To decide who is going to the Eurovision Song Contest, loads of countries host a national final. Some stick to one night, others have weeks of heats and semi finals to think about the right choice. In those national finals there is loads of beautiful songs and interesting performances to be found, that never make it to Eurovision in the end. Here’s 25 songs that missed a ticket to Eurovision 2020, but should not be forgotten. Just to make it clear, this list was not created to discredit the performers who won their national selections, but just to put some spotlight on those that missed out!
Let me start off with a shout out to Mariette who made it to the Melodifestivalen final for the fourth time, Laura who did another run in Eesti Laul and Tone Damli who returned to MGP in Norway. Their songs almost made this list too!
25. Bárbara Tinoco – Passe-Partout (Portugal, 2nd)
Bárbara Tinoco from Portugal managed to bring us from the streets of Paris into a jazzy night club as seen in the musical La La Land. This song would have been truly unique in its genre at Eurovision and surely would have stood out. It also helps that Bárbara’s cutesy delivery is contagious to watch and her whole performance just radiates confidence and uplifting vibes.
24. Tika – I Let My Heart Break (Finland, 3rd)
Finnish singer Tika served a traditional dramatic ballad in UMK, her country’s national final. This heartbreak anthem follows the structure of a typical Eurovision ballad with massive notes in the chorus and strings to add to the bombast. Tika sang the hell out of it live, while also being lifted in the air by a dancer for visual effect. The talent jumped out.
23. Anett x Fredi – Write About Me (Estonia, 3rd)
Anett x Fredi were the big surprise of Eesti Laul, the Estonian preselection, this year. Their stripped back, lightly jazzy ‘Write About Me’ was not one of the favourites beforehand, but with a classy and vocally outstanding performance, they managed to make it all the way to the super final with just three acts left. And they thoroughly deserved it!
22. Karelll – At Least We’ve Tried (Czech Republic, 5th)
Singer and songwriter Karelll was one of the artists trying his luck in the online national final of the Czech Republic. His classy ballad ‘At Least We’ve Tried’ did not go all the way, but the melody (somewhat reminiscent of Lord Huron’s ‘The Night We Met’ from 13 Reasons Why) is one that sticks around. I would have loved to see what he could have done with this moving song on the Eurovision stage.
21. Shira – Out In Space (Estonia, 6th)
Estonian Shira brought the mysterious and captivating tune ‘Out In Space’, which she co-wrote herself, to Eesti Laul. The track was one of the front runners in the competition and definitely one of the most interesting compositions. The live performance however serviceable, did not truly capture the essence of the song and failed to create an atmosphere on stage that did the song justice. Would still have been a quality entry in Eurovision though!
20. Jasmin Rose feat. RoxorLoops – Human (Denmark, finalist)
Denmark was forced to host their national final without an audience, because of the corona-virus outbreak, but Jasmin Rose did a good job performing the typical Eurovision dance number ‘Human’ in an empty arena. The staging could have been a bit better, but the song itself remains a bop and we can never have enough of this type of songs on the Eurovision stage anyway.
19. Raylee – Wild (Norway, 3rd or 4th)
One of the fan favorites in Norwegian MGP was Raylee, with her bop ‘Wild’, tailor made for Eurovision. Think ‘Fuego’, think ‘Replay’: contemporary pop but make it Eurovision. In all fairness, Raylee knows exactly how to sell that song with convincing vocals while also laying down a slick choreography. It is hard to say how this would have performed at Eurovision, but I’m pretty sure the fans in the arena would have gone ‘Wild’ for it.
18. KHAYAT – Call For Love (Ukraine, 2nd)
After loads of drama in Ukraine’s national final last year, which eventually led to them withdrawing, they returned with a polished show with more than one excellent choice for Eurovision. 22-year-old KHAYAT sold the hell out of his bonkers, but oh so infectious banger ‘Call For Love’. There is a deep house beat, some folky rhythms and a choreography you want to join in for in front of television. This is what Eurovision is all about!
17. Malou Prytz – Ballerina (Sweden, Andra Chansen)
Swedish pop starlet Malou Prytz participated in Melodifestivalen for the second time and this time around did not manage to reach the final, but crashed out in the second chance round. Her song ‘Ballerina’ had all the makings of a hit though, with a massive Sia-like chorus and an interesting staging with a modern dance routine. She is at least having a hit outside of the contest too and we hope to welcome her back for another try in the coming years.
