ESC 2023 Song Review: “Ai coração” by Mimicat (Portugal)

1) The Result

Maro’s “Saudade, saudade” continued the excellent run Portugal has had since its first Eurovision win in 2017. She finished 5th in the jury vote and 15th in the televote for 9th overall.

2) The Process

As always, Portugal’s Festival da Canção is a bewildering, fascinating and quirky highlight of the national selection line-up. Despite placing second in her semi, Mimicat won the televote and finished equal first with the jury in the final.

3) The Artist

Mimicat originally appeared at Canção as a teenager back in 2001, but it wasn’t until 2014 that she re-emerged on the music scene with her debut album. Since then, she has released a second album as well as some non-album singles.

4) The Song

Well, this definitely sounds like it comes from the the south-western corner of Europe. Chirpy, fast-paced, and also a bit old-fashioned in its execution.

5) The Verdict

I’ll admit that even though I’ve never been a fan of “Amar pelos dois”, it did make me pay more attention to Portugal, and I think in the years since the country’s victory the quality of entries have remained consistently interesting if not equally strong or successful. Last year “Saudade, saudade” was one of my favourite entries, so I had high hopes for 2023. Unfortunately, while I think Mimicat’s voice and stage presence are fantastic, I’m less enthralled by the song, which lends itself to too much thigh-slapping for my tastes.

My ranking: 26th