Some Eurovision songs come into this world in their final state, while others undergo changes along the way, the notorious revamp. But is a revamp the key to success? How did revamped songs do in Eurovision 2016? Let’s take a look!
Note: we’re not looking at songs that were only shortened to under three minutes (“Ghost”) and/or songs that had English lyrics added but kept the same music (“No Degree of Separation”).
10. Moldova: Lidia Isac “Falling Stars”
Semi-final: 17th (33 points)
After winning Moldova’s O melodie pentru Europa with “Falling Stars”, the song was given a revamp before being officially released for Eurovision. “Falling Stars” was rearranged to suit Lidia’s lower vocal range, and it was given a punchier sound with a more dramatic ending. But despite the revamp, the song only placed 17th in its semi-final, with 33 points.
9. Albania: Eneda Tarifa “Fairytale”
Semi-final: 16th (45 points)
When Eneda Tarifa won Festivali i Këngës 54, it was with “Përrallë”, an Albanian-language song with dramatic orchestral flourishes and classic Albanian rock guitar, clocking in at 3:29. For Eurovision, Eneda’s song was transformed into “Fairytale”, with English lyrics, a more subdued arrangement and under the 3:00 limit. But it wasn’t enough to see Eneda follow Rona Nishliu and Elhaida Dani into the final – “Fairytale” placed 16th in its semi-final with only 45 points.
8. Iceland: Greta Salóme “Hear Them Calling”
Semi-final: 14th (51 points)
Greta Salóme entered Söngvakeppni with “Raddirnar”, but when she came to deliver her national final performance, she performed the English version “Hear Them Calling”. A revamped version of the song was later released, adding a strong orchestral feeling to the original folky instruments. But despite being a fan favourite, the song did not win over either televoters or juries, placing only 14th in its semi-final with only 51 points.
7. Slovenia: ManuElla “Blue and Red”
Semi-final: 14th (57 points)
ManuElla won EMA 2016 with “Blue and Red”, but released a slightly revamped version before Eurovision. It added vocals right from the start, shortened the bridge and featured heavier drums. But it wasn’t enough to make it out of the semi-finals. ManuElla placed 14th with 57 points.
6. San Marino: Serhat “I Didn’t Know”
Semi-final: 12th (68 points)
When Serhat released the original version of “I Didn’t Know”, a lot of fans weren’t sure what to make of his smooth sung-spoken style with its weird video. Then a curious thing happened. An EP of remixes was released, and with it was a surprisingly good disco version of the song. A fan-led campaign convinced San Marino to change to the disco version. While the new version missed out on qualifying, placing 12th with 68 points, “I Didn’t Know” went down as one of the most memorable songs of 2016.
5. Belarus: Ivan “Help You Fly”
Semi-final: 12th (84 points)
IVAN originally entered the Belarus national final with “Learn To Fly” but the winning song later became “Help You Fly”, with a revamped version. While it largely stayed faithful to the song’s rock style, the new version had more pronounced synths, some wailing from IVAN and howling wolves. Oh, the wolves. Despite the song’s cheeky, ambitious staging — that placed 9th with televoters — it failed to impress the jury, giving an overall semi-final result of 12th place and 84 points.
4. Spain: Barei “Say Yay!”
Grand final: 22nd (77 points)
When Barei won Objetivo Eurovisión, “Say Yay!” established itself as a fan favourite. So when the revamped version of her song was released — with a louder, more dramatic sound and funk elements — some fans weren’t happy. Nonetheless, the song remained a general favourite, but this was not reflected in the final results, where “Say Yay!” placed a disappointing 22nd, with only 77 points.
3. Georgia: Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz “Midnight Gold”
Grand final: 20th (104 points)
When “Midnight Gold” was selected as the song that Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz would perform at Eurovision, fans weren’t sure what to make of it — it was long and had a weird squeally feedback section. Enter Thomas G:son, who wrangled the song into a three-minute Britpop track, while still keeping its weird edge. Along with its dynamic staging, the song qualified for the final, where it placed 20th with 104 points — one of only two revamped semi-finalists to make it to the final.
2. Israel: Hovi Star “Made of Stars”
Grand final: 14th (135 points)
Hovi Star won Israel’s Rising Star national final with “Made of Stars”, with a bombastic pop-rock arrangement. It wasn’t received well by Eurovision fans, inspiring composer Doron Medalie to rearrange the song as a dramatic R&B ballad. The revamp worked. Israel again qualified for the final, placing 14th with 135 points — the only other revamped semi-finalist to make it to the final.
1. France: Amir “J’ai cherché”
Grand final: 6th (257 points)
Normally we wouldn’t include a song only for being edited to under three minutes, but in this case the French song got a bit of a revamp as well. The Eurovision version of “J’ai cherché” had a shorter but more dramatic introduction added, and the ending introduced some vocal ad libs. And it worked – Amir’s feelgood song saw France finish in 6th place with 257 points, its best result since 2002 and the highest placing for a revamped song at Eurovision 2016.
What was your favourite revamped song from Stockholm? Is a revamp the key to success or is it a desperate attempt to polish a turd? Share your thoughts below!