“I will remember this for the rest of my life!”Chanel after performing Slomo at the Eurovision Grand Final 2022
These words spoken by Chanel have resonated with many eurofans, including myself, as it was the first time that I experienced a Eurovision live show. This year, Spain chose Chanel and her debut “booty hypnotic” song Slomo after she won Benidorm Fest 2022.
Benidorm Fest is a concept inspired by a reimagined version of the Benidorm International Song Festival. RTVE created the festival with the aim to send a competitive act to this year’s Eurovision, along with generating nationwide support and engagement, and rallying the Spanish audience around their representative. I, for one, believe that, despite the chaos which surrounded this National Final, RTVE has achieved their main goals in sending the Cuban-Spanish singer.
Arguably, Benidorm Fest was one of the most competitive and entertaining National Finals this year. The careful organisation of Eva Mora and her team left a sweet ringing in a lot of Spanish Eurofans’ ears. The festival was packed with many talented performers singing on one of the best constructed stages ever seen from Spain in a National Final. Not only this, but they managed to keep every Spanish person glued on their television screen throughout two semifinals and a final.
In the end, Chanel won the competition. She received a total of 96 points (51 from the expert juries, 25 from the demoscopic jury and 20 from the public televote), 5 points more than the runner up, Rigoberta Bandini, with her song Ay Mamá.
#TongoFest: A Fair Win?
Chanel’s triumph in Benidorm Fest 2022 was not only unexpected, but filled with controversy. Following the contest, it has been suggested by a lot of fans that the results were gerrymandered in favour of the Expert Juries.
The points system of Benidorm Fest was modelled on Sanremo, but the most curious difference was the voting system. In Sanremo, the split between the televoting, the demoscopic jury and the press/expert jury is 34-33-33, but in Benidorm Fest, the split is 25-25-50, with no explanation as to why the expert jury has more power over the results. When RTVE announced the breakdown of the results, Chanel only won 3.97% of the public vote, whilst Terra by Tanxugueiras (3rd place) won 70.75% of the televotes. This left many Spanish Eurofans, understandably, feeling like their votes didn’t count.
Not only this, but it was revealed that one of the jurors (whose votes accounted for 10% of the entire result), Miryam Benedited, previously worked with Chanel as her choreographer on the show ‘Tu Cara Me Suena’. This led to allegations of cronyism, due to Chanel winning the expert jury. Furthermore, there was a rumour that Miryam was working for the same record label as Chanel.
In spite of these claims, the choreographer denounced the allegations. Speaking to the hosts of Todo Es Mentira, Benedited states, “It’s a lie that I’m under contract to Chanel’s record label. I didn’t even know that Chanel was in the contest”.
Fan Reaction to the Results
Miryam’s appearance as a juror has fuelled many debates online. As a consequence, many people have sent Chanel hateful messages as a result of her win over other fan favourites. Following this, Chanel deactivated her Twitter account and appeared on Spanish television (RTVE). She said, “If I don’t feel support, I don’t mind, but the hate is very hard to bear”
In contrast, to counter the hate that Chanel has endured many Spanish fans started a campaign. They wanted to show their support for the Festival’s winner, using #ChanelTeQueremos (#ChanelWeLoveYou). Additionally, Chanel’s main opponents in Benidorm Fest congratulated her on her victory and have supported her on her journey to the big stage in Turin.
As a frequent Twitter user, I have witnessed the attitude change of Eurofans throughout her time as the Spanish representative. I couldn’t go on social media without a fancam of her infamous dance break appearing on my screen.
Podium Position at Eurovision
Clearly, her fans wanted more, more, more. She went to Turin with the whole Spanish nation behind her, along with even more devoted fans throughout Europe. The fans carried their enthusiasm for Chanel into the arena – I vividly remember how the screams drowned out the music.
Ultimately, she finished in 3rd place and solidified her place in Eurovision history. Her performance will be forever remembered as one of the best by fans, not only in Spain, but worldwide.
However, the question still remains:
Will Spain continue to carry the burning torch that Chanel has lit or will they let the flame die out?