'Destino Eurovisión': Spanish national final preview
This weekend Eurovision fans across Europe and beyond will be able to tune in to hear the immortal words '¡Buenas noches, Europa!' (and possibly/hopefully '¡Buenos dias, Australia!'). Yes, that's right, it's almost time for Spain to choose its entry for the 2021 Contest.
But which of the two songs in contention for Blas Canto to perform at Eurovision will follow 'Universo'?
First, let's cover the basics!
When? Where? How?
'Destino Eurovisión' will be broadcast live on RTVE's 'La 1' channel from 22:00 (local time) on Saturday, 20 February.
International viewers will - (hopefully) - be able to follow the live stream via the channel's website: https://www.rtve.es/directo/la-1/
For the Hispanophiles/Iberophiles here in Australia, that will mean Sunday, 21 February with morning start times of:
08:00 (VIC, NSW, TAS and ACT)
and 05:00 (WA)
Amongst other performances (see below), Blas Cantó will perform the two candidate songs: 'Memoria' and 'Voy a quedarme'. Stage 1 of the voting process has been open since the two songs' release on 10 February, with international fans able to vote once per day via the RTVE website: https://www.rtve.es/television/eurovision/vota-cancion-blas-canto/
Stage 1 voting will close just before the show, and Stage 2 will not commence until both potential entries have been performed live. Viewers will then have a few final minutes to vote again (as many times as they wish online) before the vote totals are combined and checked and the winning song is announced.
The artist and the songs
Blas Cantó is a platinum-selling, chart-topping 29-year-old popstar from Murcia in the southeast of Spain. Although perhaps better known for his time as a member of boyband Auryn or as the winner of the fifth season of the TV singing competition 'Tu Cara Me Suena' (Your Face Sounds Familiar), Cantó does have something of a Eurovision pedigree. He competed in the Spanish national final for the Contest's junior edition back in 2004, losing out to María Isabel who would go on to bring the trophy home for Spain.
The choice for 2021 is between a catchy, mid-tempo number about struggling to come to terms with the end of a relationship featuring Cantó's trademark falsetto riffs ('Memoria') and an emotional power ballad about staying the course in a relationship which showcases Cantó's - really rather vast - vocal range ('Voy a quedarme').
Cantó has co-writing credits on both songs, joining Steve Daly, Oliver Som and Leroy Sánchez on 'Memoria', and Sánchez again on 'Voy a quedarme' together with Daniel "Dangelo" Ortega and Dan Hammond, both of whom co-authored the entry for the cancelled 2020 Contest 'Universo'.
The staging of the two performances will be in the hands of artistic director Marvin Dietmann, who will add to his Eurovision résumé after being the creative force behind three past Austrian productions: Cesár Sampson's 'Nobody But You' (2018), Zoë's 'Loin d'ici' (2016) and Conchita Wurst's winner 'Rise Like a Phoenix' (2014).
A "gala" night
According to Blas Cantó and the show's production team, the evening will offer viewers the chance to find out more about the artist, relive past Eurovision moments ... and share in some on-screen "surprises" (about which even Cantó is in the dark).
In addition to popular, established artists such as Andrés Suárez and Vanesa Martín as well as recent 'Opéracion Triunfo' alumni (Cepeda, Nía and Roi), Eurovision fans will no doubt be excited to see two past Eurovision entrants take to the stage.
From left to right: Edurne and Pastora Soler
Pastora Soler and her beautiful ballad 'Quédate conmigo' came 10th in Baku in 2012, Spain's best result in recent years matched only by Ruth Lorenzo's 'Dancing in the Rain' two years later in Copenhagen. Edurne's breath-taking performance of 'Amanecer' (featuring THAT costume reveal) managed only 21st place in Vienna in 2015, but many fans - including myself - feel that placing was at least somewhat unjust. It remains to be seen whether they'll recreate their Eurovision entries, perform new songs or maybe duet with the night's main man.
You're most welcome to follow my reactions, thoughts and comments on the show via the Aussievision Twitter account on what will be an early - and very busy - Sunday morning for the team. I may have to find some churros to go with my extra large coffee. ¡Hasta luego!