After a successful run in 2017 — which gave Portugal their first ever Eurovision victory with Salvador Sobral and “Amar Pelos Dois” — and a shocking last-place finish on home turf with Cláudia Pascoal’s “O Jardim” in 2018, RTP has its eyes set on Tel Aviv for the 2019 edition of Eurovision.

The Eurovision 2018 host broadcaster released a statement that confirmed its participation in Euroision 2019. RTP revealed that it would again use the national final Festival da Canção and gave the first information regarding the composers’ selection process. The show will again involve two semi-finals and one grand final will take place in February and March.

While no dates have been confirmed yet, the semi-finals are expected to take place on February 17 and 24 and the final on March 3.

As with the golden year of 2017, Festival da Canção 2019 will have 16 songs in contention to represent Portugal at Eurovision 2018. Eight songs will compete in each semi-final, with four songs qualifying from each semi to the grand final.

Fourteen composers will be directly invited by the broadcaster, as in the past two years. They will have full artistic freedom to create the songs — from genre, to lyrics, production and language — and above all, they’ll get to choose the singer.

The remaining two composers will be the fruit of the 2017 democratisation of Festival da Canção selection. One vacancy will be occupied by the winner of a competition held for upcoming composers by Portuguese radio station Antena 1.

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

Mixing things up from the 2018 edition

While the 2018 edition of Festival da Canção showed an increase in ratings and acceptance with the Portuguese public (despite the shocking turn of events with Diogo Piçarra), the last place in the grand final of Eurovision 2018 demanded a change in the selection process.

Fewer songs, more quality. That seems to be the narrative RTP is going for this year. The production team — made up of Eurovision 2018 creative supervisor Nuno Galopim, Eurovision 2018 deputy executive producer Carla Bugalho and others — decided to go back to basics and reduce the selection by 10 songs.

From 26 songs in 2018 to 16 in 2019, RTP also decided to cut the rule that allowed the winning singer of the past year to select a composer of their own choice. A privilege Salvador had and Cláudia won’t have.

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.

What do you think of RTP’s changes for the 2019 edition of the traditional Festival da Canção? Who would you like to see enter FdC 2019? Tell us in the comment section below!

Read more Portugal Eurovision news here

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MCmc
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MCmc

Give us a Slow J, a Richie Campbell, an Emmy Curl, a Noiserv, a Ella Nor…and rock Eurovision again.

Dual Lipper
Guest
Dual Lipper

Mónica Sintra to represent [email protected]

clarinete
Guest
clarinete

The main problem here is RTP. They dont wanna change because we won with Sobral and lost with Claudia (which was chosen by the audience), they’re very cocky right now. It’s so silly to think that all those slow ballads and boring artists represent what people like to hear. We need musical diversity and a bit more effort in the performances. In portuguese charts most songs are uptempo, pop or hip hop. RTP wants to represent the music scene but they’re only representing what they like. We need a massive change but the fact that some portuguese have this huge… Read more »

Trh
Guest
Trh

What makes you thing that this year it will be all about ballads. There is nothing in RTP’s statment that hints to that. Besided Nuno Galopim said they want to bring more urban styles, like dance, hip hop, etc. You are making assumptions that are not backed by any evidence.

Alkisti
Guest
Alkisti

Bravo Portugal! Keep doing exactly the same thing! You have been brilliant and so much more interesting than so many other countries

Nico
Guest
Nico

Festival da Canção is such a boring, old fashioned show. It lasts too much, so boooooring to watch! And the contending songs in both 2017 and 2018 were so bland and old fashioned, too…. Hoping for a revamp and please Portugal, send something uptempo! We wanna dance and have fun in those 3 minutes on the Eurovision stage, we don’t wanna cry in despair or go suicidal, no more depressing ballads!!!

Pavel
Guest
Pavel

Melodifestivalen is such a boring, pseudo-modern show. We wanna listen to something challenging in 3 minutes on the Eurovision stage, we don’t wanna dance like morons, no more uptempo copycats from Sweden.

Trh
Guest
Trh

You are free not to watch it, as I am free not to watch the Swedish, Romanian or Moldavian preslections, which for me are pure horrors.

Brooklyn
Guest
Brooklyn

O Jardim was the best Portuguese entry!

Pavel
Guest
Pavel

One of the best for sure. Their best one is probably ”A Festa Da Vida” (1972)

Henrikh Mugosa
Guest
Henrikh Mugosa

Despite the rather poor lyrics, O Jardim was indeed one of the best Portuguese efforts ever. Mainly due to the angel-like voice of Cláudia Pascoal & all of the emotion she was able to convey. Last place doesn’t change this.

Trh
Guest
Trh

Agree on being one of the best entries. Last place was completely undeserved. Don’t agree on the lyrics, though.

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

I’m not very excited. In Portugal we have this idea that pop music is bad and poor quality, while slower melancolic ballads are top quality. I can’t understand why…..
I would like to have some upbeat songs in the semifinal and not only jazz/bossa nova/indie and similar music styles.

clarinete
Guest
clarinete

Which is ironic, because when you check the portuguese charts it’s mostly pop songs and hip hop.

Henrikh Mugosa
Guest
Henrikh Mugosa

It’s not Portugal that has this idea, it’s RTP…

Geo
Guest
Geo

No more bland ballads like in the past 2 years. If it worked for them in 2017, it didn’t work twice. Last place in 2018’s final was well deserved. Hoping for a dance, party anthem from Portugal in 2019 or…no passing the semifinal, mark my words! ??

Pavel
Guest
Pavel

Portugal should send something super-weird and ethnic.

