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Catalan-Cuban artist Chanel to represent Spain at 2022 Eurovision Song Contest

Candidate selection generates controversy across Spain and political forces ask questions to Spanish broadcasting board


31 January 2022 05:28 PM


Gerard Escaich Folch | Barcelona

Spain’s candidate for the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest was chosen on Saturday with a song contest imitating the continent-wide festival, with Catalan-Cuban artist Chanel winning with her song ‘SloMo’.

Chanel Terrero, born in the Cuban city of La Habana in 1991, moved to Catalonia when she was four years old. Based in the inland town of Olesa de Montserrat, Chanel grew up and later moved to Madrid where she has worked on musicals such as "The Lion King," "Mamma Mia," and "The bodyguard."

Chanel is now Spain’s representative for the European music contest that will be held in Turin, Italy in May 2022. She was voted the ideal candidate for the task at Benidorm Fest, a contest organized by Spanish public broadcaster RTVE with public and a jury held in the Valencian’s village during the last week.

Elected, but with controversy

Chanel was one of the less popular candidates to represent Spain at 2022 Eurovision contest. Ahead of her were Catalan singer Rigoberta Bandini, Paula Ribó’s artistic name, with her "Ay Mama!," a feminist anthem, and the Galician Tanxugueiras group, that sang in their native language, Galician.

During the final, viewers massively voted for Tanxugueiras and Rigoberta Bandini. However, the public vote only accounted for 50% of the decision. A 5-member jury vote represented the other 50%, the five of them preferred Chanel, so she was elected Spain’s representative at 2022 Eurovision.

The jury decision generated controversy across the territory with social media calling the Benidorm Fest a "tongo” - a rigged contest.

The Benidorm Fest, held between January 26 to 29, choose Spain’s candidate out of 14 finalists after around 10,000 contenders.

Benidorm Fest reaches Spain’s Congress

Galician anti-austerity party, Galicia en Comú, closely linked to the Catalan En Comú Podem party, has registered some parliamentary questions directed at the board of Spain’s public broadcaster RTVE regarding the "disparities between the jury’s decision and the popular vote," the political force announced on Monday morning.

RTVE responded to criticism saying they are "open to dialogue to improve future editions of the Benidorm Fest selection process," a statement reads.

Chanel, a representative of Catalan culture

Criticism aside, Chanel has become a figure of Catalan culture after winning the Benidorm Fest.

While hugging fellow singer Rigoberta Bandini, some cameras recorded her saying "fem una calçotada," to Bandini. Some social media users feel "represented" by Spain’s Eurovision representative.

A 'calçot' is a type of long white spring onion cultivated in a special way. These onions are called 'calçots' because while they are growing the farmer has to 'calçar-les' -wrap the onions with soil- many times. This process gives 'calçots' their characteristic long shape.

This agricultural technique was discovered at the end of the 19th century by a Valls farmer, who is said to have invented the sauce that accompanies 'calçots' and the way to cook them too. Since then, eating 'calçots' has become one of the main Catalan gastronomic - and social - traditions of the year, with families and friends gathering together every year to celebrate a ‘calçotada’, the event where 'calçots' are cooked and eaten.


  • Catalan-Cuban singer Chanel during her Benidorm Fest show to be chosen Spain's 2022 Eurovision candidate on January 29, 2022 (by RTVE)

  • Catalan-Cuban singer Chanel during her Benidorm Fest show to be chosen Spain's 2022 Eurovision candidate on January 29, 2022 (by RTVE)