As journey draws ever closer to its end, today’s destination is the land of siestas, Sangria and Eurodrama (I’ll explain why in a bit). It’s Spain!!!
Spain first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1961. This year marks their 57th entry, having participated every year since their debut. They have won on two occasions, in 1968 with “La la la” by Massiel (albeit controversially) and in 1969 as one of the four winners with “Vivo cantando” by Salomé. Their last top 5 result was in 1995 when Anabel Conde came second with “Vuelve conmigo” and they have failed to place in the top 10 in the last 10 contests, except for Pastora Soler in 2012 and Ruth Lorenzo in 2014, who both finished 10th. Last year, Barei finished 22nd in the final with “Say Yay!”, the very first Spanish not to contain Spanish lyrics.
The Spanish broadcaster, Televisión Española (TVE), organised Objectivo Eurovisión (Objective Eurovision) to select their entry. The final consisted of six participants, five chosen by record labels and one from the online wildcard selection Eurocasting. The winner was chosen by an in-studio jury (50%) and public voting (50%). As there was a tie, the jury chose the winner, who was Manel Navarro. This is where the Eurodrama begins. The studio audience and many Twitter voiced their dissatisfaction at the jury breaking the tie as in previous years, the public vote took preference and accused the selection of being rigged. They also accused one of the judges, Xavi Martinez, for having a conflict of interest as he had promoted Manel’s song on his radio show before the selection. The whole debacle was even brought to the Spanish parliament! But in the end, Manel remained as this year’s Spanish representative.
Manel Navarro was born on March 7th 1996 in Sabadell in Catalonia. He first came to prominence after winning Catalunya Teen Star in 2014. He released his debut single “Brand New Day” at the end of the year. Last year, he released the single “Candle”. His entry for Kyiv, “Do It For Your Lover” was written and composed by Antonio Rayito and Manel himself.
I like the chilled and summery vibe in this song but that’s about it. In the context of Eurovision, I think it’s far too chilled to pose any serious challenge for the title. It gets a little tedious after a while and it isn’t enough to last three minutes. It is somewhat memorable though but happens when your chorus just consists of you repeating the title of your song over and over again. The whole drama surrounding his selection doesn’t exactly help his cause either. Bottom of the leader board again for Spain methinks. ¡Lo siento España!
What Could Have Been
So if the public vote took preference, who would be going to Kyiv instead of Manel? The answer is Mirela with “Contigo” (With you). After multiple attempts at representing Spain, many thought that this was finally her year. “Contigo” is a summery and genuinely catchy offering of Latin pop. Just to calm Spanish Eurofans down, I’m not saying you let a potential winner slip through your hands. I’m just saying that Mirela would have placed a little higher, maybe around 18th-20th. Still though, she would have been a better choice than Manel.
Does Manel do it for you or not? Leave your comments below. Stay tuned tomorrow for another Eurovision preview!
(Sources: eurovision.tv, TVE, YouTube)