Spain’s revamped Benidorm International Song Festival — now Spain’s 2022 Eurovision selection process — is taking shape. Back in July, Spain’s Broadcaster RTVE spiced up their selection by programming a three-night festival — dubbed Benidorm Fest — as part of Spain’s journey to Turin. In another move long dreamed of by fans, Spain also shook up their working team for Eurovision with, among other changes, a new Head of Delegation.

On Thursday RTVE announced that J Cruz, Tony Sánchez-Ohlsson and Zahara will serve as the musical advisers, working hand-in-hand with RTVE staff in choosing the 12 competing songs for the upcoming Benidorm Fest. Spain is calling and these three icons are on the line.

The experts have different professional profiles, but they share one goal: to make a great audiovisual and television show.

J Cruz

Carlos José Montado Cruz — known as J Cruz — is the real deal. As a composer he boasts 13 platinum records — and at the tender age of 23 years old. He landed his first record deal in Colombia when he was 18, working next to producers such as Saga WhiteBlack and in studios such as Nicky Jam’s.

He subsequently rubbed shoulders with RVFV, Nyno Vargas, Ñengo Flow, Mariah Angeliq, Ana Mena, Lérica, Rasel and Ronaldo, among others. But it was not until 2019 that he shot to fame after co-writing the Bad Gyal and Omar Montes hit “Alocao.” The song, performed by two rising stars on the Spanish urban scene, peaked at number 1 on the Spanish charts and earned 6 platinum certifications.

Since 2020, J Cruz has been deep in his solo career, having released “Me Dispare” next to Samuraï as his latest single.

Tony Sánchez-Ohlsson

Tony is a well-known figure among Eurovision fans. He wrote the D’Nash ballad “I Love you mi Vida”,  Pastora Soler’s beloved “Quedate Conmigo” and Edurne’s “Amancer.” He has also participated in seven different selection processes in Spain — Mirela’s “Contigo” (2nd place in 2017) and Brequette’s “Run (Mas)” (2nd place in 2014).

After a stint in London early in his career, he returned to Spain and started working with artists such as Pastora Soler, Marta Sánchez, Carlos Rivera, Loreen and Edurne. He produced Auryn’s number 1 studio records, Sweet California’s debut album, and is currently working with Pastora Soler on her new album. Whew!

Zahara

The Andalusian-born Indie singer is a sensation across Spain and Latin America. She’s crammed a lot into her 20-year career: six studio albums, three books and extensive experience in television.

She was only 12 when she composed her first piece. She has worked with Carlos Jean, Ricky Falkner and Matthew Twaites. Now she owns her own record label “Gozz.”

Her latest record “Puta” is an acclaimed album across Spain for its rawness and Zahara’s effort addressing sexism, harassment, pain and darkness. The album is her best selling studio record, debuting at number 2 on Spain’s charts.

She keeps things real. She was part of the selection committee for Eurovision 2019 and was the only member who said that all of the songs would struggle instead of heaping fake praise on RTVE.

The process of Benidorm Fest 2022

Spain’s Benidorm Fest will consist of four different phases. During the first phase, submissions are open until November 10 (after RTVE extended its submission deadline). Artists will either submit their songs or be invited to participate. RTVE will also be able to match an invited singer with a submitted song.

Phase 2 is the song selection. In the coming months, the musical panel will pick up to 12 participants and six back-up acts. A minimum of two entries will be chosen from among those submitted via the web process.

RTVE will observe gender equality, and will try to combine big names with “little discoveries”, as well as a variety of musical genres.
Phases three and four will be the semi-finals and final of Benidorm Fest.

What are your thoughts on the musical panel? Would you have chosen a different expert? And are you excited about Spain’s swift in their process with the new Benidorm Fest? Let us know in the comment section below!

Read more Spain Eurovision news here.

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Esc addict
Esc addict
23 days ago

Ok I don’t know these names because I’m not spanish but the only thing I know is “Amanecer” is my favourite Spain’s entry of the last decade, I loooved “Contigo” so in 2017 it would had been among my favourites (if selected but no comment on that), then T. Sanchez seems really interesting for me, and did he really work with Loreen? Really! To make what? So Zahara was involved in the 2019 spanish selection, but she said to RTVE that all the chosen songs would struggle, weird, didn’t she choose herself songs? She was involved but had no power?… Read more »

Last edited 23 days ago by Esc addict
willchrisiam
willchrisiam
23 days ago
Reply to  Esc addict

She didn’t go looking for good songs and then bashed them. She judged those that were submitted. She helped choose the best ones but was unimpressed. Nothing weird.

Esc addict
Esc addict
23 days ago
Reply to  willchrisiam

Weird it’s maybe not the word but I find it funny to accept to be involved in a selection where there were only “bad” songs that will struggle, but anyway the “problem” of Spain is not the quality of the songs because they have quality songs and everything to be successful, like Lo Malo, Muerdeme, Nadie se Salva, so imo It’s more a question of choice than everything else.

Kristian
Kristian
22 days ago
Reply to  Esc addict

Zahara wasn’t told that all songs would be average before the selection. She was asked to shortlist songs and she did.

Pastora Soler
Pastora Soler
22 days ago
Reply to  Esc addict

She didn’t know that. She was chosen to help them to choose the best songs of all that they have, and that’s when she said noone haha

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
23 days ago

I am not familiar with these names, but I hope 2022 is Spain’s come back year. I don’t wanna see it land in the bottom five again.

Rifki
Rifki
23 days ago

I just hope that this selection is not only full of soloists. a mix of soloists, duos and groups could be much better.

Chris
Chris
23 days ago

Yeah Tony Sanchez is a big name in Spanish NF in the last decades.
Quedate conmigo and Amanecer are two of my all-time favorite songs ever in Eurovision so I’m sure he’ll find the best songs in this Benidorm fest. Congratulations! Now I’m hyped.

cheese
cheese
23 days ago

spain are really bringing the hype this year! i really want them to do well, so don’t disappoint me…
and for whatever reason, with each article i read, the name “Benidorm Fest” sounds worse and worse. is it just me?

Esc addict
Esc addict
23 days ago
Reply to  cheese

Ok but it’s in Benidorm, and it’s a music festival, so what else could it be? It’s simple and efficient like for “San Remo” for ex.

Last edited 23 days ago by Esc addict