Blanca Paloma is the Spanish representative for Eurovision 2023, with her song “EaEa”. Hypnotic, magnetic, soulful, and magical, can be the adjectives I could use to describe one of this year’s most impactful entries. And our dear pichona mayor can pull the third ever win for her country, Spain, at Eurovision this year.
And for this Big 5 country, competing has been an experience – and a wild ride too! So, let’s make a quick recap…
Spain said presente for the very first time at Eurovision in 1961, have participated every year since then and won the contest for the 2nd and last time during the mythical four-way tie from 1969 (together with the United Kingdom, France & the Netherlands). Their first win came in 1968, with Massiel and her iconic “La, La, La”.
They had a great run in the 1970s (3 times placed as runners-up, for example), followed by decent showings during the 80s and the 90s, and then came the 2000s: when the contest experienced its largest expansion to date, all Big 4 countries struggled at the competition. Spain peaked from 2001-2004, but their decline was profound and steady.
For over 15 years, not only they offered varied options each time, their impact in the competition was not the one desired for a country with the music industry that they have. RTVE struggled, and big time. Messy national final processes, major scandals within the network or the delegation, and so on.
But then… the pandemic came around, RTVE said basta and the changes came through rolling.
Benidorm Fest & The Beginning of a New Era
After nearly a decade of consecutive horrendous results at Eurovision, RTVE announced during the summer of 2021 that for the following contest they would select their entry through a new national final format called, Benidorm Fest. And the broadcaster found a new gem!
Through a mix of an open call submissions + direct submissions from the Spanish record labels, TVE selected 14 entries for the inaugural edition in 2022, and one of them was the iconic Blanca Paloma.
Her entry, “Secreto de Agua”, being her first big foray into the music scene, the song had already been used by RTVE as the main soundtrack for one drama series they were airing at the time. An intense but delicate performance that she staged herself (Blanca is an experienced theatre professional), Blanca sailed through the final through the combination of juries + televoters.
In the final, she had a chance to fight for victory, but a year ago, nothing could stop the hurricane that Chanel and her squad brought to our lives with “SloMo”. Blanca’s placement at Benidorm Fest 2022 was a respectable 5th place.
This wasn’t enough for Blanca Paloma, as she tried again.
“EaEa” & The Vindication of Flamenco
For Benidorm Fest 2023, Blanca was once again selected to participate in the Spanish national final. “EaEa” is a magnetic neo-flamenco song that, in her own words, is a vindication of flamenco a musical genre and also comes as an ode in memory of her grandmother Carmen (who is the lady seen on the cover art of the single).
Set on stage in an atmospheric curtain wall that leads to a smaller platform, “EaEa” sends us on a visual journey that mixes one known element of flamenco: hand movements. Combining it with a theatrical interpretation of multiple emotions that range from love to sadness. Blanca Paloma sets us for a hypnotic performance we will never forget.
Blanca has said that one of her favorite Spanish ESC entries is Remedios Amaya and “Quien maneja mi barca” from 1983. A very true flamenco song, performed by a barefoot Remedios on the Munich stage, finish tied for last place with Turkey. Now that 40 years have passed, Spain is a favorite to win Eurovision with a truly ethnic yet modern entry.
Our pichona not only has given us amazing moments in interviews or with fans this season but this song has a je ne sais quoi that has made many fall in love with it.
Eurovision, for its longevity and reputation, needs to vindicate ethnic entries from the west of Europe, and this year Blanca Paloma and Spain are giving a modern interpretation of a family story connected to the roots of one of the most known cultural elements of the artist’s home country.
Vamo’ alla la Blanca Paloma!