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.