Portuguese national broadcasting company RTP released the songs that are in the running to represent Portugal at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest on Monday (Jan. 21), posting them for listening on Instagram and YouTube.
The winning song will be chosen from one of 16 contenders competing in RTP’s own “Festival da Cancao” (song contest). Two live televised semi-finals, taking place on Feb. 16 and 23, will each feature the performances of eight candidates. At the Grand Final on March 2, Eurovision’s Portuguese contestant will be chosen from among four remaining candidates.
When this year’s contest was announced, RTP representatives responded to criticism about a lack of difference among the chosen artists and songs, and promised “greater diversity” and “new music styles” for the current field of semi-finalists.
The songs were culled from about 200 submissions in a contest that was open to the Portuguese public. Judging by YouTube plays, Portugal’s front runner so far is Conan Osiris, whose song “Telemóveis,” which he composed and produced on his computer, and has been played 193,000 times so far.
The music of Osiris — the alter-ego of Lisbon native Tiago Miranda — embodies diversity with a mix of styles and sounds including fado, hip hop, techno, rock, kuduro and Bollywood and Arabic musical influences. Osiris has quickly become a sensation in Portugal since the release of his 2017 self-produced album Adoro Bolos. While his song could stand out as a progressive contrast to the usual Eurovision fare, Osiris’ music has been hailed as a calling card for Portugal’s cultural mix, and been described as the sound of freedom.
Portugal’s Salvador Sabral previously won the 2017 edition of Eurovision with the song “Amar Pelos Dois.”
The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is set to take place in May in Tel Aviv.