Spain sends pop star Blas Cantó to Eurovision with ‘Universo’
Spain desperately needs a bit of success in Eurovision. As part of the big five (the countries who pay the most for the contest) they are automatically in the final every year, but haven’t reached top 20 (out of 26 countries) for five years in a row now. In the last fifteen years, they only reached top 10 twice. After bringing back the talent show Operación Triunfo to select their candidate, they opted for internal selection this year. RTVE chose pop singer and former member of boyband Auryn, Blas Cantó. He will represent his country with the song ‘Universo’.
With ‘Universo’, Spain sends one of their more radiofriendly and modern entries. The production of the track is very contemporary and fresh, especially in comparison to last year’s ‘La Venda’. The track starts out calmly and builds to a wall of sound in the chorus with big vocals and backing vocals that sound like a choir. There is a clear hook to be found in both the chorus and the post-chorus, that did stick with me after the first listen, which is of course important when it comes to the Eurovision Song Contest. If the live performance sounds as powerful as the song, I would be surprised if the jury pays it dust like they did with the Spanish entry last year. Having said that, I am unfortunately not convinced that ‘Universo’ will stand out enough, competing with 25 other entries. Without a spectacular staging, it is hard to picture who exactly is going to pick up the phone to vote for Spain.
‘Universo’ will almost definitely end up in the first half of my ranking of 2020’s entries, because it is a strong composition with a powerful production, but I am not utterly convinced this will bring Spain back to the left half of the scoreboard on the 16th of May.
Update: Blas Cantó performed his song live for the first time during Operación Triunfo. The staging was sober but effective and his vocals sounded strong enough to carry the tune, although the high note that kicks in the last chorus still needs work. The quite prominent backing vocals were still on tape which is not allowed at Eurovision, so we still have to wait and hear how that turns out, but for a first live performance Cantó made a good impression. Watch the performance here.
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