Spain has one of the world’s richest musical traditions and Spanish — its glorious national language — can be heard in some of the world’s all-time greatest hits (from “Despacito” to “Macarena”). Yet since Ruth Lorenzo’s 10th place finish in Copenhagen, Spain’s Eurovision acts have struggled to make an impact, with Edurne placing 21st, Barei 22nd and Manel Navarro 26th. It’s a huge fall following Ruth Lorenzo’s 10th place finish in 2014.

With today’s confirmation that RTVE will participate in Eurovision 2018, we thought we’d pause and reflect on the past three entries and ask you to name your favourite. What did Spain get wrong? And which elements — from performer to song choice — did it get right?

2015: Edurne (21st with 15 points)

During Edurne’s first rehearsal at Eurovision 2015, Spanish members of the press corps were shouting and clapping just 20 seconds after it started. I can understand why: Edurne’s performance had the potential to be absolutely epic. Wearing a glittering red cape with hood, she started out crouched on the ground, hovering over her sexilicious dancer Giuseppe di Bella, who seemed to be playing dead. LED raindrops fell behind her and she walked across an LED floor of rippling water. As the performance proceeded he pulled back a massive red train on her cape, eventually ripping it off to reveal a glittering gold dress with a long slit. When the two began dancing it was like Dancing with the Stars on steroids…especially when he spun her around his neck. Unfortunately her Mary Magdalene cradling Jesus realness didn’t go down so well with Europeans, who were perhaps more inclined for something frothy and pop-oriented.

2016: Barei (22nd with 77 points)

There was no other song quite like “Say Yay!” in the contest. It was an instant pick-me-up and infectiously feel-good with a chorus that seemed to grow in intensity with each refrain in the studio version. And despite being upbeat pop for the masses, the staging ultimately let this one down. The vast stage somehow looked empty and bare, even with a series of backing vocalists. Barei’s planned stage fall was either somewhat confusing (is she OK?!) or totally cringe. Her backing vocalists didn’t blend particularly well either.

Memorable lyrics: “Come on and raise your battle cry, you are the one who never dies”

2017: Manel Navarro (26th with 5 points)

If you only understand English, then the chorus sounded both childish (“clap your hands…”) and vaguely sexual (“….and do it for your lover”). But the translated verses totally changed it. The song is about how if you’re feeling a bit down, you should still make the effort to get out and do stuff because your bae is relying on you. It’s really sweet… but that may have been lost on folks who don’t understand Spanish. The summery staging oozed piña colada realness through a series of playful and brightly coloured images, including oversized surfboards that appeared and disappeared in succession, a sandy beach vista with sun chairs, and the outline of palm trees and a golden sun. At one point we saw a camper van — probably a VW — hopping. When Manel sings, the passengers couldn’t help but bounce along. Unfortunately Europe wasn’t feeling it — or the bum note at the climax of the song.

Memorable lyrics: “Take my hand and don’t close that door”

Poll: Name your favourite

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GIBRALTAR FOR EUROVISION!
Guest
GIBRALTAR FOR EUROVISION!

Clearly this is a toss up between Say Yay & Amanecer. Both criminally underrated…. Really, Barei had the slightly better song, and a better live performance on the night. SAY YAY, wins.

Bosuq
Guest
Bosuq

Amanecer! I’m all about singing in Spanish
Say Yay sounds very cheap and Manel’s song is just trash
Edurne served it though. Me encanta Amanecer

caracol
Guest
caracol

” Manel’s song is just trash”

Who says Manel song was trash, has no criteria to talk.
Manel was great.

NickC
Guest
NickC

Difficult question.
I think Manel had the best song, but he is a terrible singer.
Edurne is a star, best singer in the bunch, but she had a terrible song

So my vote goes to Barei. She was an OK singer, singing an OK song. Nothing special, but in terms of overall package, she wins.

