ESC 2023 Song Review: “Eaea” by Blanca Paloma (Spain)

1) The Result

Despite a drama-laden vote in which Chanel’s “SloMo” was sent to Turin mainly on the basis of the jury votes and a tiny televote, the momentum behind her catchy song and vibrant staging eventually united most of the Spanish fans behind her. It ended up being the most well-rounded song in the top 5, finishing 3rd with both the juries and the public to finish 3rd overall — Spain’s best result since 1995.

2) The Process

The new-look Benidorm Fest returned, increasing the number of performers from 14 to 18 across the two semis. Blanca Paloma was the only the returning artist, and it was she who came away with the win, taking out the jury vote as well as the televote, and placing second with the demoscopic jury.

3) The Artist

Blanca Paloma is very much a newcomer to the music scene, given that “Secreto de agua”, her entry to Benidorm Fest 2022, was her debut single. There’s a bit here and there about her work in theatre and film, but this seems to be more behind the scenes in nature.

4) The Song

I can’t say I know much (if anything) about flamenco, but if this is where the song is best categorised, it feels like a modern twist on it, mixed with electronica — a mixture of raw and artificial. The lyrics express the longing of a mother to be able to watch over her son even after her death, which I guess will certainly connect with some people. But the style is quite abrasive if you’re not familiar with the musical genre.

5) The Verdict

When I first heard this song I struggled to connect to any of it. Had I ranked the Benidorm Fest entries at the time it would have been in the bottom handful. However, there was no denying that the staging was impressive and Paloma’s vocals outstanding. It still took me many listens before I could finally feel at home with the song, helped by the watery synth effects which make up most of the track that isn’t Paloma’s vocals or hand claps.

Even though this feels like a song the Spanish have selected for themselves more than anything else, I can see the juries coming for this, and there is certainly no other song quite like this one. I expect it to finish significantly higher than where I’ve placed it.

My ranking: 24th