THIS YEAR’S Eurovision Song Contest held in Stockholm, Sweden on May 14, will feature a Spanish entry sung in English, for the first time in the musical contest’s 55-year long history.
Faced with making a choice between national identity and winning a trophy, after 47-years of hurt pride, reports suggest that three of six songs performed by hopefuls at a pre-selection event had predominantly English lyrics.
A female singer from Madrid, called Barei, beat off stiff competition to win the chance to represent Spain with her song ‘Say Yay’, a catchy title which will hopefully ignite the judges’ imagination.
However, the contestant’s decision to adopt the international language of pop has not sat easily with some. The national Spanish broadcaster RTVE, which will screen the Stockholm event, is reported to have requested that some Spanish be inserted into Barei’s song.
“We have to include some Spanish” the professional singer is quoted as saying after the suggestion was proffered. “Of course, I’ve got nothing against our language, but my project is in English. We might not like it, but it is much more international than Castilian.”
The Eurovision hopeful is believed to have taken the request on board and has since added 19 Spanish words to the up-beat pop song and an accompanying choir will sing those.
For Spain, embracing the lingua franca brings the impossible dream of winning the contest one step closer to a reality, as only one ‘foreign’ song, from Serbian singer Marija Serifovic, has ever won the coveted first place.
Like those from France and Italy, Spanish contestants have not, until now, been prepared to make the jump to English-only lyrics, with the Spanish entry for 2014, Ruth Lorenzo, inciting the wrath of the Royal Spanish Academy for attempting to sing in Spanglish, or a combination of the two languages, despite being placed higher than many other Spanish entries.
Last year’s Spanish entry was the power ballad ‘Amanecer’ sang by Edurne Garcia Almagro. Finishing in 21st place, the song received just 15 points, while Sweden’s winning entry scored an astounding 365.
Spain’s 2016 entry Say Yay was released as a single on January 25 and topped the iTunes chart in the country. An encouraging sign for performer Barei as she prepares to come head to head with singers from 43 countries, most of whom will presumably be brushing up on their English skills before the big night.