Miki Mamen Márquez Fokas Evangelinos

Spain’s staging at Eurovision has been consistently weak in recent years. But things are set to change in 2019.

Broadcaster RTVE has recruited the Greek staging maestro Fokas Evangelinos to bring Miki’s “La venda” to life in Tel Aviv. His credits include Azerbaijan 2013, Ukraine 2008 and Greece 2005, amongst others.

But he doesn’t come cheap. His services are setting the network back €40,000.

Last week, Fokas joined Mamen Márquez — Miki’s vocal director — on Amikis y conocidas, the online show formerly known as Spain Calling.

Over the course of the conversation, Mr. Evangelinos revealed some tasty tidbits about next month’s staging plans. And it sounds like Miki may be needing breathing assistance after his performance.

But don’t worry, Mamen has him covered! She has Miki singing “La venda” while running on the treadmill. Between that and his daily gym sessions, he’ll have built enough stamina to take on the most robust of performances.

The backing singers are also being put through their paces. They’ll also be dancing and will be expected to fill the whole stage. They’re taking the party to Tel Aviv and there’s even talk of balloons.

Fokas adds that since “La venda” is not in English, they are working on some staging which will help get the message of the song across to the audience watching at home. So even if they don’t understand what Miki is singing, nothing will be lost in translation.

Evangelinos is perhaps best known for being part of the supposed dream team, along with Philipp Kirkorov and Dimitris Kontopoulos. The trio are all involved with Russia’s entry — Sergey Lazarev with “Scream”.

The interviewers jokingly ask Fokas to put less effort into Sergey’s staging. Nonetheless, they hope he gets first and second places at Eurovision, with Spain being on top, of course.

The last time Evangelinos staged two entries in the same contest was in 2008 when he did, in fact, achieve a one-two finish. Then Russia came first and Ukraine second. Can he actually repeat the feat this time?

The pair also confirmed that they are getting along well during the preparations. Mamen commended Fokas’ generosity and says he is easy to work with.

This is not Spain’s first time hiring a big name stage director for Eurovision. Back in 2017, Manel Navarro collaborated with Hans Pannecouke, the genius behind the Netherlands’ “Calm After The Storm” staging in 2014. That didn’t work out so well for the Iberian nation, but it didn’t really matter since it paled in comparison to Manel’s bum note.

Do you think Fokas Evangelinos will work his magic again?  How would you stage “La venda”? Tell us in the comments.

READ MORE SPAIN EUROVISION 2019 NEWS.

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Boom Boom Chaka Chaka
Guest
Boom Boom Chaka Chaka

Miki would earn more votes just by taking his shirt off, but hopefully it will look just as good.

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

I think it would be a better contest if there were some kind of limitation on staging budgets. Countries shouldn’t be able to win points with money. I very much doubt if anything like €40K has been spent on poor Roko’s wings.

Una
Guest
Una

Word!! Then it would be more about the song, not meaning that some countries will not pay big money to purchase songs from known composers rather than use own talent. Example: X country this year bought a song despite having own talent. Country B have a home-grown performer that co-wrote their song and was not basically paid for it. Just co-wrote the song, submitted it, song won. On the other hand just one song with limited staging won in the recent history. That’s a big exception. The reality of modern Eurovision is big, jaw-dropping staging. And there is definitely an… Read more »

hi guys
Guest
hi guys

What a boring show we would have then!!!

GiavK
Guest
GiavK

Our beloved Greek director is known for his extravagant stagings and in many times his stagings really boost the respective the songs ..for example all of Russia’s performances since 2014…
In other cases his ideas are just a white elephant…for example in 2009 during Greece’s golden years our broadcaster spent 1 million euros for the whole participation and staging of “This is our night” and was a big failure
However I hope his plans will work for Miki!

James
Guest
James

So the figure converts to US$45,000.00. That’s quite a big rate for Fokas and quite costly for the Spanish delegation to get someone to stage a 3-minute performance.

Of course, you also have to consider other factors such as his airfare and accomodations since he is traveling from Greece to Spain and Russia. But 40k euros is still a huge deal of money regardless. You could feed several rooms of hungry school children with that amount.

Are things really expensive in the E.U.?

Una
Guest
Una

If he gets that money, think of how much bigger names get. And noone works alone, so I would count into that general amount professional fees and related costs for other people too. Or maybe those are added to the figure of the director, IDK. I would also consider the number of hours a director will put into the preparations, higher taxes for a larger fee, time taken off from other projects (less revenue so a larger amount for more “exclusivity” would make sense). And the bigger the name is, the bigger the fee. So all in all I think… Read more »

American ESC fan
Guest
American ESC fan

Hmm… so many people commenting negative comments that just makes me wonder what kind of music y’all listen to

Una
Guest
Una

It’s a nice, light, catchy, summer and enjoyable song with a mainstream Latino vibe. Nothing special about it.

BT BG
Guest
BT BG

They should’ve invested in a good composer and song writer.

James
Guest
James

The song was chosen via a national selection.

Kirby
Guest
Kirby

Yeah, but a very average one -with several songs trying to duplicate “Lo Malo”.

