Each year, around 40 nations fight for the Eurovision kruna, but not all of them make their way to the final. Some songs are left behind in the semi-finals and many viewers will never get to hear them. This can be especially upsetting for fans because sometimes popular songs end up missing out by just a handful of points.
This is why we have decided to focus on such songs on this list. We looked at the results from 2000 to 2010 to determine the narrowest non-qualifiers of this decade.
For the purposes of this ranking, we’re going off the percentage of maximum possible points which each entry received at Eurovision and compare it to the percentage of the tenth position.
For example, in this year’s first semi-final, a country could receive a maximum of 456 points i.e 24 points from each of the other 19 countries voting. Portugal finished 15th with 51 points or 11.19% of their possible points. Belarus was the 10th qualifier with 26.75%. This marks a difference of 15.56%
This is not to be confused with the percentage of all votes cast.
Before we start, an honourable mention goes to Latvia’s Laura Risotto with “Funny Girl”. She not only miss out on making the final in 2018 by just five points — she also sits in 11th position on this list and barely misses out here too.
10. The Humans – “Goodbye” (Romania 2018)
Semi-final result: 11th place with 107 points
Non-qualifying margin: 4 points or 0.84% missing to qualify
Every elimination in the semi-finals hurts, but the first ever for a country is extremely painful. Especially, if the distance to qualify is only four points. Before Eurovision, things looked pretty good for The Humans, having won both the semi-final and final in the Romanian national selection. With strong vocals, futuristic dress and 25 mannequins, they seemed to impress the Eurovision jurors, putting them in ninth position. The televoters of Italy and Moldova awarded 12 points, but this wasn’t enough to bring “Goodbye” to the final. As the first Romanian act to be eliminated in the semis they made history — probably in a different way than intended.
9. Timebelle – “Apollo” (Switzerland 2017)
Semi-final result: 12th place with 97 points
Non-qualifying margin: 4 points or 0.83% left to qualify
From Romania to a Swiss band with a Romanian lead vocalist. Luca Hänni’s latest success was a rare phenomenon in the 2010s for Switzerland. Only three acts managed to qualify for the final. Timebelle were almost the fourth act, but an 11th place with the juries and a 10th place in the televote led to a 12th place overall. Miruna impressed with her powerful vocals during the colourful performance. “Apollo” was a fan favourite track and was expected to do better, even finishing among the top 15 in the Wiwi Jury.
8. Tijana Bogićević – “In Too Deep” (Serbia 2017)
Semi-final result: 11th place with 98 points
Non-qualifying margin: 3 points or 0.62% left to qualify
We stay in the second semi-final of 2017 and turn to Tijana, who finished one point ahead of Timebelle, but three behind Denmark’s Anja Nissen. The opening act of the semi-final took us underwater and got us in the mood for the following acts. Maybe this early start was one reason that televoters didn’t put her through. In addition, things could have looked different if cultural neighbour Montenegro had been in the same semi-final. Narrow results like this show the importance of the semi-final allocation draw.
7. Suzy “Quero Ser Tua” (Portugal 2014)
Semi-final result: 11th place with 39 points
Non-qualifying margin: 1 point or 0.46% left to qualify
After a one-year hiatus, Portugal was welcomed back to the Eurovision family. Suzy brought the Iberian heat to mild Copenhagen with dancers, fun, and drums. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to qualify to the final, because of one single missing point! However, where there’s shadow there is light because Valentina Monetta grabbed the last spot for the final and made history as the first finalist ever for San Marino.
6. Tulia – “Fire of Love (Pali się)” (Poland 2019)
Semi-final result: 11th place with 120 points
Non-qualifying margin: 2 points or 0.43% left to qualify
The last edition of the decade saw two very narrow semi-final results — and one victim was Tulia. Despite receiving 26.32% of the maximum possible points, Belarus still was two points ahead of “Fire of Love (Pali się)”. This is the highest percentage to not qualify since Sweden’s “This is My Life” in 2010, which gained 28.70%. While televoters appreciated the group’s wall of sound and put them in the eighth place, jurors weren’t as convinced. However, this defeat didn’t stop Tulia from delivering their traditional “white voice” singing and they went on tour in the weeks following Eurovision.
5. Emmy “Boom Boom” (Armenia 2011)
Semi-final result: 12th place with 54 points (lost tiebreak)
Non-qualifying margin: 1 point or 0.42% left to qualify
Emmy was internally selected and presented the Armenian public different songs in her very own song selection show. Eventually, she traveled to Düsseldorf with the song “Boom Boom”. The boxing-themed performance turned out to be the first low blow in Armenia’s successful Eurovision history. Before 2011, Armenia had always finished inside the top ten and qualifying for the final was anything but a problem. Emmy finished in 12th position, making her the narrowest non-qualifier finishing in 12 place this decade.
4. Glen Vella “One Life” (Malta 2011)
Semi-final result: 11th place with 54 points (won tiebreak)
Non-qualifying margin: 1 point or 0.42% left to qualify
We stay in semi-final two of 2011 and turn our attention to Malta. Tied with Armenia, Glen Vella finished with 54 points and won the tiebreak, nudging him into 11th place — just point one behind 10th-placed Anna Rossinelli of Switzerland. Despite missing out on the final, Glen’s upbeat disco track remains in many playlists and would have been a great party anthem in the final. Glen Vella still has interest in Eurovision and competed in the Maltese pre-selection 2015 where he finished third.
3. Witloof Bay “With Love Baby” (Belgium 2011)
Semi-final result: 11th place with 53 points
Non-qualifying margin: 1 point or 0.40% left to qualify
2011 was uniquely narrow. The tenth and 11th places were separated by only one point in both semi-finals. The victim in semi two was the Belgian a cappella vocal group Witloof Bay. Even though they served harmonies, beatbox, and clothes from an ’80s sitcom on stage, they didn’t manage to outscore Moldova who also gave a unique performance. “With Love Baby” might not be the typical Eurovision song, but is a good example of the genre diversity the contest offers.
2. Jurij Veklenko “Run With The Lions” (Lithuania 2019)
Result: 11th place with 93 points
Non-qualifying margin: 1 point or 0.20% left to qualify
The results of the 2019 contest are home for a lot of drama and the narrow elimination of Lithuania certainly didn’t calm the storm. While voting mishaps were alleged, nothing has been confirmed and the EBU’s confirmed result remains. With all the loud drama surrounding him, Jurij really is the eye of the storm and stayed calm all along. Just like during his performance, where he focused on what he does best: singing and working those camera angles. “Run with the Lions” scored 77 points with the televote and 16 with the jurors.
1. Sofi Marinova “Love Unlimited” (Bulgaria 2012)
Semi-final result: 11th place with 45 points
Non-qualifying margin: o points or 0% left to qualify (lost tiebreak)
The first place of this ranking has to go to Sofi Marinova and her unfortunate elimination in 2012. Bulgaria was no lucky nation prior to 2012, failing four times in a row to qualify to the final. She received 45 points in the second semi — but so did Norway’s Tooji. According to the tiebreak rule, the country which received points from most nations will proceed to the final. Ten countries gave points to Sofi, but 11 voted for Tooji. This marks the first and only time that a qualification was determined by this rule. The multi-language party song with an excessive amount of fireworks remains popular with fans years later.
Do you agree with our list? What is your favourite non-qualifier of the decade? Tell us in the comments below!