The Benidorm Song Contest is the most popular contest of songs in Spain. The Benidorm International Song Festival or Festival Internacional de la Canción de Benidorm (in Spanish) is an annual song contest which takes place each summer, since 1959, in the city of Benidorm, Spain. Although the first edition was in 1959, that edition was not broadcasted on TV.
The first edition that could be seen on TV was the second one in 1960. The contest, based on the Italian Sanremo Music Festival, was born to promote Benidorm and the Spanish music. In 1984 the festival dissapeared. It came back in 1985 as a different thing with no contest, just a music festival. After that, it dissapeared again and took eight years to come back, in 1993, broadcasted by a private channel after some rehearsals live in 1992. Over the years it has suffered considerable modifications: some editions didn't celebrate, several changes have been done in the prizes, etc.
It became international in 2004. The contest is usually broadcasted on television by TVE or Canal 9. At present, the first prize winner is awarded with the Golden Mermaid Trophy (Sirenita de Oro) and €36,000 (about US$47,000) to produce a record. Second and third place winners receive the Silver Mermaid Trophy (Sirenita de Plata) and the Bronze Mermaid Trophy (Sirenita de Bronce), respectively.
The song to participate can be in any language, any genre, from soloist, group or band, but what's important is that it has to be unreleased as a single. It can be recorded previously and included in an album but it cannot have been played on the radio or any other media.