Summer is here and with each passing week the Eurovision 2018 national final season is getting closer. Most of us are already planning our trip to Lisbon and eagerly awaiting what next year has in store. However, it’s always nice to take a stroll down memory lane and look at national finals from the past and what they had to offer.
As y’all know, the “right” song winning each national final is a matter of taste (and heated debate). Every year there always seems to be at least a few non-selected songs that could have potentially gone on to win Eurovision if they survived the blood bath at home. Let’s take a look at ten of the ones that got away.
1. Blár Ópal with “Stattu upp” – Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins 2012
Greta and Jónsi proudly represented Iceland in Baku, but the runner-up from Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins 2012, the boyband Blár Ópal, were decent competition. “Stattu upp” was a dance track with a capital D, and the band had brief success after the national finals.
What if “Never forget” had lost and this song, in Icelandic with a rap part, had gone to Azerbaijan? Would they have met the same fate as the Austrian Trackshittaz and placed last in their semi? Rap has never had much success at Eurovision, especially with non-English lyrics. But still we wonder: Deal or no deal?
2. Hotel FM with “Come as one” – Selectia Nationala 2010
The Romanian powerhouse duo Ovi and Paula fired things up in Oslo in 2010, placing third after Lena and MaNga. “Playing with Fire” has become an evergreen among Eurovision fans, and what a great song it was (and is)! But what if Hotel FM, their successor in 2011, had won Selectia Nationala with their beautiful ballad “Come as One”?
The song, written by Gabriel Baruta and Alexandra Ivan, came in fourth that year. It delivers a strong eco-message, as well as complex vocal harmonies. It’s difficult to say where the song would have placed, but that does not change the fact that “Come as One” is one solid ballad performed with feeling. All you want to do is to hug David Bryan and tell him that everything will be okay.
3. Sunstroke Project & DJ Michael Ra with “Day After Day” – O melodie pentru Europa 2015
Sunstroke Project sans Olia Tira had a comeback in the Moldovan national finals in 2015. People (yours truly included) got all fired up. Epic Sax Guy had a chance at another epic performance in Eurovision! And a new generation of ESC lovers had the opportunity to feast their ears on Sergey’s amazing voice! What could possible go wrong?
Enter Eduard Romanyuta. Some artists at O melodie pentru Europa 2015 were furious, and so were many fans, over his victory. But those were the results, and Europe was denied of the joy that is Sunstroke Project. Eduard failed to take Moldova to the finals — something that Sunstroke Project would have done easily. “Day After Day” might not be as epic as “Run Away” and “Hey Mamma”, but still. Thankfully good things do come to those who wait and Sunstroke Project wrote their name in the Eurovision history book by returning in 2017 and giving Moldova its best result ever! Revenge is sweet.
4. Hungry Hearts feat. Lisa Dillan with “Laika” – Melodi Grand Prix 2016
One does not make a list like this without the Hungry Hearts! Agnete may have won MGP in 2016, but it was this group of lesbian space cowgirls and their cosmonaut dog who truly captured the hearts of Europe. A wacky performance and an oddly satisfying song, it left fans chanting “The streets of Moscow with my girlfriend”. I say that the Hungry Hearts were robbed.
Sorry, Agnete — you did a great job and your performance was perfect, but I have to go with my hungry heart on this one. Laika was an epic song and still is. Plus, the band touched my boobs in Stockholm during The Wiwi Jam and for a split second, I seriously considered changing sides. Hungry Hearts FTW. Always.
5. Muri & Mario with “To Stjerner” – Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2016
Last year DGMP gave us “Soldiers of Love” — an unexpected winner that ultimately failed to make the Eurovision final. The Danes — such massive trolls! “Oh, you like Simone and her heart-shaped box? That is so cute! But we’re gonna go with this one!”
However, with all due respect to Simone and Lighthouse X, it was Muri & Mario who took my breath away with their ever-so-delightful “To Stjerner”. An upbeat tune in Danish with a warm, cuddly feeling, “To Stjerner” has its rightful place on my playlist, and will never leave it. Ever.