16. Lake Malawi – Lucy (Poland, 2nd)
Indie pop band Lake Malawi brought the Czech Republic to an 11th place in the grand final last year and lead singer Albert Černý decided to try his luck again, this time for Poland. He participated in a talent show deciding who would represent the country and performed Lake Malawi’s tune ‘Lucy’ in the final. The song, which they apparently wrote about last year’s Eurovision host Lucy Ayoub, is an insanely catchy pop tune with a massive earworm of a chorus, much like their entry from last year. Please try again next year guys!
15. Pinguini Tattici Nucleari – Ringo Starr (Italy, 3rd)
The indie-rock band Pinguini Tattici Nucleari proved that Sanremo is not just about traditional ballads with the 3rd place and a huge hit for their infectious and swinging ‘Ringo Starr’. The upbeat tune has a chorus catchy enough to defy all language barriers and those trumpets truly are the icing on the cake. It is almost impossible to not whistle the melody for the rest of the day after you heard it once. This is one of those tunes that could have impressed both juries and televote and all demographics in Eurovision.
14. KRUTЬ – 99 (Ukraine, 3rd)
Ukrainian singer KRUTЬ brought the hypnotizing song ’99’ to Vidbir’s stage. She plays the traditional string instrument bandura (a cross between a mandoline and a harp almost) while reaching high vocal highs, with some Kate Bush-isms going on. The Ukrainian lyrics work best with the sound of the song, but she would have stood out and mesmerized in Rotterdam either way.
13. Iva – Oculis Videre (Iceland, finalist)
Fans considered the Icelandic national final a two horse race this year. They were spoiled for choice actually! The winning song ‘Think About Things’ received loads of international online hype, while many Euro fans gathered behind Iva and her classical ballad ‘Oculis Videre’. The visually impaired performer with Dutch roots mixed opera-vocals with backing vocals reminiscent of Gregorian chanting. She sang it beautifully live and the stage show was tasteful to say the least. Shame Iceland could only sent one song to the contest!
12. Francesco Gabbani – Viceversa (Italy, 2nd)
Only three years ago, Francesco Gabbani represented Italy in Eurovision with his song ‘Occidentali’s Karma’ and was the favourite to win the whole thing. He finished sixth in the end and gave Sanremo another try this year with the instantly memorable ballad ‘Viceversa’. Although the victory went to Diodato in the end, Gabbani proved once more he is a more than charismatic performer who is in the hearts of both Italians and Eurovision fans.
11. Vanessa Amorosi – Lessons of Love (Australia, 3rd)
Australian pop star Vanessa Amorosi performed at the Olympics in 2000, had international hits and made her comeback at the Australian national final with the power ballad ‘Lessons Of Love’. Her massive powerhouse vocals slayed the performance and the song brought hooks and drama at the same time. It wasn’t enough for the ticket to Rotterdam, which Montaigne grabbed, but hopefully this performance meant the start of a glorious new chapter in her career.
10. Olga Lounova – Dark Water (Czech Republic, 6th)
The Czech Republic had a very diverse online contest this year with not a single bad song to be found and Olga Lounova served us a traditional ballad with a contemporary production. The music video is gorgeous and could have inspired a stunning stage performance at Eurovision which we unfortunately will never get to see. ‘Dark Water’ might not have stood out as much as the eventual winner ‘Kemama’, but this is elegant and enchanting in every way.
09. Levante – Tikibombom (Italy, 12th)
Italian singer Levante delivered one of the absolute highlights of this year’s insanely popular Sanremo Festival with her proper pop tune ‘Tikibombom’. Her raw vocal style is glorious and her explosive delivery of the inspiring lyrics spot on. Italy had at least five songs and performances that would have done greatly at Eurovision, Levante’s being one of them, but ‘Tikibombom’ sure deserved way more than a 12th place.
08. Kristin Husøy – Pray For Me (Norway, 2nd)
18-year-old Kristin Husøy won one of the heats in Melodi Grand Prix and qualified for the final in which the jury (that had to replace the app voting which did not work) picked her as one of the top 4 acts. Her soulful pop tune ‘Pray For Me’, made a much bigger impression with the voting crowd than expected in the next round, almost stopping the clear favorite Ulrikke from winning. The song has the disadvantage that its melodies properly unfold after a few spins which isn’t ideal for the contest, but it also means I still have it on high rotation! Please try again next year, Kristin, because you would be great at Eurovision!
