The star squad has arrived! Diogo Piçarra and José Cid among Festival da Canção 2018 composers

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As well as hosting Eurovision 2018, Portugal has the task of selecting the act who will represent the country on home turf.

And today RTP gave a big clue about the direction of its national final Festival da Canção 2018 with the announcement of the 26 composers in the competition.

The revamped Festival da Canção format places a lot of emphasis on songwriters as well as performers. Twenty composers have been invited to create entries for the national final. Composers will have full artistic freedom to create the songs — from genre and lyrics to production and language and, above all, the singer.

Out with the old and in with the new! That seems to be the motto of RTP and its creative team who decided to mix old souls with some fresh faces.

In Kyiv, Portuguese commentator Nuno Galopim told wiwibloggs that the goal is to make Festival da Canção more contemporary in the coming years and they didn’t waste any time.

Pop icon and heartthrob Diogo Piçarra and rapper Capicua are two of the big names in the list of composers, joined by Eurovision 1980 and Portuguese music royalty José Cid and Eurovision 1973 and 1977 act Fernando Tordo.

Jorge Palma is also a big name in the pack with a career that started way back in 1975. Isaura brings a contemporary approach to this year’s contest and Júlio Resende — Salvador Sobral’s bandmate in the “Alexander Search” project — will channel class.

Paulo Flores, JP Simões, Tito Paris, Miguel Ângelo, Malu Magalhães, Bruno Cardoso, Paulo Praça, Rita Dias, Francisca Cortesão, Benjamim, Aline Frazão, Armando TeixeiraDiogo Clemente, Francisco Rebelo, Minta, Nuno Rafael, Janeiro, Daniela Onis and Peter Serrado complete the list of chosen composers.

After opening the floor to songs in any language last year and winning Eurovision with a song completely in Portuguese, we don’t know how many composers will risk producing a song in English. But that is a question for the coming months.

This time around, each semi final will have thirteen songs and seven of them will advance to the grand final. The voting system is yet to be revealed but it should follow last year’s pattern: 50% televote and 50% jury in the semis, and 50% televote and 50% regional jury in the grand final.

As announced in the press conference in July, the final of Festival da Canção is moving from Lisbon to 2012 European capital of culture Guimarães.

RTP’s President Gonçalo Reis was clear when it came to the strategy the broadcaster is using for the national final. “We want to decentralise the event. We chose Guimarães to host this year’s edition of Festival da Canção. It’s the birth city of the nation, European capital of culture in 2012. It’s a choice that honours RTP. It honors the country,” he said.

Festival da Canção 2018  will be back with semi-finals on February 18 and 25. The grand final will take Europe by storm on March 4.

What do you think of the selected composers? Do you think Portugal has any chance of producing a winning song the year after winning it all? Tell us in the comment section below!

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