Ever since the first Eurovision semi-finals took place back in 2004, the media hype and general craziness have increased with every passing year. Every contest has a chosen one. Someone who everybody expects to sail straight into the finals and from there to victory…..But sometimes that doesn’t work out. In honor of these let-downs, let’s take a little lookie-loo at five of the biggest flops at Eurovision that, to everybody’s surprise, got the finger from Europe.

#5. Israel 2011: Dana International with “Ding Dong”

Israel’s golden girl, Dana returned in 2011, and of course everybody thought that the semi-finals were just a minor detail for this former winner. The road was clear and a spot in the top 10 was secure. But OyVei!! Somewhere on the way Dana lost the support and love of Europe and got left in the semi finals, without so much as a T-shirt to bring back home. What went wrong? Was it the fact that she was dressed as a picnic basket? Was it because wiwibloggs.com filmed her making an angry phone call after her dress rehearsal? Or that the backup singers danced like someone had poured itching powder down their panty hose? Or was it simply because the song itself was weak, with a forgettable melody?  I personally vote for the last one, because I adore Dana, but there, she wasn’t at her best.  Sorry Dana, love you to bits and better luck next time babe.

#4. Iceland 2005: Selma with “If I had your love”

Yes….Selma…..and this….Icelanders and big parts of Europe were in awe when Selma got chosen to compete again.  Iceland’s favorite girl next door would surely have no problem with bringing home the victory that she was denied back in 1999 when she came second, right?  Wrong!!! This was unfortunately doomed from the start. The song itself and Selma’s voice weren’t half bad, but the hype around it, the dance moves, the dancers, Selma’s outfit and finally, that bloody breathing exercise in the middle of the song (seriously, it was like Deep Throat the musical!) all put together? A train wreck. And FYI, we didn’t learn a thing and thought it was a tremendous idea to send Silvia Night the following year. Sorry about that.

#3. Belgium 2006: Kate Ryan with “Je t’adore” 

This is probably one of the biggest bitch slaps Europe has ever given a performer in the history of this great contest. Belgium was all in that year: a team of great songwriters, specially designed microphone stands, Kate´s dress was expensive enough to feed a small African country and a catchy tune with a hook in the middle….and yet, for some reason, Europe declined. The results were devastating. After being a favorite amongst fans as well as betting offices, Kate got sent back home with only 69 points and was kindly asked to shut the doors when she left. Still today I don’t get it. Everything seemed to go exactly as planned. The choreography and the glowstick show was great, Kate looked like a million dollars and the audience were hailing her like a true winner, and then..a dark void. As a result, Belgium seemed to stop caring for a few years after that. And who can blame them?  I most certainly can’t.

#2. Norway 2011: Stella Mwangi with “Haba Haba”

Yikes, that was a shocker for everyone! Stella had been a number one favorite the whole time, and was certain of success in Düsseldorf. But for some reason, her powerful performance left Europe cold, and it rewarded her with only 30 points, and 17th place, even though she got the whole arena dancing and partied her ass of, both on and off stage. What the hell happened? Nobody really knows. She was a little out of tune to begin with, yes, but is the Eurovision world harsh enough to punish her for that? Was it the Swahili? Naah, couldn’t be. Or were people simply bored with the havoc and then media frenzy around her? Who knows? But what we do know is that TV-ratings for the finals took a huge dive that year in Norway. Everybody were so sure of Stella flying directly to the finals that nobody even considered the opposite. Not to mention that both Turkey and Armenia were also given a beating, which is another story all together. But to everyone’s surprise, Switzerland, Lithuania and Iceland got the golden ticket and gracefully waved goodbye to Stella and co and sailed towards a…..well, crappy results in the finals, but hey…

#1. Sweden 2010: Anna Bergendahl with “This is my life”

Wow, oh wow…Europe stood still when Nadia Hasnaoui opened the very last envelope of the second semi finals in Oslo, and Sweden was not in it! The Swedes were speechless. Rumors say that poor Anna cried her eyes out, and that her parents had to drive from their home in the middle of the night to Norway and pick up their shattered daughter. As I said, rumors. But that does not change the fact that never before had the ABBA nation faced such brutal results. At least Martin Stenmarck was already in the finals in 2005, even though he tanked. No, no..this was something that no one saw coming. And in their friendly neighbouring country of all places! A moment that will never be forgotten. Ever!! But this wasn’t all bad though. Sweden got a chance to re-think their stragety, which eventually led to a little song called “Euphoria” and a phenominal contest in Malmö last year. Don’t know about you guys, but I’ve always been a sucker for a happy ending.

You can read more of our lists by clicking here.

Kristin Kristjans contributed this report from Iceland. You can keep up with the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team from wiwibloggs.com on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page.

Photo: Eurovision.tv (EBU)

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Deven O'Kearney
Guest
Deven O'Kearney

I think Can Linn and Kasey Smith would be in the top 5.

KaptenJay
Guest
KaptenJay

Has someone ever noticed that Sweden had 1 person too much on stage (see video 1:45-1:50)? Allowed are 6 but there are 6 background singers + Anna which is 7. I’m sure this rule was also active in 2010, or am I wrong?

