Today we take a trip down memory lane and delve into the Eurovision Song Contest archives to focus on the most recent winning country, Portugal. Until their victory this year, Portugal had never reached the Top five despite entering Eurovision for more than 50 years!
The word coração (heart) is one of the most used when it comes to the lyrics of Portuguese Eurovision entries and following the country's first ever victory, Portugal will be the coração of Europe when it hosts the Eurovision Song Contest in 2018.
After 53 years and 49 entries, Portugal finally achieved their first victory in the Eurovision Song Contest. They previously held the record for the longest gap between their first appearance and winning. Malta is next in line, having never won the contest since debuting in 1971.
What’s really amazing about Portugal’s victory is that they had never placed inside the Top 5 before. The Portuguese case is similar to Finland when Lordi stormed to victory in 2006, having entered since 1961, Finland's best placing was sixth. In Portugal’s case it was the same, sixth, in 1996 in Oslo with O Meu Coração Não Tem Cor -another coração mention- performed by Lúcia Moniz. The singer also appeared in the 2003 box office smash Love Actually where she played Aurélia.
Portugal through the years
Portugal's winning song this year, Amar Pelos Dois marks only the 10th time that the country has finished in the Top 10 at Eurovision. Let’s have a look at the Top 10 entries from Portugal featuring some of the country's best-loved artists including Dulce Pontes and José Cid:
Whilst often doomed to finish in the second half of the ranking, Portugal has never actually been alone when it comes to finishing last at Eurovision. The country finished with the dreaded nil points in 1997, alongside Norway. Portugal also scored no points 1964, the year of their debut, along with three other countries. Ten years later, in Brighton, they also finished in the lowest part of the scoreboard with another three countries. Despite the result, E Depois Do Adeus is best remembered in Portugal as one of the signals to launch the so-called Carnation Revolution when the song was broadcast on radio three weeks after the 1974 contest. It is literally the song that started a revolution!
Always sticking to their national language, Portugal only made some small concessions to the English language in 2003, 2005 and 2006 and to several languages in 2007. However in 2017, a year where the vast majority of songs were performed in English, singing in Portuguese proved to be an essential ingredient in the recipe of success for Salvador Sobral.
Since the Semi-Finals were introduced in 2004, Portugal has had some highs but also many lows. They didn’t qualify for the Grand Final in the first three years (2004-2007) and then did so in the following three contests (2008-2010). Indeed in 2008 they finished second in the Semi-Final. However after 2010, the country did not return to the Grand Final. Until this year.
What a return it was! With 758 points Amar Pelos Dois now holds the record for the highest score ever in the history of the competition, giving Portugal the honour of hosting the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, something that seemed to be unthinkable only some months ago.