Almost Had It – Acts That Didn’t Make ESC 2019

I love Eurovision but sometimes I feel like Eurovision doesn’t like me because every year I end up with a playlist of songs from the various national finals that I would have loved to see on the Eurovision stage that didn’t quite make the cut. These are randomized so there’s no rhyme or reason to the order here but enjoy my list of rejected songs that pretty much wouldn’t have won at Eurovision but for one reason or another I still like them.

Bella Santiago – “Army of Love”

Country: Romania
Why it Didn’t Make it: I’m a really big fan of Santiago, such a big fan that she appeared on my list last year when her song didn’t go to Eurovision. “Army of Love” is such a banger you might wonder what went wrong but between poor costume choice for the final, singing in Filipino for the rap, and the general set up of the national final in Romania it’s not too shocking this only went to third. For me the problem isn’t the song or Santiago necessarily that had it lose to “On a Sunday” but more that this is its final form. It’s already perfected and its probably not enough to win as it is now, which leads voters to stray.

Lorena – “Tower of Babylon”

Country: Croatia
Why it Didn’t Make it: This is absolutely the mid-2000s Eurovision peak everything. This is basically a well sung ancestor to 2005’s Eurovision winner “My Number One”. The problem here is mostly that while she is giving me every Wonder Woman vibe on Earth, she’s alone on stage with anything to play against and it kind of kills the vibes. If you can imagine two or three more women dressed in costume all dancing with her this could easily have been a qualifier for Croatia.

Soroka-Voroka – “Potato aka Бульба”

Country: Belarus
Why it Didn’t Make it: This song didn’t even go to the finals in Belarus and that’s such a shame since so many people will live their lives without the definitive song about potatoes. This is a shitpost but also, it’s amazing. If you ask me what makes the difference between a bad song and a good song at Eurovision, I’d say 90% of that is conviction – if you believe your own bullshit, everyone else will too. And these men? They believe. They believe so much that this song is on my playlist and it makes me just break out into a full happy dance whenever it comes up. Looking at their faces it’s absolutely clear to see they are both having the time of their lives. No fakery needed.

Stefan – “Without You”

Country: Estonia
Why it Didn’t Make it: This is Stefan’s second year at Eesti Laul and while this song is a bit on the tepid side I actually liked it quite a lot. Better than his entry from last year so if he comes back in 2020 maybe it’ll be his year. This was the runner up and I think it’s just because the track has a bit of a low energy compared to “Storm”. This is such a modern track though that it still surprised me that it wasn’t selected. I won’t be listening to “Storm” beyond Eurovision but this song is going to be on my playlist for a while.

René – “Ne Poveš”

Country: Slovenia
Why it Didn’t Make it: There’s something about this that just pings my 90s nostaglia in the right way but I get it, if that’s not your flavor there’s not a lot else that’s going really right in this piece. The dancing is strange, the purple track suit is…a choice, the hair screams “I’m a huge douche”, and the song is basically just happening but it just hits me in the right head space. I think there’s room for this is my heart.

Dziļi Violets feat. Kozmens – “Tautas dziesma”

Country: Latvia
Why it Didn’t Make it: Latvia are cowards.

AUGH. Fine. More objectively this is probably impossible to describe as a song and looking at a translation isn’t going to help you. There are a lot of moving parts in this performance that make it incredibly fun and wild but the actual song itself…is…well, it’s not quite a folk song and its almost kind of not quite a song. I understand you want to send a song that represents your country well and Latvia could do a lot worse than “That Night” but I would have really loved to see this on the Eurovision stage confusing people tuning in for the first time.

Electric Fields – “2000 and Whatever”

Country: Australia
Why it Didn’t Make it: When the guys from Wiwibloggs reviewed this song they summed it up far better than I could: “this song is better than Eurovision.” This song has such an electric energy to it. I loved this song on first listen and then proceeded to have that love multiplied many times over upon seeing the performance. It sold me hook, line, and sinker well before the singer snatched his own wig. In a jam packed national final Australia sent a song that was a mash up of tropes but ultimately is safe and easy for a large audience to consume instead of something free and beautiful like “2000 and Whatever” and I understand why but it is a shame because this song is one of the few out of all 459 entries I heard throughout the national final season that deserves the eyes and ears of over 200 million people.

Freedom Jazz – “Cupidon”

Country: Ukraine
Why it Didn’t Make it: My gosh this is just cute as sin. The joke here is that the song it was beaten out by is basically the polar opposite (even if it won’t be going to Eurovision either). This song is a little too repetitive and can get on the nerves if played more than once in a day but it’s just such a fun and effervescent piece I think Ukraine could have done a lot worse than this in a sea of great songs.

Luka X – Brutalero (Balkanero)

Country: Croatia
Why it Didn’t Make it: This is a journey. Visual artist, almost singer, and speaker of a mash up gibberish of Serbo-Croatian and Spanish this is one of the most unique entries. The yellow suit reminds me of a kids show host, the stage performance is Andy Warhol meets Andy Kaufmann and as much as that works for me, it’s not going to work for everyone. Or most people. Absolutely worth experiencing at least once even if I feel like I might be missing some deeper political context.

That’s all for this year, check back in next year where more things I love don’t win the national final and I’m forced the lay on the floor and cry!

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