Tuesday. 28.11.2023

The history of Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest is full of ups and downs. Nowadays, Eurofans from all over the country expect to get disappointed, since the last results have been really poor, but there were some years when Spain did perform highly. Here a selection of some of the best and the worst moments for Spain in Eurovision.

Spain won Eurovision twice back in the sixties. The first one was with Massiel’s La, la, la in 1968. Right the next year, Spain got again the trophy with a victory that will never be repeated in the contest. Four countries tied in the first place, so they were all declared winners.

The sixties and the seventies were the golden ages for Spain, as the country collected the two victories mentioned and three second places. After that, the results were declining, although it is also true that more participants joined the song contest.

One of the most notorious failures was that of the talented flamenco 'cantaora' Remedios Amaya in 1983, when she finished last with zero points (the same as Turkey). Her song Quien Maneja mi Barca (Who Drives my Boat) is still a joke among the middle-aged and old generations of Spaniards.

Since 2010, Spain has achieved 10th place twice (Pastora Soler in 2012 and Ruth Lorenzo in 2014) as the best result. Actually, any singer since 2015 hasn’t been in the top 20 in the grand final. But that could all change this year, as the betting even predicts a top five spot for Chanel.

13 May 2022, Italy, Turin: Chanel from Spain performs "SloMo" the dress rehearsal for the final of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest (ESC). The final of the 66th version of the international music contest will be held in Turin on 14 May with a total of 40 participants. Photo: Jens Büttner/dpa.
Chanel from Spain performs 'SloMo' during the dress rehearsal. Photo: Jens Büttner/dpa.

But what moments will be remembered by Spanish Eurofans?

In 2017, Manel Navarro represented Spain with the song Do it for your lover. Spaniards didn’t expect it to be a great success. He got a bottom position after an awful show. A memorable false note took the country to last place with only five points. Navarro failed, but for that he will be remembered.

From fail to fail, another moment still fresh in the mind of some older Eurofans: The Spanish duet Azúcar Moreno had a mishap at the very beginning of their performance in 1990. An issue with the backing track made them leave the stage, but eventually they returned and sang Bandido. Even with this problem, they finished 5th with almost 100 points.

Jimmy Jump, Chikilicuatre

Sometimes, the songs are performed finely, but some unpredictable factors may come into play. In 2010, Daniel Diges was selected as Spain’s representative. While he was on the stage, a pitch invader called Jimmy Jump appeared dancing with the whole team. The vocalist and the dancers acted as if nothing happened, but the performance had to be repeated due to this incident that lasted a few seconds. Diges ended in 15th place.

But probably the song Spaniards are the proudest of is Baila el chiki chiki. Rodolfo Chikilicuatre was the character behind this hilarious performance. The idea was born as a joke in the late night show of Buenafuente, a Spanish humorist.

With a toy guitar and an Elvis style toupee, Chikilicuatre was selected to go to Eurovision in 2008, where he got a decent 16th place. A few weeks later, the character was 'killed' by his creators in the same late night show.

From the best to the worst ever moment seen in Eurovision in Spain. John Cobra was chosen as one of the candidates for the national preselection of 2010 with the support of an Internet forum. After his performance, the public booed his song and the rapper replied to them swearing and obscene gestures. After that, he never had any chance to win the competition.

*Pablo Morilla is a journalist, author of the blog Michan en Finlandia.

Spain in Eurovision: the greatest hits and failures