Operación Triunfo 2017 was the runaway success story of Spanish television and tonight Operación Triunfo 2018 will attempt to capture that magic again as it kicks off with the first live gala show. Eighteen hopeful singers will perform — but only 16 of them will make it into the hallowed OT academy and get a shot at representing Spain at Eurovision 2019.

Gala 0 kicks off tonight and it will be the first time that viewers will get to meet the 18 contenders. Each of the acts will cover a song of their choosing, picked to hopefully show off their talents to the television audience.

The public will vote and the contestants with the lowest votes will face elimination. The gala 0 elimination can be tough — last year, the eventual series winner Amaia was among the bottom five acts, but was one of the two saved by the jury.

Once the bottom two have been eliminated, the lucky 16 remaining will move into the academy and their OT 2018 journey will begin.

Earlier this week, the 18 contenders were revealed, along with their age and hometown:

As with OT 2017, the contestants have already been set up with Instagram accounts, which they will use to share moments with fans while in the academy.

And the follower counts of the contestants could indicate where fan interest lies even before the series has started. Luis has the most followers, with almost 70,000. Also clocking high follower counts are NataliaJulia, Famous and Alba Reche. At the other end, Marta, RodrigoDamion, Marilia and Alfonso have the lowest follower counts. Can we expect to see them in the bottom five tonight? Or will there be some surprises?

TVE earlier confirmed that OT 2018 would again be used as the selection for Spain’s Eurovision act. While the exact method has not been confirmed, it is expected that it will follow a similar format to the OT 2017 Eurovision Gala. The broadcaster suggested that songwriters would have longer to prepare potential entries and that the Eurovision Gala may be held earlier in the series.

OT 2018 is expected to involve 14 weekly Wednesday-night gala shows, with the tentative finish date of 19 December. The official OT YouTube channel will also feature the live stream from within the academy, performances, rehearsals and related video clips.

And being a reality show as well as a talent show, we’re also here for the drama. Last year’s series spawned two (or was it three?) romances within the academy, but sadly only #Almaia reminds together.

Gala 0 of Operación Triunfo 2018 kicks off tonight at 22:30 CET (that’s prime time in Spain!) on TVE’s La 1 channel. The show will feature a guest performance from the 16 contestants of OT 2017, including Eurovision sweethearts Amaia and Alfred.

What do you think of the OT 2018 contestants? Who would you like to see represent Spain in Tel Aviv? Leave your comments below!

Read more Spain Eurovision news here

Read more Operación Triunfo news here

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sehiIt's the BBC's fault, not the UK'sRobyn GallagherfriedenauNikko Recent comment authors
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sehi
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sehi

Dave Dave Dave <3 artista de los pies a la cabeza. pero todos son muy buenos. ya lo veremos 🙂

It's the BBC's fault, not the UK's
Guest
It's the BBC's fault, not the UK's

They all look like a bunch of college students!

Nikko
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Nikko

Is the maximum age 25? I would also like to visit an experienced Diva representing Spain one day again. Not just young casting show solo artists

laovue
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laovue

girl with the short hair and piercing and tattoos, whats her name? saw a video and she could be the spanish melanie martinez. im excited to see her. The blonde seems interesting too.

Bruno
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Bruno

They all look like ‘next top model’ contenders lol
hope they as talented as gorgeous they look , good luck Spain!

Viktor
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Viktor

Oh let’s see who will be the new lovebirds that will get to represent Spain in Eurovision 2019. Can’t wait. 🙂

Mr. Vanilla Bean
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Mr. Vanilla Bean

Meet the prodigies one (or two) of whom TVE will help catapult all the way to 21st to 26th place at Eurovision. As we say in Austria: Shoot for the stratosphere and plummet right back to earth. 🙂

Alex
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Alex

I didn’t know Africa is also a name lol

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Obviously he or she has to win! Just because of the awesome name.

Efraim
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Efraim

Well, yes. It’s a moderately common women’s name here in Spain.

Cesar's salad
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Cesar's salad

It’s the name of an entire continent *facepalm*

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

They all look awfully basic which can be either a good or a bad thing. The only one that stands out is the Halsey impersonator (the blonde girl in the middle of the top row).