Sometimes Eurovision can feel dominated by English-language songs, but there are always plenty of songs performed in other languages. This year, 11 songs competed in the contest with lyrics other than English. But how did they do? Let’s take a look at the non-English songs that competed at Eurovision 2019.
Note: For this list, we’re including bilingual songs that had some English lyrics, as well as those sung entirely in a non-English language. However, we’re not including songs with predominantly English lyrics that feature a few lines in another language, such as those from Norway, Croatia or Denmark.
11. Portugal: Conan Osíris – “Telemóveis”
Place: 15th in the semi-final with 51 points
Portugal has never once given in to the temptation of sending a song with entirely English lyrics. Conan Osíris’s avant-garde “Telemóveis” was performed in Portuguese, with lyrics exploring mobile phones and the afterlife. Sadly, it wasn’t enough to get Portugal back in the grand final, finishing 15th in its semi.
10. Georgia: Oto Nemsadze – “Keep on Going”
Place: 14th in the semi-final with 62 points
For the second year in a row — and the second time ever — Georgia entered a song with lyrics entirely in Georgian. The stirring “Keep on Going”, along with the strong vocals of Oto and his backing singers, created a memorable performance, but unfortunately it placed 14th in its semi-final.
9. Hungary: Joci Pápai – “Az én apám”
Place: 12th in the semi-final with 97 points
Hungary had enjoyed an eight-year qualification streak, and had made the final three times with songs performed entirely in Hungarian. Sadly this came to an end in 2019. While many appreciated “Az én apám” for its heartfelt emotion, it missed out on qualifying, placing 12th in its semi-final.
8. Poland: Tulia – “Fire of Love (Pali się)”
Language: Polish, English
Place: 11th in the semi-final with 120 points
“Fire of Love (Pali się)” was the first time that audiences heard Polish on the Eurovision stage since Donatan & Cleo in 2014. While Tulia’s song had an English intro and outro, it was predominantly sung in Polish. The rock meets folk song placed 11th in its semi, just three points away from qualifying.
7. Spain: Miki – “La Venda”
Place: 22nd in the grand final with 54 points
Spain kept with its general trend of songs with Spanish lyrics. The uplifting “La Venda” captivated televoters, ranking 14th. However, the jury was less convinced and overall Miki’s song placed 22nd in the grand final.
6. Serbia: Nevena Božović – “Kruna”
Place: 18th in the grand final with 89 points
The last time Nevena Božović represented Serbia at Eurovision was in 2013, when Moje 3 missed out on qualifying with”Ljubav je svuda”. It was better luck this time, however, “Kruna” made it to the grand final, where it placed 18th.
5. Albania: Jonida Maliqi – “Ktheju tokës”
Place: 17th in the grand final with 90 points
Fans were relieved when, for the second year in a row, Albania did not “devamp” the Festivali i Këngës winner into a version with English lyrics. Jonida Maliqi delivered a strong vocal performance with the emotional message of “Ktheju tokës”. The song finished 17th in the grand final.
4. France: Bilal Hassani – “Roi”
Language: French, English
Place: 16th in the grand final with 105 points
“Roi” has the most amount of English in it, but the lyrics are predominantly in French. Bilal Hassini’s “Roi” tells a tale of self-empowerment, and its message resonated with viewers. The song placed 16th in the grand final.
3. Slovenia: Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl – “Sebi”
Place: 15th in the grand final with 105 points
After having mixed results with English-language songs, Slovenia seem to have hit on a more successful formula. For the second year in a row, Slovenia reached the grand final singing in their own language. The intimate “Sebi” placed 15th, Slovenia’s third best result in the past decade.
2. Iceland: Hatari – “Hatrið mun sigra”
Place: 10th in the grand final with 232 points
After languishing for four years in the semi-finals, Iceland finally broke the dry spell with an Icelandic language song. “Hatrið mun sigra” placed tenth in the grand final. Hatari gave Iceland its sixth best result ever, and its best result for the Icelandic language since 1992.
1. Italy: Mahmood – “Soldi”
Place: 2nd in the grand final with 472 points
For the second year in a row, Italy is the country behind the most successful non-English entry. Mahmood’s Sanremo-winning “Soldi” is mostly sung in Italian, but also contains a couple of lines in Arabic, rarely heard at Eurovision. The close second-place finish of “Soldi” established this non-English song was one of the stand-out tracks of Eurovision 2019.
Poll results: What is your favourite non-English song of Eurovision 2019?
Earlier this year we asked wiwibloggs readers what was your favourite non-English song of Eurovision 2019. Echoing the contest results, your favourite was also Mahmood’s “Soldi”. The readers’ second favourite, however, was Conan Osíris with “Telemóveis”, a twist on his semi-final result.
- Italy: “Soldi” – Mahmood 20.37% (1,422 votes)
- Portugal: “Telemóveis” – Conan Osíris 12.89% (900 votes)
- Iceland: “Hatrið Mun Sigra” – Hatari 12.42% (867 votes)
- Albania: “Ktheju Tokës – Jonida Maliqi 11.23% (784 votes)
- Slovenia: “Sebi” – Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl 10.43% (728 votes)
- Spain: “La Venda” – Miki 10.11% (706 votes)
- France: “Roi” – Bilal Hassani 6.75% (471 votes)
- Poland: “Fire of Love (Pali Się)” – Tulia 5.29% (369 votes)
- Serbia: “Kruna” – Nevena Božović 5.27% (368 votes)
- Hungary: “Az én Apám” – Joci Pápai 4.15% (290 votes)
- Georgia: “Keep on Going” – Oto Nemsadze 1.07% (75 votes)
What do you think? Should more countries enter non-English songs? Should the national language rule be reinstated? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!