Festival da Canção returned to our screens on Saturday night with semi-final 1 of the 2023 edition. Portugal began its search for an act to send to Eurovision in Liverpool.

Ten acts competed in this semi-final, including Eurovision 2018 star Cláudia Pascoal. Originally, six of them were set to make it through to the grand final on 11 March. However, technical issues occurred with one of the voting numbers. RTP decided this song would still move onto the final, thus ultimately seven acts qualified.

Festival da Canção 2023 semi-final 1

Results

The voting was done over two rounds. A 50% jury and 50% televote combination determined the first six qualifiers:

  • Churky – “Encruzilhada”
  • Cláudia Pascoal – “Nasci Maria”
  • Mimicat – “Ai Coração”
  • You Can’t Win, Charlie Brown – “Contraste Mudo”
  • Sal – “Viver”
  • Esse Povo – “Sapatos de Cimento”

A second round of 100% televote then chose the final seventh qualifier:

  • Neon Soho – “Endless World”

Running order

  1. MoYah – “Too Much Sauce”
  2. Bolha – “Sonhos de Liberdade”
  3. April Ivy – “Modo Voo”
  4. Churky – “Encruzilhada”
  5. Cláudia Pascoal – “Nasci Maria”
  6. Sal – “Viver”
  7. Mimicat – “Ai Coração”
  8. You Can’t Win, Charlie Brown – “Contraste Mudo”
  9. Neon Soho – “Endless World”
  10. Esse Povo – “Sapatos de Cimento”

What did you make of the show? Do you think any of the semi-final 1 acts will go on to win Festival da Canção 2023? Let us know in the comments.

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Vicci
Vicci
1 year ago

Loved several songs, got surprised by some for its quality on stage but I am still a Mimicat fan….

Kesha
Kesha
1 year ago

Oh hypster Portugal! Fdc is always a good surprise.

Gabs
Gabs
1 year ago

Mimicat was super! Improve the stagging and date more with the camera. You will have a top5 in Liverpool! Portugal, please choose Mimicat!

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago

Neon Soho only making it by the skin of their teeth does not bode well for me. Luckily, my absolute favourite is in the second semi anyway, so all is not lost just yet.

Jos
Jos
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

Same here. I’ll wait until I see the results, but I find it strange that a jury wouldn’t reward those vocals so that even if the public wouldn’t vote massively, it would fall outside the top 5.

Filler
Filler
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

Probably the jury did not like that it was an all English song

Jake
Jake
1 year ago
Reply to  Filler

I bet the jury found the lyrics very repetitive. I was blown away by the performance and the lead singers voice. It really felt like a moment. But, yes, there was less of a story and maybe too many “hold me boy”s. Portuguese musicians and public are more dialed into lyrical content than probably any other country. Which is why when you sing in Portuguese the bulk of European audiences miss what probably makes the most unique aspects of Portuguese music—what Portuguese call “the poem”. Also a reason you don’t have lots of repetitive chorus like you do in other… Read more »

L’oiseau
L’oiseau
1 year ago
Reply to  Filler

I don’t believe it’s true

L’oiseau
L’oiseau
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

I agree that the jury should have rewarded Neon Soho. But then again, it also did not reward Bolha, which I would have thought would be a jury pleaser (at least the Portuguese jury…)

Amar pelos dois
Amar pelos dois
1 year ago

So far one of the best preselections this year and most of the songs are in beautiful portuguese language.

Muito obrigado, querido Portugal !

Jake
Jake
1 year ago

I still love Ai Coração but other songs were incredibly elevated by their staging. I do wish I could see more of mimicat’s face and expressions. It’s slightly messy for me. Why the lamp? I was hoping for a more stylized performance that had a more bold and graphic LED and maybe a styling that was a bit retro like her FdC publicity photo. Her red her and red lip really pop there. I think last night she got swallowed by tulle. She’s still miles ahead of anything voice wise. If she doesn’t qualify for the Final in Liverpool there… Read more »

GojoSatoru
GojoSatoru
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake

As someone who has Ai Coraçao by far as favorite while thinking Festival da Cançao is the strongest selection of the Eurovision pre-season, I must agree based of Mimicat’s staging decisions.

Maybe I just set my expectations too high, but I expected the staging to be a reception room of a big Victorian style hotel with chic stairs in it. With Mimicat playing coy with the man she’s supposed to be in love with according to the lyrics of the song.

Based
Based
1 year ago
Reply to  GojoSatoru

That’d be fun!

Lorena
Lorena
1 year ago

For me, Mimicat’s performance was better but I prefer Claudia’s song.