Ziggy
Guest
Ziggy

You seriously don’t get why Kate Ryan didn’t qualify? She seemed nervous and it was a poor live vocal performance with some painfully off-key notes. Likewise for Stella Mwangi’s vocals.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Anna, Dana and Stella went out deservingly because of the very off-key singing. Selma’s song was such a hurdle there wasn’t any redemption.
Kate Ryan…well, Belgium is an underdog most of the time and being top 10 out of 26 is quite a task

Charles
Guest
Charles

@Alex: Do you honestly believe I bother to focus on the names of certain songs or singers the crowd is hysterically screaming for and manage to go to the final or not … but to my ears are nothing but rubbish? No … I ain’t got no time for that. People wanted Greece last year right? They wanted to drink alcohol for free and look underneath the kilts … and they got it… was it worth? No … but it’s Greece … People screamed and screamed for Valetina and her “i will survive-esque” ballad turned into disco track entry ..… Read more »

Alex
Guest
Alex

@Charles: Can you name another example where this has happened? I’d be interested in knowing if there is another one.

Arianna
Guest

Ahhh biggest injustice for me in this article was Kate Ryan!! cries :O

Charles
Guest
Charles

@Alex: “It’s pretty uncommon when the audience is chanting the name of a performer, and that performer fails to reach the final” Actually that does not surprise me at all .. it has happened and both in a good way and in a bad way. Plus: the audience may scream all the names they want just for the sake of seeing their country in the final (regardless if their country’s song is worth such achievement or not) .. They still rely on what a jury we don’t see get to say and on what millions of televoters at home go… Read more »

Alex
Guest
Alex

Er, I mean “all” instead of “both.”

Alex
Guest
Alex

Stella, Dana, and Kate should’ve both gone to the final, especially Stella. She had a super original, super catchy song with pretty harmonies, and overall good vocals. It was my 3rd favorite song that year. Also, in 2011, there were rumors of problems with the early televoting in some countries. This would explain better than anything what happened to Norway (as well as Turkey). It’s pretty uncommon when the audience is chanting the name of a performer, and that performer fails to reach the final. One more note on 2011 – Lithuania and Iceland didn’t really do all that poorly.… Read more »

William Lee Adams
Admin

what happens in kate’s video at 2:32? did it cut out like that during the actual broadcast?!

Katy
Guest
Katy

Awkward moment when Mello-reject (In A Moment Like This) qualifies and finishes 4th in the final and Mello-winner (This Is My Life) fails to qualify….

Charles
Guest
Charles

@D: Even though I have nothing against Anna and her song I do have to agree with you on the Timotej ‘s “Kom”. I absolutely loved that song but I was sceptical about one thing: would they have performed vocally well without the pre-recorded vocals allowed in MF but not allowed in ESC? They sing well, I’ve heard them many times but … I don’t know I still wonder. Another stunning song in MF 2010 was Darin’s “You’re out of my life”, what an amazing song powerful and emotional and seldom does Sweden showcase such kind of musical vibe like… Read more »

Charles
Guest
Charles

Great topic .. and I couldn’t have agreed more with the choices in the sense that they were all flops because the songs were average or simply bad and poorly performed and therefore deserved every single inch of exclusion from the final. 🙂 Exceptions to that failure and that for me should have been seen differently, hadn’t it been related to certain reasons that pretty have anything to do with judging great song, but instead giving more popularity to any piece of crap: a) Sweden 2010 … in the so called year of “the return of ballads …wtf??” Sweden did… Read more »

D
Guest
D

I was very annoyed we sent Anna Bergendahl since I knew it wasn’t gonna do well. It was a pretty song but not something that would generally succeed in Eurovision. If only we sent Timoteij….we would’ve been able to say we qualified every time then.

Dhani
Guest

what about san marino 2013, switzerland 2007/2008, slovakia 2010, sweden 2008, and the biggest flop FRANCE 2011???

Eurofan
Guest
Eurofan

If it hadn’t been for that silly wildcard, Sweden would have missed in 2008 too. And Norway’s Tooji only just qualified in 2012.

Eurofan
Guest
Eurofan

I don’t think there was anything surprising about the first three countries missing out: Belgium got lost in the mess of block voting. Selma and Dana were just a bit cheap and out-of-date.

Sweden and Norway are just so expected to qualify, that sometimes everyone forgets that no one actually likes the songs.

marcus
Guest
marcus

Norway in Eurovision would have qualified if the televotes would have only counted. 2011 Was just so weird the juries liked songs that came low in the televote and the televote liked songs that were low in the jury vote and as for Sweden maybe it was just lost in the whole semi-final. Or maybe people just thought “what’s the point of voting?” “she’s already got through.” As for Danna previous winners don’t usually do well in Eurovision.

William Lee Adams
Admin

Thanks for the suggestions. Perhaps we can coax Kristin into writing “5 more flops at eurovision” soon 🙂

Floppy
Guest
Floppy

I miss in that list DJ Bobo’s Vampires are alive, #1 for the bookers for months, and then THAT performance and it obviously failed to qualify for the final.

aCE
Guest
aCE

I think “Horehronie” deserved place here too. Dana’s and Selma’s failing were quite obvious imo since their songs were really weak.

David Thielen
Guest

I’d add Pastora Soler to the list. A song that deserved first or second and was left in the weeds in the vote totals.

Bogdan Honciuc
Guest

At least Dana got to walk that catwalk like a pro, and she was the only one who put it to good use. Mazel tov!

Ronaldo
Guest
Ronaldo

I LOVED DANA. SO UPSET SHE DIDNT MAKE IT

Bb
Guest
Bb

Interesting choices! I consider Charlotte Perelli’s disastrous flop to be of greater heights than all of these to be honest. Her song was adored by fans, and it was also expected to be a contender for the victory according to the bookies. If today’s methods of qualification had been in place the year she competed we wouldn’t even have seen her in the final. Additionally, while I certainly never bought the hype, France’s entry in 2011 was hotly tipped to be the winner by so many people. I guess one could argue that everything began to fizzle for him when… Read more »