Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest

Member stationRTP
National selection events
Participation summary
Appearances51 (42 finals)
First appearance1964
Best result1st: 2017
Worst resultLast: 1964, 1974, 1997, 2018
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 2019

Portugal has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 51 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 the fourth time. In 2019, the country failed to qualify.


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 the 24th of 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 outcome 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. In 2018, as a host country, 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 5 since 2015.


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, so that the national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest had its contents renewed.[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 in February/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 recently the winner has been selected through televoting. In 2009, 2010, 2017, 2018 and 2019 a 50-50 system between district juries and televote (like in the ESC) 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.


Table key
Second place
Third place
Last place
Year Artist Language Title Final Points Semi Points
1964 António Calvário Portuguese "Oração" 13 0 No semi-finals
1965 Simone de Oliveira Portuguese "Sol de inverno" 13 1
1966 Madalena Iglésias Portuguese "Ele e ela" 13 6
1967 Eduardo Nascimento Portuguese "O vento mudou" 12 3
1968 Carlos Mendes Portuguese "Verão" 11 5
1969 Simone de Oliveira Portuguese "Desfolhada portuguesa" 15 4
1970 Did not participate
1971 Tonicha Portuguese "Menina do alto da serra" 9 83
1972 Carlos Mendes Portuguese "A festa da vida" 7 90
1973 Fernando Tordo Portuguese "Tourada" 10 80
1974 Paulo de Carvalho Portuguese "E depois do adeus" 14 3
1975 Duarte Mendes Portuguese "Madrugada" 16 16
1976 Carlos do Carmo Portuguese "Uma flor de verde pinho" 12 24
1977 Os Amigos Portuguese "Portugal no coração" 14 18[a]
1978 Gemini Portuguese "Dai li dou" 17 5
1979 Manuela Bravo Portuguese "Sobe, sobe, balão sobe" 9 64[b]
1980 José Cid Portuguese "Um grande, grande amor" 7 71
1981 Carlos Paião Portuguese "Playback" 18 9
1982 Doce Portuguese "Bem bom" 13 32
1983 Armando Gama Portuguese "Esta balada que te dou" 13 33
1984 Maria Guinot Portuguese "Silêncio e tanta gente" 11 38
1985 Adelaide Ferreira Portuguese "Penso em ti, eu sei" 18 9
1986 Dora Portuguese "Não sejas mau para mim" 14 28
1987 Nevada Portuguese "Neste barco à vela" 18 15
1988 Dora Portuguese "Voltarei" 18 5
1989 Da Vinci Portuguese "Conquistador" 16 39
1990 Nucha Portuguese "Há sempre alguém" 20 9
1991 Dulce Pontes Portuguese "Lusitana paixão" 8 62
1992 Dina Portuguese "Amor d'água fresca" 17 26
1993 Anabela Portuguese "A cidade (até ser dia)" 10 60 Kvalifikacija za Millstreet
1994 Sara Tavares Portuguese "Chamar a música" 8 73 No semi-finals
1995 Tó Cruz Portuguese "Baunilha e chocolate" 21 5
1996 Lúcia Moniz Portuguese "O meu coração não tem cor" 6 92 18 32
1997 Célia Lawson Portuguese "Antes do adeus" 24 0 No semi-finals
1998 Alma Lusa Portuguese "Se eu te pudesse abraçar" 12 36
1999 Rui Bandeira Portuguese "Como tudo começou" 21 12
2000 Did not participate
2001 MTM Portuguese "Só sei ser feliz assim" 17 18
2002 Did not participate
2003 Rita Guerra Portuguese, English "Deixa-me sonhar (só mais uma vez)" 22 13
2004 Sofia Vitória Portuguese "Foi magia" Failed to qualify 15 38
2005 2B Portuguese, English "Amar" 17 51
2006 Nonstop Portuguese, English "Coisas de nada (Gonna Make You Dance)" 19 26
2007 Sabrina Portuguese[c] "Dança comigo" 11 88
2008 Vânia Fernandes Portuguese "Senhora do mar (Negras águas)" 13 69 2 120
2009 Flor-de-Lis Portuguese "Todas as ruas do amor" 15 57 8 70
2010 Filipa Azevedo Portuguese "Há dias assim" 18 43 4 89
2011 Homens da Luta Portuguese "A luta é alegria" Failed to qualify 18 22
2012 Filipa Sousa Portuguese "Vida minha" 13 39
2013 Did not participate
2014 Suzy Portuguese "Quero ser tua" Failed to qualify 11 39
2015 Leonor Andrade Portuguese "Há um mar que nos separa" 14 19
2016 Did not participate
2017 Salvador Sobral Portuguese "Amar pelos dois" 1 758 1 370
2018 Cláudia Pascoal Portuguese "O jardim" 26 39 Host country[a]
2019 Conan Osíris Portuguese "Telemóveis" Failed to qualify 15 51
  1. ^ During the voting sequence of the live show, several errors were made in the announcement of the scores, which were then adjusted after the broadcast. Both Greece and France duplicated scores, awarding the same points to multiple countries. From the Greek scores, The UK, Netherlands, Austria & Finland all had 1 point deducted after the contest and from the French scores, Austria, Germany, Israel, Italy & Portugal all had 1 point deducted. None of the adjustments affected the placing of any of the songs. The Portuguese score was thus reduced from 20 during the broadcast to 18 after the show.
  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. ^ The song also contains phrases in English, French and Spanish.

    If a country had won the previous year, they did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year. In addition from 2004-2007, the top ten countries who were not members of the big four did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year. If, for example, Germany and France placed inside the top ten, the countries who placed 11th and 12th were advanced to the following year's grand final along with the rest of the top ten countries.