Filipe
Filipe
1 year ago

Mimicat BY FAR! Cláudia already her opportunity and went wrong. Portugal, choose smart 😉

Zanoni
Zanoni
1 year ago

Excellent show. I felt like I liked almost everything a little better after watching it. Mimicat in particular was an absolute force.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago

You Can’t Win Charlie Brown is on such another level compared to the other entries. What a magnificent three minutes that was.

Jos
Jos
1 year ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

Biggest surprise for me. I got Elbow vibes when listening to it

Elsa
1 year ago

Th Charlie Brown was the highlight for me!

Mbappe
Mbappe
1 year ago

The Charlie Brown band and Mimicat would each make for yet another great Portuguese entry and this was just the “weaker” semifinal, FdC is just on another level this year.

Dida
Dida
1 year ago

Claudia Pascoal is the same one that got 0 points for Portugal in 2019, and yet she’s competing again… With a song even worse than O Jardim, and yet she’s already a finalist? I’ll be preparing my popcorn, waiting for them to pick her again, so that she could score another 0 points for Portugal 😉

SirLimo
SirLimo
1 year ago
Reply to  Dida

She never got 0 points, stop lying

Based
Based
1 year ago
Reply to  Dida

It wasn’t 2019…

Ricooric
Ricooric
1 year ago
Reply to  Dida

She competed in 2018 and she got 21 jury points and 18 points from the public. So no 2019 and no 0 points.

Hold My Twinkie
Hold My Twinkie
1 year ago
Reply to  Dida

Sometimes it pays to check your facts before posting and looking stupid.

Jake
Jake
1 year ago
Reply to  Dida

Host countries rarely do well when they host because both juries and televoters are not predispose to vote for someone that just won unless of it’s something that truly stands out. Look at Austria, Netherlands, Israel — list goes on in modern Eurovision. Also—from the standpoint of FdC—Portuguese broadcaster chooses songwriters not singers for songs. She was asked to represent the song by Isaura. It wasn’t her song. Her style is more this that O Jardim.

L’oiseau
L’oiseau
1 year ago
Reply to  Dida

What makes you think she will win. There are other contenders. So safe your popcorn for another time

Miss Uncongeniality
Miss Uncongeniality
1 year ago

I didn’t like the show, and didn’t like all the entries… the only thing i liked was the performance of Blanca Paloma

Atlas
1 year ago

Española?

Esc addict / Shut up and watch my ...
Esc addict / Shut up and watch my ...
1 year ago

Portugal has some really good options that could really be a success for Eurovision 3 years in a row, and I must say the lighting during the performances is OUTSTANDING, it’s impressive.

Benito Camelo
Benito Camelo
1 year ago

Portugal has been another country at ESC ever since Salvador Sobral won and I really LOVE that change!

Esc addict / Shut up and watch my ...
Esc addict / Shut up and watch my ...
1 year ago
Reply to  Benito Camelo

True I can feel this changes too, and it seems they made the good changes seeing their results the last 2 years. I’m happy that Portugal got rewarded.

Caliope
Caliope
1 year ago

Neon soho were my 3rd choice. My guess was that they got televote points and jury sank them because it’s in English. Could be wrong, but I’m surprised it was not in the first 6 semifinalists.

Lito
Lito
1 year ago
Reply to  Caliope

Haven’t we given up on the song being in english excuse after The Black Mamba won?

Caliope
Caliope
1 year ago
Reply to  Caliope

Nahh it’s complicated tho. Portuguese jury is Portuguese first. Public isn’t that biased, they just go for the song they like best, regardless of idiom.
The televote winner of that year was NEEV. I’m still salty the jury tank it so badly. The jury winner that year was a song sang in Portuguese both on their semifinal and the final.

L’oiseau
L’oiseau
1 year ago
Reply to  Caliope

But NEEV is part of the jury. And Maro sings mainly in English. I don’t think that this particular jury is that biased

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
1 year ago

Claudia was the highlight of the night! She deserves to win after her moving and grooving performance. A billion times better than Au Jardin!

rjplopes
rjplopes
1 year ago

No to be pedantic, but is “O Jardim”.

Esc addict / Shut up and watch my ...
Esc addict / Shut up and watch my ...
1 year ago

It’s a portuguese song with a title in portuguese, respect that .

AlexisMateoFan45
AlexisMateoFan45
1 year ago

It didn’t come across as disrespectful tbh. Portuguese spelling is very counter intuitive for anyone who isn’t a native speaker, especially for those who speak other latin languages, since the words are similar but the way you write them is different.

L’oiseau
L’oiseau
1 year ago

All great choices! Really happy that April Ivy didn’t make it as the song was nothing special and her vocals atrocious.
Never understood her appeal and this night just confirmed it.

AlexisMateoFan45
AlexisMateoFan45
1 year ago

Only right choices were made here, for once I have nothing to complain about haha

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago

And the wild card went to Neon Soho! Yay!

