Portugal 2021: The Black Mamba to Eurovision after Festival da Canção victory

The Grand Final of the Festival da Canção 2021 took place tonight. Ten acts competed to represent Portugal at the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, after two exciting semi-finals. However, in the end it was The Black Mamba who won the competition with Love Is On My Side.

Tonight Portugal celebrated the final of the 2021 Festival da Canção. Ten acts competed to represent Portugal at Eurovision. The traditional music festival brought us different tastes of Portuguese music, from the most traditional sounds to pop and electronic. Apart from this the language diversity of Portuguese music was present on stage. Furthermore, two acts in English were performed for the Grand Final: NEEV and The Black Mamba who won the contest. Therefore, the Black Mambas became the first Portuguese act ever in Eurovision to perform in English.

The first semi-final took place on February 20 and the second semi-final the next week on February 27.

Result of Festival da Canção 2021

Ten acts competed in the grand semi-final. For the semi-finals a televote combined with the result from a jury panel of professional musicians selected the qualifiers for the Grand Final.

However, for the night of the final the jury vote was split in seven regional jury panels. The final result was determined by a 50/50 televote and the votes from the regional juries. During the show, Filomena Cautela announced that the Festival da Canção 2021 saw a record number of people voting for the final.

The Black Mambas got the same number of points as Carolina Deslandes. However, the Black Mambas had the biggest number points of points from the televote and became the winner.

The show

In Portugal, they are one hour behind Central European Time. The Portuguese Final kicked off at 21:00 local time, 22:00 CET. Filomena Cautela, who hosted the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon, joined forces with Vasco Palmeirim to host the Festival da Canção 2021 final.

Filomena and Vasco opened up the show with a monologue where they addressed the elephant in the room by mentioning the awkward situation of hosting the final without an audience. They even joked about using “pre-recorded claps” from the 1972 Festival da Canção. Comedian Inês Lopes Gonçalves joined Filomena and Vasco singing around the studios of RTP a parody song about the show.

Similar to what happened in the semi-finals, short clips introduced the artists in the words of people who have worked with them or know them well were played before each artist performed their song. In it, they talked about their professional lives and creative process. Inês Lopes Gonçalves was in the Green Room. After the performance, she had a short talk with all the participants.

When all the acts had performed, we revisited the 1976 edition of Festival da Canção. Back then, the Portuguese national selection saw only one singer, Carlos do Carmo. Do Carmo performed eighth songs but Uma flor de verde pinho ended up being his winning song. Ricardo Ribeira interpreted Estrela da tarde which came 6th in the 1976 Festival da Canção. Following, Ana Moura performed Uma flor de verde pinho. After Ana Moura, it was the turn of fado singer Camané to continue the tribute with a rendition of No teu poema which came third at the Festival da Canção 1976. At the end, Ricardo Ribeira, Ana Moura and Camané sung together Lisboa menina e moça, a popular Carlos do Carmo song. The Final continued its homage to Carmo with a performance by Dino D’Santiago of Os Putos.

2019 Eurovision winner Duncan Laurence recorded a video greeting the Portuguese contestants which was played. A short clip on the history of Portuguese music scene in Paris in the decade of the 70s was played. The video continued with a tribute to the work of Sergio Godinho, Jose Afonso and José Mário Branco. Clã , Claudia Pascoal (Portugal 2018) and Filipe Sambado took the stage to pay tribute to these three eminent singers. Sergio Godinho later joined them to sing O novo normal a song inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Inês Lopes Gonçalves came back to the Green Room and asked questions to the contestants to see how much they knew about the previous Portuguese contestants on Eurovision and the Festival da Canção. After the lines were closed Filomena, Vasco and Inês sung together “the eleventh song” in the contest.

Elisa who was due to represent Portugal last year performed her winning song Medo da Sentir.

Act Song Title Jury Televote Result
The Black Mamba Love Is On My Side 10 10 20
Carolina Deslandes Por Um Triz 12 8 20
NEEV Dancing In the Stars 5 12 17
Sara Afonso Contramão 8 5 13
Valéria Na Mais Profunda Saudade 3 7 10
Karetus, Romeu Bairos Saudade 4 6 10
Joana Alegre Joana Do Mar 6 3 9
EU.CLIDES Volte-Face 7 2 9
Pedro Gonçalves Não vou ficar 1 4 5
Fábia Maia Dia lindo 2 1 3

Portugal at the Eurovision Song Contest

The Portuguese Eurovision journey is quite a roller coaster. There’s one big high in terms of their 2017 victory by Salvador Sobral. From that victory it however went steep down with a last place in 2018 and a non-final qualification in 2019.

Over the years, Portugal did achieve other good results, but they never a solid period. To find three years in a row with top 10 results, one need to go back to 1971-1973. Up until the victory in 2017, their last top 10 result dates back to Lúcia Moniz in 1996.

Out of the 16 participations since in the past two decades, Portugal failed to qualify for the final 9 times.

In the embedded video below you can watch a special version of Salvador & Luisa Sobral perform the 2017 winning entry Amar Pelos Dois:

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