Prior to 2004, what we saw at Eurovision was what we got, with just one show every year: the Grand Final. Since then, we’ve gone from one semi and a final to thrice the original amount with two semis deciding which songs make the cut. Naturally, with those semis came some heartbreak (and slight exaggeration) as there were only a certain amount of songs that could qualify, with the others left behind to wonder what they did wrong (too much wind machine wind? Not enough wind machine wind? The list goes on forever…) and us fans left to mourn the loss of some cracking entries, be they cracking to the general audience or only to ourselves.
For many, the quintessential one-that-got-away, well, got away, in Athens 2006. Back then, the chiffon-clad Kate Ryan from Belgium– an early favourite – wound up in 12th position in the semi with Je T’adore, and with that became the go-to name for anyone referencing a travesty on the ESC qualification front. Ironically, Kate Ryan herself, for moi, was not a Kate Ryan moment. AWKWARD! I wasn’t particularly flabbergasted when she failed to get more points than Elena Risteska’s denim cutoffs. However, I can certainly identify with the shock that accompanies who doesn’t yodel/gyrate/etc their way to that splendiferous Saturday evening in May. And so I present to you my personal list of non-qualifiers – those that shocked and/or surprised me when they failed to advance.
#1. Live It Up by Yüksek Sadakat (Turkey 2011)
Finished: 13th in the semi
Why it’s a KR moment: Because I am STILL trying to recover from it. Turkey. Did. Not. Qualify. I had always thought that countries like Turkey (and Greece, and Ukraine, and…) could send a yowling cat in MC Hammer pants to Eurovision and still make the final, but apparently contortionists in hamster wheels are a curse. In a way I am glad for this fail, however, because it proved the power of the jury vote.
#2. Haba Haba by Stella Mwangi (Norway 2011)
Finished: 17th in the semi
Why it’s a KR moment: Because I was sold on Stella, and convinced Norway would continue their run of appearances in the final. But, alas, the haters were proved correct and Miss Mwangi not only missed out on a golden ticket, but missed out by a mile. Was it the legendary Curse of Number Two that was responsible?
#3. Lako Je Sve by Feminnem (Croatia 2010)
Finished: 13th in the semi
Why it’s a KR moment: Because this was my goosebumping, spine-tingling song of Year Oslo, and I thought it was going to win – and apparently assumed everyone else felt the same. I would have bet my entire stamp collection (if I had one. I totally don’t. Cough cough) on its qualification. Lucky I didn’t. By far the biggest blow of the 2010 contest for me.
#4. Era Stupendo by Paolo Meneguzzi (Switzerland 2008)
Finished: 13th in the semi
Why it’s a KR moment: My last post will tell you everything you need to know. Seriously, I’m not repeating it!
#5. San Angelos S’agapisa by Christos Mylordos (Cyprus 2011)
Finished: 18th in the semi
Why it’s a KR moment: Because I think Cyprus often gets overlooked because they are Cyprus. This remains one of my favourite songs of this year’s contest. I think it worked amazingly in the arena, and the presentation/costuming etc was on a douze point level (they may have had a crazy lady swinging a ball but at least they didn’t have a tacky oversized stapler). Your loss, Grand Final ’11 – your loss.
#6. If I Had Your Love by Selma (Iceland 2005)
Finished: 16th in the semi
Why it’s a KR moment: Because everyone expects successful former entrants to qualify, if not to do well once they have qualified (well, they used to, before a certain Israeli diva returned…but I’ll get to that). Sure, IIHYL wasn’t a patch on Selma’s 1999 runner-up All Out of Luck, but since when did a returnee’s song have to be any good to get them somewhere? Just ask Dima Bilan.
#7. This Is My Life by Anna Bergendahl (Sweden 2010)
Finished: 11th in the semi
Why it’s a KR moment: Because it (a song I know many fans detested but I love/d unconditionally) was locked in a battle for the last final spot with Denmark (a song I know many fans adored but I thought/think was/is revolting) and Denmark won. I will be forever bitter. Even though technically it was Cyprus who took the last place by qualifying 10th, but I have too much love for Jon Lilygreen and all associated with him to place blame in that direction.
#8. Ding Dong by Dana International (Israel 2011)
Finished: 15th in the semi
Why it’s a KR moment: Because I was honestly surprised when it didn’t advance. Sure, the song was generally greeted with squeals of horror (so naturally, I liked it) but this is Dana International we are referring to here people! The glamorous poster woman for women who once were men! Eurovision ROYALTY.
#9. Stop by Omar Naber (Slovenia 2005)
Finished: 12th in the semi
Why it’s a KR moment: Because it’s yet another stunning song (with another crazy lady) that was overlooked in favour of entries with angle grinders and grandmothers. Not that I don’t love both of those things.
#10. Firefly by Christina Metaxa (Cyprus 2009)
Finished: 14th in the semi
Why it’s a KR moment: Because I think it was magic. Is that a good enough reason? Again, the staging was gorgeous, and generally a lot of effort was put into the entry. So much classier than Ukraine (although I have to say, I think even the Bucks Fizz skirt-rip was classier than Ukraine…)
And don’t forget about these guys…
Mr. Nobody by Anžej Dežan (Slovenia 2006)
Vrag Naj Vzame by Rebeka Dremelj (Slovenia 2008)
Cipela by Marko Kon & Milaan (Serbia 2009)
Eastern European Funk by InCulto (Lithuania 2010)
Horehronie by Kristina Pelakova (Slovakia 2010)
So, I’ve showed you mine…what are the songs you think should have qualified in the past?
PS – In case we don’t chitchat again before Sunday, MERRY CHRISTMAS FOLKS!