Europe's eyes turned to Spain back in January, when TVE announced that an open selection via MySpace.com would be the way to pick Spain's representative for Belgrade. Certainly, the innovation and its consequences made headlines and was also a matter of concern among fans, especially after the victory of Rodolfo Chikilicuatre. TVE is now set to repeat the experience, but judging by the press conference held this morning, it seems that the public broadcaster has learned from past mistakes.
According to Rosalía Lloret, head of RTVE's website, rtve.es, TVE is taking the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest "seriously, very seriously", and so said Borja Prieto, responsible for Contents of MySpace.com, who stated that they have learned from hackers' tricks and all those who tried to boycott the 2008 selection procedure. This is why the 2009 voting will take place on the RTVE website (www.rtve.es/eurovision), and not on the associated MySpace profile, because it's TVE itself who wants to oversee the whole process. Lloret added that all the votes "will be counted, one by one, to avoid fake voting".
As esctoday.com announced earlier today, 50 entries will be selected from all the applications received via a mixture of jury vote and public vote. All of them will be drawn to three semifinals and the 10 top ranked will go through the final, where also jury and public will decide who will represent Spain in Moscow.
The split between jury and televote is not yet confirmed. TVE are waiting for the official announcement of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest rules, and the percentage split that will be used in the international competition. They will adopt the same percentage split as the EBU takes for the Eurovision Song Contest itself. esctoday.com expects this to be a 50-50 split, but confirmation will not be made by the EBU until next month.
A very remarkable novelty this year is the introduction of another parallel selection to pick one of the 5 members of the jury. The way to apply is the same as for candidates to represent Spain: all those interested must create a MySpace profile, record and upload a presentation video and fill in the online form under the 'Jury' category -available on the MySpace page (www.myspace.com/eurovision2009)-. Candidates must comply with some requirements: they have to be somehow related to the music industry and cannot be involved with any of the hopefuls.
Javier Pons, director of TVE, has stated clearly this morning that the jury will have a decisive role in the process. The presence of the panel of experts has a very simple reason: Eurovision Song Contest 2009 will see the return of the juries, and so wants TVE with the Spanish national selection. Asked about the possibility that entries supported by rival channels – Rodolfo Chikilicuatre was a creation of La Sexta's late show, Buenafuente, Pons answered that "everyone can take part. If one, two, three or four broadcasters present a candidate and support Eurovision 2009, they can do it".
Regarding who will be the host of Eurovisión 2009: El retorno, Javier Pons has stated his interest in Raffaella Carrà to take on therole, just like last year: "I am pleased with Raffaella's job last year. I wish she wants to work with us this time too, but I don't know how her agenda will be by the date". TVE would like to enjoy the collaboration of José Luis Uribarri too, Spain's longest running commentator, who also took part in Salvemos Eurovisión in 2008. The host will not be announced until a later date.
Spanish Eurovision Song Contest head of delegation, Federico Llano told esctoday.com that"Everyone is looking for quality but the quality should be provided by the artists and the talent, not by TVE".
Asked if Spain can win Eurovision with the new voting system, he said: "I think even with the previous system, Spain could have won, but we have a better chance now. With every country trying to win, you have to have a very powerful song."
The calendar for the 2009 Spanish national selection is as follows:
- November 24th: Submission deadline opens.
- December 17th: Submission deadline closes.
- December 19th: TVE publishes the list of candidates, voting starts.
- January 19th: End of voting.
- January 20th: TVE publishes the names of the 50 semifinalists.
- February: Three semi finals and a the national final will take place. Dates cannot yet be announced becausescheduling and programming for the month is not yet set.