Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Member stationRTP
National selection events
National final
  • Festival da Canção[a]
  • 1964–1969
  • 1971–1987
  • 1989–1999
  • 2001
  • 2003 (song)
  • 2004
  • 2006–2012
  • 2014–2015
  • 2017–2023
Internal selection
  • 1976 (artist)
  • 1988
  • 2003 (artist)
  • 2005
Participation summary
Appearances53 (44 finals)
First appearance1964
Highest placement1st: 2017
Nul points1964, 1997
External links
RTP page
Portugal's page at Eurovision.tv
Song contest current event.png For the most recent participation see
Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest 2022

Portugal has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 53 times since its debut at the 1964 contest. Since then it has missed five contests (1970, 2000, 2002, 2013 and 2016). The contest is broadcast in Portugal by Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP). Portugal won the contest for the first time in 2017 and hosted the 2018 contest in Lisbon.

Portugal finished last on its debut in 1964 and again in 1974, before achieving its best result of the 20th century in 1996, with Lúcia Moniz finishing sixth. The country then finished last for the third time in 1997. Having not appeared in the final since 2010 and as holders of the record for most appearances in the contest without a win, Portugal won at the 49th attempt, when Salvador Sobral won the 2017 contest with the song "Amar pelos dois", Portugal's first top-five result in the contest. As hosts in 2018, the country finished last in the contest for a fourth time.


Luísa and Salvador Sobral, ESC 2017 Winner's press conference

Portugal's debut entry was António Calvário with "Oração". It was not a successful debut for the country, with Calvário coming last in the contest. Since then, Portugal has come last on three further occasions, in 1974, when Paulo de Carvalho sang "E depois do adeus", in 1997, when Célia Lawson performed "Antes do adeus" and in 2018 as a host country. Despite its last-place finish in the contest, "E depois do adeus" gained notability for being used as the radio musical signal to begin the Carnation Revolution against the Estado Novo regime, being played at 22:55 on 24 April 1974.[1] Prior to their sixth-place finish for Lúcia Moniz, with the song "O meu coração não tem cor" in 1996, Portugal's best result in the contest was two seventh-place finishes, for Carlos Mendes in 1972 and José Cid in 1980. Despite having some really weak results, the 90s were the most successful decade for the country, reaching the top 10 four times. Portugal had admission to take part in the 2000 and 2002 contest but refused. Its place was taken by Latvia both times, which ended up winning the contest in the latter year.

Since semi-finals were introduced in 2004, Portugal has failed to reach the final eight times, including from 2004 to 2007. In 2008, Vânia Fernandes finished 13th with the song "Senhora do mar", Portugal's best result since 1996. The country continued to be present in the final until 2010. In 2017, Portugal reached the finals with Salvador Sobral's entry, "Amar pelos dois", ending a 6-year non-appearance in the finals, as it did not participate in the contest in 2013 and 2016 and did not qualify for the finals in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015, finally winning the contest for the first time ever, earning 758 points, setting the record for the highest number of points in the history of the competition, topping both the televoting and jury voting for the first time since Austria's "Rise Like a Phoenix" in 2014. It was the first winning song entirely performed in a country's native language since Serbia's "Molitva" in 2007. As the host country in 2018, Portugal came last for the fourth time in the contest, and for the first time in a non-joint last position. This was the third instance of a host country placing in the bottom five since 2015. In 2021, Portugal's first-ever entry sung entirely in English, "Love Is on My Side" by The Black Mamba, came in 12th place in the final. In 2022, Maro with "Saudade, saudade" finished in ninth place in the final.


Portugal has been absent from five contests since their first participation. The country's first absence was in 1970, where Portugal, along with four other countries, boycotted the contest due to the result of the previous year, when four countries were announced the winner.[2]

Portugal missed the 2000 contest due to their poor average results over the past five years. Despite being eligible to enter the 2002 contest, RTP declined to enter, and was replaced by eventual winner Latvia.[3]

The fourth absence was in 2013, when Portugal didn't participate for financial reasons.[4]

The fifth absence was in 2016.[5] RTP mentioned that this break was needed in order to facilitate a content renewal for its national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, Festival da Canção.[6]

Festival da Canção[edit]

Festival da Canção (sometimes referred to as "Festival RTP da Canção") is the Portuguese national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, organized by RTP, and is normally held between February and March of the year of the contest. It is one of the longest-running Eurovision selection methods. Previously a number of regional juries selected the winner, however, the winner has been selected through televoting in recent years. In 2009, 2010 and since 2017, a 50/50 system between regional juries and televoting has been used.

