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  • Writer's pictureAlana Matthews

Spain at Eurovision 2024: Why has 'Zorra' gotten people talking?

This year, Spain will be represented by 80s-infused synthpop duo Nebulossa, which consists of singer Mery Bas alongside keyboardist and producer Mark Dasousa.

Nebulossa has the privilege of being Eurovision 2024's most mature act, with Mery Bas not even starting her music career until 2018 at age 50! The duo truly proves that age is just a number - Mery is 2024’s oldest Eurovision contestant at the ripe old age of 55 with Mark not far behind at 50.

While their song has met with domestic success and has been a fan favourite (particularly among Eurovision's thriving Spanish fan community), the reaction to 'Zorra' has also met with some criticism and more than a little misogyny. In this article, we explain what the song is about and dive into the reasons why 'Zorra' has proven controversial for some.

Nebulossa: From San Marino to Spanish Victory

2024 isn’t the first time Nebulossa have attempted to perform on the Eurovision stage.

In 2023, the act participated in San Marino’s preselection contest – Una Voce per San Marino – performing on that occasion as a trio with Ophelia Alibrando. Unfortunately, they didn’t make it past the first round of auditions in San Marino.

That didn’t dim Nebulossa’s desire to reach Europe's largest stage, however, and in 2024 they and their song 'Zorra' found themselves on the roster of songs slated to participate in the national final of their native Spain, Benidorm Fest. On this occasion, Nebulossa rose to victory by winning both their semi-final and the grand final of Benidorm Fest, beating 15 other contestants to take the honour.

In the grand final of Benidorm Fest, they comfortably won the public vote, while also tying for first in the juries alongside St Pedro, with his bolero ballad "Dos Extranos". The crowd was clearly behind this number on the night, as anyone who has seen the clips of the audience during the results sequence will attest to!

What is 'Zorra' about, and why have people reacted so strongly?

‘Zorra’ has stirred quite the reaction, with the song title roughly translating to ‘Vixen’. Lyrically, the song explores the discrimination Mery has felt for being a free-spirited woman, for being her true self. One can tell when Mery performs onstage that this is a song which feels personal to her.

So why is this song prompting such strong reactions?

The word ‘Zorra’ in Spanish is used as a gendered insult - indeed, it is an example of a case where the Spanish language has a built-in double-standard. The masculine form of the word, 'zorro', literally means 'fox’ and can be used to express that someone is sly/clever. Conversely, 'zorra' is almost always an insult - similar to the words ‘bitch’ or ‘slut’ in English.

Many Eurovision fans were unsure if this song would even be allowed at Eurovision, however it was reviewed in depth by the Eurovision Broadcasting Union (EBU) who issued the following statement:

“The EBU understands that there are many interpretations of the title of the song presented by RTVE to represent Spain in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Taking into account its intended use in the context of the lyrics and message of the song, as explained to us by RTVE, we have concluded that the song is eligible to participate in this year’s contest."

Some in the Spanish (and international) press have considered it scandalous and inappropriate for 'Zorra' to represent Spain. Many more, however, have seen the song for what it is - an opportunity to reclaim a word, to take away its power and to stand up to misogyny.

This was perhaps best expressed by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez who was quoted saying: “feminism is not only fair, it can be fun”.

It is also worth noting that this has played out against a background where Spain has had a reckoning about gender politics and the treatment of women in public during the past year. This was particularly the case after Spain won the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup (held here in Australia), where a high-profile football manager was filmed kissing one of the winning players on the lips, generating domestic and international backlash after the player said she felt "vulnerable and a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist, out of place act".

In this context, Nebulossa's song resonates even more with local discussions. Nebulossa hopes that the message of the song resonates and encourages people to celebrate their identities and break free from the labels that society place on us all.

Nebulossa will perform in the Grand Final of Eurovision 2024 on 11 May as one of the prequalified "Big 5" acts. They will also perform in the second semi-final as an extra performance to promote their song.

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1 Comment

margo zalizo
margo zalizo
Apr 22

Recently, while watching Eurovision 2024, Spain caught my attention with their extraordinary choice of song "Zorra". It was this composition that became a real reason for discussion. At the same time, I continued to work on the website 82lottery download, which only added to the excitement of the evening. Why did "Zorra" cause so much buzz? The song has a bright personality and bold sound, which is not so often found in such competitions. Spain really decided to take a risk by choosing a track that stands out from the typical pop tunes, and this decision has already caused a lot of controversy and discussion on social networks. Personally, I liked the song, it added spice to the evening spent…

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