She’s the Romanian-Filipina favourite who roared her way back into the Romanian national selection this year with “Army of Love”.
And while Bella Santiago fell just short of a Eurovision berth for the second year in a row, she’s proven she’s still got seven of her nine lives left. She’s released her latest banger, “Pantera”, a collaboration with Spanish composer Wolf and a team that had previously worked with Latin superstar Enrique Iglesias.
Meaning “female panther” in Spanish (and not named after the 90s metal band of the same name), “Pantera” oozes Latina reggaeton and major sex appeal. Proving that she’s ever the polyglot, she sings in both Spanish and English, all whilst gyrating on her man and getting sand everywhere. There’s dry heat, there’s secluded beaches, and a very 2000’s Shakira inspired look. It’s all in a day’s work for this superstar.
It also marks Bella’s association with major Romanian record label Cat Music. The label has many Romanian superstars and Eurovision alumni on their billing, including Cezar (2013), Mandinga (2012), Voltaj (2015) and Ilinca (2017).
While Bella has yet to make a Eurovision appearance – it’s only a matter of time before she gets the opportunity. Winning The X Factor in Romania, she placed fourth in the Romanian national final in 2018 alongside Jukebox with “Auzi cum bate”. This year, she made a last-second wildcard entry to the national final with a tribal and warrior-inspired anthem “Army of Love”. A pre-contest favourite, she just fell short in the final to Ester Peony, coming third.
She told William earlier this year that while is a proud Filipina, her heart belongs in Romania – so expect to see her on the scene for years to come:
“I came here in Romania for vacation, and then I caught the audition for another contest. Luckily one of the famous music labels signed me up to be their artist. And I came back here as an artist and tried to continue my career here.”
“I am very lucky the Romanian people accepted me. And also because I am Romanian inside of me. My birthday is the birthday of Romania — December 1, 1989, which is exactly the birthday of Romania.”
Would you like to see Bella Santiago sing “third time lucky” at Eurovision next year? What do you think of her new sound? Let us know in the comments below.