favourite acts in our Eurovision 2021 poll, which you can find here.