Since Jamala’s bilingual winning song “1944” and Salvador Sobral’s Portuguese winner “Amar pelos dois”, we’ve seen a massive increase in non-English songs at Eurovision. But how did these songs stack up at Eurovision 2018? We take a look at the non-English songs that competed in Lisbon.
Please note: we are not counting songs in English that may have used an occasional word from another language.
13. Georgia: Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao – “For You”
Place: 18th in the semi-final with 24 points, 5% of available points
While Georgia’s song had an English title, it was the first Georgian Eurovision entry to have lyrics entirely in Georgian. Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao brought a pleasant moment of calmness to the middle of the second semi-final, but their rich harmonies were not enough to get the group to the grand final, finishing last in the semi.
12. Montenegro: Vanja Radovanović – “Inje”
Place: 16th in the semi-final with 40 points, 8.33% of available points
The two times Montenegro has qualified for the grand final, it’s been with a Balkan ballad with Montenegrin lyrics. But history was not about to repeat in Lisbon with “Inje” (Frost). Vanja Radovanović finished 16th in the semi-final, with only 40 points.
11. Armenia: Sevak Khanagyan – “Qami”
Place: 15th in the semi-final with 79 points, 15.67% of available points
Sevak Khanagyan won national final Depi Evratesil, meaning that his song “Qami” (Wind) would be the first Eurovision entry sung entirely in Armenian. However, the emotional ballad didn’t have enough support to make it to the grand final in Lisbon. The 15th-place semi-final finish of “Qami” broke Armenia’s five-year qualification streak.
10. Greece: Yianna Terzi – “Oniro mou”
Place: 14th in the semi-final with 81 points, 16.07% of available points
Greece hasn’t done badly in the past with Greek song lyrics — “Opa!” placed 8th in 2010. However despite having huge support from Greek fans, “Oniro mou” (My dream) was not so successful in 2018. While the song placed 10th with the televote, a lower jury score ensured it missed out on qualifying, finishing in 14th place.
9. Portugal: Cláudia Pascoal – “O jardim”
Place: 26th in the grand final with 39 points, 3.87% of available points
In 2017, Portugal delivered the second non-English song to win Eurovision since the free-language era began. This year they stuck with the Portuguese language, but the tender ballad “O jardim” (The garden) did not enjoy the same success. Portugal join Austria 2015 in being a host country that finished in last place.
8. Spain: Amaia y Alfred – “Tu canción”
Place: 23rd in the grand final with 61 points, 6.05% of available points
OT 2017 sweethearts Amaia and Alfred sparked renewed interest in Eurovision amongst Spanish viewers. However, their love ballad “Tu canción” (Your song) didn’t melt the hearts of many viewers outside the Iberian peninsula. The 23rd-place finish was, however, better than Spain’s last placing in 2017.
Next… we look at the remaining non-English songs and see how they did.
What do you think? Can a country do well with a non-English song? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!