EBJ’s top 10…national finalists that should have been

Welcome to 2013, everybody!

Well, we made it through 2012 without the world or Junior Eurovision ending (I don’t know which would have been worse) and now we’re officially in Year Malmö, with 132 days to go until the first semi final. 132 doesn’t sound like much, and yet we’re still a month off from the beginning of the selection season craziness, despite December having been a lot busier than normal. With national finals (or a lack thereof) on the brain, I couldn’t help thinking of all the times I’ve wished things ended differently – that certain NF entries had been chosen as local winners over those that actually were. There’s always going to be disappointments when you follow national finals, because it won’t always be your favourite song that comes out on top. To prove that you aren’t alone in feeling this way, here’s a list of the pre-selection entries from recent years that I think should have gone to Eurovision, because I adore them and/or because they would have given their country a much better result than what was picked. Let me know what you think of the 10, and which NF songs you wish had made the big show.


#10 | Breathing by Bryan Rice (Denmark 2010)

Lost to In A Moment Like This by Chanee & N’evergreen, which came 4th

Legend has it that Chanee and N’evergreen were royally peeved not to win in Oslo. To that I say, ‘you should be bleeding grateful for what you got!’ because In A Moment Like This irritated the heck out of me and I’m surprised it scored as high as it did. Bryan Rice’s runner-up is one of my all-time favourite NF entries, is muchless clichéd, and was infinitely better performed. I know there’ll be mass disagreement on this one, but in my opinion, Breathing was one that got away.


#9 | I Don’t Wanna Dance by Nikki Ponte (Greece 2011)

Lost to Watch My Dance by Loukas Giorkas feat. Stereo Mike, which came 7th

Yes, I know Greece won its 2011 semi over eventual winner Azerbaijan. And yes, I also know that Watch My Dance went on to make the top 10, which is nothing to sniff at. But did anyone see that coming? Very few of us ‘got’ the fusion of traditional drama and rap put forward by Loukas and Stereo Mike, with more than one aficionado declaring it the worst Greek entry ever. On the contrary, Canadian-born Nikki Ponte was the favourite of the national final, and we all ‘got’ her infectious dance track with the ironic title. I thought she had the NF all sewn up, and I still think she would have been a deserving winner.


#8 | Todo Está En Tu Mente by Coral (Spain 2008)  

Lost to Baila El Chiki-Chiki by Rodolfo Chikilicuatre, which came 16th

Poor Coral’s national final experiences have seen her entries pipped by lesser songs on multiple occasions. For this list I’m casting aside her 2nd place to Daniel Diges in 2010 to focus on the travesty that was 2008. For her divalicious self to lose to an unfunny comedian with a toy guitar and a song only pleasurable in the guilty sense was appalling. With this and all the Spanish missteps I’m yet to discuss, I have to wonder if this country has any desire to win Eurovision. Was Pastora Soler not encouraged to lose in Baku?


#7 | Leading Me On by Hyrise (United Kingdom 2004)

Lost to Hold On To Our Love by James Fox, which came 16th 

On the odd occasion that the UK doesn’t pick something downright hideous as their entry, it seems they go for something terminally boring (Blue are excluded from both of those categories). Hold On To Our Love was bland to boot, unlike the runner-up in Making Your Mind Up that year – the boyband-tastic Leading Me On, performed by boyband (no kidding) Hyrise. They could sing, they could dance (albeit goofily) and one of them would go on to be a movie star and my future husband. Plus, the song had the top 10 potential of Russia’s similar entry in 2002. I will never get over this loss.


#6 | Volver by Auryn (Spain 2011)

Lost to Que Me Quiten Lo Bailao by Lucia Perez, which came 23rd

Had Auryn won the Spanish final two years ago, we would have seen a Junior Eurovision participant (Dani Fernandez) as a main artist on the ESC stage for the first time. That, and the fact that their song is one of many epic Spanish ballads to have missed out on the golden ticket, makes it all the more irritating that Lucia Perez’ cruise-ship cheesefest won instead. Que Me… did not get anywhere at the big show, despite Lucia grinning as hard as possible in an attempt to give the impression that she loved her song and had not fought to sing another one. Volver had the goods to do so much better.


