Portugal - Vincent Colagiuri and Rodrigo Romero Hidalgo

The Final of Portugal's Festival da Canção
by Vincent Colagiuri and Rodrigo Romero Hidalgo

The Final took place on the 4 March 2018, in the Pavilhão Multiusos at Guimarães in northern Portugal. Following the plagiarism controversy over the song "Canção do fim", the song's composer and interpreter, Diogo Piçarra withdrew from the final. His place was taken by Susana Travassos with the song "A mensageira". The winning song was decided by a 50/50 combination of points from regional Portuguese juries and public televoting. In the event of a tie, the winner was the song which ranked highest in the the televoting.
The evening included a tribute to one of Portugal's great divas of song, Simone de Oliveira, who represented Portugal in the 1965 and 1969 ESCs. She sang her 1969 song - "Desfolhada Portuguesa" proving at the age of eighty, she's still got it. At the end, the audience honoured Simone with a lengthy standing ovation and cheers.

1. Rui David - "Sem medo"
Vincent: Rui looked much better and sang with much more confidence and conviction than in the semi-final. Even though he came across as a cool performer, that didn’t stop the song “Sem medo” being a rather pedestrian experience.

2. Susana Travassos - “A mensageira”
Rodrigo: I think I would repeat word for word what I said for the semifinal. With particular focus on the performance, where she struggled to be on key most of the song.

3. Peter Serrado - “Sunset”
Rodrigo: Peter once again delivered a memorable performance, one that came as a breath of fresh air amongst a great deal of similar songs. His performance was impeccable, and I still don’t understand why the juries didn’t like this at all.

4. Joana Espadinha - “Zero a zero”
Vincent: Joana was back with her spangly suit and five backing singers. But this time she looked more like she was enjoying herself. The backing arrangement of the song had more oomph, which gave the whole performance a more positive vibe.

5. Lili - "O vôo das cegonhas"
Rodrigo: For the duration of the song it felt as though Lili was singing out of tempo with the music. This made this performance awkward and ruined a song with potential and remarkably beautiful lyrics. It is a shame because Lili’s voice is remarkably beautiful and she could have done much better than she did.

6. Catarina Miranda - "Para sorrir eu não preciso de nada"
Vincent: Catarina was the darling of the crowd and received a massive response from the Guimarães audience at the end of this tender, expressive ballad. In fact Catarina was such an engaging performer that no one seemed to care about her at times wobbly vocals. This song tied with the winning song on twenty-two points, but according to the rules, it took second place as it received fewer televoting points.

7. Joana Barra Vaz - "Anda estragar-me os planos"
Vincent: Joana’s song was expressive, melodic and heart-felt, but unfortunately Joana never looked comfortable on stage, continually offering meaningless gestures towards the camera and rocking from side to side as she sang.

8. David Pessoa - "Amor veloz"
Rodrigo: Somehow being drawn between one of the better and one of the weirder songs made this seem even less memorable. It was hard to remember he had been on stage by the end of it all.

9. Minnie & Rhayra - "Patati patata"
Rodrigo: If possible, this was even more disjointed in the final, where the performance was even worse than in the semifinal. Not quite sure how this managed to be in the final, let alone score any points!

10. Janeiro "(sem título)"
Vincent: Janeiro did not start singing this very quiet song as securely or intensely as he did in the semi-final but he warmed up by half way through. One of the favourites, this song came fourth.

11. Maria Inês Paris - "Bandeira azul"
Rodrigo: Maria Inês, while being a very competent performer, seemed to be taken over by nerves or something else, but her performance was lacking. Somehow the bigger stage made this feel a bit lost in the middle of a massive space, which was probably not the case in the smaller studio of the semifinal.

12. Anabela - Para te dar abrigo"
Vincent: What a joyful performance Anabela gave of this sunny song. Her perfect vocals and experience on stage really shone through. Delightful, but unfortunately this song wasn’t able to rate higher than sixth place.

13. Cláudia Pascoal "O jardim"
Rodrigo: A worthy successor of Salvador Sobral, which will probably make the audience go mad in May but won’t likely set the scoreboard on fire. All in all, another solid entry from our hosts.

14. Peu Madureira "Só por ela"
Vincent: Peu took the intensity to new heights in this melodic and highly expressive song. Happily, he’d bought a new jacket for the final and looked calm and assured throughout. This song was another favourite and came in at third place.