“Enough is enough, I can’t take it anymore,” Manu Güix, a professor at the Operación Triumph Academy and one of the most visible faces of the oldest format that now broadcasts Prime Video, exploded last week in his X profile. “That you make these movies that if I try to get someone nominated because I don’t like them and because I see that they stand out, it shows that you don’t know me at all and that you have no idea how this contest goes.” He responded so angrily to a spectator’s accusation of lowering the tone of a song to harm two contestants, Lucas and Bea. It is just an example of the level of scrutiny to which the audience subjects the contest, although unlike this time, many other times what is looked at with a magnifying glass is not the musical but the reality component of the program.

“What I have realized is that what is really happening here and what is being seen outside are two super different things. It is a parallel reality. People see things where there are none and they do not see things where there are” , said the young singer Salma in a conversation that took place after the 48 hours of freedom that the contest granted them on the occasion of Christmas.

It was a moment of awareness of the dissonance between their experience and the narratives that viewers weave from what they see on the 24 Hours YouTube channel (and the absence of information regarding what is happening in the room, where there are no cameras). Salma – already expelled, with one of the best performances of the contest covering Camela’s When Sails Love – was awarded the archetype of “perverse lesbian” and it was repeated a thousand times that she bullied her classmates. Nothing could be further from the truth, as their farewell tears certified.

If something is characterizing this edition of the Gestmusic contest, in addition to its jump from linear television to streaming, it is that, more than as a purely musical contest, it is being seen through the eyes of Big Brother. So much so that even Out magazine, the main LGBT publication in the US, has echoed the “showmance” (a term that combines “show” and “romance”, that is, a televised romantic relationship) between Martin and Juanjo, who have the most eyes and minutes monopolize the coexistence broadcasts.

It cannot be said that Operación Triumph has ever been a talent show exclusively dedicated to the voice: since its successful first edition, character arcs were built, such as the “ugly duckling” that was placed on Rosa, or romances such as the of Chenoa and Bisbal, who were commissioned to perform romantic duets to fuel the fury of the spectators. There was, therefore, always an element of reality in Operación Triunfo. The difference this year lies in where and who constructs the narratives that the audience follows.

The reduction in the duration of the prime time galas, which Prime Video broadcasts live every Monday, has not only lightened the pace and allows the viewer to go to bed without going into the early hours, but also changes the paradigm: there We only see the performances and very brief videos and interviews that barely allow us to get to know the participants in their most personal version. With that brief information, we could only build the image of the most and least favorites based on how they sing.

However, this broadcast on the platform is complemented by content on YouTube that broadcasts classes and rehearsals live, as well as breakfasts, confidences and kisses. The edition reached a record number of followers in the distribution of Gala 6 songs with 172,000 concurrent connected users. From there, the content jumps to other networks, where the story is put together that, due to time limitations, is not seen at the gala. Sometimes highlights of the day, sometimes those “parallel realities” that Salma talked about.

And it is that it is the most attentive and dedicated viewers, and also the youngest, who are in charge in this edition of selecting what content they capture and post on other social networks, especially X (where the daily hashtag usually heads the list of trending topics) and TikTok (where tags

This daily monitoring puts the spotlight on some songs at the piano, but, above all, on the most personal experiences of the contestants with special emphasis on the romantic ones. This is where “folders” arise, a term coined by followers of reality shows: it comes from calling “folders” those who follow a romantic relationship, existing or imagined, as if they lined their high school folder with their photos (it is the equivalent of “shipping” Anglo).

One is Juantin (Juanjo and Martin) and another Kivi (Chiara and Violeta); The first couple did turn out to be real, although not all the theories (for example, it was believed that Juanjo was not affectionate with Martin because his environment was hostile towards homosexuality, until his mother left him a comment on Instagram giving him her blessings and tweeters breathed a sigh of relief), while the second was actually a friendship and the projection of their followers’ desire for them to go further (later, “evidence” emerged that Violeta could have been with Salma).

The list of inventions has been long; We have even been able to read how a contestant who has little relationship with the rest was diagnosed with autism from the networks. Like that, many others. “Let’s see if we don’t make up little things, he hasn’t been in the infirmary. He’s had nightmares like the ones I have when I read to you,” tweeted Noemí Galera, director of the Academy, weeks ago to stop the hoax that Juanjo was sick. There are a lot of eyes on the kids, and not just because of how they sing.