Towards a more uncertain Eurovision

Blas Cantó will represent Spain and RTVE at the Eurovision Song Contest on May 22 in Rotterdam with the ballad I’m going to stay. The song was chosen by the TVE audience, who could vote between two options, during a gala broadcast on Saturday night and over three days on the website of the public corporation. Cantó was elected at the end of 2019 to represent RTVE, but the coronavirus pandemic caused the cancellation in 2020, for the first time in its history, of the contest. The singer, a former member of the youth band Auryn, thus has a new opportunity in 2021 with a song composed by himself with Leroy Sánchez, Daniel Ortega and Dan Hammond.

I’m going to stay received 58% of the votes against Memoria (42%) on Saturday in a gala that had its complications, from its duration until after midnight (it had to have ended around 11:30 p.m.) to sound and labeling failures . For a few moments, the telephone numbers assigned to each song so that the public could vote appeared wrong, repeating the one assigned to Memoria for both songs, an error that was not highlighted by the presenters at any time to avoid confusion. At the beginning of the program (with votes already accumulated from the previous Wednesday) it was announced that the percentage of votes favored one of the songs by 72%. The gala was seen by 969,000 spectators (with a share of 6.1%).

The singer was very satisfied with the choice of the ballad. “I think we can get excited in Rotterdam. I’m very happy. I was very nervous, because the two candidates were singing, the emotion enveloped us and that shows when singing live, and it is appreciated. I am very happy with what we have done ”, he said at the end of the gala. “It is very exciting to sing. I will stay for the people I have lost this year. [el padre de Cantó falleció el pasado mayo a los 49 años], but it is also a very hopeful song because you know that they are going to stay with you forever and that you have to sing it with your heart, « he said during the program. The artist was supported in the interpretation of the song by his five choristers Alba Gil, Héctor Artiles, Daira Monzón, Irene Alman and Dángelo Ortega, who will also accompany him in his performance at Eurovision.

The chosen song and staging have been criticized on social media by many Eurovision fans, who are hoping for improvements so that Cantó has a chance to improve the Spanish presence at the festival. In the last five participations, Spain has not gone beyond the 21st position. “There is a lot of work to do until May, you have to refine it, you have to work on it, talk about the a cappella entrance, the choirs … This is a small sketch of what can happen in Rotterdam. And I think we can get excited, ”Cantó explained at dawn on Sunday. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announced in November that whatever the situation of the health crisis next May, this year the festival will take place. For this, he has developed a plan with different possible scenarios. Each television station will record a live performance that can be used if the participant cannot travel due to restrictions due to the pandemic. The EBU also considers both that participants can go physically and that each one stays in their country.

Blas Cantó, 29, was appointed directly by RTVE in October 2019 to represent Spain after several years leaving that choice to the public. In January 2020 the chosen song, Universo, produced by Dan Hammond, was presented as I’m going to stay, and which then received more popular support than this year’s tune. He was about to represent RTVE in Junior Eurovision at the age of 12 in 2004 when he was a finalist in the election gala, whose other finalist, María Isabel, won the European children’s festival with Before Dead Than Simple. In 2011 his band Auryn appeared for the election on TVE of the Spanish representative. After several eliminatory galas, they came in second place behind Lucía Pérez with Que me quiten lo bailao (which was the second to last in the festival final). After Auryn’s disintegration in 2017, Cantó published his first solo album, Complicado, and won the musical contest Tu cara me suena, on Antena 3.