All opinions expressed in this article are those of the person quoted and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the other team members or ESC United as a whole.
It’s 2 days to go until Junior Eurovision 2022, and we are counting down the 16 nations who are participating in Yerevan, Armenia on Sunday, December 11, 2022.
Every day we will do an overview of a participating nation in alphabetical order, recapping how they got to Junior Eurovision, a brief history of the nation’s participation, a brief biography of the artist, and finally, our “expert” panel of editors give the entries a score out of 10 and a brief review.
Next up, we look at Spain whose fortunes have flipped in both Eurovision versions: in 2022, Chanel came in 3rd for Spain, but at Junior Eurovision 2021, Levi Diaz got the first non-Top Four placement ever.
Spain’s history at Junior Eurovision:
You’d think that a country that participated four times in a row since the inaugural competition in 2003 and then withdrew would be one with a terrible record. But no, Spain’s run at Junior Eurovision has been 2nd, 1st, 2nd and 4th, which is very impressive. And then 15th, but their luck had to run out at some point.
Oddly enough, the 4th placed performer Dani Fernandez is the most high profile of the four entries as he was a member of Auryn, a boy band that also features Spain’s Eurovision 2020 and 2021 representative Blas Canto. Auryn made it to the final of Spain’s national selection back in 2011 with “Volver.” “Volver” was co-written by Jonas Gladnikoff, who co-wrote “Banshee” for Ireland’s Junior Eurovision 2019 representative Anna Kearney and is well-known in ESC circles for his many compositions for ESC, JESC, and national selection entries.
Maria Isabel won Junior Eurovision 2004 for Spain with “Antes muerta que sencilla,” a title that’s a riff on the Mickey Rourke quote “Better to be dead and cool, than alive and uncool” from the classic 1991 action film “Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man.” Okay, that was probably not the specific inspiration for the song, but it stands out among Junior Eurovision winners in sentiment and sound.
Spain bowed out of the contest after 2006, allegedly for the vision of Junior Eurovision not lining up with Spanish broadcaster Radiotelevisión Española’s (RTVE) for what they both want out of a kids singing contest.
Out of the blue, on June 25, 2019, RTVE announced that Spain would be returning for the Junior Eurovision 2019 contest.
And they came back strong as Melani Garcia surged to 3rd place with her stunning eco-popera entry “Marte,” best known for the atom-bombesque dropping of “Ahora!,” “Perdona!,” and “Funciona!” at key moments in the song. This is how you make a comeback to a song contest after a long absence.
But wait, there’s more! The following year, they dropped Solea, the fourth generation of the famous flamenco Farruco family and “Palante”. A pre-tournament favorite, “Palante” was not quite able to take advantage of the jury and televote split between Kazakhstan and France, but once again, they put in one hell of a performance and came in 3rd.
Levi Diaz came in 15th for Spain at Junior Eurovision 2021, Spain’s first ever outside the Top Four.
Before Junior Eurovision 2022:
Masterchef and Eurovision appear to becoming intertwined, as this week Georgia had a contestant on The Voice who had previously competed on Masterchef.
Similarly, Masterchef Celebrity in Spain was used to announce RTVE’s internally selected candidate, Carlos Higes, on October 3, 2022.
11-year-old Carlos Higes hails from Valencia, Spain.
On top of being an avid pop music consumer, he is also loves reading, debate, and literature.
Spain has brought in well-known Eurovision mercenaries Will Taylor, Michael James Down, and Primož Poglajen for Carlos’s entry, “Senorita.”
They have have written for the likes of Belarus’s NAPOLI and Romania’s Xandra, while also providing non-Eurovision tracks for Sergey Lazarev.
With the background out of the way, here is what we at ESC United think of Spain’s entry for Junior Eurovision 2022.
Providing their thoughts for Junior Eurovision this season: Alice Christine (Washington, D.C.), Boris Meersman (Belgium), Gianluca D’Elia (New York City, New York), James Maude (Los Angeles, California), Roy Postema (The Netherlands), William Carter (Dallas, Texas), and Zephaniah Gabriel (The Philippines).
Alice – 8 – “You can’t go wrong with a Spanish tune about dancing. It’s a little on the nose but still sounds great.”
Boris – 2 – “A critical mass of playa smarm. It’s wretched. Instant dislike for obvious reasons.”
Gianluca – 7 – “This stands out to me as one of the most fun entries of the year, and I especially enjoyed the percussion and clapping sounds throughout the song! Following up Spain’s tremendous success at adult Eurovision with another impressive dance song at JESC was a smart move. The short dance break in the middle of the song was a pleasant surprise. When I think of my favorite moments with a song in this year’s entry, this is one of them!”
James – 4 – “If you ask a drunken British tourist in Lanzarote to rattle off everything he knows about Spain, you’ll get the lyrics to this song. Dancing, senorita, Ibiza. I’m glad the kids aren’t into bullfighting any more, because that probably would’ve ended up in here somewhere otherwise. After several great entries that showed us the authentic Spain and that kids could rally around, this is just tacky background music for a cheap Spanish holiday package ad campaign.”
Roy – 6 – “Good beat, fun tune, but his voice sounds a tad bit weak for a song like this. I fear this will fall completely flat in the live performance. I’m also not the biggest fan of the lalala’s in the chorus. All in all a decent tune, but I fear it won’t achieve that much in the competition.”
William – 7.5 – “OK, Carlos! We got a bop up in here. This is really catchy and its energy is infectious. Gonna be a party on stage I’m always a little weirded out by male children getting saddled with songs about how much they love the ladies … but I’m an adult commenting on a contest for kids, so ignore me.”
Zephaniah – 7 – “I meant this in a positive way, it sounds like L.E.V.O.N. (Armenia 2018) to me but better. It sounds like it came from the Latin American music scene. It’s also a very dancey track which is a Junior Eurovision certified song. I’m excited to see how Spain will bring justice to this song on stage.”
Total: 41.5 points (Average = 5.926)
We have our first truly divisive entry, as some enjoyed this track but others were clearly not enamored with it. We expect the fandom to be similarly divided, which means Spain is unlikely to return to the Top 4.
1.) Serbia – 60.5 POINTS (Average = 8.643)
2.) The Netherlands – 58 points (Average = 8.286)
3.) Ireland – 56 points (Average = 8.0)
4.) Italy – 55.5 points (Average = 7.926)
5.) Armenia – 54.5 points (Average = 7.786)
6.) Georgia – 52.5 points (Average = 7.5)
7.) France – 52 points (Average = 7.428)
8.) North Macedonia – 48.5 points (Average = 6.929)
9.) Poland – 47.5 points (Average = 6.786)
10.) Portugal – 46 POINTS (Average = 6.571)
11.) Kazakhstan – 45 points (Average = 6.429)
12.) Albania – 42.5 points (Average = 6.071)
13.) SPAIN – 41.5 points (Average = 5.926)
14.) Malta – 38.5 points (Average = 5.5)
What do #YOU think of Spain’s entry? Do #YOU think Spain will return to the Top 4 with this track? Let us know in the comments below, on social media, or in our forum.