#5 | Banjo Laura by Lauris Reiniks (Latvia 2011)

Lost to Angel in Disguise by Musiqq, which failed to qualify

This was the ultimate one that got away of 2011, and a lot of NF followers have not forgiven Musiqq for beating Lauris (not that it’s their fault). The issue was that his staging – the choreography and such – didn’t work, at least not by the time the Latvian final rolled around. But when you think about it, Angel in Disguise wasn’t the best song to stage either, and there’s no doubt Lauris could have reworked the performance aspects of Banjo Laura for Eurovision. Having done so, I think he would have qualified easily.


#4 | Home by The Colors and Ilira (Switzerland 2011)

Lost to In Love For A While by Anna Rossinelli, which came last

Just making the final was a big achievement for the Swiss in Düsseldorf, so I wouldn’t say they made the wrong choice in picking Anna as their representative. But for me, Home will always be one of those pre-selection songs that would have been magical on the Eurovision stage. It would have been an unusual choice, what with Albanian Ilira Gashi fronting the group and singing in both Albanian and Swiss-German; but in terms of the beauty of the song and the presentation at the final, it would have been an attention-grabbing one too.


#3 | Amante De La Luna by Melody (Spain 2009)

Lost to La Noche Es Para Mi by Soraya, which came second-last

I can understand Spain’s mentality in sending Soraya – to all intents and purposes, La Noche Es Para Mi should have raked in the points. But, as is often the case, a woeful performance put paid to any chance of a commendable result. Had she been chosen, Melody wouldn’t have let anyone down in that respect, and with a song more ethnic but just as catchy and dance-worthy as LNEPM, the top 10 would have been well within reach


#2 | Hinterm Ozean by Carolin Fortenbacher (Germany 2008)

Lost to Disappear by No Angels, which came joint last

Germany had a strong national final in Year Belgrade, but unfortunately decided to send the one song from the lineup that was more likely to bomb live than not. We don’t know which of the others just lost to Disappear, but there’s a good chance it was Carolin’s super-strong ballad, which would have been hard pressed to do worse than equal last. As countries like Estonia are well aware, sometimes a native-language ballad is a better way to go.


#1 | Or by Chen Aharoni (Israel 2011)

Lost to Ding Dong by Dana International, which failed to qualify

In my mind, there is no greater contrast between what was and what could have been than between Or and Ding Dong. Many fans had big expectations of Dana International before the Düsseldorf contest, but let’s face it – that was purely because she was Dana International. Her song, catchy as it was, was way too been-there-done-that to succeed. Chen’s 4th-placed Kdam entry, on the other hand, was an ethno-pop masterpiece of epic proportions, and I am 99.99% certain it would have made the final and rivaled Azerbaijan for the win. If Israel wanted a great result in 2011, then they made a mistake bigger than Linda Wagenmakers’ circus dress. 


So…first thoughts of 2013??


16 Responses to “EBJ’s top 10…national finalists that should have been”

  1. nprovenghi271

    More lists! The Germanic side of me is LOVING this, even if my Mediterranean roots are a tad bored, the Dutch in me is far louder. 🙂

    Anyway, “In a Moment Like This” was my first schlager ever (because I discovered Eurovision right after the 2010 final), so it will always hold a special place in my heart, even if Bryan Rice had a poppier (but equally good) song. The Greek final for Düsseldorf was entirely boring, but I ended up coming to like Loukas’s bits of “Watch My Dance” enough to relax and declare it the best of the bunch, especially after that performance of my pre-show favorite “It’s All Greek to Me.”

    My rant on Spain 2008 needs its own paragraph. HOW on earth did Coral lose to the “chiki-chiki?!” In my opinion, Coral had a better gay schalger anthem than alien Perreli and would’ve rocketed up the scoreboard! Her live performance and staging concept was infinitely better than Charlotte and even more infinitely better than Chikilacuatre. Now, I’m not saying that Coral was the only thing that was better than the “chiki-chiki.” For example, Spain could’ve sent a mooing cow or an old, rancid teacher scratching her nails on a chalkboard and come home from Belgrade with a better song and result. Hideous.

