Eurovision 2018 Previews: Spain

With just a week left until the contest begins, we move on to the countries that are pre-qualified for the final. First up is the land of flamenco, sangria and chiki-chiki. It’s Spain!!!

History

Spain first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1961. This year marks their 58th entry, having participated every year since their debut. They have won on two occasions, in 1968 with “La la la” by Massiel (albeit controversially with accusations of bribery by Franco) 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, Manel Gavarro finished last with “Do It For Your Lover”, their worst result since 1999.

Selection

The Spanish broadcaster, Televisión Española (TVE), used the talent show Operación Triunfo (Operation Triumph) to select their entry for Lisbon. This was the ninth series of the show and the first to be broadcast since 2011. The show was also used to select the Spanish Eurovision representative from 2002 to 2004, giving Spain three consecutive top ten finishes. Sixteen contestants entered the Academy, where they were coached in several artistic disciplines such as singing, songwriting and performance. Viewers could also follow the students’ lives within the Academy. During the weekly galas, one contestant would be expelled. One week before the final, the Eurovision gala was held. The five remaining contestants each sang a solo entry, a duet and a group song. The public chose three songs to move on to the second round, where the public again chose the winner. After getting 43% of the vote in the second round, Alfred and Amaia were awarded the Spanish ticket to Lisbon.

Artist

Alfred García was born in El Prat de Llobregat in Catalonia, on March 14 1997, and started singing and trombone lessons at just seven years old. He also taught himself guitar, drums and keyboard, and has received musical training at the Unió Filharmónica del Prat. At fifteen, he released his self-produced album “Beginning” and went on to record his first single “She Looks So Beautiful” at seventeen, which won an Audience Award at the Festival Cara B. Before participating in Operación Triunfo, Alfred took part in the fourth season of La Voz (The Voice) in 2016. He finished fourth in the final of Operación Triunfo.

Amaia Romero was born in Pamplona in Navarre on 3rd January 1999. Her career started in 2010 at just eleven years old, where she participated in the children’s talent show Cántame una canción (Sing me a song). She later went onto participate in the talent show El Número Uno (The Number One) in 2012 and Operación Triunfo this year, where she went on to win the competition. Currently, she is in the last year of studying for her piano degree. She will be the first Operación Triunfo winner to represent Spain since Rosa López in 2002.

During the competition, both quickly became fan favourites, with Amaia earning the nickname “Amaia de España” (Amaia of Spain), just like season one winner Rosa. They also fell in love with each other. The pair’s rendition of “City of Stars” became the most viewed video on the Operación Triunfo Youtube account.

The song that Alfred and Amaia will sing in Lisbon “Tu canción” (Your song), was written and composed by Raúl Gómez and Sylvia Santoro.

Song Review

Spanish Eurofans have a reputation for defending their entry to the death, even it’s not that good. However, they have good reasons to be excited this year! This song is incredibly beautiful. The lyrics are extremely heartfelt without being corny. The way the instrumentation builds up before the last chorus is like something out of a film score. The marriage of Alfred’s jazzy voice with Amaia’s mature and sweet voice works perfectly. Spain had five months to be enchanted by these two, whereas they will only have three minutes in Lisbon. But you never know, a lot can happen in a short space of time…

 

What Could Have Been

Spanish-language music with reggaeton influences has become very popular around the world over the past few years. The song that embodied that in the Eurovision gala was “Lo Malo” (The Bad Stuff) by Ana Guerra and Aitana, or Aitana War (Guerra means War) as they have become commonly known. With sultry vocals, an upbeat sound and a message of empowerment, it’s no wonder this song grabbed the attention of many. “Tu canción” is great but if Spain wanted to go with trends, this definitely would have been the right choice.

 

                                      ¡Suerte a España!

Is this your song or not? Leave your comments below. Stay tuned tomorrow for another Eurovision preview!

(Sources: eurovision.tv, TVE, YouTube)

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Eurovision 2017 Previews: Spain

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!!!

History

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.

Selection

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.

Artist

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.

Song Review

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.

                                      ¡Suerte España!

Does Manel do it for you or not? Leave your comments below. Stay tuned tomorrow for another Eurovision preview!

(Sources: eurovision.tv, TVE, YouTube)