6. Faun with “Hörst du die Trommeln” – Unser Song fur Österreich 2015
Aah, Unser Song fur Österreich. The national finals that stopped hearts across the continent when the winner said: “Nah, not up for it. Give it to Ann Sophie!” and then walked off stage, leaving Ann Sophie and Germany in a state of “What the fudge just happened?!” What a great year. But those national finals were amazing!
So, so many good songs, but my favourite would have to be the pagan folk band Faun and this outstanding song. I was rooting for them all the way, but me and the German public don’t see eye to eye. Like, never (hello Avantasia!). Andreas Kummert won and then Ann Sophie went to Vienna, and the rest is history. Faun would have scored higher — I’m certain of it. How can anyone frown upon a masterpiece like “Hörst du die Trommeln”? Ann Sophie rocked in her onesie on stage, but Faun would have rocked more.
7. Nika Zorjan with “Fse” – EMA 2017
Okay, so Omar Naber got another shot of getting Slovenia into the finals on Ukrainian soil. And he failed. Bless his heart. But what if Nika Zorjan had gone to Kyiv, with the powerful “Fse”, which was written and composed by everyone’s favourite ESC couple Maaraaya?
Things might have taken a different turn, because although “On My Way” was Omar’s heartfelt and personal journey to self-improvement and the vocals were spot on, Nika should have been the obvious choice for Slovenia, considering that she had everything going for her. A good song, a beautiful voice and a memorable performance. But alas, the Slovenian juries were determined to give Omar a second chance, and therefore we will never know if Nika could have been responsible for Slovenia returning to the final.
8. Mick Pedaja with “Seis” – Eesti Laul 2016
I love Juri Pootsman and I adore “Play”, but he finished last. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that things might have taken a different turn with Mick. “Seis” is just so dreamy and hypnotising and Mick is simply out of this world.
When listening to this song, I always find myself drifting away to a safe place, where there is nothing but tall trees and silence, and nothing bad can happen in that place. Am I making sense here? Or maybe “Seis” would have been lost. I don’t know. A brilliant song, nonetheless. One of the great ones.
9. Jon Henrik Fjällgren with “Jag är fri (Manne leam friije)” – Melodifestivalen 2015
Joik, the traditional form of singing among the Sami people, doesn’t show up at ESC very often. But Jon Henrik, a Swedish Sami of Colombian descent, brought the genre to Melodifestivalen through this powerful and gorgeous song. And — if one remembers the voting procedure — he gave Måns some tough competition for first place.
Sweden may not have ended up as the winner with this one at Eurovision, but hot damn, I love this song! I love it more than “Heroes”. Sorry, Måns. It’s a guaranteed goosebump ride every single time. I have a thing for traditional music of all countries, and this song and Jon Henrik’s voice are rare and wonderful gems.
10. Mikael Saari with “On It Goes” – UMK 2016
ESC fans frequently feel broken-hearted during national final season, but rarely with such force as at UMK 2016. It was there that fan favourite Mikael Saari was left behind as Sandhja swooped in and grabbed the ticket to Stockholm. Saara Aalto, another fan favourite with a strong stage show for “No Fear”, also missed out.
Sandhja really was fun and giddy and just loved life, but still crashed out in the semis. I might be off the charts here, but I am fairly certain that the results would have been different. Finland would have gone to the finals without trouble, and probably straight to the top ten. We’ll never know though, but it’s fun to imagine.
What are your thoughts? Would these songs have been better choices for Eurovision? What national final songs do you think were robbed? Share your comments below!
I agree on ‘To Stjerner’, the song captivated me since the first moment, but the live performance was a bit bland. Sunstroke’s ‘Day after Day’ is epic too, and could probably qualified, I like it more than ‘Hey Mamma!’. There are other good songs here too like ‘Fse’, ‘Jag är Fri’, ‘Seis’ or ‘Hörst du die Trommeln’ (I’ve never heard this one before as I didn’t used to watch all the NF years ago).
I would like to see more NF songs left behind!
still listening to to stjerner 🙂
This is my sort of article.
Never understood the fuss about “on it goes”. I found it totally flat.
On the other hand, Mick Pedaja and Jon Henrik were potential Eurovision winners with their songs in those years.
I have SO many songs that I would put in an article like this but most of them would probably do really badly at Eurovision. Switzerland picking “last of our kind” in 2016 was just such a bad idea. Loved Stanley Miller’s “feel the love”!
