It’s the time of year when the Post-Eurovision depression is in full swing, but there’s no better cure than to reminisce! Together with ESCDaily Editor, Dennis Van Eersel, we will be discussing each of this year’s competing nations – from their results to how we think they could improve in the future!
Predictions, Personal Scores and Results
Results: 12th, Final
Did Portugal live up to expectations?
A: I can confidently say that Portugal exceeded expectations. I really enjoyed the Portuguese song prior to the contest, but realistically, they were not tipped to reach the final. As rehearsals hit, we started to see that potential.
D: Since Portugal (usually) just copies their performance of Festival da Canção, it’s one of the countries of which it is easy to create some expectations. You already know what you will be getting. Even though they changed up their staging a bit, using the catwalk and adding much more visuals to the whole screen, it was basically what we could expect. As was their result, being a solid finalist with more jury appeal than televote.
A: Even though the changes they made were small, they actually had a lot of impact. The vocals were identical to the national selection, but the graphics and extra movement on stage created a charming performance.
How do you personally feel about the song for Portugal at Eurovision 2021?
A: This year’s entry was significant for Portugal, being the first song to be performed at Eurovision completely in English. With that said, it was the perfect song for this historical moment. It still felt authentic to the Portuguese style which more often than not, puts music first. This was a really lovely song that I will remember fondly in the years to come.
D: It took me a while to appreciate this music style when I was younger (my parents played this type of music a lot, of The Beatles Sgt. Peppers era) but as I grew older I also started to like it more. It was one of my favourite acts at Festival da Canção, despite not expecting Portugal to go for an English song with multiple class Portuguese songs in there as well. In the end, I was pretty happy with the choice Portugal made, a wonderful addition to the class of 2021.
Could Portugal have done anything different?
A: Usually with Portugal there are a number of factors that they could have changed. I think back to 2019, where the staging at Eurovision was a total mess, but this year we finally saw the team push harder to achieve a better staging. I actually can’t think of anything that they could have changed this year to improve on the result they achieved. I think it was a really strong showing, especially considering it wasn’t picked to qualify prior to the contest.
D: Their staging was more basic in Festival da Canção (and their backing tape, which we talk about later on) but I guess changing that to a more colourful visual act was a good move. A 12th place finish for this song, coming quite early on the big night on Saturday, is a splendid result for Portugal. I still feel the original NF performance suited the vibe and feeling of the song more though.
What can Portugal do to ensure success in future years?
D: Portugal gives us authentic entries every year, mostly always in the Portuguese language to speak to that market even more. These kinds of entries always have a risk of being completely overlooked and ignored, or going big. Portugal has seen both sides of that medal with Salvador Sobral and Conan Osiris, to name two extreme examples. I still think it is a good strategy to stand out at Eurovision. And one Portugal will stick to, because at first they select a winner of their long-running pre-selection show Festival da Canção, rather than picking a song for Eurovision.
A: Portugal is one of the nations that has been consistent in recent years in sending authentic songs. I think where they lose momentum is in the staging. As Dennis said, they often keep the staging the same and it often falls flat. If they can keep choosing charming songs but boost the staging, they will find success.
Which was better, the live-on-tape performance or the actual performance?
D: First of all I wanna share one of the best stories of Eurovision 2021 to me. The back-up tape of Portugal was filmed right after The Black Mamba won the Portuguese final. In order to record that tape, the responsible man in The Netherlands had to be in the studio in Hilversum at 2:30 am to check if everything went according to the rules. Talk about commitment. The back-up tape was, and with the story above in mind that can’t be a surprise, a complete copy of their winning performance in the Portuguese final. I liked it a lot, but with the live audience in Rotterdam the overall act got alive much more.
A: The national selection performance, which was replicated in the back-up-tape was nice, but I think the live version elevated the song. It was simple changes such as the use of the catwalk that really made the difference, and it prevented the performance from being too static. For me, the live performance was the best version.