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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Conan Osíris
- Filipe Keil (Public submissions candidate)
- Frankie Chavez
- Mariana Bragada (Radio Masterclass candidate)
- Miguel Guedes
- Rui Maia
- São Pedro
- 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!