Isa
Guest
Isa

Dear Lord, what a waste of money!

DripDrop
Guest
DripDrop

Well actually 2008 wasn’t the last time Fokas staged two performances in the same year! He did it last year with Azerbaijan and Moldova! He was also behind Greece 2009 (Sakis), Russia 2014 (Those twins), of course Russia 2016 (Sergey) and Greece 2017 (Demy). Seems like he always tries to go big with as many props as possible but only manages that with a big budget (see what happened with Aisel’s underwhelming visual effects and Demy’s failed props and holograms… she was even meant to sit on a swing hanging from the roof, probably to hide her awkwardness). Anyway he… Read more »

Andy
Guest
Andy

I sort of agree. I think Fokas was really good in the previous decade cause then it was all about props and gimmicks. As I’ve said before, I hope he doesn’t stage too much Miki’s performance as part of his and his song’s charm is the spontaneousness on the stage.

Joe
Guest
Joe

The whole Dream Team aesthetic is from a blessedly bygone era of Eurovision. I like how simple staging can elevate a song now rather than doom it.

Adam
Guest
Adam

“…there’s even talk of balloons.”
RIP Conan Osíris

Elsa
Guest
Elsa

Since the music is crap, let’s invest in the “fireworks”…

KarWorld
Guest
KarWorld

So will do most of the countries with their entries, mostly crap in terms of quality as well (mostly generic in English) , but most of them nice to listen to.

melody
Guest
melody

it worked for Israel last year

Fun or ban?
Guest
Fun or ban?

They are burning money. Generic Spanish pop song, nothing special or new, just 3 minutes of moves and smiles. This song will sink on the right side of the scoreboard. I put my money on that

KarWorld
Guest
KarWorld

Generic pop song, nothing special or new… you are taking about 80% of the entries! The only adjective I buy from your comment is ‘Spanish’ : the difference between all these generic pop songs is that La Venda is really Spanish. And that’s what makes it different from the others generic pop songs.

Alex
Guest
Alex

It might be generic but not Eurovision generic wise. No other country is similar. And at least it’s a local product and not generic pop bought in Sweden like Cyprus or Malta

Kirby
Guest
Kirby

“La Venda” sounds more Rioplatense than generic or Spanish…

Jack
Guest
Jack

He will elevate the song, fokas knows hot to stage a song, thank god the song is not created by kontopoulos

Una
Guest
Una

How do these figures come to light? Aren’t contracts confidential? I remember reading an article about Ireland last year: the broadcaster gave the entire amount plus some general breakdown but they kept the fees confidential (only for their records) in order not to affect the artists and others.
Just think that if it known that X person got B amount of money, how can X request and receive more than B for the future?

CookieNation
Guest
CookieNation

Because of Spain’s new transparency laws all public spending has to be made public at the ministry’s web pages.

Makis
Guest
Makis

Firstly, I don’t think Hans Pannecouke is genius. His entries were just simple. “Calm after the storm” came to 2nd place because, guess what, IT WAS A GOOD SONG, not of the camera work. Manel was hindered because his song was cheesy.

Secondly, we looooove Fokas in Greece and he is really really talented. In 2008, Greece was surpassed by his 2 entries! Wished he staged Kalomoira, as well.

Una
Guest
Una

Well, the staging and camera work in Calm after the Storm was AMAZING!! It enhanced the song so much!!!! That’s what made the song get the second place in the GF.

Yellow yellow love
Guest

Whilst this is nice, it fails to mention that the Russian team has spent at least 8 times more than Spain has. #buyyourwaytovictory

Rafael
Guest
Rafael

Well you know, that’s been always the issue with Russia and Sergey. They have to overpay on staging to compensate for the cheap and outdated songs they send along with him.

Roger Rabbit
Guest
Roger Rabbit

Well looks that Spain will do much better this year . Still thinking Spain can be top 10 or 5 . This time looks is possible.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Hey, power to ‘em. Sounds like it’ll look great, and lord knows staging hasn’t been Spain’s strong suit recently.
(Btw, did not know Pancake staged Do It for Your Lover. I’d say that fills me with more potential dread for Duncan except I also just realized he did What’s the Pressure, Calm After the Storm, AND Slow Down, all of which had staging I really liked, so who knows)

stommie
Guest
stommie

I don’t think the staging was the problem for Manel Navarro.

Efraim
Guest
Efraim

It wasn’t, but it certainly didn’t help either.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Oh god no. It was just the icing on the cake. Would’ve just been cringey surfer iconography before The Note happened.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

I thought Manel’s staging was quite nice. There wasn’t much to do for Spain that year tho…

oli
Guest
oli

WOW, I mean, Fokas is worth it , but wouldn’t have been easier to work on having a winner song in the first place? I love La Venda, but no ten Fokas will make this song win… Besides, what can he do that will cost so much for such? Next year, give it to me, I will prepare a killer stage concept for only 10K, super cheap price 😀

NickC
Guest
NickC

Well, it seems they have not spent anything on Alfrad and Amaia or Barei…. so maybe they can spend the saved money on Miki.