As the dust settles on the 2022 contest and Eurovision fans stare down the barrel of a long off-season, here at ESCXTRA, we wanted to spend the summer highlighting our moments of appreciation for Eurovision 2022. Up next, we celebrate how Spain gave us arguably the best national final of the season.
A lot of the source material for this article was referenced back in May by Micheál in his excellent editorial ‘Chanelazo: From 3.97% to 3rd Place‘, which basically took the words out of my mouth before I got the chance to write them:
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.Micheál Linden, Chanelazo: From 3.97% to 3rd Place
But since I’ve had this draft sitting around for weeks, I figured it would be worth dusting it off anyway. Instead of focusing on Chanel and her incredible talent and success, I will be looking at the PR and discourse around Benidorm Fest.
A new attitude
The bat signal was put out by RTVE back in October. After scoring in the bottom three of the televote almost across the board in the 2021 final and failing to reach the top 10 in almost a decade, the only way was up. Although we’ve heard broadcasters talk a big game before, when the President of RTVE described their upcoming national selection as a “launching pad to win in Italy”, I couldn’t help but be intrigued.
Benidorm is a great launching pad for a message: Spanish music to Europe through Eurovision. We want it to be a real and participatory contest, open to all kinds of music. Especially young music.José Manuel Pérez Tornero, President of RTVE
Once Benidorm Fest was announced, the number of artists who were expressing interest, including future participants Varry Brava and Rayden, helped cement the idea that the selection would indeed be a reset.
A stacked line-up
Over the course of the 43-day submissions window, 886 songs were submitted; 692 songs were submitted from the open selection, while 194 were submitted from direct invitations from the broadcaster.
Among the submissions were newcomers, international producers, writers of Billboard hits, Eurovision comebacks and indie musicians – all of which were reflected in the final line-up. Even with the teasing and the press conferences, nothing could have prepared me for the quality that we received when the playlist dropped in December.
The talk of the timeline
Again, Micheál already spoke about the show itself, but it’s worth saying that all three shows were excellently produced, well-hosted and highly entertaining, even for non Spanish speakers like myself. The results segments were some of the most tense I’ve seen in any national selection. The staging did the entries justice (for the most part), and it was clear that Spain had several options for Eurovision success. That said, Chanel absolutely smoked the competition with a near-flawless performance, and thoroughly deserved the win.
Throughout the shows, the #BenidormFest on Twitter was keeping me thoroughly entertained, and captured exactly the kind of cultural exchange that I came to the online Eurovision fandom for. Memes were made, fights were had, robberies were declared, legends were born.
Sadly, the show was momentarily overshadowed by the response to the results. Now, I may not be one to talk about jury shaming, it’s a great shame that the scoreboard resulted into such a toxic level of backlash towards Chanel herself. Thankfully, by the time Chanel stepped onto the top 3 podium in Turin, the noise had melted away. RTVE sought to select the most competitive Eurovision package they could, and they did just that.
Stay tuned for the next instalment of our Moments of Appreciation series next week! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter, @escxtra on Instagram, @escxtra on TikTok and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! Also, be sure to follow us on Spotify for the latest music from your favourite ESC and JESC acts.