In the years when Portugal does not participate in the contest, the Festival da Canção was not held, except in two occasions: in 1970, when Portugal boycotted the contest, and in 2000, when the country was relegated.

Participation overview[edit]

Table key
Second place
Last place
Entry selected but did not compete
Year Entrant Song Language Final Points Semi Points
1964 António Calvário "Oração" Portuguese 13 ◁ 0 No semi-finals
1965 Simone de Oliveira "Sol de inverno" Portuguese 13 1
1966 Madalena Iglésias "Ele e ela" Portuguese 13 6
1967 Eduardo Nascimento "O vento mudou" Portuguese 12 3
1968 Carlos Mendes "Verão" Portuguese 11 5
1969 Simone de Oliveira "Desfolhada portuguesa" Portuguese 15 4
1971 Tonicha "Menina do alto da serra" Portuguese 9 83
1972 Carlos Mendes "A festa da vida" Portuguese 7 90
1973 Fernando Tordo "Tourada" Portuguese 10 80
1974 Paulo de Carvalho "E depois do adeus" Portuguese 14 ◁ 3
1975 Duarte Mendes "Madrugada" Portuguese 16 16
1976 Carlos do Carmo "Uma flor de verde pinho" Portuguese 12 24
1977 Os Amigos "Portugal no coração" Portuguese 14 18
1978 Gemini "Dai li dou" Portuguese 17 5
1979 Manuela Bravo "Sobe, sobe, balão sobe" Portuguese 9 64[b]
1980 José Cid "Um grande, grande amor" Portuguese 7 71
1981 Carlos Paião "Playback" Portuguese 18 9
1982 Doce "Bem bom" Portuguese 13 32
1983 Armando Gama "Esta balada que te dou" Portuguese 13 33
1984 Maria Guinot "Silêncio e tanta gente" Portuguese 11 38
1985 Adelaide "Penso em ti, eu sei" Portuguese 18 9
1986 Dora "Não sejas mau para mim" Portuguese 14 28
1987 Nevada "Neste barco à vela" Portuguese 18 15
1988 Dora "Voltarei" Portuguese 18 5
1989 Da Vinci "Conquistador" Portuguese 16 39
1990 Nucha "Há sempre alguém" Portuguese 20 9
1991 Dulce "Lusitana paixão" Portuguese 8 62
1992 Dina "Amor d'água fresca" Portuguese 17 26
1993 Anabela "A cidade (até ser dia)" Portuguese 10 60 Kvalifikacija za Millstreet
1994 Sara Tavares "Chamar a música" Portuguese 8 73 No semi-finals
1995 Tó Cruz "Baunilha e chocolate" Portuguese 21 5
1996 Lúcia Moniz "O meu coração não tem cor" Portuguese 6 92 18 32
1997 Célia Lawson "Antes do adeus" Portuguese 24 ◁ 0 No semi-finals
1998 Alma Lusa "Se eu te pudesse abraçar" Portuguese 12 36
1999 Rui Bandeira "Como tudo começou" Portuguese 21 12
2001 MTM "Só sei ser feliz assim" Portuguese 17 18
2003 Rita Guerra "Deixa-me sonhar" Portuguese, English 22 13
2004 Sofia Vitória "Foi magia" Portuguese Failed to qualify 15 38
2005 2B "Amar" Portuguese, English 17 51
2006 Nonstop "Coisas de nada" Portuguese, English 19 26
2007 Sabrina "Dança comigo" Portuguese[c] 11 88
2008 Vânia Fernandes "Senhora do mar (negras águas)" Portuguese 13 69 2 120
2009 Flor-de-Lis "Todas as ruas do amor" Portuguese 15 57 8 70
2010 Filipa Azevedo "Há dias assim" Portuguese 18 43 4 89
2011 Homens da Luta "A luta é alegria" Portuguese Failed to qualify 18 22
2012 Filipa Sousa "Vida minha" Portuguese 13 39
2014 Suzy "Quero ser tua" Portuguese 11 39
2015 Leonor Andrade "Há um mar que nos separa" Portuguese 14 19
2017 Salvador Sobral "Amar pelos dois" Portuguese 1 758 1 370
2018 Cláudia Pascoal "O jardim" Portuguese 26 ◁ 39 Host country[d]
2019 Conan Osíris "Telemóveis" Portuguese Failed to qualify 15 51
2020 Elisa "Medo de sentir" Portuguese Contest cancelled[e] X
2021 The Black Mamba "Love Is on My Side" English 12 153 4 239
2022 Maro "Saudade, saudade" English, Portuguese 9 207 4 208
2023 Mimicat "Ai coração" Portuguese Upcoming TBA 9 May 2023


