Chanel, the representative of Spain in Eurovision appears in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid.

Chanel, the representative of Spain in Eurovision appears in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid.
Chanel, the representative of Spain in Eurovision appears in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid.JOHN BARBOSA

After the “chanelazo”, Chanel returned to the Plaza Mayor in Madrid turned into a heroine. She was acclaimed by the masses, riding a green bus, when she had previously been disowned for her controversial election at the Benidorm Fest, in front of candidates more beloved by the public, or for embodying a product that many considered too establishment, too commercial, too tacky, a copy of the great Anglo-Saxon light pop divas (because of many bullfighter jackets from Palomo Spain and because of a lot of theatrical open fan). In the Plaza Mayor, the artist wore sunglasses, because she had “conjunctivitis” from crying so much: “We’ve had an incredibly hard time,” she said. With that return, the emerging star acquired a mythological dimension.

From rejected to winner. How did this amazing metamorphosis in the social perception of Chanel come about? The simplest explanation is because she put on an incredible performance and made good what seemed mediocre, thus shutting everyone’s mouths. haters that they had martyred him on social networks, confusing the interpreter with the product. Or because she led Spain to a third place that she tasted like glory after a long and frustrating journey near the red lantern, becoming the moral winner. But the Chanel story has a much deeper appeal, buried deep in our culture and in our brains.

Some thinkers have found certain common elements to the stories that humanity, in all times and places, from Antiquity to the blockbusters of Hollywood, she has told herself. Mythologist Joseph Campbell described a “monomyth” that is found in many cultures and religions, in many mythologies and folktales, and that George Lucas relied on to create the story of Luke Skywalker in starwars. This “hero’s journey” includes elements such as starting a journey (often disowned by your own), achieving great deeds in a hostile outside world, and returning home a hero, having experienced an internal transformation. In Spain we have very traditional cases such as the Cid Campeador who, banished by King Alfonso VI, begins to wander the Peninsula, achieving great deeds, such as the conquest of Valencia, to end up being accepted again and with honors by the king.

Another case, also very traditional, but closer, is that of the current president of the government, Pedro Sánchez, who, banished by the leadership of his party, travels through Spain in a modest Peugeot, meeting the militancy, to, with renewed strength, be victorious against establishment in a primaries, manage to return to dominate his party and, later, become president. A case that, beyond political preferences, is fascinating for its heroic elements. This hero’s journey is found, in one way or another, in Ulysses of The odyssey or in the minnows of Finding Nemoin the adventures of Siddharta Gautama or in the protagonists La La Land. No one becomes a hero staying at home.

Chanel’s adventures could also fit this scheme. Chanel was condemned to a kind of ostracism after winning the Benidorm Fest surrounded by controversy. She begins her journey in the desert, preparing for the Eurovision Song Contest, where she performs her most heroic act, leaving Spain, and some abroad, stunned. The mythical circle closes when Chanel, in the midst of the San Isidro festivities, is invited to perform in one of the nerve centers of the capital of the kingdom, before some enthusiastic masses who not only appreciate Chanel’s good position, but have completely empathized with his story: it is the story with which we have been empathizing since the elders of the tribe told stories around the bonfire. It is the story that we would like to star in. The popular proverb explains, far from academicism, this peculiar circumstance of the hero’s return: in Spain, to succeed, you have to come from abroad triumphant.

You can follow EL PAÍS TELEVISION on Twitter or sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.

Exclusive content for subscribers

read without limits