Picture this, you and the wife are enjoying a tour of Palma in one of the city's horse-drawn carriages heading towards Plaza Cort. The sun is shining and the driver is sprouting forth about the capital's history as you round the corner and start to near the square. Suddenly you are engulfed by 4'000 Majorcan teenagers all singing along to Cliff Richard's Eurovision song contest winner Celebration.
What's this all about? wondered the English couple who waved to the screaming and cheering crowd. Yesterday Palma was gripped by the biggest social phenomenon to have swept Spain for decades: Operación Triunfo (Spain's version of Pop Idol). The 16 participants in the television talent contest which broke all previous audience figures in Spain, were in Majorca for the Palma date of their Spanish tour and all the spotlight was on Chenoa, Majorca's representative in the show. While she did not win the talent contest - she came fourth - and is romantically linked with David Bisbal who came second, she is part of the chorus heading to Estonia later this month as the backing singers for the Operación Triunfo's winner Rosa of Spain, as she has become known with the country delirious with Rosamania. Some 4'000 people packed Plaza Cort yesterday, some had been there since 9am, although the pop stars did not appear on the City Hall balcony until 1.15 with Mayor Joan Fageda and at Son Moix football stadium, queues started to form just after dawn with ecstatic fans making sure they were in the front row for last night's two-and-a-half hour concert. Palma has never witnessed such hysteria. As the excitement built up near the pop stars' arrival, the Local Police were busy plucking teenagers out of the crowd. They were fainting like flies in the sun; screaming for their new heart throbs, singing their songs, many with tears streaming down their faces. Inside the safety of the City Hall, Chenoa, sitting alongside the Mayor in a packed council chamber, said that she will be taking a piece of Majorca with her to Estonia. Many of the city councillors had brought along pictures they wanted signed for their children, some would have put a Japanese tourist to shame with their rapid-fire camera skills. The overwhelming response was welcomed by Chenoa, who said I am so proud to be Majorcan, but I was a bit scared of the public's reaction, but now I'm here, I'm very happy.
She would not comment on whether she was going to sing La Balanguera, Majorca's anthem, at the concert. Chenoa, along with the other 15 competitors, are all busy releasing their own records, Chenoa's has alreday sold 200'000 copies. But away from all the excitement, inside Son Moix yesterday an army of Red Cross doctors, nurses and life savers were going through their paces in preparation for the concert. Outside, as the queues built up in the burning sun, Red Cross volunteers were making sure the kids have plenty of water, fruit and sun protector.
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