HubertZnajomski
Guest

Barei was the best imo, but I also voted for Edurne because she was also great and totally underrated.

Vanuatu
Guest
Vanuatu

55 deafs so far.

riggedObjectivoEurovision
Guest
riggedObjectivoEurovision

75 now

Mike
Guest
Mike

In my opinion, eDurnIVA was the best ?

Mr. Abbott
Guest
Mr. Abbott

EDURNE!!!! She is the biggest DIVA at the ESC ever!!!!
Thanks for it Spain.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Spain needs to follow Melodifestivalen

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Barei.
Still one of my favourites from that year.

Colin
Guest
Colin

Edurne and Barei were both pretty good. Edurne would get the edge for a song and Barei for a performance. Manel’s song/performance was disasterous. Apart from Montenegro and Lithuania, it was the worst song of 2017.

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

This is going to be such an important year for Spain. “Despacito” has made reggaeton songs with Spanish lyrics popular all over the world. If Spain wanted to, they could enter something that totally owns this.

But! Spanish Eurofans don’t seem to like this genre and would rather have a diva singing a generic English language ballad, like “Ouch”.

David
Guest
David

I have been praying for years to send a reggaeton or electro latino song, but no one really submits a good one and it’s a shame…

EscAU
Guest
EscAU

Don’t forget the public voted for mirela! ir rtve fix their corrupt rules this year it could happen

Marc
Guest
Marc

Fans and RTVE don’t like Reggeaton and it’s basically the only genre in our charts, spotify and clubs here. Spaniards love this genre.
Also Reggeaton industry seems to not care enough for Eurovision but we’ll see.
I’m seeing any other country sending a latin banger and win Eurovision (or at least the televote) and embarrasing Spain once again xD

Andrea
Guest
Andrea

Reggaeton is nothing but sex-selling noise that has caused an explosion in the pregnant teenage girl demographic. There’s no music or artistry there; just computer-generated trash and autotuned idiots who talk about abusing women, and treating them like prostitutes. It always has the same basic rhythm, even, because they’re too lazy to try something new. Family friendly? No. Reggaeton is a plague.

Eneda
Guest
Eneda

excuse me? Ouch is GENERIC? why don’t you listen to the lyrics first. Ouch is an awesome anthemic song. Nothing close to generic. Generic is stuff like Mirela’s song and the Spanish entry in 2011. those are terrible

Joe2348
Guest
Joe2348

Barei, by far. I mean: Say Yay my life’s anthem! 😀 And, on top of being talented, she cares about many causes I care about, makes this great reflections about life on social media… That’s why she’ll forever be my pop queen ^^
I love Edurne’s voice, her personality, and I liked her song, but it didn’t move me like Say Yay did,
Manel’s was like a pleasant song you listen to while drinking a pi~a colada when you’re resting at the beach. Don’t love it, don’t hate it it was just okay.

Music Is the Key
Guest
Music Is the Key

I am glad they have given up on those generic, contrived, banal dated bad diva OTT ballads….2012 and 2014 are so cliched and bad….and extremely overrated by some fans!

azaad
Guest
azaad

You might think that but they got the country into the top 10, giving them their best results this decade.

Music Is the Key
Guest
Music Is the Key

Manel! And how many fans has treated him is REPULSIVE! Those losers should be ahasmed of themselves! Pathetic bulliers!

riggedObjectivoEurovision
Guest
riggedObjectivoEurovision

Well we don’t support corruption . Opposing the corrupt is not bullying it’s called bravado.

Jo
Guest
Jo

Edurne, even though her song was boring and the performance too theatrical.

Cookie
Guest
Cookie

All 3 are horrible,

2015 is just plain bad, the song is awful, how did Wiwibloggs even hype that up like wat, it was bound to crash.

2016 is extremely annoying and Belgium 2016 just did it way better.

2017 was not even supposed to be there and it showed, it was out of place in an already weak final.

