In recent years the Spanish Eurovision script has read as follows: Spain does poorly, the nation is disappointed with its results, and the media criticizes the singers. But, in a sensational twist, Eurofans and some Spanish publications like Vanitatis are now placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of Frederico Llano, the head of Spain’s Eurovision delegation since 2002.
Over the last five years Spanish journalists and Eurovision lovers have argued that the country’s stage presentations are weak—and they’ve pointed the finger at Llano. According to Vanitatis, he has a tendency to micromanage the staging. Each country ususally sends the EBU a dossier with the artistic and technical requirements for their performances. Countries like Denmark and Norway frequently replicate their act’s winning performance from the national final. But in Spain the head of delegation tends to radically rework the ideas of the singers.
The most egregious example occurred in 2009 when Soraya was forced to change her choreography. She originally wanted to have a swing which would lower her to the stage from the ceiling. But the delegation only allowed the singer to choose the colour of the dress that they had imposed on her. After the contest Soraya made all of this public. If artists follow in her footsteps, they may face retaliation. This April she said that she felt speaking out had led to a ban on featuring her or her image on Eurovision TV shows. “It’s as if my time at Eurovision doesn’t exist,” she said on Perdonada? on Canal Català.
Another chapter in this story reportedly occured in 2012 in Baku when the media captured Llano having an outburst on the street. The Vanitatis article claims that when a fan asked one of Pastora Soler’s backing singers to take a photo with her, Llano screamed: “We’re not here on holiday!”
Moreover, the Spanish head of delegation doesn’t seem interested in cultivating international relationships. Unlike Israel, San Marino and other competing nations, Spain never organizes official parties at Eurovision for other delegations, press and fans. Foreign media have also complained that they can never secure time to interview the Spanish contestant. (Perhaps they are too busy learning Llano’s new choreography…)
Some fans have spoken out, albeit anonymously, on the official website of TVE. (They don’t dare use their names for fear of losing their accreditations for the following Eurovision.) They say that with this head of delegation Spain will never win the contest. The lack of publicity and promotion for ESDM certainly suggests that’s true. This year the group had next to no exposure and continued with their Spanish tour in the months before the contest. This despite the fact that Spanish fans cannot vote for Spain at Eurovision. Even the group’s lead singer Raquel del Rosario seemed concerned about the bad promotion from TVE, noting that other contestants had already released their songs in several languages. She thanked her fans for their support creating various promo videos on the Internet.
She can be forgiven if she forgot to thank TVE….
Photo: Eurovision.tv (EBU)