The Good, the Best and the Ugly of Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest

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One more year the Eurovision Song Contest arrives and all eurofans are waiting expectantly for what will happen this year with the Spanish artists representing Spain. Will they be in the top 5 or in the bottom 5? Will they give us a lot of 12 points or will we go unnoticed?

In this post you'll find:

Incidents and worst positions in the festival

They say that every cloud has a silver lining, but what is clear is that some of Spain’s Eurovision performances have stood out for somewhat questionable reasons. Here’s our list of the most negatively remembered entries.

¿Quién maneja mi barca?, Remedios Amaya (1983)

If you ask the fans of the festival, Remedios Amaya’s performance is always talked about because of her bad score and position in the festival: she received 0 points and was in last position (20 out of 20). However, what many people don’t know is that she is not the only one who received 0 points, nor is she the only one who was in the 3 worst positions. Other representatives who received 0 points were Conchita Bautista and Víctor Balaguer.

Bloody Mary, Las Ketchup (2006)

If the name of this group sounds familiar to you, it’s only natural. Las Ketchup were a Spanish group formed by three sisters who became internationally famous for their The Ketchup Song or Aserejé, probably the most danced Spanish song since La Macarena. However, the song they brought to represent Spain was a boring song and the performance did not impress the fans nor the jury. What do you think of the song?

Do it for Your Lover, Manel Navarro (2017)

Although we have had worse results during the more than 60 years of the Eurovision Song Contest, this will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the least fortunate. The selection of a group with a surfer aesthetic and a more international style did not convince Spanish Eurofans from the beginning, but the surprise came when at minute 02:24 the singer goes completely off-key at the high point of the song. It may not be the favourite performance of any Eurofan, but it is certainly one which has provoked the most memes.

Algo pequeñito, Daniel Diges (2010)

In 2008, Spain entered the contest with a less dramatic entry, a tender song in the voice of singer, pianist and actor Daniel Diges. Even though he came in a respectable 15th place, he is not remembered for his voice, nor for his performance, but because he is the only candidate to have repeated his performance without having won. Why did this happen? In the video of the first performance you can see how a man got on stage in the middle of the song and then ran away from the festival security staff.

Baila El Chiki Chiki, Rodolfo Chikilicuatre (2008) 

One of the most popular TV shows in Spain was the late night show Buenafuente, hosted by comedian and presenter Andreu Buenafuente, from which the character of Rodolfo Chikilicuatre emerged. This character was a parody of reggaeton singers, who were becoming increasingly popular in Spain, and in this show the song El Chiki Chiki was created. Here you can see the first time it appeared on television. Due to the popularity of the gag, they decided to present his entry for the pre-selection of the Spanish representative and, to the horror of the jury and many Eurofans, he was chosen as the candidate for Spain. Curiously, of the 5 dancers who accompanied him at the festival, two were comedians and they, as well as Rodolfo, played by the actor David Fernández, had a contract stating that they could not stop acting as the characters until the end of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Also sadly remembered are the performances of Lydia Rodríguez in Israel in 1999, who came last with only 1 point, and the group El Sueño de Morfeo, who came second to last with 8 points in 2013. Both results came as a surprise to fans, as these were artists who were at the peak of their popularity in our country at the time of representing Spain.

Spain's victories and best places at the festival

Although nowadays few have seen it, Spain was not always one of the ugly ducklings of the festival. Some of us still remember with pride those occasions when we finished in the top 5.

La,la,la, Massiel (1968) 

In 1968 Spain won the festival for the first time with an upbeat, catchy song with a chorus which anyone could sing along to. To the rhythm of La, la, la, la, the Spanish actress and singer Massiel won over the jury and managed to get the competition held in Spain the following year.

Vivo cantando, Salomé (1969) 

Interestingly, Vivo cantando gave us the second and last victory in the competition in 1969 in Spain. Salomé sang and danced to the rhythm of another joyful love song. Her dress, designed by the famous designer Manuel Pertegaz, has also gone down in history books with its thousands and thousands of little pieces made of porcelain that made her clothes weigh 14 kilos.

Europe’s Living a Celebration, Rosa López (2002) 

In the early 2000s, the Spanish show Operación Triunfo (OT) changed music and television in Spain forever. 16 aspiring singers took part in this musical competition that also had a reality TV component in which you could see how they learned and lived together in a house/school. During some of its editions, the Spanish representatives were selected among the finalists of this programme, which had millions of followers nationally and internationally. In 2002, the winner of OT went with some of her fellow contestants to represent Spain with her song Europe’s Living a Celebration, which has become one of the best known Spanish songs at Eurovision. Although it did not make the top 5 (it came in 7th place), its importance in Spanish pop culture means that it should not be left out of this list.

Un mundo nuevo, Karina (1971) 

We have won the silver medal on four occasions: three in the 1970s and one in the 1990s. In 1971 the popular actress and singer Karina came second with Un mundo nuevo, a fondly remembered hymn to hope. Two years later, in 1973, the group Mocedades came within a whisker of victory with another Spanish music anthem Eres tú. At the end of the decade, in 1979, Spain triumphed again with Betty Missiego’s second place with Su canción, accompanied by a children’s choir. It was not until 1995 that this position was reached again, and it hasn’t been beaten yet, with Anabel Conde and her Vuelve conmigo.

SloMo, Chanel Terrero (2022) 

And we finish with the best position of the last few years for Spain in the ESC. It’s the third place of the singer, actress and dancer Chanel Terrero and her SloMo in 2022. It’s undoubtedly one of the best Eurovision performances of all times and her dance break has been widely imitated by many candidates from other countries.

Do you like music in Spanish? Would you like to keep learning Spanish with music? Then listen to our own podcast series Ritmos y Raíces

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