On Saturday evening Eurofans across the world watched as Catalan singer Manel Navarro narrowly defeated Aranjuez-born starlet Mirela in the final of Spain’s Objetivo Eurovisión 2017. At the end of the show — as the host called on the three-person jury to break the deadlock between the two stars — the tension was palpable.
And while the result of any nail-biter usually brings relief for the eventual winner, this was not any nail-biter. Instead of applause and endless congratulations, Manel found himself in the awkward position of having to reprise his entry “Do It For Your Lover” before a clearly disgruntled audience, many of whom had booed the jurors for awarding Manel top marks just moments earlier. It was clear to Eurofans everywhere — in the studio and watching online — that the Eurodrama had gone nuclear.
— FormulaTV (@FormulaTV) February 12, 2017
Indeed, the reaction inside the venue was anything but congratulatory. Myself and two of my fellow wiwibloggers attended the proceedings, and can attest that people were booing and shouting, and hurling insults at the jurors at the same time as their neighbours cheered for Mirela.
We’re huge fans of Mirela — she actually won with our in-house panel of reviewers and with our readers. But that doesn’t give fans license to shout down her opponents. Manel’s crowning moment was actually quite shameful.
So much so that the Spanish media and countless celebrities have been discussing the proceedings in print, online and on air, usually concluding that the crowd’s behaviour turned the show into something esperpento — aka, grotesque.
In an opinion piece entitled “Shame on ‘Objetivo Eurovisón’, ABC.es asked, “Which artists are going to want to appear in this circus in the future? What professionals are going to dare to put themselves in a race of such absurdity?”
“Manel Navarro was vilified by many of the Eurofans who came to the gala,” they write. “The incessant rain of booing stained the sweet moment intended for the artist…”
Xuso Jones, who competed in the 2016 edition of Spain’s national final, was not amused.
“That violence is not justified with anything….the circus that has been mounted is very embarrassing”
Spanish songwriter Pablo Alborán said “NO TO VIOLENCE” — and in capital letters.
Que la violencia no esta justifica con nada. Y que no habia parcialidad pues tampoco… Pero el circo que se ha montado es muy vergonzoso..
— Xuso Jones (@XusoJones) February 12, 2017
NO A LA VIOLENCIA
— Pablo Alborán (@pabloalboran) February 12, 2017
No entiendo que ha pasado en #ObjetivoEurovision pero algo GORDO ..
Tendré que informame?
— Soraya Arnelas (@SorayaArnelas) February 12, 2017
Other stars took issue with the actual result of the show, which saw Mirela — who won the public televote — lose as a result of the three-person professional jury. In their eyes the tiebreak wasn’t the will of the people.
Masterchef Cyber host and Kiehl’s cosmetics ambassador Abel Arana wrote: “The sad thing about all of this is that for the first time someone who will represent us at Eurovision has not even won in their country.”
— Abel Arana (@AbelArana) February 12, 2017
— Sandra Barneda (@SandraBarneda) February 11, 2017
Why is Manel Navarro’s win controversial?
The fact that the jury — rather than the public vote — broke the tie is a cause of concern to many. As you’ll recall, in 2014 the tie between Ruth Lorenzo and Brequette was broken by the public.
But that’s not the main point of contention. Fans have been up in arms over an alleged friendship between Manel and judge Xavi Martinez, the evidence of which has been cited on Twitter.
Last month Twitter user @Magitorras congratulated Manel on the release of his song “Do It For Your Lover”. Then Xavi — who hosts Los 40, one of the most listened-to radio programs in Spain — answered, writing that they were going to make the song “an anthem”.
Manel replied: “Thank you brother! Hoping you are my talisman!”
We should point out that at the time of this exchange, Xavi was not yet confirmed as a judge of Objetivo Eurovisión.
However, this leads to another big question: Why was he chosen as a judge if he already had connections with Manel?
Outraged fans have let their disgust over the perceived unfairness be known and spun a series of conspiracy theories.
Xavi Martínez después super amiguete de Manel Navarro, que curiosamente tiene a @SonyMusicSpain detrás, vaya, ¿que coincidencias no?
— Daniel (@D4niB4) February 12, 2017
— Alberto Muñoz (@albertommoral) February 11, 2017
Xavi Martínez was attacked in the show
Xavi subsequently claimed that he was attacked by a person in the audience during the show, which led him to leave the studio before the show ended.
His radio station Los 40 tweeted their support for him, writing: “At LOS40 we want to show our full support for @xavimartinez and express our strongest condemnation against violence #ObjetivoEurovision.”
— LOS40 (@Los40) February 12, 2017
Xavi hasn’t made any statement regarding the incident, but his fellow juror Virginia Díaz has spoken out.
In an interview with La Voz de Galicia, the Radio 3 host explained that Saturday night’s incident made her “not want to take part in any Eurovision related event again” because she had “never been in such a situation in the world of music”.
“I knew Eurovision fans were passionate, but I couldn’t believe they could get aggressive,” she said.
Virginia had to decide on who was going to Eurovision, actually. After Xavi picked Manel and Javier Cárdenas went for Mirela, it was her time to decide, and she stayed true to her principles and taste.
In the interview, she states that the jury wasn’t rigged — not her, at least — and explained how Mirela’s song was not her cup of tea from the beginning.
Prior to the voting segment the show was running quite smoothly. But then Xavi announced that he had given 5 points to Mirela and 12 to Manel, and part of the audience erupted in rage. You could feel the atmosphere change.
And the poisoned air may explain Manel’s rather unfortunate gesture, in which he appears to be giving his finger to the public on stage. Perhaps he buckled under the pressure and was feeling the sting of jurors being booed for supporting him. Regardless, it’s not a way to win people over.
— FormulaTV (@FormulaTV) February 11, 2017
What do you make of the latest instalment of Eurodrama? Was RTVE right to include Xavi on the panel? Should Xavi have disclosed his relationship and support of Manel prior to the contest? Should RTVE have let the televote break the tie? And do you actually buy in to the various conspiracy theories? Let us know in the comments box below.