Almost Had It – Acts That Didn’t Make ESC 2020 (Part 2)

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.

SHIRA – “Out in Space”

Country: Estonia
Why it Didn’t Make it: Is this the perfect performance? No. Is this the strongest song for a live stage at Eurovision? Also no. However I do really like this song and added it to my playlist (well, the studio version anyway).

Valentin Uzun & Irina Kovalsky – ” Moldovița”

Country: Moldova
Why it Didn’t Make it: This is basically a “come to Moldova” travel ad. It’s barely a song and yet, I wanna get up and do the hora when I hear it and the singers are so adorable and fun? It’s unflattering that I don’t really expect a higher level of entry from Moldova but at the same time I genuinely like this song so it’s a very loving form of judgement at least?

Barbora Mochowa – “White & Black Holes”

Country: Czech Republic
Why it Didn’t Make it: I get some Enya and Lana del Ray vibes from this piece. I’m not sure what it would have looked like live, let alone on the Eurovision stage but it’s certainty a nice piece of ear candy in this form. The song unfortunately doesn’t really go anywhere or do anything making it a less likely pick but it’s nice to have something like this show up at a national final.

Pinguini Tattici Nucleari – “Ringo Starr”

Country: Italy
Why it Didn’t Make it: The live version of this was bombastic but not exactly…good. The singers voice has that classic rasp but also it’s kind of hard to take. The live orchestra makes it really fun but we know that at Eurovision it’ll just be backing music which really detracts from the feeling. Plus the song kind of depends on people understanding Italian (probably). I fell out of my seat laughing the first time I heard it but I’m not sure it has any meaning at all if you don’t know the lyrics. You can find a decent English translation here for all of us Ringo’s in the world.

Jaguar Jonze – “Rabbit Hole”

Country: Australia
Why it Didn’t Make it: I was pretty excited to see this at Australia’s national final but the first half stage show is honestly…weirdly off putting, not that it’s gross or anything but I’m not sure I understand the decisions of colors, dance, or form but I do rather like the song itself. I was a little disappointed to find that all of Jaguar Jonze’s songs sound just about the same but it’s a good sound. Thumbs up Aussies, this was a cool pick.

Egert Milder – “Georgia On My Mind”

Country: Estonia
Why it Didn’t Make it: I absolutely hated this as a studio cut but when it was live I found Egert to be surprisingly engaging. In the end this would have probably not be allowed at Eurovision anyway because it’s political in tone but if it had gone through it’s got some nice folk roots and a real earnesty about it. I don’t think I’ll be listening to it beyond 2020 but it did about as well as it could.

Simon Vadnjal – “Nisi Sam”

Country: Slovenia
Why it Didn’t Make it: I weirdly liked this song that opened EMA and then I proceeded to absolutely hate everything else. I couldn’t really tell you what I like about this song. I have 0% idea what the lyrics are and it sounds about as generically soft stadium rock as possible but Simon’s voice is really clear and I get a little boost of confidence when I hear it. Hard to be mad about any of that.

KaYra – “Alligator”

Country: Lithuania
Why it Didn’t Make it: Easily my favorite thing to have come out of Lithuania. Ever. I love this song so much. I’m hoping that Kayra comes back next year with some bigger and better but even if she just makes this one song that plus the weird performances she gave really made the whole Eurovision season worth it for me.

KHAYAT – “Call For Love”

Country: Ukraine
Why it Didn’t Make it: This is equal parts good and cringe and there’s something about that delicate balance that makes Call for Love kind of beautiful. Khayat struggles with vocals but this song is mostly about the beats and the dancing and this is easily some of the best and well synced dancing we saw all season. This came a solid second place to an actually good art piece but I think we could take a note and keep a little bit of strange joy in our lives with this song.

Erika Vikman – “Cicciolina”

Country: Finland
Why it Didn’t Make it: I still love this songs studio version but sadly Erika couldn’t quite get out of the “I want to make a dance single but I can’t quite sing it” box that a lot of people fall into. Points for whatever is happening on stage that tries to distract us from a woman who is clearly strangling every note of this wildly silly and slutty song. We’ll always have this moment to appreciate taking risks that don’t quite pay off (though Finland should have sent this anyway because she can work on the vocals and the song itself is VERY catchy).

Katya Chilly – “Піч”

Country: Ukraine
Why it Didn’t Make it: I want to ask you, did you get enough womb energy today?

This song is an art piece about how life is created in the uterus. The several seconds and darkness and stillness bursting into a yell is all intentional for setting us the “song”. I hesitate to call this a song despite its clearly a musical piece made of Ukrainian and modern folk but I didn’t really HEAR this song as I felt it travel up my arms and through my skin. I wouldn’t even say that it is good or bad, per se but it is experienced and then digested in some way. Katya’s vocalizations take us on a journey to somewhere else, to someone else. As cool as that is maybe uh, not for Eurovision.

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

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