Love Fse! Still listening to it. I think it would have had a really good chance of making the final in Kyiv and getting around mid table. It’s just a cool song and performed effortlessly. I wonder if Nika will enter EMA again
Is it just my imagination, or would Nek’s “Fatti Avanti Amore” (which lost to Il Volo’s “Grande Amore”) have been more fun to see on stage?
May I add one more? Madeline Juno’s “Error” (Unser Song 2014). If she had sung this one first, instead of “Like Lovers Do”, she would have gone to Copenhagen instead of Elaiza, and I think she would have given Conchita some real competition on the scoreboard.
TYSM FOR ADDING MURI & MARIO!! To Stjerner is also one of my most played songs and I LOVE it! <3 should've won for sure
I read somewhere it will be the cheapest contest in the last year(cost wise), I’m not sure if that’s good or not?
I miss Raiven, she would rock Eurovision stage. Also I prefer Jon Henrik together with Aninia. And where is Kerli?:(
I liked Jon Henrik in 2017 even more. I am still listening to his song now. I hope he will grace Eurovision with his presence one day. Might get a similar type of support that Salvador enjoyed, it is genuine soulful music with a touch of magic
ok it’s not on the list but i’m still salty germany didn’t sent ben ivory in 2013.
Mikael Saari’s ‘We Should Be Through’ (UMK 2013) was IMO far better than ‘On it Goes’. A real gem, I believe it could have done very well in Malmö
“On It Goes” was the right choice for Finland last year, I’m surprised that “Sing It Away” was selected. However, his staging was too theatrical, and this kind of thing usually flop at Eurovision (and semi-final 1 was tough).
You were surprised? I was shocked and disappointed. I knew, right there and then, that Sandhja was not going to qualify for the Grand Final when they chose her over Mikael and his excellent stage presentation. You think maybe the theatrics also cost Loreen at MF?
I’m still waiting for Fusedmarc do film a new music video for “Rain of Revolution”. Hopefully soon!
Many songs are more worthy than the winners in national final season. My all time favourite has to be Mas by Brequette in Spain’s 2014 national final.Though I’ve grown to also love Dancing In The Rain. In general, Melodifestivalen takes the crown on this one. Never has the winner been my favorite or even placed in my top 3 or top 5 (bar Loreens Euphoria) and I’ve watched Melodifestivalen since 2012. I always have three or four favorites that dont even make it to the finals.
I absolutely LOVE Mikael Saari and his 2 Eurovision efforts… He would he scored way better than Krista Siegfrids’ “Marry Me” and Sandhja’s “Sing It Away” (their songs were rubbish, I can’t understand why Finnish people voted for them instead of Mikael, as both his songs from 2013 and 2016 were masterpieces). Finland should select him internally, this guy is quality material! His musical style and performances can be compared to Salvador….
guys are you going to do wiwivision this year ?
It’s postponed for the moment.
Love Hotel FM. The vocalist David Bryan is from UK, he came to Romania to work for an orphanage and he fell in love with a romanian girl, this is how he became romanian. So romantic. Really a big heart, he loves children and he did everything for love. Hope to hear more news about him and the band Hotel FM.
I follow the National Finals for 2 years now, so I’m not familiar with the older ones.
About Romania 2010, I honestly think there was no better song than “Playing with fire”. That was a bomb!
Still my favourite Romanian entry, together with “Tornero” in 2006.
And I preferred Mikael to Sandha for Finland. I liked that more.
Some of my alltime faves: Norway 2003: one. Britpop / indiepoprock Spain 2008: La revolution sexual. Indiepoprock (slightly “disco” / funky) Portugal 986 – Uma balada de amor – dreamy ballad Yugoslavia 1983 – Lidu lidu du – ethno (and a classic in former Yugosvlaia 🙂 ) UK 1978 – Door In My Face – pnk rock Slovakia 2010 – One ska / punkrock song…forgot the title. The band had a name of three words. Moly a hursky or something. Sweden: Ingen annan väg 1998. Not such a big fan of MF (too much “fastfood” 😉 ) But of course… Read more »
Saying that Jon-Henrik gave Måns some tough competition at Melfest 2015, when “Heroes” scored the highest number of points in jury votes, televotes and in total 😀
Many good song…esp. Seis and Stattu upp
Most songs are OK…the one from Romania / moldova a bit boring for me though.
