Portugal 2019: Conan Osíris

Festival da Canção 2019: Yet another controversial year

It is yet another controversial year for Portugal's Festival da Canção. Conan Osiris, Surma and even the acoustic entry of João Campos have been reason for some disagreement on social media. Along with those, we revisit the past years' scandalous moments.

It has become a tradition that Portugal's national selection - Festival da Canção - becomes a matter of controversy in the country. The 2019 edition is no exception. From Conan Osiris peculiar song and perfomance to Surma's dark and highly punctuated "Pugna" or to the non-qualification of "É o Que É" - composed by one of the biggest groups in Portugal at the moment - this year's show will be one to remember.

Before jumping into each of those cases, let's take a quick look at the previous years' controversial moments starting with the 2014 entry, "Quero Ser Tua".

Suzy and the supposedly rigged votes

Back in 2014 most of Portuguese fans were over the moon with the comeback of Catarina Pereira, who ranked #2 in Festival da Canção 2010 with "Canta Por Mim" composed by Andrej Babic and written by Carlos Coelho. The curse happened again and Catarina ended up as the runner-up losing to Suzy's "Quero Ser Tua" that no one saw winning back then.

Following her victory, the songwriter of "Mea Culpa" - Carlos Coelho - asked for an audit of the votes: "I find it weird that during the show's semi-final, where only one vote per phone was counted, Suzy's song ranked 5th with half of our votes. In the Grand Final, the votes were unlimited and she ranked 1st doubling ours." Fans weren't happy either and made sure to voice their opinions.

"Quero Ser Tua" ended up becoming viral for the wrong reasons in the country but almost qualified for the Eurovision's Grand Final.

Salvador Sobral: Loved by the jury, dismissed by the fans

Even though Salvador ended up bringing the trophee home in 2017, fans weren't impressed by his first performance. After the show's semi-final where Sobral won the jury vote, fans were quickly to call the jury panel "old fashioned".

On that same week, one of the members of the panel - Nuno Markl - posted Salvador Sobral's performance in his social media. The fans found his move tendentious and complained. That ended up on Nuno asking to leave the jury panel, which RTP didn't accept.

On Festival da Canção's Grand Final, Salvador Sobral ended up as the runner-up in the televote which, again, was not well seen by the fans. It's safe to say that fans only accepted "Amar Pelos Dois" better only when Portugal started becoming a favorite.

Diogo Piçarra: Plagiarism accusations

Last year's polemic was probably the biggest of them all wouldn't Diogo Piçarra be one of the main figures in Portugal's music industry.

Following his second semi-final victory, Diogo faced plagiarism accusations that ended up on his decision to leave the competition. The scandal was all over the media and even today Diogo keeps on being asked about this participation and respective scandal. You can read more about it here.

Conan Osiris, Surma and D.A.M.A.

We're back to 2019 which has, once again, the country talking about Festival da Canção.

It all started when the songs were released and the public heard Conan Osiris song "Telemóveis" for the first time. While many loved it, others dismissed it for its lyrical content. Things got more intense after his peculiar performance in the show's first semi-final where he wore a golden mask and was joined by his faithful and unique dancer.

The performance reached the 1 million views in just a week and turned itself completely viral for good and bad reasons. As for the results, fans were highly upset with the jury for ranking it 4th out of 8th in the semi-final.

In that same show, João Campos performed the song composed by D.A.M.A. "É o Que É". The entry ended up not qualifying for the show's grand final which got D.A.M.A.'s fanbase highly upset. The group is one of Portugal's main music figures at the moment.

We have Surma at last. The alternative Portuguese singer took the stage last Saturday to perform "Pugna". The whole set was dark, mysterious and quite bizarre but impressed the jury panel that awarded her 12 points - the public, on the other hand, wasn't keen on it and ranked it outside of the top 4 which has been a topic of discussion in social media for the discrepancy between the jury votes and the public vote.

Festival da Canção's Grand Final will happen next Saturday in Portimão, Algarve. The voting lines will be opened tomorrow afternoon and the public will be able to vote until the 2nd of March. The show will be hosted by Filomena Cautela and Vasco Palmeirim.

Portugal in Eurovision Song Contest

Portugal 2017: Salvador Sobral - "Amar Pelos Dois"

Portugal has participated 50 times since 1964. It was a very bad start, as they managed to get Zero Points in the debuting year. Before Eurovision 2017 they have never won the contest, and never made the top-5. In fact Portugal held the record for most appearances in the contest without a win! But that changed in 2017, where Salvador Sobral won with "Amar Pelos Dois".

Portugal 2017: Salvador Sobral - "Amar Pelos Dois"

Since the introduction of Semi-finals in 2004 Portugal only qualified for the Grand Final 5 out of 13 times.

About the author: Pedro Santos (Portugal)

authorPedro comes from Lisbon, Portugal. He's 30 years old and graduated in journalism. He has attended Eurovision Song Contest three times live - 2018, 2019 and 2022 - and covered the show twice more (2021, 2023) but his first Eurovision memory takes him back to 2007 when Sarbel delivered his catchy "Yassou Maria" performance. Pedro's favorite Eurovision song is Albania's 2015 "I'm Alive" by Elhaida Dani which is also his favorite Eurovision edition.

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