Chanel, winner of the Benidorm Fest / RC

Eurovision hopeful Chanel caught in storm of controversy in Spain

The Cuban-Catalan singer won the Benidorm Fest song competition despite collecting just under four per cent of the public vote

IKER CORTÉS

Spain’s entry to the Eurovision song contest, Cuban-Catalan singer Chanel, is mired in controversy after it emerged that she won the Benidorm Fest competition, organised by state broadcaster RTVE, with just 3.97 per cent of the public vote compared to the popular favourites, Tanxugueiras performing ‘Terra’, who picked up a resounding 70.7 per cent of the vote.

RTVE argues that the jury’s vote accounts for 50 per cent of how a decision is reached, with the televote and public vote accounting for 25 per cent. The jury overwhelmingly supported Chanel and that landed her win. This does not sit well with fans of the annual competition. RTVE denies it pressured the jury to vote in a certain way.

"Absolutely not," said Alfonso Morales, general secretary of RTVE. "The only thing that interested us is that the jury worked freely and independently," he added.

María Eizaguirre, director of Communication and Participation of RTVE, added, "The rules were clear, there are not two realities, there are no complaints, there are no challenges.”

The jury, who RTVE said are independent, gave Chanel 51 points; Rigoberta Bandini came second with 46 points; and Tanxugueiras had to settle, along with Xeinn, with 30 points.

"From the beginning we said that the vote was going to be announced in a group to safeguard the freedom and independence of the members of the jury. After the latest events that have taken place, the death threats, we believe we are going to maintain this position,” said Eizaguirre.

“We believe in the right of the jury to be presumed innocent. It is a jury that has not charged a single euro and that has taken great care with these types of issues, with impeccable work from the first moment to the last,” she added.