Spain’s new Eurovision song is entirely in English. So what?!

For the first time ever a song written entirely in English is to represent Spain at the Eurovision song contest after viewers of state broadcaster RTVE and a celebrity jury earlier this week picked 33-year-old Madrileña Barei’s Say Yay! as this year’s Spanish entry.

So reported the English version of Spanish newspaper El País on February 4th. You can read the full story here.

First things first, who chose the song? Viewers and a celebrity jury. Rather democratic don’t you think? Yes, let the people decide! But inevitably a debate began once the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language (RAE) got wind of Barei’s victory.

Bearing in mind that Spanish is a language spoken by 500 million people, presenting a song in English is surprisingly stupid.

These are the words of Academy member José María Merino. Not a happy man, he’s saying that because so many people in the world speak Spanish, a song originating from Spain must be in Spanish.

Think about it for a moment. This makes no sense at all unless of course you are a spokesperson for that language, and Merino is exactly that.

If you are speaking on behalf of the continuation of a concept you hold dear – in this case that Spanish and Spain are linked in such way as to be interdependent – then you are always likely to react with consternation if your concept is threatened. Any concept will do; it needn’t be the defence of Spanish.

Personally I say Yay, let any song from any country be sung in any language.

Here’s the song if you want to give it a listen:

See you soon!


Jim Porter is a co-founder of Speekee®, home of the most comprehensive Spanish learning program for children ever to appear online

Jim began his Spanish learning journey in 1990. He has been a language teacher since 1994 and he lives in sunny southern Spain with his two bilingual children. Loves it! More…

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