    The UK needs some serious help. The fact that they rejected Hyline is just one reason. Hopefully with a new NF this year, they’ll finally hit their stride. Preferably with something in the style of Calvin Harris, but that probably won’t happen. I actually liked Lucía Perez! Maybe it was just because I’m naïve, but she was in my top 10 for Düsseldorf. Needless to say, I liked her more. I can see why “Banjo Laura” was a fan favorite, but I honestly like Musiqq more. The same with “Home” in Switzerland and Melody in Spain… and Carolin in Germany (yes, I liked “Disappear.” Please don’t torture me!). However, the fact that Israel sent that dated drag queen Dana over something less gay and more schalger is, for lack of a better word, insulting. They should be ashamed.

    As for my personal list of NFs gone wrong, Hungary’s “A Dal” from 2012 tops my list, mainly because Fábian Juli with Zoohacker AND Heincz Gábor had better songs than Compact Disco’s boring piece of electro-pop rock, and so did Sinplus, for that matter, which makes Switzerland’s non-qualification in Baku twice as disheartening. There’s also Iceland’s 2012 selection (that I won’t even attempt to spell) that left out Regina Ósk’s amazing song, which was amazing already but was made even better by having Regina, who is half responsible for my favorite ESC song EVER, sing it and Blár Ópal’s killer summer rap song in Icelandic. Also from 2012, there was Ultra Naté’s very gay schlager anthem “My Love” that tried in Swiss broadcaster SF’s open selection and is my favorite example of the genre. On a more personal note, Danny Saucedo’s “Amazing” from MF 2012 is still my favorite over doubly victorious Loreen, even if I like Loreen’s other work more than Danny’s. Finally, from this year, there’s Lithuania, which I’ve bashed far enough already. I’ll just leave it at: Gerai Gerai & Miss Sheep. That’s all that needs to be said.

    All this reminiscing on NFs makes me sort of melancholy that I discovered Eurovision just as broadcasters began switching to internal selections. I’ve missed so much! Especially Slovakia, Poland, the UK, Spain etc. I hope that rumour circulating from the EBU that countries have to hold some sort of NF is true. 😦

    This comment is far too long so I’ll just end it here. I hope we get more (and better) entries for 2013 soon! And Happy New Year! 🙂


    • nprovenghi271

      I’d normally forgo adding onto a comment but I can’t believe I forgot the biggest NF travesty of all! The farce of Melodifestivalen 2009 when the, very shrill, “voix” won out over the absolutely BRILLIANT Caroline af Ugglas!


      • Jaz

        I’m sorry, but I did not like this song at all!! And I hated Malena’s too. Måns or EMD should have won.


      • nprovenghi271

        </3 😦

        jk. I listened to EMD's song and was disappointed. I didn't really like it. However, maybe we can unite over Måns. I'll have to listen to it.


    • Jaz

      You’re…bored?? Somewhere deep down?? =””””(

      Over it. Anyway, yeah, Loukas’ parts of Watch My Dance are the best, but I did end up making peace with Stereo Mike. Who is apparently a university lecturer?? Random.

      It looks like everyone on the planet except the Spanish agree that Coral was robbed in 08. But I’m not sure the rancid teacher would have done better than Rodolfo, who did too well IMO.

      I find it hard to believe that the UK will actually hold a national final, unless it’s a dodgy open-air one at a carnival or something, like Sweden do for JESC. I just don’t think it would generate a worthwhile viewing audience. If they put a bit more effort into an internal selection (going for someone unknown but genuinely talented, perhaps) they could do alright. There is so much good music in the UK. It’s such a shame none of it makes it to Eurovision these days (cough exceptforblue cough).

      I will not torture you for liking Disappear. I actually like it too *blushes* But the NF was SO strong in Germany that year, and that song was not half as good live as Carolin’s, or Marquess’s for instance (another favourite of mine).

      Don’t get me wrong, I adore Dana International. She’s pretty much the god/goddess of this religion we call Eurovision. But she was the wrong choice in 2011. I swear Chen could have beaten Ell and Nikki.

      Agree on Iceland last year (!) but only because Mundu Eftir Mer was rewritten into English. If it’d stayed in Icelandic, I would have loved it more than Regina’s song and a teensy bit more than Blar Opal’s. I think we’ve had a conversation about Icelandic-English entries before…

      Ultra Nate not making the Swiss final was a TRAVESTY. Loveddd that song. Even though it was a bit dated in sound, very 1990s.

