Following the controversy involving Spain's decision of voting in the second semifinal instead of the first one, where neighbour nations Portugal and Andorra will compete, and the subsequent fans' disappointment, Soraya, the Spanish representative, has released an official statement explaining her feelings towards this harsh situation, and clearing up that TVE's decision has nothing to do with her.
Initially, and as a result of the semifinals allocation draw, the three Iberian nations, Spain, Portugal and Andorra were all selected to perform and/or vote in the first semifinal. Presumably, this fact could increase Andorra and Portugal's chances of qualifying due to the presence of their neighbour country, Spain, in their semifinal as an only-voting nation. One week ago, the Reference Group of the EBU accepted TVE's request asking to vote in the second semifinal because the main political debate of the year is to be held on the 12th of May. The Reference Group agreed and hence Spain got a voting spot in the second semifinal.
This was seen as a matter of concern in both Andorra and Portugal. Today, the Spanish representative has released an official statement, where she says that"I would like to clear up that I have nothing to do with decisions about Eurovision that are not related to my role as a singer, like scheduling or programme planning for such a complex event like Eurovision".Soraya goes on saying that "I guess in times like these, it would not be easy to take decisions, especially when RTVE had the necessity to combine the Eurovision Song Contest with other programming duties that, as a public broadcaster, it is obliged to broadcast."
Being aware that the fact of Spain voting in the second semifinal has shaken fans in Portugal and Andorra, Soraya sends them the following message: "I know that RTVE’s decision to vote in the 2nd semifinal instead of the 1st one, as it was established, has not been well received in Andorra and Portugal because you think that it can make it harder for you to pass to the final. I know as well that, because of that, some people in the media of your countries had called the people to boycott my candidature", and continues saying that "I understand your annoyance. I would love that in Eurovision predominates the quality of the artists and people vote according to that… If that was the case, as it should definitely be, it would not matter in which semifinal a country votes. But that call to boycott me is a clear prove that, for some, music is not important at all. However, as a singer, I cannot be affected by this kind of things".
Soraya has also devoted some kind words to her fellow contestants Susanna Georgi of Andorra and Flor-de-Lis of Portugal: "I’m a singer, just like my partners Flor-de-lis and Susanna Georgi. Our job, our aim is to give the best of us as performers. However, I’m aware that in Eurovision the singers represent a country so, therefore, a 'political' part exists in this contest. I mean, some of the votes are due to the singers or the song, but others, far from negligible, are due to the friendship between countries or neighborhood voting. My only mission is to give the best of me everytime and everywhere as a performer".
Finally, and now that Soraya is back in Spain after touring several European countries to promote her entry, the Spanish hopeful sends her regards to everybody who has suported her across the continent: "Warm and loving regards to all of those who have received me with so much affection in these past weeks when I visited your countries … . I want to tell you this was worth it just because I met you. I want to send a warm hug to all my partners in Eurovision that I met in those countries. My only wish is to share the stage with all of you in the final".
Special thanks to Rubén Llopis for his contribution to the article.