As seventeen nations battled for ten Eurovision final places on Tuesday night, entrants from five countries enjoyed the luxury of knowing that they are already in Saturday’s final. The Big Five: UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain don’t have to go through the indignity of qualification, as they are effectively paying for the competition. This is particularly handy for the UK, whose recent Eurovision contenders might well have struggled to make it out of the semi-finals.
Spain’s recent record, however, isn’t much better. They’ve only managed two top-ten appearances in the last fourteen editions of Eurovision and haven’t cracked the top five since coming second in 1995, while their two wins came back in 1968 and 1969.
And hopes aren’t high for their latest attempt at Eurovision glory. Miki Nunez Pozo, known as Miki, was a relative unknown until he entered the Eurovision Gala to choose Spain’s Eurovision entry. He won, with just over a third of the audience voting for his song, La Venda.
The song itself is upbeat and relatively catchy, but in a competition that has become increasingly diverse in terms of musical style, it doesn’t stand out, which helps to explain why punters have been relatively unenthused. Betfred have priced Miki and La Venda at 100/1, which puts it firmly in the midfield of contenders, and way behind the favourites the Netherlands.
But it could be a mistake to write off Spain. For one thing, Miki is a likeable performer, who delivers the song with enthusiasm and charisma. That could count for a lot in a contest when gimmicks and elaborate staging are the norm, and Miki showed his potential in a solid second rehearsal performance ahead of the semi-finals. They also have the advantage of performing in the second half of the show, so while they aren’t obvious contenders, there may well be a few punters prepared to take a chance on Spain at big odds.