Spain: Benidorm Fest 2022 preview
After much anticipation and just over a month since the release of the competing entries, Eurovision fans' attention will this week turn to a popular tourist town on Spain's Costa Blanca.
The festival received 886 song submissions that have been reduced down to thirteen (originally fourteen - more to come on that!).
There will be two semi-finals during the week, a Grand Final will be held on the weekend and a victor will then be announced as the first "Big Five" act of the 66th Eurovision Song Contest.
Welcome to Benidorm Fest 2022!
The origins of this year's Spanish national final, Benidorm Fest, can be traced back to 'El Festival Español de la Canción de Benidorm', a celebration of song that for decades saw artists compete annually in the port town for the 'Golden Mermaid' trophy.
Launched in 1958 and inspired by Italy's 'Sanremo Music Festival', the 'Benidorm Song Festival' hosted performances by the nation's top musical artists, including some who would go on to become Eurovision alumni.
[10th Benidorm Song Festival, featuring the winning song by Julio Iglesias 'La vida sigue igal']
These include Raphael ('Yo soy aquél', 1966; 'Hablemos del amor', 1967), Julio Iglesias ('Gwendolyne', 1970) and, most successfully, Peruvian-born Betty Missiego, whose 1979 entry 'Su canción' became Spain's third silver medal recipient of the decade.
In July 2021, national broadcaster RTVE announced that the event would be revived and used to select the act to compete in Turin this May. A contract was later signed for a further three festivals to be held with that same purpose. ¡Genial!
Format and competitors of 'Benidorm Fest 2022'
This year's rebooted contest, and the process to confirm Spain's Eurovision 2022 entry, will consist of two semi-finals to be held on Wednesday, 26 and Thursday, 27 January before the final on Saturday, 29 January (Thursday and Friday morning and then Sunday morning respectively here in Australia!).
The competitors are:
1 LUNA KI - 'Voy a Morir' (withdrawn)
2 Varry Brava - 'Raffaella'
3 Azúcar Moreno - 'Postureo'
4 Blanca Paloma - 'Secreto de Agua'
5 Unique - 'Mejores'
6 Tanxugueiras - 'Terra'
7 Chanel - 'SloMo'
The first semi-final includes former Eurovision competitors Azúcar Moreno who finished in fifth place at the Contest in 1990 with 'Bandido'. It also features one of the hot favourites Tanxugueiras who are currently second in the odds to become the inaugural Benidorm Fest winners.
1 XEINN - 'Eco'
2 Marta Sango - 'Sigues en mi Mente'
3 Javiera Mena - 'Culpa'
4 Gonzalo Hermida - 'Quién lo diría'
5 Rigoberta Bandini - 'Ay mamá"
6 Rayden - 'Calle de la Llorería'
7 Sara Deop - 'Make You Say'
The second semi-final features the current favourite to take out the national final, Rigoberta Bandini, as well as the act that won the Aussievision team vote, XEINN.
You can watch all the songs via YouTube or listen to them on Spotify.
The original semi-final allocation and running orders were as follows:
Seven acts were set to take part in each semi-final, with the top four qualifying for the final.
However, following the withdrawal of LUNA KI and their song 'Voy a Morir' (due to the prohibition of auto-tune at Eurovision), the first semi-final will see a narrowed field of just six competitors. It is currently unclear whether the running order will be amended as a result.
The four qualifiers from each semi-final will then compete for the 'Bronze Microphone' trophy in the festival's Saturday night final.
The qualifiers from, or winner of, each live show will be determined by a weighted voting system comprising a five-member jury, a demoscopic panel (representing a statistically-balanced sample of the Spanish population) and the now familiar televote.
50% of the votes will be awarded by the jury, with the demoscopic panel and the televote each accounting for 25% of the votes.
Jury members will include Eva Mora, the Spanish Head of Delegation, Felix Bergsson, Iceland's Head of Delegation and a Reference Group member, and Martin Dietmann, the Austrian stage director behind, amongst other Eurovision performances, Conchita Wurst's winner 'Rise Like a Phoenix' (2014) and a total of seven 2021 entries.
"So, how do I join the fiesta?"
All three live shows will be livestreamed by RTVE's 'La 1' channel.
Alternatively, you can download the 'RTVE Play' app from the iPhone App Store or Google Play.
Times of the show are below:
Semi-final 1 European time: 22:40 CET Wednesday 26 January
Semi-final 1 Australian time: 08:40 AEDT Thursday 27 January
Semi-final 2 European time: 22:40 CET Thursday 27 January
Semi-final 2 Australian time: 08:40 AEDT Friday 28 January
Grand Final European time: 22:05 CET Saturday 29 January
Grand Final Australian time: 08:05 AEDT Sunday 30 January
You can check out the Aussievision team's ranking of the (originally) fourteen competing acts here.
And this recent article tracks the success of the Spanish entries on the Spotify and iTunes charts.
Plus, Mike and I will be live-tweeting (at @aussievisionnet) our thoughts on the performances and endeavouring to provide some level of translation of the Spanish language content. Wish us luck, por favor!