Eurovision 2018 Review: Cláudia Pascoal & Isaura – O Jardim

portugal 2018

Portugal sends another moving song in their native language
The seemingly impossible happened in the Eurovision Song Contest last year. Portugal, a country that never even reached the top 5 before, finally won and they did so with Salvador Sobral’s romantic love song in his own language. This year they host the contest so there is some pressure for them to deliver again. Cláudia Pascoal and Isaura will represent Portugal with the ballad ‘O Jardim’.

Their victory in the national selection shows us that the Portuguese people believe a similar approach will give them another success. Admitted, ‘O Jardim’ (The Garden) has a more modern sound with a light electronic arrangement while Salvador opted for classical instrumentation, but it is another fragile, stripped back tune in their own language. Isaura who joins main artist Claudia on stage, wrote the song about her grandmother who passed away. Although the ladies sound on point on stage and manage to convey the emotion in their performance, they do miss that special spark Salvador had on stage. They have to compete against the German entry, which is also about the loss of a loved one and as their entry is in English, it might be more universally understood. I don’t expect Portugal at the left side of the scoreboard again, but juries will probably save them from the lowest regions.

Review of Final Performance:
Host country Portugal went from victory to last place (both juries and televoters put them in 25th place), just like Austria did back in 2015. I do think they deserved a little bit more though. Sure, ‘O Jardim’ is not one of the most memorable compositions on first listen, but it is one of those tracks that creeps up on you with every single play. Obviously there is no time for that in Eurovision, but I thought Claudia still perfectly conveyed the emotion of the song. Vocally it was sweet and fragile, just like it should have sounded. Oh well, someone had to take that last position…


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