Five fantastic facts about Spain in Eurovision

As the Eurovision final approaches it's time to swot up on some facts about Spain's history in the most celebrated singing contest in the world. From false starts to Franco, here is The Local's list:

Five fantastic facts about Spain in Eurovision
Arguably Spain's feakiest Eurovision act, Rodolfo Chikilicuatre, dancing the Chiki Chiki. Screen grab: YouTube

1) False starts

Only three times in the 60 year history of Eurovision has an act been allowed to start their performance again and two of these were Spanish. 

In 1990 Spanish sisters Azucar Moreno (Brown Sugar) opened the show and it was memorable for all the wrong reasons. The backing track was not started in time so the sisters came out onto the stage only to look at each other in confusion before storming off stage. They did eventually reemerge and managed a respectable fifth place with their flamenco-inspired song, Bandido. 

Ten years later another Spanish act had to perform again after his performance was disrupted by a notorious Spanish streaker. Daniel Dignes was halfway through his song Algo Pequeñito when Jaume Marquet Cot, better known as Jimmy Jump, stormed the stage.

2) A little help from Franco

Massiel, who beat none other than British crooner Cliff Richard to win the 1968 Eurovision Song Contest with her snappily titled hit La, la, la in which she repeated the word 'la' no less than 138 times.

But suspicions arose that Massiel had received support from a rather unlikely Eurovision fan, none other than Spanish dictator, General Francisco Franco.  A 2008 Spanish documentary claimed Franco bought votes so Spain could win Eurovision, thus improving the country’s image abroad. He promised to buy other countries’ television programmes if they voted for Spain. The claims were rubbished by Massiel, who said she won because her song was better. 

3) One hit wonders fail to make a comeback

Remember The Ketchup Song? The nauseatingly unforgettable hit played none stop during the summer of 2002 and went on to be, amazingly, one of the biggest selling singles of all time. Well, the group behind the hit, Spanish sisters Las Ketchup, decided to enter Eurovision in 2006 hoping to replicate the success of their earlier condiment-based tune. Unfortunately, by 2006 European audiences preferred masked Finnish trolls (Lorde) than Europop stars and Las Ketchup came in 21st place with their song Un Blodymary. 

4) Champions of nul points

Spain has the dubious honour of being one of the countries to receive the most nul points in the history of Eurovision.

Nul points hall of fame: 

1962: Victor Balaguer – Llámame (Call me) 

1965: Conchita Bautista – Que bueno, que bueno (How good, how good) 

1983: Remedios Amaya – ¿Quién maneja mi barca? (Who is sailing my boat?) 

1999: Lydia – No quiero escuchar (I don't want to listen) 

5) Freaks and gimmicks

Every country occassionally disregards singing ability and submits a “comedy” entry and Spain is definitely no exception. 

Baila el Chiki Chiki from a man toting a fake Elvis quiff, lenseless glasses and a kiddie's plastic guitar, has to be one of the strangest songs in Spain's, if not Europe's, Eurovision history. 

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Meet Alfred and Amaia: Spain’s 2018 Eurovision hopefuls

Spain is hoping to improve on its laughable result last year in the Eurovision Song Contest with a romantic ballad between a Catalan boy and a girl from Pamplona.

Meet Alfred and Amaia: Spain’s 2018 Eurovision hopefuls
Could Amaia and Alfred break Spain's Eurovision curse? Photo: TVE Operacion Triunfo

Alfred Garcia, a 20-year-old from El Prat de Llobregat outside Barcelona teamed up with 19-year-old Pamplonesa Amaia Romero to win this year’s national television talent show Operacion Triunfo with their love song Tu Cancion.

The pair were selected in a public vote to represent Spain in the 2018 competition which will take place in Lisbon on May 11th.

WATCH Alfred and Amaia sing Tu Canción:

The couple who sing in Spanish while playing grand pianos hope that they will perform better in the competition than last year’s contestant, Manel Navarro, whose performance on the night became the butt of a thousand online jokes

READ: The best memes after Spain's 2017 Eurovision disaster

Manel was compared to a rooster after his voice cracked trying to reach the high notes during his 2017 performance.

While last year’s entry was an annoyingly repetitive pop song sung in English by a self-styled surfer dude who ended the competition last in 26th  place, this year’s entry is a soulful romantic ballad written specifically for the duo by composer Raul Gomez.

Spain hasn’t fared well in the competition, winning only twice in its history and one of those wins was secured by Franco buying votes. But Spain does have the dubious honour of being one of the countries to receive the most nul points in the history of Eurovision.

READ MORE: Five fantastic facts about Spain in Eurovision

Both Alfred and Amaia are studying music at university but can they break Spain’s Eurovision curse?

This video clip provides the lyrics to the song (and their translation) so you have plenty of time to learn the words in order to singalong on the night.