It gave us the magic of Salvador Sobral and the pink hair realness of Cláudia Pascoal. And now, after announcing that 16 acts would compete in the 2019 edition of Festival da Canção, Portuguese broadcaster RTP has revealed the composer’s names for this year’s traditional extravaganza.

São Tomé and Principe’s duo Calema, boyband D.A.M.A, blues/folk artist Frankie Chavez and experimental artist Conan Osiris are among the best-known names in this year’s edition that will have its semi-finals on February 16 and 22 at RTP’s headquarters, and the grand final in a city to be determined on March 2.

All composers 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.

Calema

No strangers to the Portuguese audience, the duo Calema make their Festival da Canção debut. Their mainstream approach to pop with small África influenced sounds gave them a huge following in Portugal. Their biggest hit, “A Nossa Vez” (Our Turn) clocked more than 60 million views on Youtube.

D.A.M.A

Teenagers go crazy for D.A.M.A. Will Europe follow them with this healthy obsession? The boy band won the 2016 Golden Globe for Best Group and was nominated for the MTV’s Best Portuguese Act at the 2016 EMA. Their single “Nasty” clocked more than 2 million views on YouTube.

Frankie Chavez

The blue/folk artist Frankie Chavez showcases what the Festival has been bringing to the table since its revamp back in 2017 — diversity. His single “The Search” is a feel good song and if he decides to bring something similar to the competition, we are in for a breath of fresh air.

Conan Osiris

Festival da Canção is getting famous for showcasing Eurovision UFOs — aka songs that typically would not fit what the Eurovision Song Contest usually showcases. This year is no different. Conan Osiris is set to be the WTF moment in this year’s competition. His single “Borrego” (Lamb) perfectly showcases his essence: alternative, gypsy influenced sounds and a very characteristic voice. We are living for it.

Festival da Canção 2019 – Composers

  • André Tentúgal
  • Calema
  • Conan Osíris
  • D’Alva
  • D.A.M.A
  • Filipe Keil (Public submissions candidate)
  • Flak
  • Frankie Chavez
  • Lura
  • Mariana Bragada (Radio Masterclass candidate)
  • Miguel Guedes
  • NBC
  • Rui Maia
  • São Pedro
  • Surma
  • Tiago Machado

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 composers are you most excited for? Will Portugal bounce back from the last place in the Final on home turf? Tell us in the comment section below! 

READ MORE PORTUGAL NEWS HERE!

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Love love peace piece
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Love love peace piece

Can’t wait to hear Conan’s song, haha! Hope people won’t be too scared to vote for him, lol!

Pancake
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Pancake

If none of these people bring a party song or select Pablo Vittar to sing their work, I swear I’m going to shove their songs up their a–

PS. I don’t care if Pablo Vittar is Brazilian!! She has killer vocals and is someone that could bring Portugal into the Top 10, again!

Eu
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Eu

Brazil is Brazil. Portugal is Portugal.
So why doesn’t Ireland send some famous British singer to reach top 10…
Ridiculous comment, Pancake

Jo.
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Jo.

Pabllo is terrible and his songs are totally trashy.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Looking good, but I will get my pillow ready just in case this becomes something like last year’s selection.

Maldric
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Maldric

last year the result was a disaster for Portugal, but they were a great host, so no drama at all
Now in 2019 I wanna see if they are really back in the game or they will return to their bottom places and bad results

Sami
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Sami

I personally don’t care for music this chill but I really appreciate these big Portuguese, Australian and Italian artists taking part in their respective national finals. Artists from other countries should take a note too, (I’m talking to you UK).

JB from Portugal
Guest
JB from Portugal

2nd victory or 2nd top 5 to Portugal on it’s way!

L'oiseau
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L'oiseau

I am very happy with this selction. Indeed RTP got rid of the established composers, which they had to invite last year (for stupid reasons…) and went for more modernity. Last year there were also modern songwriters but they all played safe and within “good taste” and the result was hit and miss… (Yet, I still hear Joana’s Espadinha’s song) Hopefully this will change. Important would also be that the juries (in particular the regional ones) get rid of its own pre-judgements of “good taste” and do not punish more upbeat songs. Nuno Galopim said he perfers that the singer-songwriters… Read more »

Miguel
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Miguel

I am intrigued about the songs. In a good way.
It’s an upgrade from last year with more diversity in musical styles, even if i still feel this selection will be very “intelectual” and alternative. I miss pop songs.
From the original line-up D.A.M.A. must be the frontrunners. They have the larger fanbase. Mia Rose could be the vocalist of their song. That would be cool.

Akmir
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Akmir

@Bernardo im arab and i was wondering if conan osris has arabic influences too? at least after doing research i hear that.

Rita
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Rita

Im satisfied for now. More variety and modern than previous years. I Think RTP payed attention to our opinions and was more open minded this year, i was shocked and surprised about a particular choice, so happy for him. This is a step forward! gotta wait to hear the songs first, and i also hope the judges are more open minded.

Lita
Guest
Lita

Kinda scared about DAMA. they have a huge fanbase mostly teenage girls that will vote for them regardless of the song, hope im wrong

JB from Portugal
Guest
JB from Portugal

If they present a good song I will vote for them. The same applies to all contestants

Love love peace piece
Guest
Love love peace piece

yes, they’ll be the “Diogo Piçarra” from this year, hope they have a decent song at least. :/

iming
Guest
iming

It’s so much better than last year. Im happy.

James
Guest
James

Eurofans’ favorite little stubborn national selection show is back!

Hopefully there’s some variety of the actual songs in the 2019 line-up so there’d be a lot for the voting public to choose from (and that all of them stick with singing in Portuguese).

Sabrina
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Sabrina

One thing that’s not clear on RTP’s website: had they selected the songwriters and now they’ll submit their entries, or had the producers listened to their songs already? I ask that because last year many people (myself included) complained about the lack of diversity and I’m now wondering if that happened because RTP gave the composers complete freedom (as they should) and most of them decided to follow the same lane. Anyway, this has been my only criticism about Festival da Canção. I dig the kind of music they’re looking for.

Jake
Guest
Jake

I like the diversity of composers, but its as if RTP go out of their way not to invite mainstream radio pop composers that fill the Portuguese airwaves. DAMA are the most radio-friendly artists. I still don’t believe RTP is looking to put together a modern, broad accessible contest and instead is putting on some kind of indie music world festival. It’s as if they entering a different contest. I don’t understand the approach. Eesti Laul also always felt indie, but they had enough modern tracks in there to mix things up.

L'oiseau
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L'oiseau

I think D’Alva is also quite mainstream and played in the radio

EurovisionBenny_AUT
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EurovisionBenny_AUT

Many people had the wish that Festival da Cancao will get a more competitive and modern approach, as FdC 2018 seemed to be looking for safe and established representatives only who would definitely not be a trainwreck in the own country… (O Jardim was fab nevertheless)

This year however, the composers seem very promising! I am hoping for the best. Good luck, Portugal!

Rose
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Rose

Well, this looks interesting. Wonder what they’ll offer.