Almost Had It – Acts That Didn’t Make ESC 2020 (Part 1)

I love Eurovision but sometimes I feel like Eurovision doesn’t love 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.

Sergey & Nickolay Arutyunov – “Ha, Take A Step”

Country: Armenia
Why it Didn’t Make it: I mean this is a very throw back song and it’s also extremely political so it’s not “for” Eurovision but I feel like it deserves not to just be swept under a rug because it’s a great intersection of political and dramatic music that gives me both 80s feelings and some life today feelings.

Tone Damil – “Hurts Sometimes”

Country: Norway
Why it Didn’t Make it: This just isn’t quite as polished as Attention and the subject is a little more fuzzy so I can see why it wouldn’t have excited anyone. The performance is a little strange choices (including that dress) but there’s something endearing about this ballad.

Monique – “Make Me Human”

Country: Lithuania
Why it Didn’t Make it: In any other year this would have won and we could have seen Monique’s final form at Eurovision. With every performance this got better and the song is so modern and interesting. The motif is great and her voice is so emotion-filled. This will be on my playlist for a while.

Indria – “You Will Never Break My Heart”

Country: Croatia
Why it Didn’t Make it: If you don’t like someone screaming in your face, this song is not for you. This is such a STATEMENT PIECE though and I think it could be tweaked to appeal to a wider audience. This song is such a strange animal that I go between loving and hating it from minute to minute.

Anett x Fredi- “Write About Me”

Country: Estonia
Why it Didn’t Make it: I actually didn’t like this song at all until I saw it live because there’s such a melancholy tone to her voice that sells the song. I think there’s some strange camera choices here that didn’t help but the spareness of the song makes it a hard sell for Eurovision. This style done right still has a big chance of failure at ESC which makes it a risk.

We All Poop – “All the Blood”

Country: Czech Republic
Why it Didn’t Make it: I don’t know how to explain why I like this song other than this sounds pretty much exactly what I would have liked at age 10-14, very Our Lady Peace, Matthew Good Band, alt sad emo kids. Probably best that it stay in country but I’m so glad this genre is still alive out there in the wilderness.

Rein Alexander – “One Last Time”

Country: Norway
Why it Didn’t Make it: I try not to be salty about how countries run their national finals but Norway really screwed up this year by having a voting system that broke and then, instead of doing anything that made any sense they choose random people, had them listen to the studio recordings and had them vote on that. They did not send this to the final because of that which is ridiculous since it was winning before that. Would it have won and been sent in the end? Maybe not but this’ll always be a kind of grey area where it’s entirely possible it would have been Norway’s entry. I like it quite a lot, more than Attetion.

Elis Lovrić – ” Jušto”

Country: Croatia
Why it Didn’t Make it: This song makes me feel weirdly powerful listening to it. It’s not the best sung or the best tune or anything like that but there’s something about it that so well synthesizes some feelings. Even if she is a little off-beat and off-key there is something real and honest about this expression and it makes me really love it.

TVORCHI – “Bonfire”

Country: Ukraine
Why it Didn’t Make it: Ukraine is easily the best national final entry by entry and this piece does not disappoint. While the live version is a little imperfect there’s something really genuine about this. I love the dancing, I love the rhythm, I love the little bird that pops up in the back. This wouldn’t have played well at Eurovision and it’s just too sparse to be a real bop but I wanna put it on and bop dance around in a robe so it’s accomplishing something good.

Le Vibrazioni – “Dov’è”

Country: Italy
Why it Didn’t Make it: This is distressingly classic Italian half-pop rock, half-ballad and I fall for this stuff hook line and sinker. I wish I had to live version of this because it had about 80% more gruff voice and feelings and they had an Italian sign language translator on stage. The performance was pretty by the numbers and it wasn’t going to win anything but I just like something when it’s a fantastic example of peak category whose time is over.

Mishel Dar ft. Juila Ilienko – “Tears”

Country: Moldova
Why it Didn’t Make it: This is a mess. Most of Moldova is a mess but this is from top to bottom a huge mess. AND I LOVE IT. I dare people to fight me because this is so mid 90’s empty beat-based pop music. It has nothing to say and nothing to do and there’s a cardboard car on stage and they’re pretending to drive it and it’s all a mess except…it’s not really because the vocal performances are pretty good from people who people who would are nowhere near attractive enough to even have their faces put on an album. The song is actual nonsense is on par with No Mercy’s “Where Do You Go?” but that’s my jam sometimes so this was a big thumbs up for me.

There were so many good song this year that there will be a second installment of this tomorrow!

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