Buenas, buenas… ¡Nos vamos pa’ Latinoamérica!
Yes, you probably already have learned the news. And yes, the Eurovision brand continues its global expansion. After its rocky arrival to the United States earlier this spring, and its confirmed Canadian sibling due to arrive sometime in 2023, the next target is the region that keeps the music industry running in 2022: Latin America!
Most Eurovision fans might not know, or not be familiar with what happens in this region of the world, but back in 1969 we had one of the first ever Eurovision Song Contest look-alikes, first, it was known as Festival Mundial de la Canción Latina. This event was held in Mexico for two consecutive years and was organized by the government of that country at that time.
Then in 1972, it became the mythical Festival OTI de la Canción (or in English, and simplified: OTI Festival). Where in a similar fashion to our favorite musical competition, it featured +20 nations from the region plus Equatorial Guinea, Spain & Portugal sending songs and facing each other for who would be the best one, just without the structured voting segments and exciting television.
Also, all entries were performed in either Spanish or Portuguese (this time around, the United States was represented via one of its Spanish-language TV networks). The contest suffered a major decline in interest and popularity during the 1990s and has not been held since 2000.
And just like its counterpart in Europe, both Festival Mundial de la Canción Latina & follow-up OTI Festival did produce some hits of their own. Legendary Mexican performer José José competed with his song “El Triste” in 1970 and became a timeless regional hit, and one of the most memorable songs of his career.
Latin Americans back then (and today) really love ballads! Now, looking into 2022 and more than 20 years later, a revival of a musical contest concept for the region (that isn’t one of the standard international reality tv formats such as Got Talent or The Voice) has been bubbling. And here’s a recap of what’s happening so far.
Hispavisión (a very fitting tentative name) was the first project of this nature to be announced publicly in recent times. Current president of Spain’s very own RTVE, José Manuel Pérez Tornero, did so in February 2022, shortly after the success of Benidorm Fest, and expressed the intention to host the first edition of the festival in Cartagena, Colombia in 2023.
Further plans on this specific project have not been revealed or announced by the broadcaster itself at the time this article was written.
Eurovision Song Contest Latin America
Eurovision Song Contest Latin America is the second project of its kind to be announced within the last six months. This time, it was the European Broadcasting Union itself who led the announcement. Compared with the Spanish-led project, the EBU did provide a little more details, as this extension will also be produced by Voxovation, the same production company behind the American Song Contest.
Their press release also showcased the following that Eurovision has in Latin America, pointing out that Argentina, Brazil, Chile & Mexico observed the highest numbers of consumption of online content via the contest’s official YouTube channel. Also, they stated that these 4 countries are under consideration for becoming the host of the first ever installment of this new competition.
Possible TVE collaboration for Eurovision Song Contest Latin America?
And now, we’ve got a plot twist. Just days after the EBU’s announcement, this entity, Voxovation’s top executives, and the top of Spain’s Eurovision delegation all met in Madrid to sustain discussions regarding a potential collaboration between all parties in the development of the Latin American adaptation.
On the meeting we had, pictured above, on behalf of RTVE, its President José Manuel Pérez Tornero; Director of the President’s Cabinet, José Juan Ruiz; Communications Director, María Eizaguirre; and Director of Original Programming, Ana María Bordas. For the EBU, Adjunct Director, Jean Philip de Tender and Brand Manager, Lina Moussaoui. Christer Björkman, Greg Lipstone, Peter Settman and Anders Lenhoff attended on behalf of production company Voxovation.
It’s now all about waiting when more information will publicly come out. In my opinion, we should expect more information in the coming months, or shortly after Eurovision 2023 happens. Time will tell!