Portugal: Out with the old, in with the new! Festival da Canção mixes up composers’ selection process


After a successful run in 2016, which gave Portugal their first ever victory in Eurovision with Salvador Sobral and “Amar Pelos Dois”, Festival da Canção — the Portuguese national final — is back and on fire! The host country to Eurovision 2018 is mixing up their national selection process — and Salvador Sobral has an important role.

Earlier last week it was revealed that the grand final would move from Lisbon to the city of Guimarães and yesterday broadcaster RTP released the composers’ selection process for this year’s Portuguese extravaganza.

Twenty songs will be competing for a place in the final on March 4 – ten for each semi-final on February 18 and 25. The semi-finals will take place in Lisbon. 

Seventeen composers will be invited by RTP. Just like in 2017, composers will have the opportunity to choose the singer, genre and language they want.

What about the remaining three acts? Bringing his A-game to Festival da Canção 2018 will be last year’s Eurovision winner Salvador Sobral. He will have the power to invite his choice of composer, using the same strategy as RTP.

We know one thing: there will be nothing plastic coming from this choice. Hala!

The remaining two composers will be the fruit of the democratisation of Festival da Canção selection. One vacancy will be occupied by the winner of a competition held for unknown composers by Portuguese Radio Station Antena 1.

The other one will be the winner of an open call for public entries. A jury panel from RTP will decide the best song and the winner will be in one of the semi finals. 

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 will 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.

Are you excited about Salvador’s involvement in the national selection? What do you think of the changes? Tell us what you think in the comment section below!