Festival da Canção: Portugal is about to pick the song for Tel Aviv

We are about to find out who is the winner of Festival da Canção 2019, the portuguese national selection. 2 years after Salvador Sobral’s historical victory and almost 12 months after Portugal had hosted Eurovision Song Contest for the first time ever, the entire country and people from all around Europe are very thrilled about tomorrow night’s decision. But let’s start from the beginning.


It all started last February 16th, when the first semifinal took place in RTP studios. Ana Cláudia, João Campos, Soraia Tavares, Calema, Conan Osíris, Ela Limão, Filipe Keil and Matay had been the invited singers and their 8 songs were competing against each other, trying to get one of the four available qualifying spots. In other words, the four most punctuated songs of the evening would qualify to the Grand Final, after adding the points of the jury and the public, in a 50/50 voting system.

That semifinal was dominated by one name that conquered portuguese hearts and european opinions, Conan Osíris. Presenting an alternative, ehtnic and electronic song, “Telemóveis”, Conan showed us something never seen before in the history of Festival da Canção and also in Eurovision. Accompanied by his usual dancer, he did a strong and dark performance, in a controvertial and mysterious way, which immediately divided the country into views of love and hate. However, at the end of the evening, it finished 2nd overall, having received 12 points from the public but only 7 points from the juries.

Nonetheless, the winner of the first semifinal was Matay, with the song “Perfeito”. With 12 points given by the juries and 10 points awarded by the public voting, “Perfeito” is a classy  Disney ballad, sung by a worderful voice and composed by a great musician, Tiago Machado. The song has some ‘Amar Pelos Dois” vibes, with a beautiful piano basis and a marvellous orchestration…so, it was obviously the most consensual song of the evening, pleasing the more conservative public and not disappointing the most alternative one.

The other two qualifiers in this semifinal were Calema with the song “A Dois” and Ana Cláudia with “Inércia”. Calema were sure qualifiers, as they are now one of the most respected artists in the maistream portuguese music and had presented us a very radio-friendly song, bringing to Festival da Canção something fresh and modern. On the other hand, Ana Cláudia was the bigest surprise of the evening, as there were strongest entries in the competition like “É o que é” by João Campos, and “Hoje” by Filipe Keil. However, Ana Cláudia presented us a pleasent alternative ballad in a solid performance and apparently it was enough to qualify.


One week later, on February 23rd, the second seminal took place in RTP studios, again, and presented us other 8 singers for another 4 qualifying spots. Lara Laquiz, Dan Riverman, Mariana Bragada, João Couto, Madrepaz, Surma, Mila Dores, NBC were the lucky ones… In a considered weaker semifinal, comparing to the first one, two singers were soon named favourites: Surma and NBC.

Surma brought to Festival da Canção something never seen before in history of the contest, like Conan did in the first semifinal…an artisitc, futuristic and alternative electonic song, “Pugna”… With the best staging of the night, she proved on stage that Festival da Canção is starting the show other musical genres of this new generation of portuguese music. Surma represents the future, music from another galaxy, and maybe some people in Portugal and abroad are not prepared for a song like this, in 2019’s song competition. Even so, she got the second place in the voting process, receiving 12 points from the juries and 6 points from the public.

NBC, however, was the winner of this semifinal. The hip-hop artist, and an assumed fan of Festival da Canção and Eurovision for a long time, sang “ Igual a Ti” in a simple but powerful permance. Alone on stage, NBC showed us that, if you really believe in the message you’re trying to send through music, you can really be effective on your performance. Overall, he got 12 points from the public and 10 points from the juries.

Addionally, Madrepaz and Mariana Bragada were the last ones who got the qualification for the grand final of the competition. With the ballads “Mundo a Mudar” and “Mar Doce”, respectively, on tomorrow’s show, they add more diversity to the show, proving that Festival da Canção is nowadays one of the most complete showcases of cultural and artistic national diversity among Europe.


 So, here we are, 24 hours before the final show of Festival da Canção 2019. 8 artists and thousands of fans will join tomorrow evening at Portimão Arena, almost 300 km from Lisbon. It’s the first big cultural event of the year and the entire country is talking about the show, with many newspaper and Tv Shows trying to guess who will represent Portugal in TelAviv, next May, on Eurovision Song Contest.





“A Dois”


Mariana Bragada

“Mar Doce”









“Igual a Ti”



“Mundo a Mudar”


Conan Osíris



Ana Cláudia


Conan Osíris is clearly the hot favourite to win the entire show, with his unique style and futuristic vision having many supporters in Portugal and all over Europe. In a european phenomenon very similar to the one who brought Salvador Sobral to the spotlight, Conan has becoming the main star of a movement that defends that he can seriously bring Eurovision back to Portugal, only two years after “Amar Pelos Dois”. The big question here is if the juries all over Portugal will give him many points or not, cause portuguese people seem to be already very sure about who they want to represent them in the international contest.

Conversely, Matay is a safe choice. No one hates his song and he definitely pleases all those who supported Salvador Sobral back in 2017 and argue that Portugal should send another beautiful melodic ballad to Eurovision. But can the same formula win twice in such a short period of time?

Calema are still one of the favorites to win Festival da Canção, as they had already a lot of fans in Portugal before the contest started. The song is good although it’s not that much live, but they still have something to say tomorrow. It would represent a new era of portuguese entries on Eurovision, but normally a mainstream song sung in a non-english language doesn´t have historically many chances to get a great result in the european competion. Would this be an exception?

Addionally, Surma represents the future… Certainly, if this song was competing in 2029, it would have a lot of chances to conquer Europe and win Eurovision… However, it seems that nowadays many portuguese people don’t get it, despite the fact that it has had a lot of applauses from eurofans. Should Portugal take the risk and send this futuristic and still awesome entry? One thing is sure… she still can do it this year, as the national juries gave her 12 points in the second semifinal.

Last, but not least, it’s time to talk about NBC… He can actually be the biggest surprise of tomorrow, if Conan doesn’t win overall at the end of the night. He really wants to do it and he does have a well-produced song, having won the second semifinal with many points from the juries and the public… Of course, it might not stand out that much in Eurovision, but certaintly it wouldn’t disappoint the ones who just want to send a solid entry to the international contest.

Finally, it seems that Madrepaz and Mariana Bragada don’t have any real chances of winning tomorrow’s show, although they have quality songs. However, it’s a great opportunity for them to show their talent and artistic work, especially Mariana, who was together with Filipe Keil chosen to sing in this year’s Festival da Canção, in an open contest to anyone who wanted to participate in the festival.

What about you? Who do you think it should represent Portugal next May, in TelAviv? Do they have real chances of bringing back Eurovision to Portugal, two years after their first ever win in the contest? Let us know…

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