Xavier Herrero |
Benidorm (Alicante) (EFE) popular opinion, something that RTVE insists on defending… with nuances.
“Although the public has a voice and a vote, Benidorm Fest was held from the beginning with the aim of professionalizing the selection of the Spanish representative in Eurovision”, the corporation’s Communications Director, María Eizaguirre, confirmed to this outlet, when asked by the reasons that led to the change in the way of breaking the tie in this second edition.
Because both in the fight in the semifinals for the fourth and last place that qualifies for the final and in the fight in that one for total victory and the right to represent Spain in the European festival, this time the established order of preference is decisive. by jury vote.
As RTVE has underlined, that spirit was on the table from the initial conversations when creating this platform for Eurovision and none of those responsible for the corporation has succeeded in explaining why the opposite was registered in the bases of the first edition: that it would be the public the person in charge of breaking the tie.
“But for it to be like that, it had to have the approval of someone from Contents,” Eizaguirre pointed out, apparently surprised like several of those responsible for the public entity that it was stated in this way in the regulations of Benidorm Fest 2022 that were created under the direction in that area of Amalia Martínez de Velasco, dismissed a few months after the first edition.
RTVE downplays this change in any case and insists on the fairness of a system that seems to maintain the principles of last year: 50% of the score comes from the jury and another 50% from the public.
This, in turn, is divided into two parts, so that 25% depends on telephone calls and SMS from viewers and 25% on a poll jury made up of 350 people chosen by age, gender and population as a representation from all over Spain to iron out biases due to territorial affinity.
The experts point to the small print of the modifications introduced and point out a case that, in their opinion, proves the imbalance: the sum of the greatest possible number of votes from the popular party would give a maximum of 80 points to the same participant, while that if the 8 members of the jury agreed to give their highest grade to the same candidate, he would get 96.
«Therefore, it is mathematically impossible for the favorite of the popular vote to win if it is not to the liking of the jury and it has another clear favorite; If he, in turn, was not from the public, he would maintain his chances of victory », Rocío Muñoz, editor of the veteran specialized portal Eurovision-Spain, points out to EFE.
A more international jury
Another of the changes involves the composition of the professional jury, which goes from 5 to 8 members, altering the previous proportion of international and national members, who are now a minority, with 3 representatives.
«The committee of experts that made the pre-selection of these 18 participants was already Spanish and, when it came to focusing the race towards Liverpool, we considered that there was a maxim: that our representative will face the votes of the rest of the participating countries in Eurovision, so you had to take into account what you like outside ”, Eizaguirre has justified these days before the press.
Miguel Heras, from the “Euromovidas” podcast, warns of a risk with this formula that has already been seen in shortlists such as the Swedish or Norwegian ones: “Getting more carried away by ‘what do we expect from a Spanish candidacy’, especially when so much is done emphasis on Eurovision as the final goal and, as is the case this year, its members include producers or heads of delegation from other countries.
In this sense, remember what happened before Eurovision 2016: the international juries preferred Salvador Beltrán over the public’s candidate, Barei.
On the other hand, and although RTVE considers that this is “questioning” their professionalism, the members of the jury always have the power to issue a strategic individual score that rewards their favorite with the highest grade and relegates their possible competitors, if They are not so much to his liking but they are to the public, with one of the worst grades.
With the current system, the popular vote is positive for the artist that everyone likes the most. Once added and ordered, a number of points is distributed linearly, but there are followers who ask that these be distributed according to the percentage of support obtained, “because having 15,000 calls in favor is not the same as 2,000”.
“Not having that harmonization between both parties is precisely what can generate suspicion when interpreting the result of the festival,” warns Heras.
Muñoz, from Eurovision-Spain, goes further: «It gives the feeling that you want to have some control over the result, being able to have the last word when choosing who wins Benidorm Fest. Considering that the participants have previously been screened using professional criteria, I do not understand the apparent distrust towards the choice of the public.