      You should go back through some of the NFs past that you missed, just for another enjoyable time-waster.

      Happy NY to you too =D


      • nprovenghi271

        I heard about that on Eurovision Lemurs. I find it a tad of a stretch, but you never know.

        He should’ve had nul points. The Polish, British, German and other songs that finished below him were multiple times better than his. Especially the French song.

        lol, I love how we’re comparing the big Eurovision attitude of the UK to the Swedes effort put into the JUNIOR contest. 🙂 Anyway, griping without a solution seems a little short sided to me. I had an idea that I posted over on ESC Insight that I’ve copied verbatim. “First, have each of artists create a song that fits the rules for Eurovision. They’ve already been picked by experts and, at least to my ears, are all pretty good. This serves as an ideal début opportunity for these up and comers. Then, post all 15 songs online and have voters choose the top six, similar to what’s being planned in Germany. After that, have a show where the final six compete for a spot at Eurovision, as well as a massive PR push by the BBC. If they replicate the machine they put behind Jade Ewen in 2009, I think that, not only will the BBC have a fighting chance in Malmö, the heavy negative stigma associated with Eurovision in the British media would be, hopefully, removed.”

        I do like the song, but No Angels slaughtered it live. Carolin would’ve been a safer choice and I will never argue that fact.

        He probably could’ve. Honestly, I’m curious as to what finished between him and Dana, because you said he finished fourth.

        We have, but I still would’ve liked those two entries more than what actually ended up representing (and crashing) for Iceland in Baku. Even in English.

        Well, that’s the hot sound! A few people are even saying “Euphoria” has a pseudo-1990s sound.

        Oh I would, but I don’t have the time to waste! 😦


        • Jaz

          Re: Chen, the songs that finished between him and Dana were both ballads sung by women. They weren’t bad (Kdam was generally strong that year) but ‘Or’ was so much better. If only I could go back in time and rig the result…


        • Jaz

          I don’t think so, but it will qualify for another list I have coming up…*mysterious eyebrow raise* Epic song.


      • nprovenghi271

        I’ll have to check the second and third places of kdam 2011, now won’t I? I hope I can find them. This year, I’m really excited about the Israeli selection. It seems like they’re trying to do MF in one week, which is admirable (and easier for me!). Can’t wait!

        Oooh, intriguing! I’ll be waiting anxiously. 🙂


        • Jaz

          2nd was ‘It’s My Time’ by Idit Halevi (nothing like Jade Ewen/ALW’s) and 3rd was ‘Just Because of Love’ by Adi Cohen, in case you couldn’t find them. They should be all over Youtube. I personally liked them, not half as much as ‘Or’ of course, but I would understand if you didn’t. Ballads are veeeery subjective. Probably no more subjective than anything else, but hey, it’s 1.30am and I’m just writing stuff 😛

          Bring on the Israeli Melfest!!


  2. Annika

    Hi Jaz! Long time not seen…
    I hope you had a merry Christmas and that you’re having a good 2013 so far 😀 I think you should add Nebo by Nina Badrić and Cyprus JESC 2003 to your Christmassy playlist btw. I’ve been downloading a bunch of Christmas albums and songs by ESC and JESC related albums but I haven’t had time to create a playlist, maybe next year. About this year’s songs I’m still in a “meh, whatever” mood, but to be honest I haven’t given any of the songs a chance to grow 😛 On the contrary, I’ve decided I’m supporting Macedonia because Vlatko Lozanoski *insert a million little hearts here*. It’s probably a bit too early for the Skopje 2014 shirts, but my hopes for Macedonia are so HIGH right now xD I loved your random europop list, I’m pretty sure I have “Dragostea din tei” on mine too. And I really enjoyed Korabliki, so thanks for introducing me to that song. I wanted to post my list in a comment, but I realized I had too many things to say, so would you mind if I reply to that post in a post on my blog? I hope you say you don’t mind 😛
    Anyway, about this list: totally agree on “Breathing”. I was supporting Nikki Ponte in the Greek nf in 2011 (and not for patriotic reasons P ) but I grew to love “watch my dance” so I’m glad she didn’t go. But she should try again…soon
    “Todo está en tu mente” YES totally agree! This should have gone to Belgrade but instead they sent the worst Eurovision song EVER ugh. I don’t remember having heard that UK 2004 song, but yes, it’s better than the thing they sent. Auryn..ugh no. As much as I dislike “que me quiten…” I prefer it to any of Auryn songs and this song in particular is so cheesy and no, just no.
    I think I said earlier how I’m still not over Banjo Laura not winning in 2011. It would have been my overall favorite that year..bwaaa 😥 Switzerland 2011, I loved both the winner and this one..it was such a strong NF that year…Spain 2009..Well, I was totally for Soraya. I think Melody would have done better, but I’m so sick of the flamenco stereotype of Spain in Eurovision. But yeah, this song was good. Germany 2008 yes yes and yes! Totally agree again…and on Israel 2011 too
    I think I made a list of my favorite national finalists recently? I’ll add that as much as I love “Legenda” I think Poland would have done better with Uwięziona in 2010…I feel like a traitor now 😦