D
Guest
D

Barei was decent, the other two were absolutely horrible. Especially Edurne, it’s annoying that people think she was robbed. No, that song was terrible.

The Anders
Guest
The Anders

2016 by far. I don’t like the other two at all. But “Say Yay” had a very infective energy.

AngieP
Guest
AngieP

Most of the times sth doesn’t work for Spain. Either it’s the song, the staging, the artist, the selection etc. That’s what I don’t like about Spain and it’s a shame. Exactly because it’s a country with a rich culture and musical tradition as well as a widely spoken beautiful language. They are able to present sth good. 2015: A complex staging with many elements, choreography, clothing. There was too much going on. I really like Edurne and the song was good but the performance may have lost televoters. 2016: It’s one of the songs you want to dance to.… Read more »

4lnh
Guest
4lnh

Manel is the biggest crime. In Portugal, Viva La Diva (Nova Gloria) won televote and jury placed them 5th, only to make room for Salvador. Shame on you Portugal, you are opportunistic that you are happy now for winning. Manel voting was NOT more rigged than Salvadors’. I want so much for Portugal to fail, they are rigged, they are praised for having whatever landscape and sun, and they don’t even have half the money they need, claiming that they want to bring back music, not fireworks and fast-food (meaning they are the most poor host ever) and people still… Read more »

Music Is the Key
Guest
Music Is the Key

What you write about Portugal makes no sense. A great, honest song. And he was right…music should be about feeling and honestly…not shallow glamour and musical fast food. A worthy winner!

Desfolhada
Guest
Desfolhada

Are you fan of Viva La Diva or are you with butthurt? This question is relevant
And where are you from?

4lnh
Guest
4lnh

”En un lugar de La Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme”
”In a town in La Mancha, whose name I do not wish to recall”

riggedObjectivoEurovision
Guest
riggedObjectivoEurovision

Portugal had bad song but great singer . Spain had abysmal song and corrupt singer. Who wins??

4lnh
Guest
4lnh

It doesn’t matter how good or bad the song/singer are, it is about principle. The fans of Viva La Diva and the fans of Mirela, are in the same situation : they spend money on televoting, only for jury to place their favorites as low as possible. The corruption is the same.

esc freak
Guest
esc freak

2015 and 2016 are great, 2017 is an OK song, pretty bad live though.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Amanecer is great, Do It for Your Lover is passable, and Say Yay is terrible.

Bgc_Irl
Guest
Bgc_Irl

2015 > 2017 >>>>>…….>>>> 2016. 2015: This had potential but the finished product was underwhelming. It needed more drums, and maybe a slightly faster tempo. And a more explosive stage show. 2016: I can’t find the words to express how much I hate this song. Barei’s shrill vocals and dreadful, cringey staging just made it even worse. This deserved nul points, the fact that anybody anywhere liked it mystifies me. 2017: The song had a certain goofy charm but it was never going to trouble the top half of the scoreboard. The bum note in the final obviously didn’t help… Read more »

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Welp, I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking this. I agree 100%.

Aaron GR
Guest
Aaron GR

Agree 100% also. “Say Yay” is needles in the ears AND the eyes. And it’s not even unique – it’s a spazzier, awfuller version of “Sing It Away.”

riggedObjectivoEurovision
Guest
riggedObjectivoEurovision

It could have at best tied/bettered Germany!! no way this banal corrupt idiot was finishing higher than 25th

Andrea
Guest
Andrea

At least 2016’s song was a huge variation in the fact that Barei sang only in English. And it was catchy. This coming from the electronica-hating grump

R
Guest
R

Am I the only one who can’t stand Amanecer?

The Anders
Guest
The Anders

No.

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

I like 2015, I don’t love it, I just like it. I don’t really see why She finished 21st, the fans loved it and besides the vocals being off sometimes I didnt notice too many wrongs. 2016 was amazing tho, it was really catchy and extremely underrated. 2017….