Danny K
Danny K
1 year ago

I don’t have the live stream up, who’s the entry that got in because their phone line wasn’t working?

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago
Reply to  Danny K

They haven’t said it and they haven’t disclosed the jury and televote results either (last year they already did the same if I’m not remembering wrongly). We’ll have to wait to find out.

Caliope
Caliope
1 year ago
Reply to  Sabrina

It was nr 10. People on Instagram said there was an error when they called and couldn’t vote for it

Shiningstar
Shiningstar
1 year ago
Reply to  Sabrina

They did say it. When they announced the sixth they said it was the one with the problem, “sapatos de cimento”

Lacrymea
Lacrymea
1 year ago
Reply to  Danny K

Song 10 (Sapatos de Cimento). The host let that one slip – he shouldn’t have – and there were some reports online during voting.

Michael J
Michael J
1 year ago
Reply to  Danny K

They didnt say, of course daaaaa??

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago

Blanca Paloma; I’m a big fan of your singing. Thank you so much! (And I’m so sorry and embarrassed for getting your name wrong before.)

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago

Blanca Paloma campaigning in Portugal with an acoustic version of “EaEa”. She can do no wrong, flawless as usual.

Alex
Alex
1 year ago

All the feels with Blanca again.
Just a voice and a guitar. Music

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago

There was a technical issue with the televote for one of the entries and RTP decided to send it to the final, that’s why we’ll have 7 and not 6 qualifiers tonight.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  Sabrina

Good news, maybe.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago

I’m really happy with these qualifiers. Now Neon Soho needs to be 7th if there’s another round still.

MALTESER
MALTESER
1 year ago

So we’re getting 14 finalists?

Alaska
Alaska
1 year ago
Reply to  MALTESER

No. There will be 13 finalists in the final instead of 12. Unless there’s another technical issue in the second semi…

rjplopes
rjplopes
1 year ago
Reply to  MALTESER

No, we’re getting 13 finalist. There was a problem with one of the telephone lines that prevented the votes from being counted for a certain contestant. As a matter of fairness, RTP decided that this competitor would be counted automatically.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago

So, apparently phone lines have re-opened in order to select an extra wildcard qualifier.

Alex
Alex
1 year ago

You can’t win Charlie Brown and SAL made it. Quality.

MaryFT
MaryFT
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex

I am super happy about that. And Esse Povo is also a great surprise!

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago

When does the bonus qualifer get announced or decided?

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

They said the voting will be open for 15 minutes.

They also mentioned that some technical issues happened and that’s why 6 qualified instead of 5 from the first round of voting. I wasn’t watching earlier, so I don’t know what happened.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  Sabrina

Yes, this is what I have been told as well. I think two of the top 5 might have tied, and the computer said “six then”

MaryFT
MaryFT
1 year ago
Reply to  Sabrina

One of the contestant’s line was not working for a while. Therefore, that contestant has been automatically qualified.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  MaryFT

Ahhh, thanks. I hope it isn’t too obvious who the contestant was.

MaryFT
MaryFT
1 year ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

It’s not. I think all the contestants that pass had good chances before the vote and the voting places were not announced. Maybe we get some information soon because the people who tried to vote on that act could not actually vote.

Lacrymea
Lacrymea
1 year ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

It was. Unfortunately, the host let it slip. It was Sapatos de Cimento.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago

The qualifiers are: Churky, Cláudia Pascoal, Mimicat, You Can’t Win, Charlie Brown, Sal & Esse Povo.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago

Justice for Neon Soho!

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

Neon Soho might still win the wildcard slot.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

Justice has been served.

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago

Churky, Cláudia Pascoal, Esse Povo, Mimicat, SAL and You Can’t Win Charlie Brown qualified to the final.

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago
Reply to  Sabrina

The audience will still have an opportunity to pick another finalist. (Neon Soho, please!)

L’oiseau
L’oiseau
1 year ago

Hello! My favorite by far: You can’t win Charlie Brown. It would be such a great moment in Liverpool. But Mimicat is the most obvious choice… And why does RTP insists on this loooooong and tedious remaining show… rrrrrr

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  L’oiseau

Because it’s a “festival”, of course. 🙂
Plus programming schedules, advertising slots, paid guests, an actual long voting window and time allowed for the technology to go wrong (unlike in Denmark).

MaryFT
MaryFT
1 year ago
Reply to  L’oiseau

Uhm I think it’s tedious for people that are not Portuguese. Thankfully the show is made for Portuguese audience ?

L’oiseau
L’oiseau
1 year ago
Reply to  MaryFT

I am Portuguese 🙂

Based
Based
1 year ago
Reply to  L’oiseau

You know they gotta have the time to make the cash flow..!

