Eurovision 1990: Spain’s Azucar Moreno in focus

In 1990 Azucar Moreno experienced one of the problems of live television. A technical problem took place when they performed their entry. Nevertheless, the girls came back onstage and brought back home a top 5 with their song “Bandido”. Many fans remember this flamenco song to these days. 

For the Eurovision Song Contest 1990, RTVE the Spanish national broadcaster, internally selected Azúcar Moreno.

Azúcar Moreno performed their song Bandido in first place at the Eurovision Song Contest 1990. Unfortunately, a technical problem took place when they were supposed to perform. The pre-recorded track did not start in time. As a result, the orchestra started playing out of sync. The girls from Azúcar Moreno left the stage visibly confused.

“This could be a long evening ladies and gentlemen” said  lateTerry Wogan, the UK commentator, about this uncomfortable episode. Nevertheless, the ladies returned once the problem was fixed and sung their song with no other major incident this time.

During their performance, Azúcar Moreno alternate between singing and performing a flamenco dance. The song Bandido talks about a lover that has stolen the singer’s heart with his “bandid eyes” and how she could not stop thinking about him. Raul Orellana and Jaime Stinus wrote Bandido.

At the end of the night Azúcar Moreno received 96 points. This included 12 points from Germany and 10 points from Finland and Turkey, where it became popular after the show. Bandido ended in 5th place.

Bandido – opinions from fans

In order to find out what Eurovision fans today think of this Spanish entry from 1990, we asked our Eurovision Fan Panel. It includes team members as well as fans from all over the world.

🇬🇧 Michael O. – Only France were better this year. This was a great opener, twice, and a song that’s still fresh, 30 years later.

🇮🇪 John D. – On first hearing this I was reminded of Spain’s null pointer from 1983 when an ageing Flamenco singer screamed something about her boat. However, I liked this on the night, notwithstanding their embarrassing false start. The guitar and backing beat helped this to be a European 90’s club hit. The singers, still sounding like a pair of cats, somehow made this work. A deserved top 5 place.

🇹🇷 Günec N. – Bandido was one of the biggest hits of the 90’s in Turkey at least. I remember me and my bff dancing to it. It was such a bad coincidence that the technical problem right in the beginning of the show happened during Spain’s performance. Epic song and group though.

🇲🇹 Christopher D. – Wow. As a Eurovision fan how can I have forgotten this entry from Spain. It is 1990 and the song is one that I would find current and a potential winner in Eurovision 2021. I think it is one of Spain’s best entries. Pity that it was not the winner of the contest that year. Love it, love it, love it.

🇩🇰 Charlotte J. – When asked for my opinion about this one my first thought was: Do I actually listen to it again, or just write that it’s one of the worst Eurovision entries for me? I decided to be fair, and did spend three minutes with this. Unfortunately, my opinion hasn’t changed. Ever since 1990, this has been one of the worst Eurovision entries for me. I am well aware of that it’s popular among fans, but it has never and will never include me. For me this is three minutes of annoying nonsens. I am off when it comes to the performance, the music as well as the vocals, so basically, there’s nothing for me to like. Sorry.

🇩🇪 Andrew G. – Spain 1990 entry is one you can’t forget. But mainly for the hick up with the playback track. The girls come across a nervous with their eyes all over the stage. And the dance routine is hyper active. And the vocals are almost screaming. My favourite part is the happy laid back guitar player. And really like the music elements. Really mixed feelings on this entry.

🇨🇴 🇫🇮 Álvaro S. – I like that Spanish chose flamenco with a techno sound that give it a modern twist (back then). The girls from Azucar Moreno are also very charismatic. One of the most memorable entries from Spain in recent years.

🇩🇰 Alberte B. – I feel bad for them because of the mishap where they started the song too late so they had to redo it, but I really don’t think it’s that good of a song. The melody is super cool, but I don’t think the singers can sing that well. To me, they sound more like they’re yelling, which is a bummer, because the song has so much potential.

🇪🇸 Alexander S. – In 1990 TVE selected internally the sisters Azúcar Moreno with a very Spanish song which has become an evergreen. The performance did not have a good start and until today everybody remembers the backing tapes failure to start. Bandido is a catchy and dramático number with a lengthy flamenco-disco sound Spain got its best result in years at that time (we still need to wait to 1995 entry). I do like the entry and a well deserved position despite the trip in the performance

Enjoy Azúcar Moreno’s performance from the 1990 Eurovision Song Contest in the embedded video. Below the video, you can read more about them.

Azúcar Moreno – a mini biography

Antonia “Toñi” and Encarnación “Encarna” Salazar are two sisters better known as Azúcar Moreno. They came from a prolific family of musicians. For instance, Toñi’s and Encarna’s brothers were members of Los Chunguitos a group of gypsy musicians; their grandfather was a musician and their father a singer.

The girls from Azúcar Moreno started their career as backing singers. In 1984 they started their career as a duo. Azúcar Moreno combines traditional Roma and flamenco sounds from their heritage with other genres such as disco, pop, techno, R&B and funk. Later in their career they added Latin American and Caribbean sounds such as mambo, bolero, reggaeton, salsa and dancehall to their repertoire.

Azúcar Moreno represented Spain in 1990. They finished in 5th place. After their Eurovision participation the duo got international recognition in Europe and beyond, in particular in Latin America and the United States. The duo continued releasing singles and albums with commercial success in the Spanish speaking music market.

Unfortunately, in 2007 Toñi announced that Azúcar Moreno was taking a hiatus after her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. After treatment Encarna fully recovered and Azúcar Moreno returned to the music scene. 17 studio albums have been released. In 2020 they released their latest studio album El Secreto. They also released “Love Is Love”, a charity single to support charities fighting the Covid-19 epidemic.

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