The main elements of the rules are as follows:
Castings can be made with or without acoustic instruments, and are not only for solo singers but up to six people can perform as leading voices.
Singers must be, or become, at least 18 years old in 2012 and be Portuguese citizens.
The castings are scheduled in Lisbon (the 5th and 6th of January) and Porto (the 8th and 9th of January).
The call is not only for newcomers; also allowed are candidates who already have at least one commercially released album and are known to the public. They only need to send a track on CD which will be also assessed by the jury.
In the end, twelve acts will be chosen. Five alternates will be selected as well.
When the singers are chosen, RTP will invite six composers to create original and previously unreleased songs. They will produce two songs each, in the Portuguese language, which will be given to the respective artists.
The final of the "Festival da Canção 2012", the 48th edition, will take place on Saturday the 10th of March. Portugal first entered the contest in 1964 and has yet to produce a Top 5 entry. Their best placing to date is the 6th place in 1996 in Oslo with Lúcia Moniz and O Meu Coração Não Tem Cor.