Trh
Guest
Trh

This comment is so shallow and superficial. This is exactly what gives Eurovision its bad name, their tasteless fans…

Henrikh Mugosa
Guest
Henrikh Mugosa

Portugal will be stuck in the semifinals for the next 4-7 years and out of the TOP10 for the next 25 years. Regardless of what they’ll do next. After that smashing victory and that annoying winner’s speech and the NO-LED campaign… …and then they won’t change the “local songs for local people” attitude anyway…

Trh
Guest
Trh

Exactly the same nasty comments were made in 2017 before Salvador won. So watch what you say… You may be forced to watch anothe ESC soon in Porto or other Portuguese city. And yes and it was a smashing victory!

Kazakhstan is Europe
Guest
Kazakhstan is Europe

BRING BACK SUZY!!!

Trh
Guest
Trh

NO!!!!

Elsa
Guest
Elsa

Bernardo, you messed up all the dates… please correct: – paragraph 2: “As with the golden year of 2017, Festival da Canção 2019 will have 16 songs in contention to represent Portugal at Eurovision 2019”; – paragraph 10: “From 26 songs in 2017 to 16 in 2019”. I’m very sorry to read that the televote will prevail again in the grand final. It was public vote that was responsible for choosing “O Jardim”, which came last in ESC (if the jury prevailed, it would have been Júlio Resende’s song “Para sorrir, eu não preciso de nada”), and if it was… Read more »

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

Thanks Elsa – we’ve corrected those dates. 🙂 I agree with your comments on the worrying FdC televote favourites – it’s incredible to think that Viva la Diva actually won the 2017 televote! Just imagine if they’d gone to Kyiv!

Elsa
Guest
Elsa

Thanks, Robyn!
What a nightmare, right?

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

Then again… The jury vote always crushes the upbeat songs.
The public did a bad choice in 2017 and a good choice in 2018. “O jardim” came last, but at least it was a good song.
And even in 2017, “Amar pelos dois” came 2nd in the televote. It’s not like it was last…

Elsa
Guest
Elsa

In the semi-final, “Amar pelos dois” came 3rd in the televote and then it came 2nd in the final… It only won, because the jury put Viva la Diva in 5th place.
I don’t think the public did a good choice in 2018, nor do I think it is a good song… sorry.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

Hopefully we’re getting some interesting songs this year because their 2018 selection was NOT the tea.

T.J.
Guest
T.J.

„More quality“? No, please, go for so ething cheap and fun instead. This alleged „quality music from Portugal“ is just boring crap!

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

They flopped with ~kWaLiTy~ so I bet they’ll look for something less boring.

Elsa
Guest
Elsa

Actually, Portugal won with a quality and classy song, full of harmonies (2017) and flopped with a repetitive mainstream electronica song (2018).

Elle
Guest
Elle

How was 2018 entry mainstream? Sweden was mainstream, Israel was mainstream, Cyprus was. Portugal, not so much.

Elsa
Guest
Elsa

It may not be as radio-friendly as the likes of dance music, but it is a mainstream electronic song. Mainstream is any kind of style that has appeal to the masses, usually due to a repetitive melodic structure. Isaura’s composition (just like the withdrawn song presented by Diogo Piçarra) appealed to the young crowds in Portugal and were melodically very poor.

Pavel
Guest
Pavel

As mainstream as London Grammar

Trh
Guest
Trh

Isreal’s entry was not mainstream.

Pancake
Guest
Pancake

Is it bad that this is my wish list for Portugal:
1. NEEV
2. Sofi Tukker
3. Pabllo Vittar
4. Anitta
5. Mc Fioti

Eurovisionfan12
Guest
Eurovisionfan12

Pabllo Vittar and Anitta are Brazilian

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

MC Fioti? Delete it along with all those untalented, troll-looking Brazilian pseudo-rappers.

Pavel
Guest
Pavel

Imagine Portugal sending a mumble rapper…

clarinete
Guest
clarinete

hip hop and rappers are super trendy in portugal

MCmc
Guest
MCmc

I can say that I am Portuguese and I have never ever heard any of those names before.

EscAU
Guest
EscAU

it’s ok to have fun portugal! look at israel czech republic and cyprus this year, shake things up and maybe include one in the NF this year 🙂

clarinete
Guest
clarinete

It’s okay to have fun, RTP*

Lots of portuguese wanna have fun, but RTP … 🙁 hope im wrong.

Pavel
Guest
Pavel

Italy did almost as well as the hyped up Cyprus in the televote.

Trh
Guest
Trh

Quote from Madonna: “Fun is highly overrated”.

Marcelo
Guest
Marcelo

Albania and Georgia also confirmed. Currently we have 30 countries!

loreen
Guest
loreen

so we have 30 countries confirmed, whos next?

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

We and other Eurovision blogs are only counting 29 so far. Wikipedia lists Croatia, but the broadcaster hasn’t officially confirmed yet. 🙂

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

I don’t think in the end we’ll have any differences from last year… there’s no reason why anyone would retire, even Macedonia is still doing JESC despite also flopping there + the higher fees.

Pablo Nava
Member

I really hope there is more variety in genre. 2018’s FDC was so… bland. It wasn’t that all songs are slow, but they were all so cloying it ended up sounding the same, even the upbeat ones. APD was successful because the production values and unique characteristics soared and it became something special. Inject something for these entries to be lively

portugal
Guest
portugal

love u portugal

Jack
Guest
Jack

Would like to hear more trip hop and electronica influenced songs in FdC next year, nothing against Portugal but I wanna see more risk and diversity in their selection instead of picking just safe traditional songs that are hard to remember, here’s an idea of mine I’d like to see in several national selections and perhaps RTP should consider this… if there’s 2 semifinals, have 1 full of native language songs and the other full of English songs! that’s a strategy Hungary, Slovenia, Romania & Ukraine should adopt in their process.

Elsa
Guest
Elsa

The 2018 winning entry was trip-hop and electronica.