But seriously…LAIKA?! One of the worst, cheesy, awful, gay, kitschy, self-importance entriries EVER…just BAD!!! The sort of rubbish which makes people laugh at ESC….who could blame them in this case? One of the worst entries ever from ANY NF:..and I have heard MANY.
Btw…there should be some rock songs in this list! 🙂
I will always wonder how Sandrine would have ended up… but it’s 2008, a bit before the time table of wiwibloggs 🙂
I think they should have sent the pinkpop song in 2008…By Paranoiacs. But nice winner too. Sandrine was a bit too schlager for me. But also another great song from belgium 2008… an ethno song which almost went to the final. A peaceful, sophisticated ballad.
Great choices! Finally some more valuable opinions here instead the classical-wiwi-solo-female-pop-obsession.
Yes, mostly nice songs, apart from laika. I Would have inclduded some more rock though 🙂
Nice list. I am not a big fan of the songs here, i guess we have different musical tastes though for some weird reason i really like hungry hearts.
I can add to that list:
Saša Lendero – Mandoline (Slovenia 2006)
Timoteij – Kom (Melodifestivalen 2010)
and my guilty pleasure Emina Jahovi? – Ti Kvariigro (Serbia 2010)
If I remember the voting procedure correct Måns won with a landslide. Nothing could threaten him. The supposed threat from Jon Henrik was only by fans and media who made it look like they had a fight. But it was pretty obvious Måns would win the moment Heroes started.No one came close to threatining him.
Personally I find Mariette and “Don’t Stop Believing ” the true gem of 2015. More so than Jon Henrik.
Loreen. Twice. Also, Emma this year, who had technical difficulties. It was just unfair, that she was the only one who had to struggle. And you can’t blame her for bad vocals- there are videos of her singing circle of light live, where she slays it.
I would also add Save me or Don’t worry from Melodifestivalen 2016, since Save me was just much better then If I were sorry, and Ace Wilder had just amazing choregraphy.
I agree so much with Seis being on here. For me it’s the biggest “what if” in Eurovision history. Could have bombed out in the semis or been the surprise package. Given 2016 was mostly uptempo pop, I’d go with the latter. An absolutely stunning song that I still regularly listen to today.
Speaking about number 5 – I don’t know what DGMP stands for (Google says it’s Deoxyguanosine monophosphate, whatever it is) or what has it given to Eurovision but I’m pretty sure that Danish national final is DMGP, not DGMP :))
I basically agree with this song choices. En Vard Full Av Strider and On It Goes would be particullary so much better than the actual winning songs. Although I believe Seis is a fantastic alternative, Play was my favorite of ’16, so…
“Jag Ar Fri”, that’s the one! I though of one song and wrote another by the same singer. Well, both Jon Henrik and Mans Zelmerlow were great at Melfest ’15, but more language diversity would be great.
I miss sandra nurmsalu with “kui tuuled poorduvad” that song would have been in my top 5 of favorite esc songs of all time. Also siru with “mustelmat”.
AYE! Sandra Nurmsalu’s “Kui Tuuled Pöörduvad” was favored to win Eesti Laul 2014 (she was 5th). If she had won, a stage presentation tweak would have easily put her in the top 10, because I’m pretty sure many viewers would have remembered “Rändajad” (2009).
I would definitely add Croatian Eurovision Selection from 2004 when everyone’s favorite did not win. It’s Andrea – Noah. That song deserves to be mentioned.
I will forever be pissed off that Norway didn’t choose Ammunition’s “Wrecking Crew” this year :/
Righttt! So annoying uhh! Could have easily sailed to top 5 );
I also preferred them over JOWST but I also like JOWST lol. But yeah, Wrecking Crew is a MASTERPIECE.
Great list!I would add high hopes, linnea Dale , Norway 2014 to that list. And many would disagree, but flower in the snow (ema 2017) as well I am not even mentioning usual suspects like save me (Sweden 16), statements, cool me down…
yes!! it’s been 3 years but i still listen to high hopes.