Editorials & Opinion

Europe’s dancing Despacito so why haven’t Spain turned to Latin pop?

“Despacito”, “Súbeme la radio”, “Reggaetón Lento”. What do these three songs have in common? Their labels and artists have been scrabbling to create English language versions of these songs, bringing Latin pop to many more ears. In making these three songs more accessible, many people have discovered themselves a love for the Latin music market.

Turn up the radio, this is my song

Latin pop is nothing new to us Eurovision fans, and certainly nothing new to a mass market pioneered by Ricky Martin, Shakira and Enrique Iglesias in the late 90s and early 00s. Here we are almost 20 years later celebrating the sound of the Latin music market.

So this begs the question, why have Spain been so reluctant to send something so authentically Latin to Eurovision? There’s no use in watering it down – making it less Latin – give us a proper Latin pop song, full throttle, and an English verse. The world will be down for that. We’ve seen it globally, take a popular sound and format and just tweak it with an English speaking artist and all of a sudden you have a brand new audience to tap into. It’s about time Spain did this.

Eurovision fans don’t ask for much – but the majority of us like to see entries that sound like the country they’re sent from. Spain could harness this current popularity for Latin music, which naturally makes people “súbeme la radio” (turn up the radio) and send something incredible Spanish to get themselves back to the top of the scoreboard. It’s almost ironic that next year’s competition is being held in another Latin country, Portugal.

Yo solo la miré, me gustó, me pegué y la invité: “bailemos?”

After last year’s shit show, and there’s no beating around the bush – 2017 may go down in history as the worst 3 minutes of Spanish Eurovision entries live on stage, especially following the contentious nature in which the national selection decided upon the representative to break the tie – Spain need to understand that what they’re currently listening to should be made accessible to an international audience.

I would like to estimate that a large proportion of the viewers of Saturday night’s final would like an excuse to get up and dance for three minutes. Spain have the perfect opportunity to provide that for us. Why not invite us to “bailar” (dance) and give us a great show at the same time.

Slowly? No, the Latin pop invasion has hit fast!

I made this call back in May with the success of Despacito. Fast forward to this August and the term “Despacito”, meaning Slowly, has become the official tourism campaign for the island of Puerto Rico.

The success of “Despacito” should show Spain what they must do to succeed at Eurovision. We’ve since seen Enrique Iglesias get in touch with Sean Paul and Matt Terry for the English language remix of “SÚBEME LA RADIO”. Following that, Colombian star J Balvin brought “Mi Gente” to many European audiences with Willy William this summer. This week we got the world’s biggest girl group, Little Mix, collaborating with another talent show winning group in Latin American boy band CNCO on an English remix of “Reggaetón Lento”.

Read the signs RTVE. This is your last chance to right your Eurovision wrongs. I couldn’t forgive another poor result in 2018 given the vast quantities of Latin music at your disposal.

Are you loving the Latin pop invasion that is hitting Europe’s charts this summer? What else could Spain do to improve their Eurovision results in Lisbon next year? Let us know in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA.

Nathan Waddell

I am the Editor in Chief of ESCXTRA, a huge Melodifestivalen fan and love sports. You can find me singing along to Scandinavian Eurovision entries, listening to the latest chart music on Spotify or watching the football and tennis on two different screens at once.

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