There’s one golden rule to Eurovision: Never ever write off an act. Songs get revamped, performers pull charisma out of nowhere, and staging can turn the drabbest of songs into a major talking point. This year we once again had our fair share of very pleasant surprises.
France’s Bilal Hassani arrived in Tel Aviv with a stage show that tugged on heartstrings. Belarus’ ZENA served some killer vocals and a lot of urban swagger as she nabbed an unexpected berth in the final. And Switzerland’s Luca Hänni went from disappointing preview performances to a fantastic grand final show that saw his country grab fourth place. But in the end, one act surpassed all expectations like no other. With 818 votes out of the total 2,981, Czech Republic’s Lake Malawi narrowly wins Most Improved.
After the success of the Czech Republic last year, we were anxious to see if it was just a fluke. While there were a few noteworthy acts in the national final this year, Lake Malawi wasn’t widely considered to be among them. It had its fans — including us — but the understated indie sound and divisive lyrics (and the English accent) led to a bit of negativity among the Twitteratti. And certainly the Czech weren’t considered a Top 10 lock like they were last year. Even a grand final berth was debatable.
We love to see the Czech do well and this year they didn’t disappoint. They gave the song a bit of a revamp (personally, I loved the English accent) and let the band stay true to their happy chappy alternative spirit. Framed by, well, frames, they turned the stage into a massive Instagram Story without being cheesy. The juries lapped up the song and show, ranking it first in the semifinal and eighth in the grand final. Overall, they gained a respectable 11th place. Not quite the heights of Mikolas Josef, but something to be very proud of.
Most Improved: 2019
- Lake Malawi: 818 votes (27.44%)
- Bilal Hassani: 779 votes (26.13%)
- Luca Hanni: 634 votes (21.27%)
- ZENA: 609 votes (20.43%)
- Leonora: 141 votes (4.73%)
Total votes: 2,981 votes
Vision Music Awards 2019: The nominees
This award is just one of a dozen awards we have launched as part of the Vision Music Awards 2019 (VMAs).
Our 13 categories — from best dressed to most wronged at ESC — identify the contestants who left the biggest impression on Eurovision fans, regardless of whether they won the contest or not.
You can watch the nominations video and read more about the awards here.