Tel Aviv 2019

Operación Triunfo 2018 will premiere on 17th September!

Spain’s version of “Fame Academy” – Operación Triunfo – will be returning for its tenth series on Monday 17th September. Last year, the show was also used to select Spain’s act for Eurovision, but could this change in 2019?

An earlier premiere date than in 2017

The premiere date was announced today (Friday 24 August) on FormulaTV’s Twitter page. The tweet reveals this year’s premiere date for the show as Monday 17th September. This is over a month earlier than last year, which premiered on 23rd October.

The early premiere date will mean the series is likely to finish earlier than it did for the 2017/2018 series, which concluded on 5th February 2018. If we take this into consideration, it would mean that this year’s series would likely end on Monday 31st December and therefore not even reach the new calendar year.

A change in the Eurovision selection for 2019?

With the possible early finale date in mind, could this mean RTVE are considering a different method for selecting their song for Eurovision 2019? 

Operación Triunfo was indeed used as the selection process for Eurovision this year, with a special Eurovision gala to select Spain’s Eurovision song held a week before the Gala Final. If RTVE are still set to use the show to select the Spanish Eurovision entry, it would mean the Gala Eurovisión would take place on Monday 24th December (Christmas Eve), and with the show often running into the early hours of Tuesday morning, it would mean the show would run into Christmas morning. Could this be another sign that OT won’t be used for Spain’s selection process?

However, the contract says otherwise

A rule within the contract that must be signed by all candidates hoping to take part in this year’s show does actually make it sound like OT will still be used as the selection process for Spain’s 2019 Eurovision act:

Those selected as contestants in the program accept that their participation in the OPERACION TRIUNFO contest includes the possibility of being chosen to represent SPAIN at the EUROVISION contest.

The president of RTVE has also revealed that the show is still the favoured selection process for Eurovision, despite a poor result from Alfred & Amaia this year. According to the president, this is partly due to the “magnificient” viewing figures both OT and Eurovision brought for RTVE. 

Despite it being likely it will still be used as the Spanish national final, the fact that OT is starting over a month earlier this year, still means there is some doubt that a new selection process could be used in 2019.

A successful return for OT in 2017

There is no doubt in saying that reviving OT in 2017 was a huge success for RTVE, attracting an average of 2.443 million people a week. It attracted a 19% share of Spain’s viewing figures for a Monday night, on average. 

Half of the sixteen shows in the season (including the Christmas and Eurovision galas) lead the night’s viewing shares, with those eight shows being Gala 0 and the last seven shows (from the Christmas Gala through to the final).

Source: FormulaTV (Gala Navidad = Christmas Gala)

Eurovision itself also attracted many Spanish viewers this year. A total of 7.170 million people tuned into watch the contest which was held in Lisbon this year (a total share of 43.5%) – the fourth most watched Eurovision Song Contest ever in Spain.

What do we know about OT 2018?

Of course, we now know the premiere date for the 2018 series of OT, but what else do we know? 

The auditions for OT 2018 began on 30th May in Barcelona, and finished on 10th July in Madrid. According to, a total of 16,769 candidates participated in the open auditions, however only 18 will be able to take part in the first Gala of the season – Gala 0. The final closed-door auditions will begin on Tuesday (28 August) in Barcelona. The number of candidates that will be called back to these auditions is unknown.

Roberto Leal will remain as the presenter for OT 2018, and Noemi Galera will also remain as the headmaster of the Academy. Joe Pérez-Orive and Manuel Martos will return as member of the jury panel in 2018, but Monica Naranjo confirmed yesterday (23 August) that she would not return to the jury panel.

A ten-season history of OT!

Operación Triunfo first aired in 2001 and ran for eight seasons, until it was cancelled after the 2011 season (note, there was no OT 2010). The show was then brought back in 2017, and will return for a tenth season this year.

Like in the 2017/18 season, the first three seasons of OT was used to select the Spanish Eurovision entry, however only one occasion did the same artist go on and win OT – this was in the first season in 2001/02, which was won by Rosa Lopez. She represented Spain in the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest in Tallinn with the song, “Europe’s Living a Celebration”, finishing 7th with 81 points.

Below, are all the winners of Operación Triunfo: 

  • Season 1 (2001/02) – Rosa Lopez 
  • Season 2 (2002/03) – Ainhoa Cantalapiedra
  • Season 3 (2003/04) – Vicente Segui
  • Season 4 (2005) – Sergio Rivero
  • Season 5 (2006/07) – Lorena Gomez
  • Season 6 (2008) – Virgina Maestro
  • Season 7 (2009) – Mario Alvarez
  • Season 8 (2011) – Nahuel Sachak
  • Season 9 (2017/18) – Amaia Romero

The winner of the 2017/18 season also represented Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest 2018, with Alfred Garcia, and their song “Tu canción”. The song won the OT 2017 Gala Eurovisión with 43% of votes in the second round of voting. Aitana finished 2nd and 3rd in the national final, with her solo attempt, “Arde”, finishing 2nd, and her duet with Ana Guerra, “Lo malo”, finishing 3rd.

Amaia & Alfred finished in 23rd place with 61 points, including one set of 12 points from the Portuguese televote.

Are you excited for OT 2018? Do you still hope it will be used as the selection process for Eurovision 2019?

Let us know in the comments and on social media @ESCXTRA.

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