Voting history[edit]

As of 2019, Portugal's voting history is as follows:


Luísa and Salvador Sobral, ESC 2017 Winner's press conference
Year Location Venue Presenters
2018 Lisbon Altice Arena Catarina Furtado, Daniela Ruah, Filomena Cautela and Sílvia Alberto

Marcel Bezençon Awards[edit]

Press Award

Year Song Performer Final position Points Host city
2008 "Senhora do mar (Negras águas)" Vânia Fernandes 13th 69 Belgrade

Artistic Award

Year Song Performer Final position Points Host city
2017 "Amar pelos dois" Salvador Sobral 1st 758 Kiev

Composer Award

Year Song Composer Performer Final position Points Host city
2017 "Amar pelos dois" Luísa Sobral Salvador Sobral 1st 758 Kiev

Commentators and spokespersons[edit]

Year(s) Television commentator Dual television commentator Radio commentator Dual radio commentator Trio radio commentator Spokesperson Spokesperson background
1963 Unknown No dual commentator TBC N/A N/A Portugal did not participate Spokesperson did not present visually until 1994
1964 Gomes Ferreira TBC Maria Manuela Furtado
1965 TBC
1966 Henrique Mendes TBC
1967 TBC
1968 Fialho Gouveia TBC
1969 Henrique Mendes TBC
1970 TBC Portugal did not participate
1971 TBC No spokesperson
1972 Amadeu Meireles
1973 Artur Agostinho
1974 TBC Henrique Mendes
1975 Júlio Isidro Amadeu Meireles Ana Zanatti
1976 Eládio Clímaco
1977 José Côrte-Real
1978 Eládio Clímaco Isabel Wolmar
1979 Fialho Gouveia TBC João Abel da Fonseca
1980 Isabel Wolmar TBC Teresa Cruz
1981 Eládio Clímaco TBC Margarida Andrade
1982 Fialho Gouveia TBC
1983 Eládio Clímaco TBC João Abel Fonseca
1984 Fialho Gouveia TBC Eládio Clímaco
1985 Eládio Clímaco TBC Maria Margarida Gaspar
1986 Fialho Gouveia Fialho Gouveia Margarida Andrade
1987 Maria Margarida Gaspar TBC Ana Zanatti
1988 Margarida Andrade TBC Maria Margarida Gaspar
1989 Ana Zanatti TBC Margarida Andrade
1990 Ana do Carmo TBC João Abel Fonseca
1991 TBC Maria Margarida Gaspar
1992 Eládio Clímaco TBC Ana Zanatti
1993 Isabel Bahia TBC Margarida Mercês de Mello
1994 Eládio Clímaco TBC Isabel Bahia São Jorge Castle, Lisbon
1995 Ana do Carmo TBC Serenella Andrade Belém Tower, Lisbon
1996 Maria Margarida Gaspar TBC Cristina Rocha Praça do Comércio, Lisbon
1997 Carlos Ribeiro TBC São Jorge Castle, Lisbon
1998 Rui Unas TBC Lúcia Moniz Vasco da Gama Bridge, Lisbon
1999 João David Nunes Manuel Luís Goucha Praça do Comércio, Lisbon
2000 Eládio Clímaco TBC Portugal did not participate Portugal did not participate
2001 TBC Margarida Mercês de Mello Marquis of Pombal Square, Lisbon
2002 TBC Portugal did not participate Portugal did not participate
2003 Margarida Mercês de Mello TBC Helena Ramos Praça do Comércio, Lisbon
2004 Eládio Clímaco TBC Isabel Angelino Águas Livres Aqueduct, Lisbon
2005 TBC
2006 TBC Cristina Alves
2007 Isabel Angelino Jorge Gabriel TBC Francisco Mendes
2008 No dual commentator TBC Teresa Villa-Lobos
2009 Hélder Reis No radio broadcast No radio broadcast No radio broadcast Helena Coelho
2010 Sérgio Mateus Ana Galvão
2011 Sílvia Alberto Joana Teles Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon
2012 Pedro Granger
2013 Sílvia Alberto Portugal did not participate Portugal did not participate
2014 Joana Teles Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon
2015 Hélder Reis Ramon Galarza Suzy Vasco da Gama Bridge, Lisbon
2016 Nuno Galopim (final) Portugal did not participate Portugal did not participate
2017 José Carlos Malato[7] Nuno Galopim Filomena Cautela[8] Praça do Comércio, Lisbon
2018 Hélder Reis Noémia Gonçalves António Macedo Tozé Brito Pedro Fernandes
2019 José Carlos Malato Inês Lopes Gonçalves


All conductors are Portuguese except those marked with a flag.[9]

  • Denmark Kai Mortensen (1964)
  • Fernando de Carvalho (1965)
  • Jorge Costa Pinto (1966, 1971, 1973)
  • Armando Tavares Belo (1967)
  • Joaquim Luís Gomes (1968)
  • Ferrer Trindade (1969)
  • United Kingdom Richard Hill (1972)
  • José Calvário (1974, 1977, 1985, 1988)
  • Pedro Osório (1975, 1984, 1996)
  • Germany Thilo Krassman (1976, 1978–79, 1994–95, 1997)
  • Jorge Machado (1980)
  • Spain Shegundo Galarza (1981)
  • Luís Duarte (1982, 1989)
  • United Kingdom Mike Sergeant (1983, 1998)
  • United Kingdom Colin Frechter (1986)
  • Jaime Oliveira (1987)
  • Carlos Alberto Moniz (1990, 1992)
  • Fernando Correia Martins (1991)
  • Armindo Neves (1993)


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. ^ If a country had won the previous year, they did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year.


  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. ^ "Nuno Galopim também será comentador da Eurovisão". Portal dos Programas. 2017-04-14. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-09-19. Retrieved 2017-11-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]