After 2020 let us down, 2021 will definitely be a year of high notes. Israel’s entrant Eden Alene will make sure of that, as her song “Set Me Free” features the highest note in the contest’s history. During her first rehearsal, the Ethiopian Israeli hit the whistle note on four different occasions. And she’s repeated the feat during subsequent rehearsals since. So, now, we think it’s safe to assume that on 18 May Eden will break the record for Eurovision’s highest note, set by Maja Blagdan on 18 May 1996, exactly 25 years ago.
Until 2021, only ten people (all women) managed to reach the difficult sixth octave on the Eurovision stage. On the night of semi-final one, Eden will attempt to hit the highest note within that octave — the nearly-impossible B6.
But before Eden takes the stage to make her record official, we count down the ten highest notes in Eurovision history (including the new title-holder). Being the showy and flashy show that it is, ESC has known many high notes during its history. As a result, not all of them could get on the list. This is why we will start our countdown by naming some impressive notes that didn’t make the cut.
Top 10 Highest Notes in Eurovision History
Some (p)opera songs in Eurovision just went higher and higher and higher, but not all of them went high enough to hold a candle to Miss Alene. Malena Ernman’s “La Voix” (Sweden 2009) includes a long and impressive C6 note, as well as a brief D6, the highest note in the song. “Zero Gravity” by Kate Miller-Heidke (Australia 2019) features the slightly lower C#6. Another popera high note, a B5, can be found in Malta’s 2004 entry “On Again… Off Again”.
A5 notes can be heard in Eugent Bushpepa’s “Mall” (Albania 2018 — the highest note ever sung by a man at the contest), Elhaida Dani’s “I’m Alive” (Albania 2015), and Srbuk’s “Walking Out” (Armenia 2019).
Additional songs that featured long and powerful fifth octave notes include Sweden 2013 (Gb5), Romania 2013 (G5), Spain 2014 (E5), Spain 2012 (C#5, brief D5), and Ukraine 2006 (C5). Spain’s Blas Cantó sings a G5 note in his 2021 entry “Voy a quedarme”, which is within striking distance of Eugent’s note but isn’t enough to break the record for the highest male note.
10. Paula Seling & Ovi – “Playing with Fire” (Romania 2010)
Over a decade ago, Romania levelled their best result of all time with this banger of a duet. In the lead-up to the final chorus, Paula Seling holds a powerful three-second E6, making it to 10th place on this list. Notably, in 11th place is a different note by Seling — her much longer D6 note in Romania’s 2014 entry “Miracle”.
9. Justyna – “Sama” (Poland 1995)
Back in 1995, Justyna Steczkowska brought avant-garde to Eurovision for the first and arguably only time ever. Her Björk-ish track was full of highs and lows, featuring one remarkable high at the 2:24 mark. Stezkowska holds an E6 note for six full seconds, outlasting Paula Seling’s 2010 note.
8. Rona Nishliu – “Suus” (Albania 2012)
Seeing that Rona Nishliu only placed eighth on this list may come as a surprise to some of you. Her very brief F6 note has a whistly clarity that can make it seem a bit higher than it actually is. But it is still extremely difficult to hit. Nishliu’s emotional singing earned her a place in the top five — which Albania has yet to top.
7. Jamala – “1944” (Ukraine 2016)
The only winner on this list, Jamala’s “1944” has a powerful climax that ESC fans will remember forever. The instruments and backing vocals kick in. A golden tree rises from the ground. Jamala goes into the final refrain in full force. Many Eurovision fans say that’s when Jamala won Eurovision 2016 — and it’s also when she sang an F6 note and made it onto this top ten.
6. Elina Nechayeva – “La forza” (Estonia 2018)
In 2018, Elina Nechayeva was one of the early favourites to win Eurovision. Her perfect Italian and crystal clear vocals gave the song a massive fanbase, and rumours flew around about the song featuring the highest note in Eurovision history. It never held that record, but it does feature an F6 note, and it’s the highest of all three F6’s — lasting almost six seconds.
5. Monica Aspelund – “Lapponia” (Finland 1977)
Now it’s time for an oldie! Finland’s 10th-placer from London 1977 featured a G6, which long held the all-time record. Despite the performance not being completely stable, Monica Aspelund showed great ability in managing to reach this note. It helped her achieve an uncommon top ten result for her country, including douze points from Ireland
4. Kaliopi – “Dona” (North Macedonia 2016)
In 2016, after failing to qualify every single year from 2008 to 2015 with the exception of 2012, North Macedonia decided to try and send their 2012 representative Kaliopi to Sweden. Her emotional ballad didn’t manage to qualify, but did get the Balkan nation their best non-qualifying result in seven years. It also ended with one of the most difficult notes ever heard at the contest, a G6, which is the highest ending note in a Eurovision song to date.
3. Kaliopi – “Crno i belo” (North Macedonia 2012)
Oh, yeah, that’s not all of it. Back in 2012, when Kaliopi carried her country to their only final in an 11-year period, Kaliopi went even higher. Two minutes into her hard rock tune “Crno i belo”, the singer let out what might be the most impressive note ever sung at the contest to date. With an A6 scream, her voice created artificial harmonies below and above the note which seemed to make it sound like she’s hitting three notes at once.
2. Maja Blagdan – “Sveta ljubav” (Croatia 1996)
When Copenhagen hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014, they premiered a segment titled Eurovision Book of Records. They took a trip down memory lane, looking back at the records of the song contest. Maja Blagdan’s soulful piece originally included a G6 note, but at the end of the live performance, Blagdan overshot the note and briefly reached a Bb6 (incorrectly officially listed on Eurovision.tv as a Bb5). While probably unintentional, the note has officially held the record for the past 25 years. “Crno i belo” holds the record when comparing studio tracks only.
1. Eden Alene – Set Me Free (Israel 2021)
1/4 of a century to the day after Maja Blagdan delivered the highest note in the history of the contest, Eden will attempt to break the record during semi-final one of Eurovision 2021. Her B6 is only a half-step higher than the highest note a singer has ever hit on the biggest stage in Europe, but this one is definitely intentional. On the 9 May rehearsal, the Israeli representative hit the note without fail four times. There is also a video showing her nailing her Mariah/Ariana style notes in Ein Gedi. So, we have reason to believe that on Tuesday, Eden Alene will put her name in the Eurovision Song Contest history books.
This list was compiled with great help from Gabriel Greenwood, B.M. (Belmont University), singer-songwriter, arranger, voice teacher, and Eurovision fanatic.
What do you think of the list? Do you think Eden will break the record? Sound off in the comments below.
What about Gjon’s Tears – Répondez-moi at 1’16” ?
“Sing me a Song” from Bernadette Kraakman (Netherlands 1983) should also be in the top 10 !
Haters gonna hate
Eden you are a queen
Didn’t you forget about Croatia 1995? I bet it’s in the top 10
You listen, we came for Eurovision, not for politics. If you have a problem with Israel’s policy, talk to the country’s politicians, not to its innocent people who want nothing to do with political controversies.
And later on you are wondering why people around the world are considering you as anti Semitic…
And that’s a good thing? This reminds me of that opera singer in the Adventures of Tintin, always singing super high and loud just to show that she can do it (which is already more than you can say for all the singers listed in this article…) and piercing everyone’s ears in the process (and breaking all the glasses around her).
There’s 0 reason why a pop song should suddenly switch to these high pitch noises, this feels very forced and unnatural. It’s not classy at all.
But Kaliopi… she’s incredible!
Now we have to determine who made the lowest note 😀
Yes! I’d like to know that, too.
It’s cute for her because she’s not qualifying unfortunately.
she is gonna qualify hater
Oops, but she did…
But at the end, she did!
Fantastic live performance! So happy he did that well and proved so many people wrong!
Thank you so much for having included pre-2000 contestants!!!
Sorry if it’s not related to this post… But does anyone know when we’ll hear more about the dress rehearsal for SF1, please? Thank you.
Why was I downvoted for asking a question? Someone is really in a nasty mood, I suppose…
Both Jamala and Kaliopi singing higher notes than Rona Nishliu? That really comes as a surprise.
Yes, it’s quite clear actually.
If Blas had sung Universo, would that be near Eugent’s note?
I think Eugent hit a higher note (also I think Voy A Quedarme’s highest note is higher than Universo’s similar note)
Sorry, but Elina is definitely TOP 3
It is not their opinion but which was the highest note hit
? my opinion won’t change either
This is a definitive ranking, Moth. These are the highest notes in order of how high they are.
I dont think shes qualifying, especially given the current situation. Israel 2014 was a good song and failed to qualify the year the last incident took place
“Current situation” increases her chances if anything. Just look at Ukraine 2016
Ukraine’s case was totally different from the Israel’s
Yeah, Ukraine were seen as the victims of Russia’s aggression, while Israel is not being seen as a victim in the current conflict.
Depends on source, really. Mainstream media in Poland portrait Israel as victims for some reason. I assume it may be the case in other countries too.
It’s a totally different situation. Ukrainians were the victims, not the aggressors.
Ukraine was not the oppressor.
The war with Lebanon was in 2008 i think and it happened after ESC. Same for 2014, it was after Eurovision not during Eurovision.
I don’t see people voting for Israel and juries have a lot of songs to choose from.
I dont think shes qualifying, especially given the current situation. Israel 2014 was a good song and failed to qualify the year the last war situtation place
I’m no musical expert but that can’t be a higher note than what Elina from Estonia did on La Forza?
Also that’s totally personal but I think Eden doesn’t need to suddenly start blasting these high notes. Her song doesn’t need that to be enjoyable, and I think it feels tacky. Like, very Eurovision in that “I’ll try to scream louder than everyone else” way.
Yes, it does feel tacky. And indeed, Elina was wonderful and did it in a way that suited perfectly with her genre.
La Forza goes up to a very very high F6, but that’s still three notes lower than Eden reaches
This must be the most nerdy ESC-article ever, and I’m all here for it!
Hope she qualifies. She deserves it.
Eugent was the best!!!! I had goosebumps listening to him.
Ah the memories of 1996. I was actually falling asleep that year, but then Maja woke me up with that bizarre outburst! And just to prove it wasn’t a fluke, she did it again at the end of the song! 😀
The first time, she hit a super high G6 – at the end she went even higher to a Bb6!
Blimey! I didn’t notice that. Thanks.
Re Albania’s Rona Nishliu. Sorry but I find that she was rather screaming and shouting rather than singing.
I find that song painful and way overrated.
I find it great, only unfortunately she was off key on that particular occasion.
Totally agree — “Suus” is a top-tier Eurovision song and performance but she was wildly off key during the high bit.
Re: Monica Aspelund for Finland in 1977 “Despite not being completely stable”
Who writes this crap? What’s that supposed to mean?, that the poor woman was mentally unstable? because that’s what I take from it.
Despite (THE NOTE) not being stable. = they thought the high note was shaky
That’s not how to say it, it’s just another example of shoddy writing on this site.
I’m not hearing any shakiness, the sound quality isn’t great though.
If you measure how high the note is, she goes down from a G to an F and back up instead of holding one note.
Stop trying to deflect from your shoddy writing, you’re the one that is deserving of the criticism here. Your headline was about hitting the highest notes not holding the longest notes. Make up your mind.
What’s with all the down votes for pointing out something that was poorly written?
Half of you probably don’t even understand the point I’m making.
I imagine it’s because you made your point so rudely, without any appreciation for a volunteer writer who clearly put some effort into this.
Rude? I don’t think you know the meaning of the word. Go back and read my first post. Anyone who expresses any form of criticism no matter how warranted on this site gets berated from every angle.
All I said was that the note, albeit not pitch-perfect, was still impressive. I’m confused as to why you’re so offensive about that.
“DESPITE NOT BEING COMPLETELY BALANCED”
That’s what I take offence of! End of!
You’re so sensitive, it’s actually funny xD
Calm down Karen
Good luck Eden! I’m not sure about qualification but I really hope to see you in the final. You’re great fun.
Well done Eden, beautiful nightingale <3
Too bad it’s possible to have the song with the highest note in the history of the contest disqualified… The 1st semi is literally so hard I just can’t see Israel going through
The virgin Eurovision site vs the chad wiwibloggs (jk)
Why is Malena with la Voix not in the list? I did not understand why she was excluded
Read the honourable mentions at the very top of the article. It’s literally explained there.
Yes but it is not long enough to be included? I did not understand why she was not included.
It’s a list of high notes, not long notes.
She should be much more than an honorable mention. She’s just too good. She gave us beautiful music and Greta.
And yet her note is only the 12th-highest in ESC history.
I agree… to an extent. I think it is a good way to show that the artists are of quality, because it’s extremely difficult to hit those high notes. I mean, I can only go up to F4 before my voice falls apart, so it really deserves some respect going so high up without your voice breaking.
But yeah, songs that add it “just because” is a little less interesting. Dona 2016 was a pretty good comparison, but I feel most of the others aren’t too out of place.
What annoys me more is when people confuse high notes with being the best. Barbara or Geike’s emotion, passion and storytelling is much more impressive.
Maja Blagdan would be an example of how to do both.
Geike is a better artist than some of the contestants combined. She will never need a ridiculous choreography or an outfit that looks more like a bikini to get attention. Her voice and her presence will impress anyone and I have so much respect for her.
Agree. These two are easily the best singers this year. Emotion + perfect technique.
Maja Blagdan <3
I wonder if everything that is going on will play a part in Israel qualifying or not??
Also love Poland 1995 . Love the structure of the song
I think what’s going on between the Israeli’s and Palestinians right now may very well come into play when it comes to some televoters but we’ll have to wait and see.
Roxen was outside top 10 in sf1 in betting odds this morning but now she’s in top 10 again
Was her dress rehearsal good?
Yes, she was way better!
She is number 18 as far as I can see in the overall list.
The robbed Queen Kaliopi. We were not ready.
She has to qualify. This song has grown so much on me.