    • Jaz

      Hellloooo!! I hope you also had a Merry Xmas. I know you had a sunny one =) As did I, but that was only coz we were in the midst of a truly disgusting heat wave that has only just ended. I’m guessing the Mexico sun was more pleasant??

      I was going to put Nebo on my playlist and then I thought it maybe sounded too dark to be festive. But the bells, or whatever they are (the dongs?) are Christmassy. But Theodora actually fits really well. Dammit.

      So I know absolutely nothing about Vlatko Lozanoski, except that there’s quite a big age gap between him and Esma. Kind of like Ell and Nikki XD But you know what you’re talking about, so if he’s promising, I’m excited!! I really want Macedonia to do well. Better than last year, which was actually quite impressive for them.

      Jaz – spreading the Korabliki love since 2013. Haha =) Glad you liked it. The whole BiS album is awesome. Some of it is Dima Bilan-ish, which is maybe the reason. Russian pop is so goooood.

      I don’t mind at all if you do your list on your blog. Looking forward to reading it.

      I agree about Watch My Dance. At first I only liked Loukas’ parts, but it was definitely a grower. And it made the top 10, so it can’t have been that bad. We now know that Greece isn’t untouchable, so we can’t just say that happened coz it was Greece.

      So if Baila El Chiki-Chiki is the worst ESC song ever…is it worse than Sweetie Baby?? Sorry to remind you of that wonderful, wonderful song, but I’m curious.

      Nooo! Auryn were amazing!! Well, you are allowed an opinion I suppose *sighs*. You’ve got to admit having a JESC artist at ESC (and not just hovering in the background) would have been cool. I also liked Melissa’s Sueños Rotos that year, so I wish she had’ve won over Lucia too.

      I think Marcin will forgive you!!


      • Annika

        I enjoyed my sunny Christmas. It was a big change from the usual hyper cold snowy ones. I know white Christmas sounds and looks pretty, but when the sidewalks are completely buried in snow it’s not pretty anymore and it’s hell when you need to go out 😛 Anyway,
        On MK 2013, you’re right about the age gap xD But when Esma was 59 she recorded a song with Toše (who was then 21) and I think the song really works, and since Vlatko has a similar style to that one of Toše maybe their ESC entry will be similar to this song? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ga2y4U_lQ8M
        I wouldn’t mind if it was 😛
        Yes, I do think Baila el chiki chiki is worse than sweetie baby. At least the Armenian kids were taking it seriously -_-
        I agree, it would be awesome to have a jesc participant in ESC. I hope to see Nevena Božović in the Serbian nf this year and hopefully in JESC.
        I’ll post my list soon..hopefully tomorrow.

        PS: Is stereo Mike a uni lecturer? Seriously? xD That’s the weirdest thing I’ve read since I read that Mihai Trăistariu used to be a math teacher before he became a singer xD


        • Jaz

          Glad you enjoyed Xmas. I guess most people who’ve grown up with sunny ones wants white ones, and vice versa. I still think I would prefer crappy snow over hideous heat, but who really knows…

          OMG!! Sweeetie Baby – 1, Baila ECC – 0.

          I can’t confirm that Stereo Mike is a uni lecturer, but I did hear it from a semi reliable source. And HAHAHA to Mihai as a math teacher!! I wonder if he would spontaneously break out into song when he was taking his students through algebra, or something.



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