Skulking in the shadows, a faded starlet, clinging bitterly to memories of glorious days in the spotlight that have long passed… not only the plot of Whatever Happened Baby Jane, but also Spain at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Debuting in 1961, Spain only had to wait 8 contests before their first win with Massiel’s La La La. Hosting the contest in Madrid in 1969, Spain was also one of the 4 countries that tied for 1st place and become the first country to have a back-to-back victory. For a time, this would have placed Spain among the most successful countries at the contest.
After this promising start, Spain’s fortunes at the contest began to sour. Even in 2019, Spain’s highest scoring Eurovision entry remains
Eres Tú, their 2nd place entry from 1973 – meaning Spain has never scored higher than 125 points in 46 years of trying. Their last placing in the Top 10 was in 2014. Their last placing in the Top 5 was in 1995. So whatever happened to Baby Spain?
With 28 placings in the Top 10 out of 57 appearances (58 next Saturday!), Spain clearly do produce a sound Europe loves. But similarly to the UK, it’s their more recent history at the contest that leaves a lot to be desired. In the last four years alone, the highest placing Spanish entry came 21st in 2015.
Interestingly, Spain’s heyday at the contest does coincide with the country’s rise in popularity as a tourist and holiday destination. Could a desire for Spanish music around the continent have pushed Spain up the scoreboards? It is possible. It’s also worth noting that in the earlier days of the contest, there were fewer countries to stand out against. As Eurovision has expanded and more nations began taking part, Spain might be thought of as part of the contest’s old guard and overlooked in favour of newer additions. This is something we see with a lot of the countries that have a longer history in the contest, including France, the UK and Ireland.
I can’t say for sure what has happened to Spain and why it’s results have suffered in recent years. Especially when songs like Europe’s Living A Celebration, Dime, Quédate Conmigo, and Dancing In The Rain are all huge fan favourites. We here at Eurovision Ireland always wish all countries taking part the very best of luck in the contest and this look at Spain shouldn’t be considered an attack or being singled out. It’s merely a look at a phenomena that we’ve often discussed around the press centre table.
Will this be the year Spain breaks out of ts rut and triumphs on the scoreboard once more? Guess we’ll have to wait till next Saturday and see!
Author: James Scanlan
Source: Eurovision Ireland
Image Source: cleojournal.com