Year Location Venue Presenters Image
2018 Lisbon Altice Arena Catarina Furtado, Daniela Ruah, Filomena Cautela and Sílvia Alberto Eurovision 2018 Hosts 03.jpg


Marcel Bezençon Awards[edit]

Year Category Song Composer Performer Final Points Host city Ref.
2008 Press Award "Senhora do mar (negras águas)" Andrej Babić, Carlos Coelho Vânia Fernandes 13 69 Serbia Belgrade
2017 Artistic Award[f] "Amar pelos dois" Luísa Sobral Salvador Sobral 1 758 Ukraine Kyiv
Composer Award

Barbara Dex Award[edit]

Year Performer Host city Ref.
2006 Nonstop Greece Athens
2019 Conan Osiris Israel Tel Aviv

Related involvement[edit]


Year Conductor[g] Notes Ref.
1964 Denmark Kai Mortensen [11]
1965 Fernando de Carvalho
1966 Jorge Costa Pinto
1967 Armando Tavares Belo
1968 Joaquim Luis Gomes
1969 Ferrer Trindade
1971 Jorge Costa Pinto [12]
1972 United Kingdom Richard Hill
1973 Jorge Costa Pinto
1974 Jose Calvario
1975 Pedro Osorio
1976 Germany Thilo Krasmann
1977 Jose Calvario
1978 Germany Thilo Krasmann
1980 Jorge Machado [13]
1981 Shegundo Galarza
1982 Luis Duarte
1983 United Kingdom Mike Sergeant
1984 Pedro Osorio
1985 Jose Calvario
1986 United Kingdom Colin Frechter
1987 Jaime Oliveira
1988 Jose Calvario
1989 Luis Duarte
1990 Carlos Alberto Moniz
1991 Fernando Correia Martins
1992 Carlos Alberto Moniz
1993 Armindo Neves
1994 Germany Thilo Krasmann
1996 Pedro Osorio
1997 Germany Thilo Krasmann
1998 United Kingdom Mike Sergeant

Additionally, there was an orchestra present at the Portuguese national final in 1999 and 2001, where the winning entries were conducted by José Marinho and Rui Filipe Reis, respectively.

Commentators and spokespersons[edit]

Year Television commentator Radio commentator Spokesperson Ref.
1963 Unknown Unknown Did not participate
1964 Gomes Ferreira Maria Manuela Furtado
1966 Fialho Gouveia
1968 Fialho Gouveia
1969 Henrique Mendes
1970 Did not participate
1971 No spokesperson
1972 Amadeu Meireles
1973 Artur Agostinho
1974 Unknown Henrique Mendes
1975 Júlio Isidro Amadeu Meireles Ana Zanatti
1976 Unknown
1977 José Côrte-Real
1978 Eládio Clímaco Isabel Wolmar
1979 Fialho Gouveia Unknown João Abel da Fonseca
1980 Isabel Wolmar Teresa Cruz
1981 Eládio Clímaco Margarida Andrade
1982 Fialho Gouveia
1983 Eládio Clímaco João Abel Fonseca
1984 Fialho Gouveia Eládio Clímaco
1985 Eládio Clímaco Maria Margarida Gaspar
1986 Fialho Gouveia Fialho Gouveia Margarida Andrade
1987 Maria Margarida Gaspar Unknown Ana Zanatti
1988 Margarida Andrade Maria Margarida Gaspar
1989 Ana Zanatti Margarida Andrade
1990 Ana do Carmo João Abel Fonseca
1991 Maria Margarida Gaspar
1992 Eládio Clímaco Ana Zanatti
1993 Isabel Bahia Margarida Mercês de Mello
1994 Eládio Clímaco Isabel Bahia
1995 Ana do Carmo Serenella Andrade
1996 Maria Margarida Gaspar Cristina Rocha
1997 Carlos Ribeiro
1998 Rui Unas Lúcia Moniz
1999 João David Nunes Manuel Luís Goucha
2000 Eládio Clímaco Unknown Did not participate
2001 Margarida Mercês de Mello
2002 Did not participate
2003 Margarida Mercês de Mello Helena Ramos
2004 Eládio Clímaco Isabel Angelino
2006 Cristina Alves
2007 Isabel Angelino, Jorge Gabriel Francisco Mendes
2008 Teresa Villa-Lobos
2009 Hélder Reis No radio broadcast Helena Coelho
2010 Sérgio Mateus Ana Galvão
2011 Sílvia Alberto Joana Teles
2012 Pedro Granger
2013 Sílvia Alberto Did not participate
2014 Joana Teles
2015 Hélder Reis, Ramon Galarza Suzy
2016 Hélder Reis, Nuno Galopim (final) Did not participate
2017 José Carlos Malato, Nuno Galopim Filomena Cautela
2018 Hélder Reis, Nuno Galopim Noémia Gonçalves, António Macedo, Tozé Brito Pedro Fernandes
2019 José Carlos Malato, Nuno Galopim Unknown Inês Lopes Gonçalves
2021 Elisa Silva
2022 Nuno Galopim Pedro Tatanka


