Throwback Thursday: A Portuguese performance of pure joy

It’s over to me to throwback to my favourite Portuguese entry at the Eurovision Song Contest to date. I’ll admit, Portugal rarely factors towards the top of my annual rankings. Indeed, it was the same in 2009… that was until I witnessed one of the most joyous, emotional and uplifting live performances I’ve ever seen. Step forward, Flor-de-Lis!

Adapting to the expanded contest

Portugal had suffered from a difficult start to the expanded Eurovision Song Contest, failing to qualify in their first four semi-finals between 2004 and 2007. Nevertheless, things changed in 2008 with Vânia Fernandes. Senhora do Mar finished second in its semi-final, before securing a 13th place finish in the final in Belgrade. This remains the nation’s second-best result of the 21st century, only 2017 winner Salvador Sobral achieving higher!

Nevertheless, Vânia’s successor was Flor-de-Lis, a folk music group led by vocalist Daniela Varela. It was only the second year I’d listened to Eurovision songs prior to the contest, and Todas as ruas do amor didn’t particularly stand out to 14-year-old me at the time. Nevertheless, upon seeing Flor-de-Lis on the Moscow stage in the semi-finals, I was immediately sold.

Pure, Portuguese and perfection

Daniela and her band’s performance can only be described as complete joy. It’s pure, it’s Portuguese and it’s perfection. You can not help but smile from ear to ear watching Flor-de-Lis live. They are having the time of their lives, and Daniela’s outpouring of emotion at the end shows how much this performance means to them. 

They were never favoured by bookmakers in the lead-up to the contest, but their 15th place finish in the final exceeded all expectations. Indeed, it’s Portugal’s third-best finish this century. It even charted inside the official top 200 of the UK chart! This is a wonderful song enhanced by a wonderful performance. This is Portugal’s best entry to date!

Over to the ESCXTRA team…

Now, let’s see what my colleagues think of this entry!


Historically, Portugal have been one of the unluckiest Eurovision countries, almost as much as FYR Macedonia. They tend to send unashamedly ‘Portuguese’ entries to the contest, which more-often-than-not have failed to connect with a wider European audience. Of course, there are exceptions to this.

Sitting unassumingly within a brief streak of mid-table qualifying entries between 2008 and 2010 is the glorious Todas as ruas do amor. More than just a sweet native-language ditty, this entry managed to capture the essence of Portuguese folk music and make it a universally-appealing package. Flor-de-Lis managed to turn the enormous Moscow stage into a warm, whimsical and vibrant Portuguese street festival for a joyous three minutes which is quite the achievement.

Rather than get swallowed up on the stage, the performance is intimate and welcoming and remains one of my favourites in the history of the contest. Above all, everyone on stage looks like they’re having the time of their lives and they invite the audience to join them. This means far more than a mere placing on a leaderboard.


It’s hard to believe we are fast reaching the 10 year anniversary of this gem. Todas as ruas do amor was in my top 5 in 2009 and remains my favourite Portuguese entry of all-time. In amongst a host of competitive, mainstream songs that year, this had a sense of innocence about it which translated tremendously on stage.

From its traditional vibrant melody to the sound of Daniela’s tender vocal, I can only best describe this as the 3-minute hug we didn’t know we needed. (The extended album version is also worth a listen!)

What do you think of Todas as ruas do amor? Indeed, what’s your favourite Portuguese entry? Let us know!

Ryan Cobb

My first memory of watching the Eurovision Song Contest was back in 2001 and, over the years, my passion and enthusiasm for the contest has very much turned into an obsession. I adore music and I love geography, so this contest is a natural fit for me. If la la loving Eurovision was a crime, I'd certainly be a criminal!

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