TVE, the Spanish national broadcaster, has revealed that the Spanish representative for the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 will be chosen from the current season of Operación Triunfo.
The news was announced by Roberto Leal during the sixth gala of the show on Monday night. Operación Triunfo was previously used to select the Spanish representative for Eurovision from 2002 to 2004. This proved to be successful, as all three selected artists, Rosa, Beth and Ramón, finished in the top 10 in their respective years. Rosa’s performance at the 2002 contest was watched by 13 million people in Spain, a rating of 80%, which was the most watched moment in history on Spanish television at the time. Soraya Arnelas, the runner-up of the fifth edition of the show, also represented Spain in 2009 with “La noche es para mí”.
TVE stated their reasons behind choosing Operación Triunfo as the selection method for the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon:
“We have tried to find the best formula to choose our next Eurovision representative. Operación Triunfo is again a successful format that encourages positive values, such as effort and training. It also discovers and supports new talents. Moreover, the current season has generated a lot of social activity and interaction, as well as a special link with the audience.”
Operación Triunfo returned to Spanish screens in October, six years after the last edition was aired and thirteen years since it was last aired on TVE. It has proven very popular with audiences, attracting over 2 million spectators on average per gala. The final of the show will take place on January 29 2018. It is yet unknown if a national final featuring the finalists will take place after the show has ended or if TVE will internally pick a representative from the finalists.
Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest
Spain debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1961 and has competed annually since. Spain has won the contest on two occasions the first being in 1968 and the second time in 1969. 1969 is the only year where more than one song has won the contest, the 1969 contest saw a four-way tie between Spain, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Since 2000 Spain has only managed to finish in the top.10 on five occasions, the last time being in 2014 with Ruth Lorenzo. However, the country has finished 20th or below on nine occasions, the worst placement being 26th in 2017.