The last two gala shows of Spain’s Operacíon Triunfo were criticised for being a little dull in places. But there’s been none of that this week. Gala 4 delivered loads of drama, thrills, and even prompted a thought-provoking discussion of the way language can change over a generation.

The “mariconez” drama

The big drama of the evening came from Miki and María‘s performance of “Quédate en Madrid” — and one lyric in particular. The song — which was originally released in 1988 by OT judge Ana Torroja’s pop group Mecano — contains the lyric “Siempre los cariñitos me han parecido una mariconez”. Back in the ’80s, the intended meaning was along the lines of “Cute things always seemed silly”.

But fast-forward 30 years and mariconez has a different context. The word originates from maricon, meaning gay. It’s a word which was used as a strong homophobic slur, but has since been reclaimed by the Spanish-speaking LGBT community. And they are essentially saying that it’s not ok to use mariconez to mean ‘meaningless’ or ‘silly’.

Miki and María proposed that mariconez be changed to estupidez (stupidity). But Mecano’s songwriters didn’t agree to the change. The duo performed the song at the gala with the original lyrics, but Miki’s unhappy face said it all. The audience were on María and Miki’s side. When the song finished, the audience chanted “¡Estupidez! ¡Estupidez! ¡Estupidez!” in support of the alternative lyric. María, who had been the most outspoken about the situation, was voted the audience favourite of the Gala, and Miki was among the top three favourites.

A different kind of drama was a delivered by Alba Reche and Natalia. They duetted on Britney Spears’ “Toxic” in a performance that was loaded with sexual tension.

Lyrical changes weren’t allowed so Natalia couldn’t sing “A girl like you should wear a warning”, but she didn’t have to. Natalia and Alba delivered smouldering performances, flirtatious choreography and basically gave a great performance. Alba was voted among the public’s top three acts and Natalia was saved by the jury.

Another stand-out performance of the evening came from Famous. He performed Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” which showed off both his dramatic bass tones as well as his ability to let it rip. His impressive stage present also pleased the jury who saved Famous from nomination.

Then it was time for the next elimination. Damion and Joan Garrido had been up for nomination all week. Despite both delivering good performances at the gala, Joan’s time at the Academy ended with only 35% of the public vote.

Once the jury gave their assessments of the remaining contestants, four acts faced nomination: Carlos Right, Dave, Noelia, and Sabela.

Noelia — who performed Pastora Soler’s “La Tormenta” — was criticised for not getting her vocals right. But she was saved from nomination by the Academy instructors.

This left the remaining acts to vote to save one of the three remaining acts — and with it came another big dramatic moment of the evening. With Carlos Right up for nomination, it was expected that Julia — his close friend and the other half of the #Julright ‘ship — would naturally vote to save him. But instead Julia voted for her duet partner Dave — who is also the act she has voted to save for the previous two weeks. Is this the end of #Julright? Or was Julia just being a good friend to Dave?

But either way, it wasn’t enough to save Dave or Carlos. Sabela got the most votes and was saved from nomination, leaving Dave and Carlos to face the public vote this week. Dave and Carlos have each been up for nomination once before and are two of the more popular members of the Academy.

Operación Triunfo 2018 Gala 4 – performances

What do you think of OT 2018 Gala 4? Which acts should compete in the Eurovision Gala? Share your thoughts below.

Read more Spain Eurovision news here

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beccaboo1212
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If only OT allowed lyrical changes to the Mecano song. 🙁 Thankfully, Natalia didn’t replace ‘guy’ with ‘girl’ during the “Toxic” performance. 🙂

T.J.
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T.J.

Marías vocals where not really good. A good example how the “story” around a song prevails over musical criteria….

Sabrina
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Sabrina

One thing I don’t like about OT’s format is how what happens outside the stage influence on the results. Maria & Miki gave a cute but bland performance and got to the top 3 because of the drama (btw, I agree it would be a sensitive move to replace “mariconez” with “estupidez”). Alba & Natalia were HOT and very effective together. But for the 2nd week in a row my favorite duet was one flying under the radar: Marilia & Marta. It worries me how Noelia and Famous (imo, the best voices on the show) so far stopped progressing.

Rose
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Rose

Maria and Miki had a very bland and boring song. Natalia (Amaia), Alba (Alfred) and Julia (Aitana) are finalists and everyone has known about it since week one. The producers give them the best songs and the jury showers them with praises no matter what. Meanwhile, Sabela, Maria, Damion, Carlos and Dave get songs that don’t allow them to shine. At least Marilia and Miki will have a chance to do so with this week’s songs (Clean Bandit’s Rather Be and Pablo Lopez’s El Patio). Don’t be surprised if Sabela is the audience favorite next Wednesday. There’s a campaign going… Read more »

Sabrina
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Sabrina

I only watch the performances on Youtube and read the weekly Wiwi post about it, so I can’t comment on most of you said. Though I know how fan clubs influence way too much producing decisions on reality competitions and I agree that some singers in OT are getting songs that clearly aren’t helping them to shine (most of them, I would say). I also think it’s time to focus on solo performances, because some won’t grow unless they got challenged with that.

Rose
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Rose

Natalia (Eilan Bay) and Alba already had a fan base prior to OT (that didn’t happen last year). People on Twitter were deciding on their ship name before RTVE announced the 18 contestants for Gala 0, so you know they care more about their “relationship” and “sexual tension” than their artistic skills. You can find Twitter polls asking who they want representing Spain in Eurovision 2019 and one of the options is Natalia and Alba. If we’re getting duets in the Eurovision Gala, I can guarantee they’ll be Almaia 2.0 The shows producers and Universal are aware of each contestant’s… Read more »

Rose
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Rose

Oh, and politicians too attacked Maria on TV.

Rose
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Rose

Maricón = f*g
Mariconez = f*ggy

It’s always been a homophobic slur, way before José María Cano wrote the lyrics.

I respect Julia’s decision to save her duet partner Dave. I think it was the right thing to do (no pun intended). Carlos is probably going to be saved by the public.

Héctor
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Héctor

Damion was emotional. He needed a top performance like that, so I hope he is more confident in that stage now! He’s my favourite in this edition and deserved to be saved. Famous, Natalia and Alba round up my top 4 contestants.

About the nomination I prefer Dave over Carlos, but Carlos will be saved as Cepeda was last year. People think they are handsome…

sehi
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sehi

it’s what the show wants you to think, that he is just ”funny”, that is all they show in the gala. In the past week twitter went crazy when we found out he learned catalan by himself listening to Serrat and other great spanish singers. (he is from cadiz so that’s why it was interesting to many people). no mention of that. he spends his days in the academy playing guitar and singing beautifully, no mention of that either. he works hard every week, but they don’t show that either. he is super woke and talks about important issues, regarding… Read more »

Vanuatu
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Vanuatu

very good show this time. It must have been difficult to nominate 4. I prefer Carlos to stay. Dave must be funny and sing well in his style, but i dont like his image to be honest and i dont see him versatile enough. Carlos lacks similar issues, but at least have great image.

Dani
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Dani

So, you want Carlos to stay just because he is more handsome than Dave, am I wrong? Senseless.