Eurovision hopeful Chanel caught in a storm of controversy in Spain

Chanel, winner of the Benidorm Fest / RC

The Cuban-Catalan singer won the Benidorm Fest song contest despite collecting just under 4% of the public’s vote

Spain’s Eurovision Song Contest entry, Cuban-Catalan singer Chanel, is mired in controversy after it emerged she had won the Benidorm Fest competition, organized by public broadcaster RTVE , with only 3.97% of the public vote compared to popular favorites, Tanxugueiras performing “Terra”, which received 70.7% of the vote.

RTVE argues that the jury vote accounts for 50% of how a decision is made, with the televised vote and the public vote accounting for 25%. The jury overwhelmingly backed Chanel and it earned her the win. This does not sit well with fans of the annual competition. RTVE denies pressuring the jury to vote a certain way.

“Absolutely not,” said Alfonso Morales, general secretary of RTVE. “The only thing we were interested in was that the jury worked freely and independently,” he added.

María Eizaguirre, director of communication and participation of RTVE, added: “The rules were clear, there are not two realities, there are no complaints, there are no disputes” .

The jury, which RTVE says is independent, awarded 51 points to Chanel; Rigoberta Bandini came second with 46 points; and Tanxugueiras had to settle, with Xeinn, with 30 points.

“From the beginning, we said that the vote was going to be announced as a group to safeguard the freedom and independence of the members of the jury. After the latest events, the death threats, we believe that we will maintain this position”, Eizaguirre said.

“We believe in the right of the jury to be presumed innocent. It is a jury that has not charged a single euro and has taken great care of these kinds of questions, with impeccable work from the first to the last moment,” she added.