José José’s big break came on March 25, 1970, when he represented Mexico in an international song festival, the "II Festival de la Canción Latina" (Latin Song Festival II, predecessor of the OTI Festival) with an amazing performance of the song "El Triste". The performance of the song was so impressive that caused tears, standing ovations, expressions of amazement and cheers from Angélica María, Alberto Vázquez, Marco Antonio Muñiz, the judges and the spectators in the Teatro Ferrocarrilero in Mexico City.
The fact that José José got the third place shocked the audience.
After the hit of "El Triste", his popular romantic ballad style mixed with a unique voice made him the star of stars in Mexico. He started his first international tour through Los Angeles, Miami, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil and Argentina. José played the lead role in small movies like Sueño de amor, Buscando una sonrisa and La carrera del millón.