Since Jamala’s bilingual winning song “1944” and Salvador Sobral’s Portuguese winner “Amar pelos dois”, we’ve seen a huge increase in non-English songs at Eurovision. But how did these songs stack up at Eurovision 2018? We continue our look at the non-English songs that competed in Lisbon.
In part one, we started counting down the 13 songs with entirely non-English lyrics at Eurovision 2018. We continue the countdown and see which were the most successful non-English songs in Lisbon.
Please note: we are not counting songs in English that may have used an occasional word from another language.
7. Slovenia: Lea Sirk – “Hvala, ne!”
Language: Slovene, Portuguese
Place: 22nd in the grand final with 64 points, 6.35% of available points
Lea Sirk’s anthem of assertiveness was a surprise qualifier for the grand final. She delivered a sassy, upbeat performance and showed that non-English lyrics can work for a fun pop performance. Lea even threw in a few lines of Portuguese for the Eurovision performance. “Hvala, ne!” (Thanks, no!) finished in 22nd place.
6. Hungary: AWS – “Viszlát nyár”
Place: 21st in the grand final with 93 points, 9.23% of available points
Post-hardcore band AWS brought their screamo sound to Eurovision. The powerful song was the third Eurovision entry of the A Dal era to have Hungarian lyrics, and it continued Hungary’s unbroken qualification streak since 2011. While the intense performance of “Viszlát nyár” (Goodbye summer) might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, it still finished 21st in the grand final.
5. Serbia: Sanja Ilić & Balkanika – “Nova deca”
Place: 19th in the grand final with 113 points, 11.21% of available points
Sanja Ilić & Balkanika is all about combining traditional Balkan music styles with modern electronic flavours. And of course, where there’s Balkan realness, there’s a Balkan language. As well as Serbian lyrics, “Nova deca” (New generation) had a strong melody and haunting harmonies. It placed 19th in the grand final.
4. France: Madame Monsieur – “Mercy”
Place: 13th in the grand final with 173 points, 17.16% of available points
Madame Monsieur’s “Mercy” deliberately kept the French lyrics simple, to ensure it would be understood by both native speakers and even those who only knew a little bit of French. The song was a fan favourite coming into the competition, but its 13th place finish perhaps wasn’t as strong as supporters expected. Nonetheless, the simple chorus delivered a moving moment in Lisbon.
3. Albania: Eugent Bushpepa – “Mall”
Place: 11th in the grand final with 184 points, 18.25% of available points
Albania is notorious for translating their Festivali i Këngës winning songs into English. But — like Rona Nishliu’s “Suus” from 2012 — “Mall” (Yearning) proved to work with its original lyrics. Eugent Bushpepa’s song of longing for home, delivered with his fierce rock vocals, earned Albania an 11th place finish in the grand final
2. Estonia: Elina Nechayeva – “La forza”
Place: 8th in the grand final with 245 points, 24.31% of available points
Opera singer Elina Nechayeva wasn’t singing in Estonia, instead she used the language of opera, Italian. Her crystal clear vocals combined with bold staging ensured that “La Forza” (The force) finished eighth and gave Estonia one of its best finishes in the past decade.
1. Italy: Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro – “Non mi avete fatto niente”
Place: 5th in the grand final with 308 points, 30.56% of available points
Sanremo winner “Non mi avete fatto niente” (You haven’t done anything to me) was wordy and Italian and it had a message. But it also had the very charismatic Ermal Meta and Fabrizio Moro. The song’s staging came with in-camera subtitles in multiple languages which ensured the message would not be lost on viewers from around Europe. The song earned a fifth-place finish, Italy’s sixth Italian top-ten placing since their 2011 comeback.
What do you think? Should more countries enter non-English songs? Should the national language rule be reinstated? your thoughts in the comments section below!