Portuguese broadcaster Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP) announced today that Portugal will participate at Eurovision 2021, hosted by the Netherlands in Rotterdam.

RTP also confirmed that they will again use their popular Festival da Canção format as a national selection, though the number of participants will increase from 16 to 20.

RTP published the set of rules for Festival da Canção on its website, and though dates are unspecified, the national selection will again be two semi-finals and a Grand Final covering the last weeks of February 2021 and early March 2021.

Twenty artists will be selected, with 18 being invited by RTP and 2 from a pool of artists who submit their songs to RTP. The deadline for the free submission artists is November 25, 2020. Ten artists will contest each Semi-Final.

“RTP will select the remaining two authors through the free submission of songs to the contest,” the rules state. “All citizens of Portuguese nationality or residing in our country can compete for these places, whether or not they have published works, including, but not limited to, Portuguese people living outside Portugal, as well as citizens of other nationalities residing in Portugal.”

As in past years, the decisions in both Semi-Finals and Grand Jury will be split 50/50 between the RTP selected group of music industry professionals and artists and the televote.

As with other countries, RTP mentions contingencies for COVID-19 affecting the national selection and will be forthcoming should further restrictions be put in place.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, participation in ESC 2021 through physical travel to the Netherlands may not be possible,” the rules state. “However, the organization of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 has already confirmed that even in these circumstances the contest will take place. The details of the contingency plans for the event and the various scenarios will be revealed during the process of determining the Portuguese song.”

How does Festival da Canção rank with #YOU? With the expanded selection, did #YOU want to see more “free submission” songs? Any artist #YOU would like to see return? Let us know in the comments below, on social media, and in our forum.

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