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
- Group performance – “I Am What I Am”
- Damion – “Give Me Love”
- Joan Garrido – “Bed I Made”
- Dave & Julia- “Vivir”
- Marilia & Marta – “Lo echamos a suertes”
- Famous – “Take Me to Church”
- María & Miki – “Quédate en Madrid”
- Carlos Right & Sabela – “Estrella polar”
- Noelia – “La tormenta”
- Alba Reche & Natalia – “Toxic”
What do you think of OT 2018 Gala 4? Which acts should compete in the Eurovision Gala? Share your thoughts below.