Spain - Enrique de Vallejo

"After an erratic path during more an a decade, last 4th of December Spanish broadcaster announced that have bet for ‘Operación Triunfo 2017’ as the formula to choose the Spanish entry in Lisbon.

RTVE did it in a badly planned way, by surprise and after months of speculation. In fact, the own contestants of this talent show edition showed faces of stupefaction when they received the news that one of them would be Spanish Eurovision representative.

This was not the first missed opportunity to try to restore credibility to the Festival in Spain. Because, while it is true that Operación Triunfo was the way to choose Spanish singer and song in 2002, 2003 and 2004, there are huge differences as regards those past editions. It is clear that, in this case, the final decision was taken only by audience results (RTVE didn’t trust in this new edition), demonstrating again the traditional Spanish improvisation regarding Eurovision Song Contest.

On the one hand, when the candidates of those previous editions decided to take part in the talent show, they knew in advance that they could be chosen as representative of Spain in Eurovision. I mean, there were rules since the very beginning.

On the other hand, in the occasions where RTVE decided that 'Operación Triunfo' was Spanish pre-selection, the final show to attend the festival was made after the final of the talent show, to the point of seeing how Beth being second runner-up, and Ramón third, went to Riga and Istanbul. Furthermore, 'OT 2002' had three galas to choose Rosa and her ‘Europe’s living a celebration’ to be in Tallinn. By 2018, according to the news (in Spain everything can be changed until the day before the show), we will have only one show and with five candidates (the finalists), compared to three of those years. So, the pre-selection will be reduced to a single television gala (29th of January) to determine representative and song. Faced with successful and long-lasting formats such as Melodifestivalen, Sanremo or A Dal, RTVE proposes a single date and the allocation of the proposals as if they were an assignment for any other gala in the hands of the contestants (they will have the theme just seven days to embrace them).

Finally, the audience will not have a studio version to assess the proposals beforehand, or even a clean listening with which to vote. This factor, coupled with the fact that the vote is given in a single night, will also avoid any reflection, giving us a format where fanaticism towards one contestant or another will be more important than the song itself. And Eurovision, it should not be forgotten, is a Song Contest. One more thing, according to the chief of Gestmusic (Operación Triunfo production company), the songs will be only in Spanish.

From Spain, eurofans hope Gestmusic can overcome the obstacles raised by RTVE and finally Spain can go to Lisbon with a worthy representative, at the level of the event. Only in this way confidence can be regained in a Festival that gives Spanish public television its best audience data every year."