Preview: Can an English song win Festival da Canção in 2021, or will Portugal go Portuguese again?

Portugal will kick off their search for their Eurovision 2021 act on Saturday with the first semi final of Festival da Canção. In this preview, we look at the main contenders before the two semi finals and tell you which acts have the biggest chance to go to Rotterdam.

It has to be said, we don’t know what the staging and live performances will be like. But based on the studio releases of all songs and how they have been received in the community, there seem to be five favourites in each semi final.

One English song is the particular frontrunner in Portugal now: “Dancing In The Stars” by NEEV. We will get to that song more in-depth later on. But, while we see it’s big appeal and potential to do well at Eurovision, we have seen that English songs tend to be overlooked by the Portuguese audience at Festival da Canção in the past. And there is some tough Portuguese competition for NEEV in the line-up. Let’s start by looking at the main contenders in semi final 1.

Analysis Festival da Canção 2021 semi final 1

The favourite so far in the first semi final of Festival da Canção 2021 is Karetus with the song “Saudade”, but the bookmakers also expect The Black Mamba will make it to the final with ths song “Love is on my side”.

Karetus & Romeu Bairos – “Saudade”
Karetus is a Portuguese group formed by two DJs and music producers, Carlos Silva and André Reis and one MC, Paulo Silva, which was added later. Their song “Saudade”, meaning Nostalgia, starts nostalgic, with lots of Portugese instruments. After a minute, the song shifts a bit, making it more contemporary. Fado meets electronics. As contemporary as a FdC-song can be, of course. We expect this will do very well in the televote.

The Black Mamba – “Love is on my side”
This song is in the style of the Beatles around the time of the ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’-album. As stated before, English songs don’t usually do very well in the Portuguese preselection. But perhaps The Black Mamba can be an exemption. The odds before the show say that they are.

Mema – “Claro como água”
One of the stronger and more contemporary compositions in the field of 2021 in Portugal is from mema. Her song was composed by Stereossauro. It has some intruiging steady beats and ethic strings. Mema appears to have a great voice and this song has good staging potential.

Valéria – “Na mais profunda saudade”
The most true fado song in this semi final comes from Valéria. The expected passion and drama can be heard in the vocals. One would expect at Portugal that this type of song gets picked up, the bookmakers think so, but beware: in recent years we haven’t seen such a song do very well at Festival da Canção.

Sara Afonso – “Contramão”
The next highlighted song in semi final 1 is a Portuguese jazzy song. The name of Salvador Sobral pops up in the YouTube comments a lot. And there we see this is also the song that is supported by Filipa Sousa (ESC 2012). It’s a sweet song, melancholic and warm. Should indeed make it to the final.

Check out the remaining five songs in the first semi final in in Portugal below. As we head on with the second show, scheduled for the 27th of February.
Miguel Marôco – “Girassol”
IAN – “Mundo”
Nadine – “Cheguei Aqui”
Fábia Maia – “Dia Lindo”
Irma – “Livros”

Analysis Festival da Canção 2021 semi final 2

NEEV is the one to watch in the second semi final in Portugal. He is being tested well, as this is probably the strongest show of the two. With Carolina Deslandes the most mainstream artist of the field is in the line-up, as is the talented Pedro Gonçalves, who has taken part in the Portuguese preselection before.

NEEV – “Dancing In The Stars”
So, what is all the buzz about? How strong is this song by NEEV? Well… strong. It resembles ‘When I was your man’ by Bruno Mars, giving it the most hit potential of all participating songs in Portugal this season. The only question we have, whether it will be a Portuguese qualifier for the final in Rotterdam, is if the Portuguese audience dares to pick an English song to win their preelection. It would be unique if it happens.

Pedro Gonçalves – “Não Vou Ficar”
Pedro Gonçalves participated in “Festival Da Canção 2017” with the song “Don’t Walk Away” and ended in the 6th place in the festival’s final. Now he is back with a a mid-tempo pop song. Middle-of-the-road but still unique, since it is the only song in this genre in the line-up. If Portugal goes for a Portuguese radio-friendly song, this is surely a contender for the winning.

Carolina Deslandes – “Por Um Triz”
Being one of the more experienced singers in the field, we expect Carolina to deliver. Her voice is nice, the melody is sweet and the violins add to the emotion. However, the song stays a bit flat throughout the three minutes and it remains to be seen if it will make enough impact to win the Portugese show this year.

Joana Alegre – “Joana Do Mar”
A Portuguese, catchy and interesting song. If you wonder how the team of Joana managed to make this song mainstream enough to work, just like at the names in her team. Luisa Sobral , the writer and composer of the song “Amar Polos Dois” is the producer of this song. This Indie Pop song could do very well in the competition and has been predicted a place in the final.

Eu.Clides – “Volte-Face”
The song “Volte-Face” is far from mainstream, giving it a unique hook in the line-up of songs. It seems like a danceable song, but on the other hand it’s ‘mellow’. We need to see how suitable a song like this is for a music competition. But it is one of the better compositions of the class of 2021 in Portugal.

There are five other songs that take the stage in the second semi final of Festival da Canção 2021. You can check them out below and listen to them, as the clips open up in a new screen.

Da Chick – “I Got Music”
Ariana – “Mundo Melhor”
Ana Tereza – “Com Um Abraço”
Tainá – “Jasmim”
Graciela – “A Vida Sem Acontecer”

Who will win Festival da Canção 2021?

Festival da Canção 2021 promises to be a battle between NEEV, Karetus, Pedro Gonçalves and Carolina Deslandes before the actual shows have aired. The fun thing about Eurovision is that it is always about the full package, song ánd performance. We can’t wait to see the songs in the actual shows and see how that changes the predictions around. Feel free to reply and tell us your favourites already!