Spain last won Eurovision back in 1969, so you could say that they are due for a win. In recent history, like a number of the other Big 5 nations, really struggle to get off the bottom of the results table. If we take the last 5 years as an example, their results range from 21st place to last place. This year, hoping to break that pattern was Blas Cantó and his song, Universo, but how would he have fared at Eurovision?
Anita (Eurovision Union)
Song and Vocals
While I think some of the Spanish entries have been robbed of a good result for one reason or another, others have been totally uninspiring. It was good to see Spain return to an internal selection and really try to focus their time on creating something that would succeed at Eurovision. Blas Cantó seemed like a good choice, a fresh but established face in the music scene.
As for his entry Universo, it was released very early on in the national final season, so the Spanish team were obviously happy with it early on. When listening to the first time, I thought that the song was ‘nice’ but didn’t have the impact I was hoping for, and ‘nice’ songs often get overlooked at Eurovision – the Spanish specialty at Eurovision. Had I written this review months ago, or even a few weeks ago, I would have said the same thing, it’s a decent entry, but I don’t know if it’s enough to really push Spain further up the table. It’s amazing how after just a few extra listens, your views can really change. Now, I can’t get enough of Universo. I love Blas’ voice, and I love that he kept the song in Spanish. The melody has also really captured my imagination now, although like I said, it took a few times to really get into it. It’s a simple and fairly repetitive chorus, but am I singing along with it every time? That’s a big yes.
Can he sing live? Also a big yes. He has performed Universo a few times, and I am impressed. He has this delicate nature to his voice, but he can also really belt the bigger notes out, which means that the performance isn’t monotone.
Performance and Act
Although we haven’t seen the planned staging, we have heard about it through the chats with NikkieTutorials. Knowing how they changed La Venda from a party anthem to a chaotic stage performance made me worried, and I think staging is half the battle for Spain. I actually would have liked to see something similar to the music video in the sense of dancers and glitter, but what was planned was a prop volcano, where Blas would be inside – it’s odd without seeing it firsthand, but it would have been unique at minimum.
Next Up: 2021
Spain has chosen to bring Blas back for 2021, and rightfully so. I think there is big potential with him, especially with that voice. The Spanish team now has a long period of time to really work hard on their song, Listening to his other music, mid-tempo pop seems to be his comfortable range, similar to Universo, but he could sway towards something more upbeat, or perhaps a full blown ballad and have it still suit his voice. I am definitely excited to see what they bring to the table next year.
Despite now really enjoying the song, I do worry that it would have faded in the line-up, especially if it got a bad placing in the running order. If the staging was spectacular, I could have placed it perhaps in the 15-20 region in the final, however I was already prepared to claim ‘robbed’ if it finished anything lower. This is Spain’s most contemporary entry in a while now, and it did deserve something better than what it likely would have received.
Song and Vocals
Let’s start with the positive points here. Blas is a good singer, which especially showed off in his live televised performance of ‘Universo’. More about that later on. It is such a shame he has co-written such an underwhelming song. Despite a strong voice, the production of the song is flat and lacks power. The lack of energy in the song makes it very forgettable.
Performance and Act
The song was ‘meh’ for me, I never really bothered to listen to ‘Universo’ again. But when the first televised live performance was there, of course I took a look at it. I must say, Blas gave a really convincing and confident performance. Lifting up a weak song to something Eurovision-worthy. Makes me wonder, how would he do if he actually had an interesting and surprising composition to show off his skills even more.
Next up: 2021
Blas Cantó will stay as the Spanish singer for Eurovision in 2021, after being chosen internally as their man for 2020. The Spanish broadcaster was quick in confirming this news after the cancellation of Eurovision 2020. This gives them, and him, the opportunity to come up with something better next year.
Because ‘Universo’ was not very interesting to me. It all felt a bit uninspired and repetitive. I am quite sure Spain has composers that can do better than this, as they have proven in the past. And a lot of time to make that new composition match with a stunning act that creates the perfect total package.
Good singer, bad song. To say it in short. I think Blas has a great reach and vocal power. Artists that appear to be better during a live performance than in the studio, have a big advantage at Eurovision. I carefully believe that Blas is such an artist. And with a much better song in 2021, he would probably do much better than he would have done in 2020.
Additional Scores from Eurovision Union and ESCDaily editors:
Average Score: 5.6/10
What do you think of Universo? Follow our Eurovision 2020 reviews here.