Just days ago, Barei emerged as the winner of Objetivo Eurovisión, Spain’s national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2016. Media, academics and politicians have reacted to the Spanish choice for Stockholm, and almost a week after the gala… we can’t exactly say how has Spain reacted to “Say Yay!” Reactions have been mixed, to say the least.
In fact, the country is a bit like this…
So in order to clarify Spain’s feelings, we’ve divided the reactions into blocks. Let’s do this!
The “who the f*** is Barei?”
As you may know, our girl was pretty much unknown in Spain prior to Objetivo Eurovisión. She might have won the Festival de Benidorm 15 years ago, and she might have sung Atresmedia’s song for the Champions League, but for the vast majority of Spaniards, this was the first time that Barei appeared on their TV:
Barei – Say Yay! – Live at Objetivo Eurovisión
Once Barei was crowned as Spain’s next Eurovision queen, mass media hurried to find out about the girl going to Stockholm. Many of them found that Barei’s real name is Bárbara Reyzábal (she’s done a J.Lo to get her stage name) and that she hails from one of Spain’s wealthiest families.
For instance, El Español pointed out that her family has made a fortune out of producing films, owning movie theatres and that they were the owners of the landmark Windsor building in Madrid, which was razed by fire in 2005.
El Mundo dug a bit more in our girl’s musical artistry. They pointed out that Barei has performed as a supporting act for no less than Lenny Kravitz, last year in Marbella’s Starlite festival. That’s class, y’all!
Out of Spain’s mass media, it’s been ABC who has paid the most attention to Barei. Days before Objetivo Eurovisión, Barei gave an interview where she complained about having to compete against other acts, saying that mainstream radio stations wouldn’t want to play her music.
After her victory at Objetivo Eurovisión, ABC also threw the mandatory “who is that Eurovision girl?” article, and they also pointed out how controversial Barei’s victory at Festival de Benidorm was. She and her co-performer originally placed second, but after the winner was disqualified, the gold went to Barei’s act, Dos Puntos. Barei said the partnership “didn’t end very well”. Drama all over.
The “Say Nay”
Now that everybody knows who is Barei, we’ll move on to the melodramatic reactions. Because yes, after Spain chooses a song featuring any little part of English, the ultra-Spanish nationalist cavemen will scream blue murder about how sad is that Spain is forgetting their language.
This was the case of José María Merino, one of the academics in the Real Academia Española de la Lengua (RAE), Spain’s organisation for the defence of the Spanish language. Mr. Merino said that it was “an absurdity” that Spain sang in English. His reaction was this (translated into English, of course):
It seems that there are lots of Spaniards who consider that the most appropriated language to represent us outside our borders is English. To me, that’s an absurdity. If Spain was a country with a little-spoken language, that needed to communicate in a major language, I’d understand it, but the thing is that we have a language spoken by 500 million people. I can’t take that in.
A public organisation like RTVE should have a code which said that ‘morally and culturally’, in these kind of representations outside Spain, they couldn’t use a language other than Spanish.
Clearly, our lovely curmudgeon hasn’t even realised that there are more languages in Spain other than Spanish, but don’t get me started on that.
Wiwibloggs’ reaction to Barei’s election
In any event, Barei’s decision to ditch Spanish in “Say Yay!” has been quite controversial. While for many countries the strange decision would be singing in their national language (hej Sweden, hej Denmark). Singing in English is a relatively new thing for Spain — so new that it has made the headlines in UK media, such as the BBC and the Telegraph.
RTVE had been threatening to sing entirely in English for some years, while RAE has criticised any Spanish Eurovision songs with English lyrics. Ruth Lorenzo was the last to suffer it, and we’re sure more artists after Barei will have to deal with a grumpy RAE academic. But who cares?
The “Say Yay!”
On the other hand, many people thought the newly elected Spanish representative was a great choice. Apart from the fans, the song has received very positive feedback from the media. Barei has stormed the news and lots of newspapers and websites are interviewing her, from news agency Europa Press, to specialist blog Je Ne Sais Pop.
Spain’s next Euro star reveals a bit more about herself in each of the interviews. She says she’ll keep her sneakers on in Stockholm because she wants her look to be “comfortable yet sophisticated”. Or, as we say in Spanish, “arreglá pero informal“.
Wiwibloggs interviews Barei part 1
And of course, now our girl can’t complain: “Say Yay!” is regularly heard on radio and TV. In fact, Spain’s most listened radio station, Cadena SER, has used her song in the adverts for the Copa del Rey’s semifinals which happened this week. That’s big, y’all!
Wiwibloggs interviews Barei part 2
So while Spain can’t decide if they love Barei or not, we at team wiwibloggs do, and we’ll be screaming yayayayay until May. What about you? What do you think of the English-language drama? Tell us below!