The Madeiran singer Elisa Silva is the spokesperson for Portugal at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, that today has the first semifinal with live broadcast on youtube, from 20h00, and deferred in RTP1, from 22h08.
Despite having won the Portuguese Song Festival last year, with the theme Medo de Sentir, composed by Marta Carvalho, Elisa Silva was prevented from representing Portugal at Eurovision in 2021, since it was not authorized its transition to this year and was held a new contest to determine the songs that dispute the European stage this year. It will be up to the Madeiran announce the score of the Portuguese jury.
In this semi-final act representatives of Lithuania, Slovenia, Russia, Sweden, Australia, North Macedonia, Republic of Ireland, Cyprus, Norway, Croatia, Belgium, Israel, Romania, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Malta.
Portugal will be represented in the second semi-final by The Black Mamba with the song ‘Love is on my side’.
The Netherlands won the right to host Eurovision after winning the 2019 edition in Israel with the song ‘Arcade’ performed by Duncan Laurence.
The 65th edition of the contest, which has been held annually in Europe since 1956, was due to take place in Rotterdam in May last year, but the European Broadcasting Union decided to postpone it by a year because of the covid-19 pandemic.
In total there will be 39 countries competing and, to ensure the contest actually happens, contestants recorded their performances in their countries so they could take part if they were unable to travel to Rotterdam.
The recording, previously delivered by the participating television stations (in the case of Portugal is RTP), had to “happen in a studio and in real time (as it would be in the contest), without any editing of the voice or any part of the performance, after it is recorded”.
The organization will have to use the recording of at least one of the 39 countries: Australia, whose delegation was prevented from traveling to the Netherlands.
The remaining six countries - the so-called ‘Big Five’ (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) and the host country (the Netherlands) - are guaranteed access to the final.
Ten countries are chosen from each semi-final. Portugal will compete on Thursday for a place in the final during the second semi-final, in which San Marino, Estonia, Czech Republic, Greece, Austria, Poland, Moldova, Iceland, Serbia, Georgia, Albania, Bulgaria, Finland, Latvia, Switzerland and Denmark also participate.
Lithuania, Slovenia, Russia, Sweden, Australia, Northern Macedonia, Ireland, Cyprus, Norway, Croatia, Belgium, Israel, Romania, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Malta are competing in the first semi-final.
The two semi-finals and the final will have live audience watching, with the organization having put on sale this month 3,500 tickets per show. In addition, according to information on the official Eurovision Song Contest website, the Dutch government has given the organisation permission to have an audience for six rehearsals.
This year, “all delegations, artists and production team follow a strict protocol and will not have contact with members of the public”.
With “Love is on my side” Portugal takes to Eurovision for the first time a song entirely in English, composed by Tatanka, lead singer of The Black Mamba.
Tatanka is one of the founders of The Black Mamba, a band formed in 2010 and which moves in the universe of blues, soul and funk.
In parallel with The Black Mamba, Tatanka started a solo career in 2016, “in a more personal way and returning to his roots, telling stories and presenting original songs in Portuguese”. His debut album, “Pouco Barulho”, arrived in 2019.
Portugal participated in the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 1964, having since missed five editions (in 1970, 2000, 2002, 2013 and 2016).
Between 2004 and 2007, inclusive, and in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2019, Portugal failed to make it to the final.
Portugal won the competition for the first and only time in 2017, with the theme “Amar pelos dois”, performed by Salvador Sobral and composed by Luísa Sobral. Following that victory, Lisbon hosted the competition the following year.