#SPAIN: Live blog of Operación Triunfo from 22.30 CET
Tonight is a special edition of Operación Triunfo, which will select Spain’s representative for the contest in Lisbon in May. No doubt all the participants are looking forward to travelling the short distance down the road to the nearest capital city (yeah, I know, after Andorra la Vella). OT has been in full swing since last November, and it finishes properly next week with a full-blown gala. But tonight is a special show set aside from the main competition.
The nine songs tonight will be an interesting combination of five solo performances, a scattering of three duets, and one song featuring all five of the performers you’ll hear tonight. Confused? It’ll get easier as we go through it.
We’ll move onto the scoring later (but it’s bound to be more conclusive than 12 months ago), and will follow the songs during what might be a long night. There are two rounds of voting – one to pick a top three for a ‘superfinal’, and then a further round to pick the winner. There is no ‘expert’ jury this year!
Just keep hitting refresh and we’ll keep you abreast of all that happens. And you can watch the action HERE.
OK, so we’re a little after 22.30 CET, but here we go. And straight into song 1.
Aitana, Alfred, Amaia, Ana Guerra & Miriam – Camina
It’s your usual piece where everyone sings a line and there’s that singing at each other during the chorus. It’s actually a very good opener and has an optimistic vibe. It’s uptempo and could have an audience dancing if it’s the right audience. The guy – Alfred – is wearing some interesting trousers and one of the girls is in a kaleidoscope of a frock. It’s all very jolly. If this one wins, they’ll need to have a snappier title to their group name.
As tonight’s show has been segued into a procedure to pick a winner of another competition, there’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff, showing the six (you’ve only seen five so far) rehearsing and having a laugh and a cry.
Naturally, there’s a panel of experts too. These include none other than Luisa Sobral – you’ll know her brother. They wish Salvador well in his recovery. The other experts are Victor Escudero (of eurovision.tv), Manuel Martos and Julia Varela.
Aitana – Arde
This is a slow, slightly jazzy little number that bumps along fairly nicely. It’s very downbeat and doesn’t immediately strike me as a contest song. However, it demonstrates Aitana’s range which pleases the crowd no end. It ends a little abruptly and I don’t think it’ll be the one. The host Roberto seems to have taken a shine to her though.
Agoney & Miriam – Magia
Our first duet pitches Agoney with Miriam and is nicely upbeat. Agoney (the guy) was eliminated last week, but was allowed to come back as a lucky loser. The two harmonise well during the chorus. Agoney does a bit of magic and presents some flowers to an audience member. It has lots of power that covers up the slightly predictably verse chorus and bridge combo. However, it’s nicely done.
Alfred – Que nos sigan las luces
Alfred has a bespoke suit of black with gold paint lines on it. And a guitar. And a small band with him. It’s a very crowded stage. He’s giving an understated performance, as if it were the middle of a 12 song set he were doing. The verse is a little anticlimactic, but the chorus makes up for it. The girls in the audience seem a little overcome when walks around the stage. It finishes with a whimper rather than a bang but he’s had a good go.
Ana Guerra & Aitana – Lo malo
Duet time again. These girls are looking sultry but not quite slutty. This is an aggressive performance (by the girls anyway), and they are flanked by a group of gentlemen that look a little too ‘Village People’ to be taken too seriously. It’s an OK song, but a tad too repetitive for me. A bit Latino, but not quite ‘Despacito’. It’s a two-minute song stretched out a little. The crowd love it though.
Amaia – Al cantar
Amaia has the kaleidoscope skirt and has a pretty voice. A little warbly, but it suits the song. It’s in a waltz-time and she has dancers moving around her. The vibe is very different to the others to far. It’s a little ‘Algo pequiñito’ but better and very charming. I think this could be the best thing I’ve heard tonight because it is different and doesn’t have the razzmatazz or ‘sleaze’ we’ve seen elsewhere tonight.
Miriam – Lejos de tu piel
We’ve gone dramatic and a little breathy now. Miriam stays static which is what this song needs. Her voice is quite harsh, but in a Frances Ruffelle way with a few extra razor blades thrown in. Song-wise it’s a formulaic mid-tempo ballad: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, held note, chorus. It’s a tried and tested method but there have been better songs tonight.
Ana Guerra – El remedio
Ana gives it plenty more Latino vibe. A catchy intro to the song with big voice, that’s almost wailing in the flamenco stylee. She’s giving us the most Spanish thing we’ve heard tonight and it has that cruise ship cabaret sound about it. That’s not always a bad thing and if the Spanish public want something typical of their culture, this is it. However, it almost oversteps from musical to shouty which they’ll need to watch it this progresses. But it is a proper crowd-pleaser.
Alfred & Amaia – Tu canción
This is highly-tipped to do something, and I can see why. A&A could be 2018’s golden couple if this does win. He starts at a white piano with her at a black one. They move together in the faces-at-close-range-but-singing-loud-style. If they aren’t an item then they do a very good impression of being one. It’s the best song of the night and with a bit of work, could do something in Lisbon.
With that, the voting lines get thrown open for a short time. If you’re in Spain, vote. Go on, you know you want to. But slightly confusingly, the order the songs were performed in isn’t the order of the numbers to vote.
But that aside, it’s time for an interval. Five of the people already voted out of Operación Triunfo perform ‘La la la’ (ES 68). By the sounds of the crowd, there are some popular bunnies amongst them.
We’re getting a selection of winners and songs that have done well. Euphoria, Satellite, Rhythm inside, Beautiful mess, Taken by a stranger, Amar pelos dois. Hold me, Fairytale, You are the only one, Not alone, Heroes. Nothing Spanish though.
Back to a live performance, and it’s none other than Luisa Sobral with the song ‘Cupido’. She’s looking well.
Host Roberto interviews her and she gives some words of advice on what tonight’s winner can expect from the whole Eurovision experience.
Five more OT alumni are now on stage singing ‘Vivo cantando’ (ES 69), Spain’s other winner. Yep, it’s nearly 49 years since Spain last won. It’s all a very happy atmosphere tonight/this morning.
And now, it’s Conchita Wurst. Looking as understated as ever. After a short interview we know that we’re going to get a song. But not until the first results.
Three songs will go through to the superfinal. We get the percentage vote for the lower six songs, which leaves the top three that we can work out.
To confirm, the top three are ‘Arde’ by Aitana, ‘Tu canción’ by Alfred & Amaia, and ‘Lo malo’ by Aitana & Ana Guerra.
We get the three superfinal songs again. I don’t need to describe them again, but the pauses between them gives host Roberto chance to advertise the official CD of tonight’s show.
It’s Conchita time.
Before the results, we get ‘Machika y mi gente’ by J Balvin. He has an interesting look about him to accompany the rap he delivers.
It’s almost results time, and so a certain Manel Navarro appears. He gives us some more words of wisdom, and what experience he had in Kyiv last year.
The winner is…
That’s all from us. Do you like the result? Tell us what you think.
Author: John Stanton
Source: Eurovision Ireland, RTVE