Sad news for Eurovision fans everywhere – Portugal’s national broadcaster RTP has decided to withdraw from Eurovision 2016 as a result of restructuring in the channel, but hopes to return in 2017.
The news will mark the second instance this decade of Portugal taking a sabbatical from the competition, with 2013 being the previous instance of a Portuguese absence in recent years, with Sweden also being the host country in that year.
The news was confirmed earlier today by a representative from OGAE Portugal, who confirmed the news following a meeting with José Lopes De Araújo, a director at RTP. The broadcaster had previously asked for fan advice on changes required to make the country a success at Eurovision in Stockholm.
Portugal becomes the first country to withdraw from the contest this year, with only Moldova and Serbia left of the 2015 participants to decide their fate. Australia will also have to wait and see whether they will be allowed to return in Stockholm by the EBU, although today’s news of their Junior Eurovision début may signal another outing for the land down under.
Despite participating 48 times, Portugal has never won the contest or even finished within the top five. Their best result remains 6th place in 1996, which was also the last time the Iberian country finished inside the top ten. Portugal has been absent from the Eurovision final since 2010, with Leonor Andrade being the latest contestant to fail to reach the final in Vienna.
Will you miss Portugal in Stockholm? What should they do to achieve success if they return in 2017?