07. Erika Vikman – Cicciolina (Finland, 2nd)
Erika Vikman was the clear front runner in UMK, the Finnish national final. Her song ‘Cicciolina’ was by far the most streamed on both YouTube and Spotify and bookmakers gave her about 50% chance to win the ticket to Rotterdam. Her bonkers schlager-infused pop banger on which she sings she wants to live like the Italian porn star turned politician La Cicciolina ticks all the boxes. Her pink latex suit and the bears on stage did convince the Finnish voters as they awarded Vikman the most points, but the international jury placed her third, causing Aksel to win. Erika Vikman and her insanely catchy tune and campy performance was exactly what this year’s Eurovision needed and will be thoroughly missed in Rotterdam.
06. Felix Sandman – Boys With Emotions (Sweden, 7th)
Former boyband member Felix Sandman made his Melodifestivalen debut as a solo artist in 2018, finishing as the runner-up while qualifying for the final through Andra Chansen. This year he was a clear favourite, but still had to go through the second chance round with modern electro bop ‘Boys With Emotions’. He improved his performance every time and the tune about toxic masculinity deserved the big audience it received. A seventh place was lower than I hoped for, especially considering other countries might have fought over a tune like ‘Boys With Emotions’, but at least the whole journey meant another big streaming hit for Sandman.
05. Anna Bergendahl – Kingdome Come (Sweden, 3rd)
Poor Anna Bergendahl is still the only Swedish Eurovision act who failed to qualify for the grand final of Eurovision (back in 2010 with the beautiful ‘This Is My Life’), but she started a redemption story in Melodifestivalen last year, making it to the final with the outstanding pop anthem ‘Ashes To Ashes’. This year she came back with an even poppier and more modern anthem, titled ‘Kingdom Come’. With this song and its visually very appealing performance, she should easily have been able to correct 2010’s wrong at the Eurovision stage, but The Mamas stopped her from going all the way. At least she had a full redemption at Melodifestivalen with a more than deserved top 3 finish.
04. Jaagup Tuisk – Beautiful Lie (Estonia, 2nd)
Jaagup Tuisk was the talk of the town as soon as the Estonian broadcaster premiered the entries of Eesti Laul this year. Some similarities between his ‘Beautiful Lie’ and ‘When The Party’s Over’ by Billie Eilish were clear, but so was the track’s huge Eurovision potential and stunning music video. Tuisk and his dancer managed to recreate the same magic on stage with a more than decent vocal performance of a very hard song to sing. This is how you do a contemporary ballad in 2020! Estonian televoters decided to give the Eurovision ticket to singer Uku Suviste, so we’ll just have to wait for Jaagup to come back to Eesti Laul and win the whole thing next time.
03. Elvana Gjata – Me Tana (Albania, 2nd)
Albanian pop star Elvana Gjata had everything it takes to take Albania back to the highest region of the scoreboard at Eurovision. She served her deliciously catchy ethno-bop ‘Me Tana’ with more than decent vocals, strong camera appeal and eye-catching choreography to match. ‘Me Tana’ is one of those songs that is just incredibly catchy on first listen, even when not understanding a word of the lyrics. Although the international jury gave Gjata their maximum points, the Albanian jury marked her down so much that Arilena Ara was eventually crowned the winner. ‘Me Tana’ should live on at Euro Party’s for years to come.
02. Elodie – Andromeda (Italy, 7th)
Last year’s Italian Eurovision runner-up Mahmood co-wrote the tune ‘Andromeda’ for his colleague and friend Elodie. Together with producer Dardust, they created an absolute anthem that incorporates pop, hiphop, 70s disco and 90s house with a massive, soaring chorus, full of strings and beats. Elodie’s smoky vocals are even more expressive in a live setting and she sold the song with fierce energy and bucket loads of charisma. Elodie might not have made it to the top 3 of the very competitive Sanremo, but I will never not be convinced this would have slayed big time at the Eurovision stage.
01. Dotter – Bulletproof (Sweden, 2nd)
Dotter has proven herself to be one of Sweden’s most exciting pop stars for years now and after flying out in the first round Melodifestivalen 2018 (undeservedly of course) she had the courage to come back stronger with her song ‘Bulletproof’. With a contemporary, powerhouse pop anthem (somewhat reminiscent of Sia’s larger than life sound) and a stunning laser light show shining on her disco ball top, she became the hot favorite to win, but ended up in second place, with only one point less than the eventual winners The Mamas. To me, both the song and performance scream potential Eurovision winner, but as Dotterdam isn’t happening, we will never know. What we do know however, is that this is going to give her career in Sweden the big boost it has been deserving for years!