If forced to pick my overall favorite countries in Eurovision, Portugal would have to be among the top.

Year after year, Portugal is a kind of dark horse in the competition. Rather than trying to play to what others are doing, the country’s entries always march to the beat of their own drum.

From the soul-stirring, deeply emotional fado ballads to the infectious, upbeat performances that compel you to sway along, Portugal’s entries always leave a lasting impression with their authenticity.

So today, we’re going to look back at the last 5 Eurovision entries from Portugal.

Let’s get into it!

5 – Elisa – “Medo de Sentir” (Portugal 2020)

There is a tender but somber sweetness to “Medo de Sentir.”

The lyrics themselves pull at the heartstrings of anyone who has experienced deep heartbreak and loneliness yet dreams of one day being able to freely share their feelings again.

Unfortunately, Elisa’s singing is a bit flat in the performance released as the official video on the Eurovision channel.

While I fully believe that the performance would have been tightened up and brought to life in a beautiful way going into Eurovision 2020, that’s something we’ll never know.

Sure… “Medo de Sentir” does find itself at the bottom of this ranking, but it’s far from being a bad song!

With any luck, here’s hoping that Elisa will one day be able to reclaim the opportunity to represent Portugal on the Eurovision stage!

4 – The Black Mamba – “Love Is On My Side” (Portugal 2021)

It’s incredibly rare that Portugal sends a song to Eurovision that isn’t in Portuguese. It’s one of the things that many Eurovision fans (myself included) respect most about Portugal’s history in the contest.

So, eyebrows rose when The Black Mamba and their song “Love Is On My Side” went to Rotterdam for Eurovision 2021. This would be the first song entirely in English that Portugal had ever sent, a fact that certainly stirred up quite a bit of discussion online.

Based on the story of someone that the band had met on their previous travels, this bluesy song takes us into the subject’s life and through her difficult times but leaves us with feelings of hope.

It’s the kind of subject that blues music is particularly good at capturing and The Black Mamba did exactly that with class and charisma in Rotterdam.

The “vintage” vibes may not be for everyone, and opinions on this song commonly tend to be either “love” or “hate,” with very few reactions in between.

Personally, I absolutely love the song and, years later, I’ll still regularly bust it out when I go to karaoke. Safe to say, I’ve become quite a fan of The Black Mamba ever since!

Earning a respectable 12th place finish at ESC 2021, it seems that The Black Mamba broke new ground for Portugal.

Aside from Salvador Sobral’s truly impressive win in 2017, times were very hard for Portuguese fans in the 2010s. However, the country’s acts have been consistently qualifying and mostly earning great scores so far into the 2020s.

Maybe “Love Is On My Side” was exactly what was needed to pave the way for the other entries in this ranking!

3 – Iolanda – “Grito” (Portugal 2024)

In seemingly every TikTok video, Youtube comment section, Reddit thread, or otherwise in 2024, it appeared that virtually everyone was sleeping on the artistic masterpiece that is “Grito” by Iolanda.

Of course, securing a 10th place finish, it’s safe to say that Iolanda ultimately got the last laugh.

The song itself is good with sweeping melodies and remarkable vocal deliveries.But it’s the stage performance that really takes this from being a “good song” and turns it into a mesmerizing and unforgettably emotional performance.

The choreography, camerawork, and Iolanda’s fantastic vocals all work together seamlessly to capture the feelings of anxiety and depression that close in tighter and tighter until you can barely breathe.

But taking control of her situation and with the titular scream (“grito”), Iolanda is able to show that no matter how those feelings may escalate, we still have the strength and power within us to cast them away.

“Grito” is a performance that grabs you and absolutely refuses to let go.

Related: Full Review of Iolanda – “Grito” (Portugal 2024)

2 – Mimicat – “Ai Coração” (Portugal 2023)

While Portugal may be particularly well-known for sending emotional ballads, Mimicat clearly set out to prove that there’s more to Portuguese music than that!

Pulling from an eclectic mix of sounds from fado, cabaret, jazz, and more, “Ai Coração” brings us into the thrilling, racing-heart rush of newfound love.

With playful and beautiful classiness, Mimicat and her dancers frantically pace around the stage in a manic state. While moments of the song may then quickly slow down as a moment of contemplation, it quickly picks right back up to the manic lovestruck fever.

From its sultry opening note to the final cry of “Ai Coração!” (“oh, heart!”), Mimicat takes us with her on an unforgettable emotional rollercoaster that we should all be so fortunate to relate to.

I don’t know that I’m still over the unfortunate result of placing 23rd in the Grand Final (the song is still firmly in my top 5 for ESC 2023). However, I was still overjoyed to see Mimicat make it into the Grand Final. In such a competitive year, I was worried for her!

Mimicat is an absolute machine who puts so much into her performance and I will gladly sing her praises at every opportunity.

Though there is one other song from Portugal that will eternally hold my heart…

Related: Full Review of Mimicat – “Ai Coração” (Portugal 2023)

1 – Maro – “Saudade, Saudade” (Portugal 2022)

It is very rare that a Eurovision performance makes me tear up and cry, but Maro did exactly that.

Fitting that a song about deep and nostalgic feelings that defy translation would wake such emotions, eh? In just 3 hypnotic minutes, Maro and her team had viewers all over the world reaching for the tissues to dry their tears.

“Saudade, Saudade” is a song that’s easy to underrate.

But when you close your eyes, sway to the rhythm, and let yourself get carried by the feelings that Maro evokes, it’s hard not to be left with a clear imprint of the song on your heart.

Finishing at 9th place in Turin for ESC 2022, Maro still holds Portugal’s best result since Salvador Sobral’s win in 2017.

And what a well-deserved top-ten finish it was!

To this day, “Saudade, Saudade” holds a very special place on many of my personal playlists, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

After all, “nothing more that I can say says it in a better way…”

Related: Full Review of Maro – “Saudade, Saudade” (Portugal 2022)

Final Thoughts

It’s truly admirable how true Portugal stays to its own culture when sending songs to Eurovision.

While that does make them one of the most consistently underrated or misunderstood countries in the contest, it’s also a major driving force behind their newfound success streak.

Who knows? At this rate, we might find ourselves going back to Lisbon in the near future!

But, as always, this ranking is just my own opinion.

Now I want to read yours!

How would you rank Portugal’s recent entries in the ESC? Let’s chat in the comments below!