L’oiseau
L’oiseau
1 year ago
Reply to  Based

Yes, that must be the reason…

Anoni
Anoni
1 year ago

Claudia and Neon soho are my winners of tonight

Colin
Colin
1 year ago

Portugal and San Marino really decided to keep us awake as long as possible.

Maldric
Maldric
1 year ago

Very good 1st semi final well done Portugal
my favourite is Sal 🙂

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
1 year ago
Reply to  Maldric

Have they chosen the qualifiers yet or is the show still going?

GreenLeaves
GreenLeaves
1 year ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

Still going

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

Still going. Not too late to tune in.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

No thanks. I will wait for the results later. I’ll just listen to the songs or watch the semifinal one performances. that’s all I care about.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago

I was about to make a late dinner. I have to remember not to use too much sauce.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

I think you used it all up with your Benjamin joke.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

Yeah, I’m actually surprised Benjamin didn’t pick up more televotes. I did genuinely think he would come from behind, but nooo

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

He will find some solace somewhere, I’m sure.

Roelof M
Roelof M
1 year ago

Portugal has so much to choose from already, and this is only the first semi! Mimicat would be an obvious fantastic choice, and Neon Soho and Claudia also really elevated for me tonight! But “You Can’t Win Charlie Brown” absolutely won me over, fantastic performance that could only really come from Portugal. I don’t know how well it would do in a non-jury semi (especially one as though as SF1 this year), but it would smash the juries should it qualify.

Raul Lopes Simao
Raul Lopes Simao
1 year ago

Neon Soho . It’s contemporary . And edgy. And she sing it soooooo well. Then Claudia Pascoal, YCWCB and Esse Povo

Mbappe
Mbappe
1 year ago

Mimicat and Charlie Brown should be safe qualifiers and then I’m hoping the jury vote could also somehow get BOLHA over the line, they really deserve to make the final at least.

Drico
Drico
1 year ago

As a Portuguese, I’m so happy to see the evolution of the FdC. It makes me so happy. It seems that RTP is paying attention and it is putting a lot of effort in putting on a great show! ?

My qualifiers: Mimicat, Claudia, Neon Soho, Sal and Churky

Mbappe
Mbappe
1 year ago

Definitely rooting for Mimicat if it’s gonna be between her and Claudia, Nasci Maria repeats the same thing for exactly half of the song, just too repetitive to be allowed to win in such a strong field.

Roro31
Roro31
1 year ago

My qualifiers :

  • Mimicat
  • Claudia Pascoal
  • You Can’t Win Charlie Brown
  • Neon Soho
  • Sal

The 6th : Churky

Maldric
Maldric
1 year ago

A very decent semi final…Portugal got their roots at eurovision they will send whatever they want as usual

Colin
Colin
1 year ago

My qualifiers:
– Nasci Maria
– Ai Curacao
– Contraste Mudo
– Encruzilhada
– Sapatos di Cimento

Good luck, Portugal! As it most often is, top songs are really good in FdC.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

Honorable mention goes to Neon Soho. Great performance, and grew on me tonight. Wouldn’t mind to see them in the finals.

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

You can include them to your qualifiers, because 6 will make it. 5 from the combination of jury and televote and then there’s a new round of voting so the audience can pick another one.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago
Reply to  Sabrina

Cool! Then those are my 6 qualifiers. 🙂

MaryFT
MaryFT
1 year ago

Sal, YCWCB and Esse Povo are definitely the best songs of this semi. I will be glad if one of them wins. Neon Soho was a good surprise

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago

Now that was a super strong semi. Cláudia, Mimicat, Neon Soho and You Can’t Win Charlie Brown should be obvious qualifiers. Any of them would probably get Portugal at least to my top 10 in Eurovision.

I’m also hoping for SAL to make it. This would leave a final spot for Bolha, Churky or Esse Povo and I would be fine with any outcome.

MaryFT
MaryFT
1 year ago
Reply to  Sabrina

I agree with you, except for Claudia. Very underwhelming. I would be kind of upset if we choose that for Eurovision

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago
Reply to  MaryFT

It’s hard to tell who’ll go to Eurovision yet. Though based on the streaming numbers, Mimicat arrive tonight as a possible frontrunner to win the televote.

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago
Reply to  Sabrina

I agree with your top 4, objectively speaking they should not be in danger. But I have a hard time not seeing Bolha advancing after that vocal performance, although I’d prefer SAL and Esse Povo making it, speaking strictly about the songs.

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

I guess Bolha’s and SAL’s fates are on the hands of the jury. I can see Esse Povo doing better in a combination of jury and televote.

Kosey
Kosey
1 year ago

Esse Povo are so joyous. They have gone and put me in a right good mood. A great way to end the semi.

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago

I really like Esse Povo and “Sapatos de Cimento” is so happy in a non annoying and non trivial way, it’s infectious.