Despite all of the pre-contest hype pointing towards an Armenian or Swedish victory, long-time underdog Austria snagged its second win 48 years after its first one. However, many people still remember Conchitaland as the home of “Woki mit deim popo” and the AIDS advocates in bird costumes, making Austria one of Eurovision’s most hopeless countries. Although it finally rid itself of that status in May, there are still several countries perceived as eternal losers. Let’s look at some of them now.
Both of its neighbors, Estonia and Latvia, grabbed a victory within a few years of their débuts, and a few top 10 placings alongside it. But Lithuania lags behind—and its highest-placing entry was a joke.
They have to rely on gimmicks, and their good friends Ireland and Georgia, in order to pass through. This includes the sign language in C’est ma vie, the eyebrows and shoe-naming in Something, and the over-literal interpretation in the meaning Love is Blind. This year, after sitting through 12 weeks of competition to match a song with a person, we ended up with a girl in a space tutu jumping around and shouting. On the bright side, though, they won at least one award: the Barbara Dex Award.
FYR Macedonia débuted in 1998, and was relegated in 1999. Since then, it has only qualified once—in 2012—under the two semi-final system. Its best result was in 2006 with the tongue-twister Ninanajna.
Their problem is that they send forgettable rock songs. Although rock is the Former Yugoslav Republic’s specialty, they can’t find any way to make their songs memborable. This is mostly because they send rock in the style of Green Day rather than in the style of Coldplay. Kaliopi is the exception to the rule: she was a woman with a husky voice, a memorable tune in her native language, and a scream that haunts your dreams.
Georgia had a decent début in 2007, when Visionary Dream placed 12th. Since then, they have sent the same song over and over again: an overly sweet ballad with non-sensical lyrics.
They are so forgettable, they have to rely on Lithuania to spare some points. Their top tens are more or less the result of bloc voting. The only Georgian entry that broke this formula and deserved its placing was Eldrine’s One More Day.
Bulgaria first participated in 2005, but did not qualify for the final until 2007. Elitsa and Stoyan’s Water remains their highest placing and only top five, top ten, and qualifying entry to date. Since then, no Bulgarian entry has made it to the final, including Elitsa and Stoyan’s second attempt.
A lack of neighbours doesn’t help. Greece and Bulgaria were never in the same semi-final until 2013, and Greece gave Bulgaria only 2 points that year. Turkey almost always snubs Bulgaria as well, only placing them in their top 3 in 2012.
Finally, we have the long-time underdog: Portugal. They have participated since 1964, but have never cracked the top 5. Their best result was in 1996 with the song O meu coração não tem cor. They did place silver in the 2008 semi-final with Senhora do mar, but then dropped down to 13th place in the final.
Portugal’s problem is that they treat the contest like they did in the old days: a platform to show off their national culture and music rather than as an actual competition. Even when they pass fado over for a more upbeat song, it still shows off their history, such as this year’s entry Quero ser tua.
Who else do you think needs to try harder to win the contest? Who will forever be snubbed? Tell us in the comments below!
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