On Saturday, eurofans across the world watched as Chanel Terrero narrowly conquered the first edition of the long-awaited Spanish national final Benidorm Fest 2022. The Cuban-Spanish singer, dancer and actor gathered enough points to win and will now dance her way to Turin with her Latin bop “SloMo.”
However, Chanel’s victory did not leave Spanish fans indifferent. In fact, the “SloMo” win is now being questioned as fans scream “robbery” online and tweet “#RiggedFest” over an alleged connection between a jury member and Chanel. Is your tea hot? Then heat it now.
As a way to extinguish the fire now burning the Internet, RTVE has officially issued a statement. In it, the broadcaster calls for acceptance of the rules. RTVE says it it plans to launch discussions to improve the Benidorm Fest process in the future.
Why is Chanel’s win causing controversy?
Chanel’s victory caught many fans by surprise, as fan favourites Rigoberta Bandini and Tanxugueiras had been considered the most likely winners. The controversy mainly arises from the jury vote, for which fans have been up in arms over an alleged connection between Chanel and judge Miryam Benedited.
Chanel and Miryam have previously worked together on several occasions in the past, including the TV shows “Tu Cara Me Suena” and “Operación Triunfo.” What is more, Miryam and Chanel also helped choreograph Edurne’s “Amanecer” performance in Eurovision 2015. In fact, they haven’t been shy in sharing pictures on social media, as these photos show:
Fans were quick call out this connection as soon as Chanel was named the winner. The expert jury had 50% of the vote, while the other two voting blocs (the demoscopic jury and the public voting) had 25% each. Chanel topped the jury vote, and placed second and third in the demoscopic jury and public voting respectively. The combination left Rigoberta Bandini and Tanxugueiras with no option for the trophy, which inflamed fans even more.
However, despite Chanel and Miryam’s previous work connection, Chanel told the press early the following day that she hasn’t been in contact with Miryam for over four years.
Some fans have also pointed out some other issues, such as the amount of English used and the meaning of her Eurovision song. According to some fans, her “SloMo” contains around 40% English words, which conflicts with Benidorm Fest rules that have a maximum of 35%.
Chanel is not the only one
As fans started connecting dots, they also realized Chanel was not the only one to share a connection with judge Miryam Benedited. Rayden, who participated at Benidorm Fest with “Calle de la Llorería,”also knew Miryam from past projects. Benedited’s assistant Borja Rueda has been involved in Rayden’s Benidorm Fest choreography. However, his jury result was not as good as Chanel’s one. He placed fourth with 37 points which left fans with room to argue whether the jury result was controversial.
RTVE calls for acceptance of results
As the accusations of fans against the jury result not only filled social platforms but made it trending, national broadcaster RTVE has issued an official statement.
In the statement, RTVE emphasised the need to accept the results but also offered room for interpretation. RTVE stated their intention to launch participatory discussions to improve the process of Benidorm Fest in future editions. Some fans interpreted this as meaning RTVE was aware of the controversy.
The Spanish Broadcaster previously supported the jury vote after the first semi-final that Chanel won. In a press conference the following day, RTVE asked for “respect” for the jury’s work. María Eizaguirre, Head of Communication of RTVE, told the press that the jury members “have their likes and opinions” and that they “are a professional” jury. She added, “They did not know what the person next door was voting for, nor did they agree with each other.”
RTVE aside, artists such as Rayden, Rigoberta Bandini, Tanxugueiras and many more have celebrated Chanel’s victory. Rayden went further and made a call for peace, inviting fans to help RTVE make Benidorm Fest better in future editions.
What do you think about this situation? How can Benidorm Fest be improved in the future? Let us know in the comment section below!