In the late 1990s the English actor and comedian Steve Coogan created the character "Tony Ferrino" for his television comedy series. "Tony Ferrino" is supposedly a Portuguese singer and winner of the Eurovision Song Contest; he is a stereotype based on singers and entertainers often seen on European television programmes in the 1970s and 1980s. The BBC produced a one-off programme The Tony Ferrino Phenomenon in 1997.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Festival da Canção was also held in 1970 and 2000, although Portugal did not participate in either of those years.
  2. ^ During the voting announcement, due to a misunderstanding by the presenter Yardena Arazi, Spain appeared to award 10 points to both Portugal and Israel and these scores were added to the scoreboard. After the programme, verification confirmed that Portugal should only have received six points, leaving the total Portuguese score reduced by four points to 64.
  3. ^ Also contains phrases in English, French and Spanish.
  4. ^ If a country had won the previous year, they did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year.
  5. ^ The 2020 contest was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  6. ^ Voted by commentators.
  7. ^ All conductors are of Portuguese nationality unless otherwise noted.


  1. ^ The Eurovision song that made Portuguese history - second Semi-Final - Eurovision 2018, Official Youtube Eurovision Channel, 10.05.2018
  2. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy. The Eurovision Song Contest - The Official History. Carlton Books, UK. 2007 ISBN 978-1-84442-994-3
  3. ^ Bakker, Sietse (29 November 2002). "EBU confirmed: Portugal resigns, Latvia is in". esctoday.com. ESCToday. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 29 November 2002.
  4. ^ Jiandani, Sanjay (22 November 2012). "Portugal will not participate in Eurovision 2013". esctoday.com. ESCToday. Archived from the original on 8 June 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  5. ^ Jiandani, Sanjay (7 October 2015). "Portugal: RTP will not participate in Eurovision 2016". esctoday.com. ESCToday. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  6. ^ Antunes, Rui Pedro (15 May 2017). "Portugal: Preparem o MEO Arena. E 30 milhões. Vem aí a Eurovisão". Observador. Observador. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  7. ^ Floras, Stella (27 May 2008). "The 2008 Bezençon Awards winners". esctoday.com. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Winners of the Marcel Bezençon Awards 2017". eurovision.tv. 14 May 2017. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  9. ^ Adams, William Lee (9 July 2015). "Poll: Who was the worst dressed Barbara Dex Award winner?". Wiwibloggs. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  10. ^ van Lith, Nick (26 May 2019). "Conan Osiris wins the Barbara Dex Award 2019". escxtra.com. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  11. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (2012). Songs for Europe: The United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. Vol. One: The 1950s and 1960s. Prestatyn: Telos Publishing. pp. 93–101. ISBN 978-1-84583-065-6.
  12. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (2014). Songs for Europe: The United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. Vol. Two: The 1970s. Prestatyn: Telos Publishing. pp. 142–168. ISBN 978-1-84583-093-9.
  13. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (2016). Songs for Europe: The United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. Vol. Three: The 1980s. Prestatyn: Telos Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84583-118-9.
  14. ^ "Nuno Galopim também será comentador da Eurovisão". Portal dos Programas. 2017-04-14. Archived from the original on 2017-04-21. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  15. ^ "Filomena Cautela é a porta-voz de Portugal na Grande Final do Festival Eurovisão 2017". www.escportugal.pt. Archived from the original on 2017-05-04.
  16. ^ "ESC2019: José Carlos Malato e Nuno Galopim são os comentadores da transmissão da RTP". ESCPortugal (in Portuguese). 4 May 2019. Archived from the original on 4 May 2019. Retrieved 18 November 2019.