Welcome to Xtra Insider, our new series which will give you an insight into how well each country was statistically likely to do this year, as well as what the team at ESCXTRA think of your favourite entries into (what would have been) this year’s contest! Today, we analyze and review Spain!
Yes, this year’s contest has been cancelled…but that doesn’t mean we can’t love the songs! In this series, we’ll review each and every entry that would have taken part in this year’s Eurovision. On top of this, we’re introducing a new analysis section in which we take a look into each country’s history and how likely they would have been to do well this year. Our honest and brutal reviews and analysis will keep you entertained throughout what would’ve been the Eurovision season! We will also each give points using the usual Eurovision points system (12, 10, then 8 down to 1), and create an ESCXTRA leaderboard of the entries!
Today, we’ll be giving analysis and reviews of the Spanish entry, Universo by Blas Cantó, from Costa, Matt, Simon, Tom O, Tom R and Wiv. Let’s get started!
Spain’s history at Eurovision
Spain is not among the founding countries of Eurovision, but it still joined the family early on, in 1961, still under the rule of Franco. After a few average results, Spain became the first country to win twice in a row (1968 and 1969), but it has never done so again, despite having taken part every year since its debut. It is now the country that’s been waiting the most years since its last victory. Throughout the years, Spain has offered some Eurovision classics (“Bandido”, 1990 ; “Vuelve Conmigo”, 1995 ; “Quedate Conmigo”, 2012), from bangers to ballads. In the 2010’s, their results have usually been low (under the 20th place), only achieving good results with female power ballads in 2012 and 2014.
This year’s entry
Spain have been early this year. Blas Cantó was among the first artists to be revealed, in early October 2019, after Hooverphonic ; and the song Universo was the second song of the season, after Albania, revealed in January. Blas already attempted to compete for Spain in 2011, with the boyband Auryn. In 2020, RTVE chose to go internal, after two years of national selection through a special “Gala Eurovision” of Operación Triunfo.
How does this kind of song tend to do in the contest?
“Universo” is a mid-tempo, radio-frendly song in Spanish, with some hooks here and there. It objectively lacks the power of a ballad and the rythm of a banger, it is a “happy medium” that doesn’t usually work at Eurovision. This is even truer for Spain, which has only done well with female power ballads during the last decade. Such songs worked well for them in the early 2000’s, but twenty years later their chances are much lower.
Having very much gotten into Blas’ album Complicados after he was announced, I was hoping and praying that he would be delivering something like “Él no soy yo”. Unfortunately, Universo fell short of my expectations. The song just…lacks the energy of his stronger material, and feels like a missed opportunity. I struggle to believe that out of 54 songs, this was the most competitive song they had…
Universo has grown on me since it was released. I fear for any Spanish song at Eurovision as I just don’t think they get the votes they deserve sometimes. This needs big staging to try and shake of some of the ‘genericness’ of the song. Dear Spain, going forward please learn from last year and stay away from any large animatronics!
Unimaginative and predictable, the verses hold some promise but the intrigue dissolves when the chorus arrives- you know where the melody is going and the “whoa-ohh” counterpoint has been done more than enough times inside and outside of Eurovision. That said, Spain’s offering is quite harmless and contemporary.
Like the rest of the Big 5, I always have high hopes for Spain even if they don’t always get it right. Universo never caught my attention on it’s release and in the final lineup it still doesn’t stand out. Live on stage a confident, professional looking performance would likely lift it. Please Spain bring something catchy, stylish and bright to the contest! No pressure.
I can’t work out whether this song came out so early that I just got bored of it or whether it’s just not a great song. The first time I heard it, I really had high hopes for it. But then it just wore on me VERY QUICKLY. It wouldn’t have been last for sure, but it would have been lucky to make it out of the bottom five. Blas really needs to take the tempo up a bit next year, and take into account Universo’s reviews.
It made me really happy when Spain announced that Blas Cantó would fly the Spanish flag in Rotterdam. I have listened to his music for a couple of years, and really love his voice. I have to admit, however, that I find “Universo” to be a bit underwhelming (even though it doesn’t have “coracon” in it; first Spanish entry ever?). It’s pleasant enough, but I guess I just expected greatness! Can’t wait to hear what he comes up with for 2021!
Therefore, Spain scores 100 points in total!
Spain only reaches 18th place with a score of 100.
- Bulgaria – 163
- Russia – 156
- Malta – 154
- Israel – 148
- Serbia – 139
- Ireland – 136
- Ukraine – 135
- Norway – 134
- Italy – 129
- Romania – 121
- Armenia – 120
- United Kingdom – 120
- Australia – 117
- Netherlands – 113
- Austria – 111
- Belgium – 109
- Czech Republic – 104
- Spain – 100
- Cyprus – 97
- San Marino – 97
- Albania – 97
- Moldova – 82
- Poland – 76
- Georgia – 72
- Slovenia – 53
Tomorrow, it will be the turn of North Macedonia to be reviewed. For now, take another listen to the Spanish entry below!
Do you agree with our reviews of Spain? What are your thoughts on Universo?
Let us know in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA