From Switzerland’s Expert Check preselection kicking off in early December through to Sweden’s Melodifestivalen grand final in mid March, the 2016 national final season has given us over three months of songs, tension, entertainment and so much drama. We’re taking a look back at the most dramatic moments of the 2016 national final season, starting with the first 11 moments. Grab your popcorn!

1. Germany: NDR drops Xaiver Naidoo

It all happened so fast. In November, Xavier Naidoo was announced as Germany’s singer for Stockholm, with a national final planned to select his song. But two days later it was all off. The initial announcement hadn’t gone down well with the German public, with accusations that the process was undemocratic, and criticism of Naidoo’s controversial political beliefs. Broadcaster NDF announced that Xaiver was out and a standard national final took his place.

2. Switzerland: Stephanie Palazzo disqualified

Only days after qualifying for the final from Switzerland’s Expert Check round, Stephanie Palazzo was disqualified after it was discovered that her song “Perché mi guardi cosi” had been released with French lyrics in 2013. She was replaced with the band Kaceo, who were to bring their own drama.

3. Hungary: Reggae band Misztrál disqualified

A Dal fans were gearing up to hear some Hungarian reggae from the band Misztrál. But just two weeks after the national final line-up had been confirmed, the broadcaster announced that the reggae band and their song “Reggeli reggae” had been disqualified as the song had been released prior to the 1 September 2015 deadline. Their place in A Dal was given to Viki Singh and her song “Katonák”.

4. Denmark: Songs leaked three weeks early

Having the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix songs leaked early is becoming an annual tradition for Denmark. This year the songs went out three weeks early on Spotify, forcing broadcaster DR to very rapidly activate its DMGP launch plan.

5. Austria: Suspicious wildcard voting

As part of Wer singt für Österreich?, broadcaster ORF held a wildcard competition, with the winner determined by Facebook likes. It was all going well, but fans noticed that in the final hours of the voting period, some candidates suddenly received thousands of likes. The broadcaster investigated and excluded “obviously rigged” votes. The winner was AzRah, who got there the old-fashioned way – by having a large and loyal fanbase.

6. Belgium: Kate Ryan throws shade on Laura

After public favourite Laura Tesoro won Eurosong with her number “What’s the Pressure”, tweets of praise came from former Belgium Eurovision stars, such as Sandra Kim and Axel Hirsoux. But one former Belgian representative wasn’t so kind. Kate Ryan was just being honest when she tweeted “Laura is not mature and sexy enough for this song. I’m sorry but my voice went out to Tom.”

7. Norway: Freddy Kalas self-plagiarises

When the songs for Melodi Grand Prix were announced, fans noticed a strange similarity between Freddy Kalas’ song “Happy Rush” and the 2011 song “Cannabus”. But it wasn’t a straightforward case of plagiarism – Freddy was the author of both songs. MGP bosses allowed him to rewrite his entry, which became “Feel Da Rush”.

8. Denmark: “Never Alone” previously performed by Emmelie de Forest

Danish-Australian singer Anja Nissen was making waves with her song “Never Alone”, when it was pointed out that it had previously been performed live by the song’s co-writer Emmelie de Forest in 2014. Broadcaster DR sought advice from the EBU and it was determined that the song hadn’t reached a large enough audience to be considered a previous release. Which doesn’t say much for Emmelie’s ability to draw a crowd…

9. Romania: M I H A I’s “Paradiso” video disaster

Romania’s 2006 representative M I H A I (the artist formerly known as Mihai Traistariu) was hoping to return to Eurovision a decade later with his song “Paradisio”. But his self-funded music video was getting attention for all the wrong reasons. The cheesy sci-fi adventure had Romanian fans noting its poor production, bad editing, and involuntarily funny storyline. M I H A I pulled the €15,000 video, promising to return with a better video.

10. Switzerland: Kaceo forced to rewrite sweary lyrics

With Kaceo brought in to replace the disqualified Stephanie Palazzo, Switzerland might have thought they were avoiding controversy. Not so. The band’s song “Disque d’or” had a problem with bad language. Ten unsuitable words in both English and French had to be removed from the song, including French slang for bitch, whore and blowjob, sexual phrases, as well as the English f*ck. The band released a “platinum edition” with cleaner lyrics.

11. Moldova: Katherine & Litesound withdraw from O melodie pentru Europa

Belarusian band Litesound were looking to make a Eurovision comeback when they teamed up with Moldovan singer Katherine with the song “Imagine”. But with a place secured in the semi-finals, they suddenly withdrew, citing “personal reasons”.

Read part two with even more national final drama, including Sweden’s triple hit of Mello-drama!

