Friday, April 19

The toxicity of Spanish politics arrives at Benidorm Fest

Like any irrelevant matter susceptible to fuel the polarization of public opinion and to inoculate in a sector of the population a feeling of affront that must be repaired, the controversial election of the representative of Spain in Eurovision 2022 has made the leap into politics and has become a new battlefield in the war between parties.

With the decision of Bloque Nacionalista Galego (BNG) and Galicia en Común to request in the Congress of Deputies that those responsible for RTVE offer explanations about the alleged “irregularities” committed in the process that gave Chanel and her song ‘SloMo’ as the winner compared to other candidacies that enjoyed greater support among the public ( Tanxugueiras and ‘Terra’, and Rigoberta Bandini and ‘Ay, mama’), the controversial outcome of Benidorm festival has taken a quantum leap to the institutional level. The news, which should seem grotesque, was almost predictable, because the maneuvers to make the song contest a front for political action already came from before.

Mobilization factors

Since it was known that Tanxugueiras would participate in the Benidorm Fest with a subject in Galician (a language that, on the other hand, the trio habitually uses both in their artistic work and in their daily lives), the linguistic question, with its political derivative, became an important mobilizing factor, both for and against (TVE has never sent to Eurovision a song sung in an official language in the Spanish state other than Castilian). Something similar happened with ‘Ay, mama’ by Rigoberta Bandini, whose unequivocal condition of feminist anthem it propitiated a current of adhesions and a wave of hostility that had little to do with the purely musical aspect of the song. And there came the representatives of the parties to try to get a slice.

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While the main leaders of Galician nationalism waved the Tanxugueiras flag with legitimate but somewhat shocking fervor, outside Galicia the political forces in the orbit of Podemos were openly in favor of a victory for Rigoberta Bandini (With some exceptions, such as the Second Vice President and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, who publicly supported the ‘pandeireteiras’). The Minister for Equality, Irene Montero, came to paraphrase the verses of ‘Ay, mama’ at an election campaign event in Castilla y León.

“feminist rants”

As expected, the right entered the rag. The leader of the PP, Paul Married, asked for “less feminist slurs” to “those Podemos ministers who have made statements about a song” and the popular deputy Edurne Uriarte, in a much more venomous tweet, tried to discredit Bandini’s “scurvy feminism of the tits” by slipping the idea that the Barcelona singer is an independentista (a quite gratuitous accusation, on the other hand).

In this climate of ‘hooliganism’ and toxicity, the final of the Benidorm Fest was reached on Saturday, in which the weight of the opinions of the so-called professional jury tipped the balance in favor of Chanel despite the fact that the public votes relegated the Cuban singer, dancer and actress to third position, behind Tanxugueiras and Rigoberta Bandini. A debatable and highly contested result that has led to RTVE to admit that the process will have to be reviewed for future calls and that has triggered the accusations of tongo.

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Well, the parties have come to that troubled river to cast their hooks. Galicia in Common, coalition formed by Podemos and Esquerda Unida, registered in Congress several questions addressed to the Council of RTVE so that it makes public “the evaluation criteria for the composition of the jury [del Benidorm Fest], the detailed score of each [de los miembros del jurado] and the evaluation criteria stipulated in the bases of the development of the contest for the final score”. “The public entity must guarantee a contest with total transparency”, argued the deputy of Galicia in Common Anton Gomez Kingdom.

The BNG also registered several questions in this regard, which also announced a request for the appearance of the President of RTVE, José Manuel Pérez Tornero, to explain to the Congress how the jury members were chosen and why many viewers had difficulty voting. “There are many Galicians who have the legitimate perception that they acted with bias to prevent a song in ‘Galician’ from going to Eurovision,” said the Bloc deputy Néstor Rego.

While this was happening, both Rigoberta Bandini (the artistic name under which Barcelona-born Paula Ribó operates) and the members of Tanxugueiras defended the legitimacy of Chanel’s victory on social networks and they wished him all the luck in Eurovision. And, intelligently, they turned the page.

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