XTRA Throwback Thursday: Perfectly Portuguese

It’s Thursday, so that can only mean one thing: XTRA Throwback Thursday! In the next weeks and month, we’ll take you on a journey through Europe and beyond, a journey through the history of the contest. Each week fits in with a theme. In just two days, Portugal will celebrate their national Dia de Portugal. Reason enough for us to make this week all about Portugal and Desfolhada Portuguesa.

This week’s theme: Perfectly Portuguese

It’s Dia de Portugal, so it’s time for Portugal, as we said. And of course, we could pick the best Portuguese moment in history and go back to last month, but we wanted to go back a little further. Nick will take you to a time where Portugal was Perfectly Portuguese!


It took them 53 years to get a victory in the Eurovision Song Contest. 53 years of staying true to who you are, to finally see it being rewarded with a record breaking victory. Portugal’s history in the contest is loaded with bops and gems. It’s full of songs I’d happily listen to over and over again. But when Portugal celebrates their national holiday, there’s just one song that we need to look back at. It’s time to be thrown back way into Eurovision history, I’m happy to bring you back to a song where Portugal was so perfectly Portuguese and so criminally underrated: 1969.
In 1969, Portugal sent Simone de Oliveira to the Eurovision Song Contest. She was a diva in her own country and had previously participated in 1965. The result wasn’t worth talking of, but nevertheless, she wanted to go again. And this time, she delivered Desfolhada Portuguesa. The lyrics were written by one of Portugal’s most popular poets, Ary dos Santos. Simone delivered the entry with passion and love for everything that was Portugal. She still sings it in her concerts and is still remembered for this one entry. The one entry that Europe placed just fifteenth on a scoreboard… To celebrate Portugal, we have to celebrate Simone de Oliveira.

What the others had to say…


I struggle to like old-fashioned songs, they just aren’t my thing and is a reason why I can’t get into Eurovisions from the early years. However, this is perfectly listenable and I know it’s a fan favourite so I’m sure you’ll have made people happy with this choice! My favourite Portuguese song of all-time is the gorgeous Todas As Ruas Do Amor by Flor-de-Lis. Such a beautiful, joyous and emotional performance!


This is the go-to song if we pick THE Portuguese song of the decade. For me, the most iconic about this was the outfit which is instantly recognizable. Song-wise, I don’t think it compares to the 4 winners, but it’s a really nice addition to an already strong 1969.

Simone is a goddess in her own right. Her voice is exceptionally good and she nailed it on the night. I think if Europe was going to produce four winners, why not make it five and have Portugal up there on the podium? This may be controversial but I think it was better than three out of the four winners (Spain being the exception). My favourite Portuguese entry: If you had asked that question 5 months ago I would have not hesitated to say Lusitana Paixao, which is not just one of the best Portuguese entries but one of the best Eurovision entries of all time. But, as of today, I think that Amar pelos dois has taken that spot, as a song that musically and lyrically is simply flawless. And it delivered the much awaited Portuguese victory, so that adds to the charm.

Next week

It’s the time of national holidays. Next week, it’s Iceland’s turn. Our very own Wivian will take you back to an Icelandic highlight of hers.
But for now, let’s remember Portugal’s ‘Desfolhada Portuguesa’. What is your favourite Portuguese entry? Let us know below!

Nick van Lith

I'm one of the founding members of ESCXTRA.com. Eleven years after the start, I'm proud to say that I am now the Editor-in-Chief of this wonderful website. When I'm not doing Eurovision stuff, you should be able to find me teaching German to kids... And cheering on everything and everyone Greek, pretty much. Pame Ellada!

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