READ MORE OF OUR EUROVISION LISTS HERE

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El Rosario de Raquel
Guest

Muchas gracias MARIE, es usted muy amable.

Marie
Guest
Marie

@El Rosario de Raquel
Lo siento, I did not know that. Thank you very much for your explanation! 🙂

Sorry for not answering in Spanish. I am able to understand your language (because I can speak a Latin language that is very similar to Spanish), but I am not able speak Spanish properly.

Jacques
Guest

Melodifestivalen was full of drama this year!

From Anna Book to Molly’s song leaked…

El Rosario de Raquel
Guest

La Europa civilizada?.

El Rosario de Raquel
Guest

La unica controversia que hay en España, con el asunto del ingles en la canción de Barei, la ha creado “La real academia de la lengua Española” y esa instutucion no representa a la España moderna que queremos, los buenos Españoles.Si hay una controversia en España y es la mala fama que se nos pone en Europa…perdona que seamos un pais turisticio, no le de derecho a los turistas que se emborrachen nos vean como el pais de “La Fiesta” y vengan a tirarse por los balcones.yo me pregunto donde esta la Europa covilizada?.

dd
Guest
dd

The German broadcaster is called NDR not NDF

El Rosario de Raquel
Guest

Hablo de un espectaculo bochornoso, que afrecieron en La Plaza Mallor de Madrid. Unos aficionados al futbol, Holandeses humillando a unas inmigrantes que residen en la capital de España.Todos los informativos de Tv de mi pais ha dado la noticia, no tengo nada en contra de la representacion de Holanda en ESC 2016, pero escribo en este blogg desde el 2013 y ya se a lo que aqui se juega.

Marie
Guest
Marie

@El Rosario de Raquel
What are you talking about? I do understand Spanish, but I cannot understand your comment.

El Rosario de Raquel
Guest

The Netherland 0 points…fron spain, Verguenza, prepotencia, falta de respeto al ser humano, derechos humanos “YA” in Europe.

LeoTheNicaGuy
Guest
LeoTheNicaGuy

The Ukrainian NF was simply full of drama… besides everything that has been pointed out, I still can’t believe why Ruslana had to ask Nicky Byrne directly “what is your position in the Russia-Ukraine conflict?” GOSH!

Some other thing I would include is how big of a controversy has “Say Yay!” ’caused in Spain for being a song completely in English… and it keeps on going and going…

Alex
Guest
Alex

way to throw shade on emmelie de forest wiwibloggs 😛 lol

Krystyna
Guest
Krystyna

The ukrainian national final and its drama would be enough to fill this whole list lol

Dreamgirl
Guest
Dreamgirl

Agree, what about UKRAINE NATIONALS? With unprofessional and rude juries!

Ruslana gave to Sunsay 1 point in the final, because he has performed in Russia and stays for friendship between two countries! How disgusting it was!
(one week before on the second semi-final she gave him maximum points and said it was the best performance).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWAiJSJJ-eM

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

What about the problems that the group ELLE had at O Melodie Pentru Europa, prompting them to withdraw, re-enter and then withdraw for good?

And needless to say, Finland wasted a big chance to get back into the top 10 with Mikael Saari, who obviously used the same playbook as Mørland did for Norway last year. If the bookies are right, Sandhja will be sent packing like PKN, who were inexplicably picked for 6th overall by the bookies before they got the boot.

Guzun Darren
Guest
Guzun Darren

mihai with PARADISIO shoul have won in stockholm.

Colin
Guest
Colin

What about UKRAINE NATIONALS?

Lasted about 4 hours to present and vote for 6 songs. Jury was obnoxious, unprofessional, rude towards finalists and babbling for about 15 – 45 minutes between the songs. I was frustrated and bored more than any other national final ever.

uk
Guest
uk

Paradisio-The big bang theory 🙂

YoungsterJoey
Guest
YoungsterJoey

Completely forgot about Litesound.

Can’t wait to read about Samanta Tina’s withdrawal and Sweden’s Anna Book.

C’mon readers, let’s spoil on what else might be in Part 2.

ArmerUkm
Guest
ArmerUkm

I’m still not over Katherine & Litesound AND Elle withdrawing ???? What a mess if a selection. Hopefully next tear things will go smoother (doubt it)

Steven Keenan
Guest
Steven Keenan

Freddy self plagiarizing what an icon

The Fans of ESC
Guest

And Samanta Tina who withdraws in live during Supernova semifinal !
No one but 2 withdrawals in Moldova 🙂
And the plagiat of Felicia Dunaf’s song in Melfest.
So much drama this year.

Marko
Guest
Marko

i really liked PARADISIO!!! PARADISIO FOREVER!!