When we look at Spain’s recent Eurovision results, they neither did it for their lovers nor made Europe say yay yay yay. The lacklustre results come despite singing in English in an effort to gain broader European appeal. As a result of Barei and Manel Navarro falling outside of the Top 20, Eurovision’s image has taken a beating in the Iberian nation.
Now the PSOE — the country’s main opposition party — is calling on RTVE to ditch English at Eurovision in favour of the country’s four national languages. They’ve tabled a Parliamentary motion — which you can read in Spanish — that would require the broadcaster to choose songs in Spanish, Catalan, Basque or Galician.
The centre-left party frames its argument by nodding to Spain’s recent results. “It’s questionable that singing in English makes an act more likely to succeed,” they write.
Manel Navarro at Eurovision 2017
The proposal points out that Eurovision is a cultural event organised by public television. As such, the Spanish representative should maintain a certain standard.
“We don’t want to exagerate the importance of this year’s bad result,” they write, “but we’re worried as to how this affects the way that Spain is perceived abroad.” Cue the rooster.
Moreover, the party believes there’s a “disorientation” in the selection criteria and urges the Ministry of Culture to get involved, to “ensure a minimum level of quality”.
Because politicians getting directly involved in Eurovision is just so sexy…
Barei at Eurovision in Concert 2016
When Barei announced her intention of singing entirely in English in Stockholm, she unleashed a wave of euro-drama. The Real Academia de la Lengua and 1968 winner Massiel were among those who spoke against her decision.
A number of former Eurovision stars have claimed that Spain should only sing in Spanish. And while that may be a bit extreme, we do support the idea that RTVE ought to at least consider the other official languages, which are heard far too infrequently on the international stage. We have an entire list of Catalan speaking artists who could handle the gig.
It seems that Salvador Sobral’s victory in Kyiv has made a real impact. Slovenia has already introduced a new language rule for EMA 2018, which requires acts to perform (at least in early rounds) in a national language. If Spain’s parliament passes the PSOE’s proposed legislation, then Spain will also say nay to English.
What do you make of this? Do you think Spain will be more successful if they sing in their national languages? Or has the real problem been the songs? Let us know in the comments box below.