Hello Portugal! Festival da Canção 2017 drops language rule

Take us to Portugal, huntie! Renewal and rebirth — Festival da Canção is back as the Portuguese national selection for Eurovision. Sixteen songs, two semi-finals and one grand final will help RTP celebrate its 60th anniversary while choosing a song for Kyiv. But there’s even bigger news — songs can be in any language.

We prayed to the Eurovision gods and they answered. After what felt like a lifetime, 2017 marks a step in the right direction for Portugal. Language restrictions no more! Festival da Canção can now have songs in English or any other language.

It’s a decision that paid off for Israel. After years of entering songs in Hebrew and failing to qualify for four years straight, in 2015 Israel switched to English songs. With entries that still have an unmistakable Israeli sound, Israel has transformed into a successful country at Eurovision.

Sixteen composers were invited by the Portuguese state broadcaster to write and produce the 16 songs in the competition — eight for each semi-final on the 19th and 26th of February. The grand final will take place on the 5th of March.

“We had to stop to think and make this new moment a celebration of pop music. RTP contacted the best composers of the moment, going from a rock register, to pop and also fado,” said Nuno Artur Silva, RTP’s Board Administration member.

The composers for this years edition of “Festival da Canção” have full artistic freedom to create the songs — from genre, to lyrics, production and language — and above all, choose the singer. The artists will be presented in a press conference in January. And make no mistake: wiwibloggs will be there!

However the composers for 2017 still need to bring their A-game — RTP has no plans to artistically change the songs for Eurovision. #norevamps

The invited composers include returnees Nuno Feist, Jorge Fernando, João Só and Héber Marques. Twelve new faces join the veterans: Luísa Sobral, Márcia, Rita Redshoes, David Santos, Celina Piedade, Samuel Úria, Nuno Gonçalves, Pedro Silva Martins, Tóli César Machado, João Pedro Coimbra, Nuno Figueiredo and Pedro Saraiva.

The voting system

The 50/50 voting system is back in different terms for semi-finals and the grand final. A single jury and the public televote will decide which songs advance to the final. In case of a tie, the professional jury will decide which ones advance.

In the grand final, the decision will be split by televote and seven regional juries. This time around, if we have a tie, the televote will prevail.

RTP’s content sub-director added that, “Eurovision is a natural consequence of Festival da Canção. We already saw winning songs with a so-called “Eurovision formula” and ones that were not like that. Our main goal is to produce a good show, choose a good song, one that can dignify us without having to follow a specific formula to win the European contest.”

We are so excited about all the changes. Portugal is (finally) back on track. What do you think of this changes? Are you excited for Festival da Canção 2017? Tell us below!