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Oh, heart of Portugal: The class and sass of Mimicat

01 May 2023 at 17:18 CEST
Mimicat from Portugal in the Eurovision 2023 studio Corinne Cumming / EBU
Mimicat will be sending pulses racing in Liverpool, as she brings the heart of Portugal to the Eurovision 2023 stage with her song ‘Ai Coração.’
Mimicat rehearsing Ai Coração for Portugal at the First Rehearsal of the First Semi-Final at Liverpool Arena Sarah Louise Bennett / EBU

It’s been a dizzying journey for Mimicat, whose real name is Marisa Mena. She won Portugal’s Festival da Canção, after 13 songs competed in the final, with a jury and televote deciding the winner. She snatched 12 points from each side, firmly making her Portugal’s favoured Eurovision entry for 2023.

After the burlesque atmosphere in her national final performance, Mimicat’s first rehearsal was always going to be one to watch. She stepped onto the stage on Sunday 30 April wearing read feathers - a whole lot of them! And as the tempo built, the heart of the arena soared, with the singer-songwriter put on quite a show. And before you make the comparison to a well-known yellow Sesame Street character - she already made the joke herself backstage, you're too late.

Portugal rehearsing Ai Coração for Portugal at the First Rehearsal of the First Semi-Final at Liverpool Arena
Chloe Hashemi / EBU

The official Eurovision Live Blog is normally speedy, but it was lightning quick by the end of Mimicat’s song as the pace built and built. It noted: "Vocally Mimicat sounds incredible - this is a classy cabaret crowd-pleaser and the final note is HUGE. Just what we need to get us in the mood for a packed afternoon of rehearsals."

Mimicat told us that her biggest fashion disaster was during an open air concert. She’d had her hair done to perfection, but the fog messed up her style and made her look “like Harry Potter’s Nimbus”. We’ve got good news for Mimicat, because she’ll be undercover in Liverpool. The British weather might throw a few curveballs, but there’s no need to end up looking like a broomstick.

When it comes to musical inspiration, Mimicat draws from the great voices of soul, but was also inspired by pop hits on the radio and MTV, as she grew up in the 1980s and 1990s. And if you want to get Mimicat on the dancefloor, you’re best off playing Dua Lipa’s Physical. We can see where all that energy comes from!

Mimicat chatted with the Official Eurovision Song Contest Podcast about Portugal’s entries since the success of Salvador Sobral in 2017. She said: “We always send different things, different styles of songs, but we aim for quality.” She’s really impressed with the level of songwriters and performers that the team manages to find. “Portugal always brings up someone new and someone who is not so well known in the country and it’s actually really cool to see that.”

There’s more from Mimicat on Episode 12 of the Official Eurovision Song Contest Podcast.

You can learn more about Mimicat from Portugal right here.

You can listen to all 37 songs of Eurovision 2024 via your favourite streaming service or watch the music videos on our YouTube channel.

The Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Malmö, Sweden on Tuesday 7 May (First Semi-Final), Thursday 9 May (Second Semi-Final) and Saturday 11 May (Grand Final) 2024.

Don't forget to download our app (for iOSAndroid), sign up to the official Eurovision Song Contest newsletter, and subscribe to the official podcast!