Losing the crown doesn’t always mean losing the coins. Sometimes acts that come up short in their domestic Eurovision selections go on to become massive hits, topping the charts and leaving fans wondering, “What if…”
It’s a topic that sprang to mind recently when Deban and I filmed a video naming our Top 3 songs from the ongoing OGAE Second Chance Contest. I ranked Spain’s “Lo Malo” as my number one, while Deban put it second. That led YouTube viewer Nil Erra to leave this insight in the comments section: “Lo Malo joins the list of big national bops which were number 1 hits, yet didn’t win their selections.”
And you know what? There are a lot of them. And here are five of our favourites.
Ana Guerra & Aitana — “Lo Malo”
One of the candidate songs for Spain ahead of Eurovision 2018, “Lo malo” comes with an easy-to-remember and hard-to-forget chorus, fierce rhythm and plenty of heat. It ultimately finished third in Spain’s selection show. But that didn’t stop this sizzling track from topping the Spanish Singles Chart and receiving double platinum certification. The fiery song, born in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement, became a torch song for International Women’s Day demonstrations in Spain. But it isn’t just a song of female empowerment. It’s an empowering song for us all.
Adelén — “Bombo”
In your eyes she saw love like a fire. And Norwegian viewers saw something too, putting the then 16-year-old Adelén through to the MGP final with her Latin-tinged dance number “Bombo”. The song and stage show played to countless clichés — from the familiar beat to the generic backing to the use of the Spanish word Corazon. But Adelén — who is half Spanish — proved the sum is greater than the parts, delivering the song with so much conviction and charm that you couldn’t help but wonder if your love is also bom-bom-bom-bom-bom-bo. She ultimately finished second to Margaret Berger and her track “I Feed You My Love”.
No matter. This teen queen served Latin sizzle before “Despacito” was a thing and endeared herself to millions of Norwegians. She hit #2 on iTunes hours after the final. More importantly, she ended up topping Norway’s VG-Lista and also reached #6 in Finland and #23 in Sweden, where the song was certified gold. Get it, girl!
Margaret — “Cool Me Down”
Easily the most hyped song of the Eurovision 2016 selection season, Margaret’s “Cool Me Down” pushed Poland to #1 in the Eurovision betting odds before Poland’s Krajowe Eliminacje even took place. Backed by some of Sweden’s top producers and performed by one of Poland’s fastest-rising stars, Eurofans were already whispering Warsaw 2017. And while the live performance didn’t live up to the impossibly high expectations, the single reached #4 in Poland, going double platinum, and also hit #8 in Romania and #36 in Sweden. It also featured on Spotify’s global viral charts. She’s hotter than fire, and all these years later Margaret’s track still ain’t cooling down.
Ace Wilder — “Busy Doin’ Nothin'”
The breakout star of Melodifestivalen 2014, Swedish-born, Florida-raised Ace Wilder emerged as a favourite to win Melodfestivalen with her witty and irreverent track “Busy Doin’ Nothin'”. It discussed our changing relationship to work and the desire to “make money while we sleep” without actually doing anything. Although Sanna Nielsen ended up snatching the ticket to Eurovision, she only reached #2 on the charts with “Undo”. Ace outperformed her, watching this ear worm of the first order peak at #2 before going 3x platinum.
Here’s how our Angus reviewed the song ahead of the Melfest final: “The dark horse snapping at Sanna’s heels! She might not demonstrate the killer trad. vocal that is Sanna’s chosen battleground, but Ace has carved out her own niche in the quirky pop banger category. ‘Busy Doing Nothing’ is incredibly catchy and despite not immediately connecting with it, I know see it as among the strongest contenders to lift the crown. If anyone is going to unseat Sanna at the last hurdle then I’d put my money on Ace. She has a quirky image, cracking song and she also owns the stage. All she needs is to brush up on her choreography and she’ll be a real threat.”
Freddy Kalas — “Feel ‘Da Rush”
Ahead of Norway’s final, our Edd awarded the song a perfect 10, describing it like this:
“Oh. My. God. Freddy Kalas is giving me LIFE! Tropical, epic, and dat base drop! His sound is somewhere between Kygo and Ylvis – which happen to be Norway’s biggest musical exports. This crazy fun is exactly what all my friends watch Eurovision for, but if I’m honest I can see this charting all over Europe too. I’m so sick of Norway giving us forgettable ballads when they could send something like this and actually leave a mark on the contest.”
Not a bad endorsement. And it seems that Norwegians agreed. Although the song placed second at Melodi Grand Prix behind Agnete’s “Icebreaker”, it was the clear winner in the charts. “Icebreaker” spent four weeks on VG-Lista and only hit #11. But “Feel Da Rush” hit #2 — and stayed in the charts for 21 weeks.
What songs do you still listen to that didn’t make it out of their selection? What songs should we include on our next list. Let us know down below!