Eurovision 2016 Review: Spain: The six hopefuls

Spanish Eurovision candidates
Images: RTVE

Spain has been quite a hit and miss country when it comes to Eurovision in the past few years. With the big ballads by Pastora Soler (2012) and Ruth Lorenzo (2014) they managed to make it to the top 10, but other than that they mainly ended up in the lowest regions of the scoreboard. On the 1st of February they choose their song for 2016. The songs were presented last night and these are A Bit of Pop Music’s thoughts on the hopefuls!

Xuso Jones – Victorious
Xuso Jones, 26 years old with two albums to his name, was certainly inspired by the Swedish successes of the past couple of years. His mostly English ‘Victorious’ tries to create the same kind of uplifting magic as winning songs ‘Euphoria’ and ‘Heroes’ did, and although we have heard far worse attempts, this is not convincing enough to really make an impact at Eurovision. We heard it before and better for sure and history tells us that chasing Eurovision trends never really works. With his looks and a great staging, it might do alright, but no winner material.

Listen here.

María Isabel – La Vida Solo Es Una
You might remember María Isabel, as she won Junior Eurovision with ‘Antes Muerte Que Sencilla’ back in 2004. This young lady is now back for more success at the real Eurovision with the summery tune ‘La Vida Solo Es Una’. It is typical Spanish Eurovision pop with a touch of flamenco and a catchy little chorus. One could wonder if Europe would still vote for this, as this kind of song hasn’t done greatly recently. Anyway, with a good performance this would definitely not be an entry to be ashamed of!

Listen here.

Barei – Say Say
This is probably the most contemporary and international appealing sounding track of the bunch. Barei, born as Barbara in 1982, decided to sing in English and the sound of her song is slightly reminiscent of the dancey vibes that made stars of Jess Glynne and Clean Bandit. Her smokey vocal style comes across very well in the verses, but then I can’t help but feel like the chorus is a little bit of a let down. I would have expected something more of an explosion melodically, but in terms of sound and style I think Spain has the best shot when sending Barei, as it sounds the most like what is in the European charts right now.

Listen here.

Salva Beltrán – Días De Alegría
Salva Beltrán from Barcelona brings us a guitar pop song with some Spanish influences. The chorus might even be the most traditionally Eurovision sounding of the whole bunch and that is saying quite something. It is hard not to go along with it, as the melody is so contagious and his warm vocals lure you in easily. Man, we even get a key change in the last chorus! If the Spanish voters want to go with something traditional, this one has the best shot at settling in the mind of the viewers as it is the most instant.

Listen here.

Maverick – Un Mundo Más Feliz
Maverick was a finalist in La Voz, the Spanish version of The Voice. He now wants to go for an even bigger stage with his participation in the Spanish Eurovision preselection. His song ‘Un Mundo Más Feliz’ is a cute little festive tune with a Spanish vibe thanks to the handclaps and instrumentation. Does it impress though? Not really. Again we have heard better in this genre even in this national final. Both María Isabel and Salva Beltrán have more engaging songs.

Listen here.

Electric Nana – Now
Electric Nana brings some electronic pop to the Spanish Eurovision stage and she decided to perform her song mainly in English, except for the middle eight. Although I applaud her effort to not go for the typical Spanish Eurovision sound, I am not sure if her Girls Aloud 2003 vibe will work. Not that there was anything wrong with Girls Aloud in 2003, but I highly doubt this will make any impact on the European voters in 2016. It also doesn’t help that the song gets kind of repetitive while it only lasts 2 minutes and 19 seconds.

Listen here.

To sum up, Madrid 2017 seems far away, but I think with great performances either Barei or Salva might bring Spain at least some success. Xuso Jones does stand a chance at a decent result, but he needs a really, really good act to cover up the fact that we have heard this song a thousand times before and better.

Update: Barei it is! With a great performance this might work for Spain. We will wait and see what happens in May!

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