Spanish broadcaster RTVE has announced a spiritual successor to the iconic Benidorm Song Festival will return in February 2022 and double as the nation’s selection process for the Eurovision Song Contest.
Benidorm will host the televised competition consisting of three shows: two semi-finals and a grand final, which RTVE will broadcast live through La 1 and RTVE Play.
Full details will be announced shortly, but the as yet unnamed event will take place in February, involve a split jury/public vote, and aims to promote new, young talent from Spain to Europe.
The project was announced on the beach front by RTVE president José Manuel Pérez Tornero; the president of the Valencian Government, Ximo Puig; and the mayor of Benidorm, Toni Pérez, after the assembled crowd enjoyed a performance of Waterloo and Dancing In The Rain by Ruth Lorenzo.
Ximo shared his ambition for the shows:
We want Benidorm to be a meeting point for what we need most now: music, Europe and diversity. With the 'Benidorm Festival’ we intend to achieve an emotional and tourist reactivation of the Valencian Community.'
The original Festival Internacional de la Canción de Benidorm ran from 1959 until 2006 and was used to promote the local area internationally and celebrate Spanish music; the format was based on Italy’s successful Sanremo Music Festival.
The prize for winning the festival was the prestigious ‘Golden Mermaid’ trophy, however, the revived contest will also see the champion represent España at the Eurovision Song Contest in Italy next year.
Prior to today’s announcement, RVTE President José Manuel Pérez Tornero stated that the Spanish broadcaster was going to be taking their participation ‘very seriously’ this year, something he reiterated at the press event today, stating that Spain has a vision of winning Eurovision 2022.
Hopefully, the new competitive process will mark a change in fortunes for Spain at the Contest, as the nation hasn’t placed higher than 20th on the scoreboard since Ruth Lorenzo’s 2014 entry Dancing In The Rain.
Blas Cantó was the most recent act to represent Spain with his song Voy A Quedarme which finished in 24th place, picking up 2 points from the United Kingdom jury and 4 points from the Bulgarian jury.
Of all the Big Five nations (which also includes Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and France), Spain has been waiting the longest for a Eurovision victory. Their last triumph came 52 years ago at the 1969 Contest on home soil in Madrid, which ended in a four-way tie between Spain, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and France.
Can the rebooted Festival Internacional de la Canción de Benidorm reverse Spanish fortunes? Let us know your thoughts across the official Eurovision Song Contest Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook accounts.