Today, we end up our series of Big 5 Head of Delegation interview with Federico Llano Sabugueiro from Spain. Amidst the preparation of Spanish act for Stockholm, the man was nice enough to take time to answer our questions. Gracias !
Good morning Federico, and thanks for accepting our interview. Before we start, can you tell us a bit more about yourself and your background? Hello, I am a television producer working in TVE since 1983 and as head of international co-productions since 1988. I have produced fiction, classical music, children animation, documentaries, news, entertainment, sports, etc. I work with the EBU since 1994, where currently I am vice-president in its Television Committee. The concerts of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra are among my favourite productions. And I am the proud ESC Spanish HoD since 2002, the year of Rosa’s “Europe is living a celebration”.
How did you end up as the Head of the Spanish delegation?
In February 2002 we were producing Operación Triunfo and suddenly TVE directors asked me to organize the entry for the ESC in Tallinn, it was amazing! And it is an outstanding job for a person and a tv professional, as it allows to work with strong teams, television is always a team work.
What is your connection with the Eurovision Song Contest?
It is really a life connection as my oldest memories go back to 1966 and the Spanish artist Raphael. I definitely remember Massiel’s victory in 1968, one of the happiest moments in my childhood. And I also can recall many ESC entries later on. So it was a big surprise becoming part of this important event, and so deeply as I am involved in its regulations since 2006, for six years at the Reference Group and so far another six at the TV Committee.
Last year, Edurne was the Spanish representative. She ended up in 21st position. Was it a disappointment for Spain? It certainly has been disappointing as you know the huge effort ESC is every year for everyone at the delegations, beginning by the artists who of course do all their best trying to reach the top of the scoreboard. Then we know that other brilliant participants are also competing and last year there were many wonderful acts. But I hope sooner than later the voting system could fairly take into account the whole televoting and juries ranks.
Since 2010, Spanish achievement in the Eurovision Song Contest have been « so so ». A top 10 on even years, a low placing finish on uneven years. How do you explain this state of things? And as you know we have reached better positions both with internal or national selections, because the success depends on the lucky artists and songs, which must be excellent, updated, emotional and with consistent performances.
This year, RTVE has decided to go back to the national selection system. When was the decision taken and why? During last autumn when we realized there were a relevant number of young and creative artists, with interesting song projects, who were willing to opt to take part in this adventure.
How were the 6 entrants chosen?
Through our conversations with the Spanish music industry, record companies, managers, etc. At the end we pre-selected 6 great artists, 3 men and 3 women, with a range of different music styles.
If it had been an internal selection again, which famous Spanish artist would you have chosen for the job?
As a matter of respect, we never comment on the artists that for any reason were not in our selections.
If Spain was to win the contest and organize it in 2017, what would be the most suitable host city, Madrid or Barcelona? Anyone of these or maybe some other city, in case of winning I would like to deal with the city offering the best support to the ESC and all the participants.
After 60 contests, what is your favourite Eurovision entry?
Your favourite Spanish entry ?There are so many, that is the good point! Just to mention one now I would say “Euphoria” by Loreen and Mocedades “Eres tú”
Can we expect a come back of Spain in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Malta in Autumn 2016?
I know the EBU and its participant broadcasters are considering some changes and developments in the format and thereafter we will be pleased to study it in the frame of our programming schedules.
Do you have any words for our readers?
Muchísimas gracias, I hope you will enjoy next ESC and see you in Stockholm!