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??