We’re continuing to look at the countries currently competing in the Eurovision Song Contest and why we love them. Next up, we head to Poland and wonder what colour their Eurovision life is.
Since debuting in 1994, Poland has delivered many weird and wonderful moments at Eurovision. Though they’ve yet to claim a win, they’re still a very much-loved presence at the contest. Today, we’re taking a look back at the Polish history in the contest and listing 10 reasons why we love Poland at the Eurovision Song Contest.
1. A great debut
Nothing is better at making your presence heard than nearly winning on your debut year. In 1994 — the year six other Eastern European countries joined the Eurovision family — Edyta Górniak sang her heart out for her country with “To nie ja!” Twenty-one-year-old Edyta was then only a minor pop star in Poland, but her incredibly strong performance made her a household name. Poland was nearly disqualified that year as Edyta sang the song in English during the jury rehearsal, but in the end the impressive second place stood. Nothing could really stop Ireland, but “To nie ja!” went on to become the top-selling song in Poland that year. Maybe Edyta was the true winner after all.
2. Singing for peace and love
Poland itself has a very sad modern history — more than six million Poles died in World War II. So it’s no real surprise that they know to do a strong song about peace and love. Their next top-10 placing after Edyta came in 2003 when Ich Troje placed seventh. The song “Keine Grenzen – Zadnych granic” was sung in Polish, German and Russian — representing the two countries that have historically fought over Poland. Ich Troje returned in 2006 with the multilingual love song “Follow My Heart“, which finished 11th in the notoriously tough 2006 semifinal. Poland next qualified in 2008 with the beautiful “For Life” by Polish American Isis Gee. You don’t have to look too hard in Poland’s Eurovision history to find a very touching love song.
3. Plenty of Polski
The letter “Z” might score ten points in English Scrabble, but in Polish Scrabble? One point. And that’s one of the many reasons why we love the Polish language. Poland have never been afraid to integrate many other languages into their songs, but we always love to hear some Polish. The last placing in the semi-final didn’t stop us bopping away happily to “Jestem”. And “Czarna dziewczyna” had us going “lie, lie, lie” for a very, very long time. Poland’s entries tend to be English these days, but we still get very excited whenever we hear those Slavic sounds.
4. They’re loved by the televote
After only qualifying once between 2005 and 2011, Poland sadly withdrew due to financial difficulties. And though their absence was disappointing, their comeback was amazing. They suddenly made qualifying look easy, appearing in the final every year from 2014 to 2017. And a great part of this success is inarguably due to the power of the televote. If the juries were removed from the contest, Poland would have had two top-five placings in three years — fifth in 2014 and third in 2016. Some might argue that this is due to the widespread Polish diaspora, but if the results are anything to go by, Polish songs are definitely a hit with the viewers.
5. Those Slavic girls know how to use their charming beauty
Oh, the GIFs that were made from this song. After their sad 2012-13 absence, Poland quickly made sure that everyone noticed they were back. While definitely not a hit with the juries, Donatan and Cleo brought Poland back to the final with “My Słowianie – We Are Slavic” and earned a solid 14th place. And we’re very confident that was simply to do with the great song. Which is also why it got over 60 million views on YouTube. Yep, it was just the song.
6. They sent the first singer to use a wheelchair
Monika Kuszynska was a famous name in her home country in the early 2000s as the singer for the popular pop group Varius Manx. On 28 May 2006, however, the band was involved in a serious car accident. Though her bandmate Robert Janson recovered, Monika remains paralysed to this day. In 2010, however, she resumed her music career and was internally selected sing for Poland at Eurovision in 2015. “In the Name of Love” was a simple ballad about building bridges (the theme for that year’s contest) and brought Poland to the final for the second year in a row. Clips of Monika prior to the car accident were shown during the performance, to great applause from the audience. The only other wheelchair user to sing at Eurovision came three years later, with Russia’s Julia Samoylova.
7. Their national final Krajowe Eliminacje brings quality
Though they’ve never won the contest, Poland tend to always bring quality. Not only on the big stage, but also in their national final. Back in 2016, the selection was so hyped that Poland shot straight to the top of the Eurovision betting odds before the singer was chosen. Ultimately, plucky underdog Michal Szpak won ahead of popstress Margaret and veteran Edyta Górniak, but Poland still gained eighth place in the end. This year’s national final also had some great songs and well-known musicians. The Voice winner Marta Galuszewska, 2015 Best Young Artist Saszan, Krajowe Eliminacje returnee Isabell Otrebus, plus popular DJ Gromee, the winner, all showed that Poland is always worth paying attention to in the national final season.
8. The love of nature
Poland’s entry in 2017, “Flashlight“, may have been a dark ballad which also cleverly rhymed fire with wire, desire and higher. But it was really overshadowed by its enchanting singer. Kasia Mos tried out for Eurovision twice before earning her ticket; the first time way back in 2006 when she was just 19. She was noticed straight away for her incredible good looks but used her presence as Poland’s representative to promote animal rights. Animals formed the backdrop of her performance in Kyiv, and according to her “Flashlight” was intended to draw attention to animal abuse. This year, she also collaborated with Finland’s 2017 singers in creating the beautiful “Wild Eyes“, which was also all about nature. She really is an amazing woman, and we hope her Eurovision story is far from over.
9. They can have fun
A large number of songs sent by Poland are very serious and heart-wrenching. But don’t ever think they can’t be upbeat if they want to be. Shall we say, they got the right to party”? “2 Long” and “My Slowianie – We Are Slavic” also show that Poland knows not to get too mellow. They also contributed an EDM song at Lisbon this year which is a genre rarely seen at Eurovision. And the snake dance, which totally became a massive trend.
10. Nothing can cool them down
One of the most well-known Polish Eurovision songs never actually went to the contest. There has never really been a song so hyped and that crashed so hard as Margaret‘s fiery banger “Cool Me Down”. Even with competition from Edyta Górniak, Margaret was expected to sleepwalk her way to representing Poland, and maybe even winning the whole contest. To everyone’s shock, however, it placed a mere second, with Michal Szpak flying the flag instead. Margaret’s incredibly poor performance is usually blamed for her loss, but just goes to show that nothing is certain with Eurovision. Margaret tried again for Eurovision this year, for Sweden this time, placing seventh in Melodifestivalen with “In My Cabana“. Whether she will end up on the big stage, and for which country, remains to be seen. The story of “the song that could’ve” will live on forever in Polish Eurovision history.
So what are your favourite moments from Poland at Eurovision? Let us know below!
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