Eurovision RIGGED: How Spain snatched victory away from UK with fiddled result

Eurovision: Penning reveals why UK should leave contest

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The Eurovision Song Contest is back with the UK hoping to secure its first victory in over 20 years. Sam Ryder, a star on social media platform TikTok, is hoping to clinch the trophy this year with his original song ‘Space Man’. Competitors will battle it out all this week to secure a spot in the Grand Final on Saturday in Turin, Italy.

Tonight, the first semi-finals take place, as audiences watch 17 songs compete for one of the final ten slots.

These include Albania, Latvia, Lithuania, Switzerland, Slovenia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Moldova, Portugal, Croatia, Denmark, Austria, Iceland, Greece, Norway and Armenia.

A colourful history, Eurovision has not been without its controversy.

This was especially true of the 1968 edition held in the UK which was won by Spain with the song, ‘La, la, la’.

Sir Cliff Richard was gutted to lose out after being named as one of the competition’s favourites to win, coming a close second with his ‘Congratulations’.

He went on to become one of Britain’s most successful pop stars, but the loss is said to have made a “stain on his career”.

And while many would argue he should have taken the loss in his stride, unearthed reports suggest that any grievances may well be justified after an investigative documentary claimed that he and the UK were, in fact, the true victors.

At the time, Spain was under the iron grip of dictator General Franco who had ruled since 1939.

According to the programme, ‘1968, I lived through the Spanish May’, he was determined to claim Eurovision glory for his own country.

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Broadcast in Spain in 2008, the investigation details how El Generalísimo was so keen to improve Spain’s international image that he sent corrupt TV executives across Europe to buy votes in the run-up to the contest.

Their mission was successful and Sir Cliff’s ‘Congratulations’ was defeated by Spanish singer Massiel.

Montse Fernandez Vila, the director of the documentary, told the Spanish news website Vertele: “[Massiel’s win] was fixed.

“It’s in the public domain that Televisión Española executives travelled around Europe buying series that would never be broadcast and signing concert contracts with odd, unknown groups and singers.

“These contracts were translated into votes.”

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She added: “It was these bought votes that won Eurovision for Massiel.

“The regime was well aware of the need to improve its image overseas … When you look at all the parties they organised and how Massiel was transformed into a national heroine, you realise it was rather over the top for a singing competition.

“It was all intended to boost the regime.”

Hearing the news, Sir Cliff said he was pleased about the prospect of being named winner, telling The Guardian: “I’ve lived with this number two thing for so many years, it would be wonderful if someone official from the contest turned around and said: ‘Cliff, you won that darn thing after all.”

He continued: “If, like they say, they believe there is evidence that it was I that was the winner, there won’t be a happier person on the planet.

“It’s never good to lose, never good to feel a loser.

“When I went on that night I said to the band: ‘Look guys, there will be 400 million people watching, it will be a massive plug for our song.’

“And it was. I think we sold a million singles. But we really wanted to win.”

But, despite the investigation, the result has never been changed.

Jamie McLoughlin, who ran the Eurovision website Whoops Dragovic, told The Guardian that he had his doubts over the documentary’s claims.

He said: “La La La was controversial from the start as it was originally to be performed in Catalan, but Franco wouldn’t allow it, so the woman who eventually sang it was only brought in at the last minute.

“The more obvious answer for the landslide of votes from Germany, the penultimate country to vote for Spain, which tipped the result Massiel’s way is – rather boringly – she went on a really popular German TV show the week before the contest to perform her song.

“Still, if it means Blighty can somehow get win number six from all this digging, I certainly won’t complain.”

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