Who composes the Spanish songs that go to Eurovision?

Visual analysis of the gender of artists, composers, and lyricists of Eurovision Spanish songs.

May 11th, 2022

This year 2022, Spain changed the system for choosing its Eurovision Spanish song. To get the public involved months before the European contest, RTVE (Spanish Radio and Television Corporation) organized the Benidorm Fest, a musical competition with three ceremonies: two semifinals and one final. The candidate got chosen with both votes from the audience and votes from a professional jury.

The winning song was the one proposed by the artist Chanel Terrero. She rose as the winner against the other two big favorites, Rigoberta Bandini and Tanxugueiras, thanks to the votes from the professional jury. Her selection caused a lot of commotion in the audience, who had mainly supported the song Terra from the Galician group Tanxugueiras.

However, the controversy was not only about the voting system. The three proposals mentioned before, led all by female artists, offered very diverse representations of women. Rigoberta Bandini's Ay Mama reclaimed work produced by mothers and the taboos around female bodies; Tanxugueiras's Terra the importance of tradition and Galician women; Chanel's SloMo, the most sensual and, according to some critics, hyper sexualizing facet in women.

SloMo, Terra and Ay Mama

While part of the public censured SloMo for being sexist and misogynistic, the other side considered it another representation of what it means to be an empowered woman. The debate focused on the song, dance, and femininity of the performance, but the team behind the song -composers and lyricists in charge of the proposal- went largely unnoticed. And, can you speak about female empowerment if the songs have been composed by mostly masculine teams, even if they are defended by female artists?

Each year is more important to have songs that are fair representations of society, both in terms of the messages being communicated and the team that produces them. And in terms of diversity between male and female performers, the Spanish representation in Eurovision is rather balanced. 43% of the songs that participated in the contest were performed by female singers or groups. This is a very similar percentage to the number of interpretations done by male singers or groups, 46%. Spain has only participated with songs done by mixed groups seven times.

Spanish performances in Eurovision, artists

┻ Number of countries participating in the final (last position in the ranking)

Spanish final result

Female performers or groups

Male performers or groups

Mixed groups

👆 Click on the stars to see information about that year.

These numbers change drastically when one inspects the teams behind the music and lyrics. Only 11% of all lyricists that have participated in the Spanish songs have been women. Or what it's the same, only 9 out of the 61 candidates had female lyricists. The number lowers to 9% if we speak about musical composers. Among them is María José de Cerato, composer of the 1969 winning song Vivo Cantando, and Ruth Lorenzo and Barei, that were the composers, lyricists, and singers of their own proposals.

Spanish performances in Eurovision, composers and lyricists

┻ Number of countries participating in the final

Singers that participated composing the music or the lyrics.

Singers, only voice.

Composers or lyricists.

Female performers or groups

Male performers or groups

Mixed groups

👆 Click on the stars to see information about that year.

Curiously enough, SloMo is one of the few songs in the Eurovision-Spanish list that has a woman in its team, Maggie Szabo. With her, there are also Arjen Thonen, Ibere Fortes, Keith Harris and Leroy Sánchez.

The other two favorites of the Benidorm Fest also had women as songwriters. The lyrics of Ay Mamá are signed by Esteban Navarro Dordal, Rigoberta Bandini and Stefano Maccarrone Terra, by Aida Tarrío Torrado, Iago Pico Freire, Olaia Maneiro Argibay, and Sabela Maneiro Argibay. Are they indications, maybe, that more women will appear not only as singers but also as songwriters?

Other curiosities

Juan Carlos Calderón has been the composer and lyricist that has participated the most in Eurovision, four times: Mocedades's Eres tú (1973), Sergio and Estíbaliz's Tú Volverás (1975), Paloma San Basilio's La Fiesta Terminó (1985) and Nina's Nacida para Amar (1989).

The song with the highest number of composers and lyricists is Rodolfo Chikilicuatre's Baila el Chiki Chiki (2008). A total of eleven people participated in the creation of the song: Alberto Romero Tomás, Angel Cotobal Albaina, Eduardo Dols Pérez Guillem, Jair Dominguez Torregrosa, Javier Martín Torrente, Joan Grau Ginesta, Marcos Rodriguez Corral, Oriol Jara Vales, Rafel Barceló Figueira, David Fernández and Roger Rubio Mora.


Data obtained from The Eurovision Dataset and Eurovision World.

Gender of composers, lyricists and participants has been obtained manualy checking Wikipedia or their official profiles in Twitter and/or Instagram.

For the groups that took part in Eurovision, gender was included in the following way: