Latin

Pop Singer Barei to 'Say Yay' for Spain at Eurovision

Spain's Barei during rehearsal for Eurovision 2016.
Thomas Hanses

Spain's Barei during rehearsal for Eurovision 2016 on May 6.

“Will we make fools of ourselves at Eurovision?” asked a headline in a Spanish newspaper. “For sure.”

Pop singer Barei will represent Spain at the Eurovision Song Contest with “Say Yay!”

The peppy English-language number is not likely to win at this year’s edition of the widely derided but even more widely watched pan-European musical competition to be televised from Stockholm on Saturday (May 14). But according to a Spotify ranking, Berei could come in fourth of the 16 Grand Finalists.

“Will we make fools of ourselves at Eurovision?” asked a headline in Spain’s La Vanguardia newspaper. “For sure.” Kitschy spectacle is the hallmark of every Eurovision show, and a big part of its attraction. The chance to criticize the artists as they make their play for global fame has become even more appealing to viewers in the age of social media. The broadcast of the show has been Spain’s most watched non-sporting television event for years.

Spain has a guaranteed spot in the annual final contest program since Spanish broadcaster Television Española (TVE) is one of “the big five” financial contributors to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). But the country is not known for picking Eurovision winners, who in the last five years have hailed from Germany, Azerbaijan, Denmark, Austria (the instant celebrity Conchita Wurst) and Sweden, whose representative Mans Zelmerlow won last year with (definitely not David Bowie’s) “Heroes.”

Sweden is set to take the victory with its 2016 contestant, named Frans, who will be the winner of the contest according to the Spotify numbers, which cite more than 30 million streams. 

France’s Amir is ranked second, with “J’ai cherché,” and Russian contestant Sergei Lazarev’s song “You Are the Only One” is ranked in third place. And if the predictions based on the popularity of the songs on Spotify prove correct, Barei will take the number four spot.  

The 34-year-old Madrid singer, whose real name is Bárbara Reyzábal González-Aller is not well known in Spain, although she has released two albums and previously was named the winner, as part of a duo called Dos Puntos, at the 2001 Benidorm International Song Festival. She spent a period developing a Latin pop career in Miami; she soon abandoned that idea and returned to home.

Barei’s international pop style is the kind that follows trends, and “Say Yay!” is the first Eurovision song from Spain to be sung 100% in English – an move toward more global recognition that has caused some controversy. Barei wrote the song with Rubén Villanueva and Victor Púa.

“Say Yay!” took Barei to victory on TVE’s pre-Eurovision contest show dubbed Objetivo Eurovisión, a program devised to select the Spanish entry and gain audience. An in-studio jury, an international jury and a public vote selected "Say Yay!" as the winner. And even if it doesn’t win the Pan-European challenge, maybe the uplifting track, aided by this good vibes video shot in international cities, could at some point have a second life as a soccer championship anthem.

For the first time, the Eurovision Song Contest will air live in the U.S. Viacom's Logo will boradcast the show at 3 p.m. ET. Saturday, and it will be streamed on LogoTV.com and the LogoTV mobile app. Justin Timberlake will perform "Can't Stop the Feeling" on the show.

The Eurovision show was watched by almost 200 million people in dozens of countries last year.