The nearly songs: national finals 2019 best of the rest part 1

So we’ve just had our first weekend in what feels like weeks where there has been no national final, and with all the remaining songs released last week and a gap until the preview shows/concerts begin, it’s a good time to look at the “nearly songs” – the songs that would have been good Eurovision entries, and in some cases, preferable to the one chosen, or simply just other songs that I liked.

(Part 2 of best of the rest is also available).

Australia: Eurovision – Australia Decides

For the first time since they entered Eurovision, Australia held a live national final. It was a vibrant, energetic and enthusiastic show, though I think you could have cut out a lot of presenter talking and the backstory/filler before each of the ten entries. The winner was determined by jury/televote – but of all the national finals, this was the one I felt most distraught that my favourite didn’t win, finishing in the runners up position.

Electric Fields – “2000 and Whatever”

Oh this was so so good, but I think the production effort (and favourable place in running order) went to the the eventual winner rather than Electric Fields. Without a doubt, this song by the Aboriginal Australian electronic music duo would have been my favourite Australian Eurovision entry had it won the selection.

Czech Republic: Eurovision Song CZ

The Czech Republic achieved their best result ever last year using a national selection and they went with that again this year though this time with a mix of international jury and an online public vote. Next year they will move to an televised final. My pick/favourite was Barbara Mochowa’s Lana del Rey-esque entry, though I don’t dislike their actual winner.

Barbora Mochowa – True Colors

Same title as the famous Cyndi Lauper song, but it’s shades of Lana Del Rey you’ll get from this dreamy number. Not sure it would have got far in the contest, but enjoyable.

Denmark: Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2019

DMGP reached its 49th year though it wasn’t a classic to be fair. Plenty of pleasant songs but few standing out. My favourite sadly missed out, agonisingly finishing as runner up (to a song I definitely didn’t have as one of my favourites!)

Julie & Nina – “League of Light”

Easily my stand out from DMGP this year was this Scandipop song from two singers of Greenlandic origin and who would have brought Greenlandic to the contest as some of this song is in that language.

Estonia: Eesti Laul 2019

After a wobbly couple of semi-finals, I thought the final was of decent quality, something we’ve come to expect it of Eesti Laul. The eventual winner was overall my pick as well but there were several songs I’d have enjoyed going to Eurovision

Sünne Valtri – “I’ll Do It My Way”

I make no apology for this – it wasn’t the best song in the final, but it’s a great piece of enjoyable classic schlagerpop (and was composed by Sünne as well as sung by her). I was surprised (but delighted) it made the final.

France: Destination Eurovision 2019

In its second year, France’s Destination Eurovision served up some quality songs in both the semi-finals and the final (though not necessarily quality vocals from all the artists). The winner won by a landslide with a huge public vote, but I’ve pulled out a couple of the other finalists I enjoyed.

Chimène Badi – “Là-haut”

Chimène had a string of moderately successful singles and albums through the mid-2000s, and I really enjoyed this well performed and sung pop song (and came second in the televote and third overall in the final).

Silvàn Areg – “Allez leur dire”

I thought I would include this fun and oh-so-French song that would have been unlikely to have done well at Eurovision itself but was great to see something so French in their national final.

Iceland: Söngvakeppnin 2019

So while the winners of the fourteenth edition of Söngvakeppnin have made many headlines (the techno punk rock BDSM band Hatari), my best of the rest goes to the lovely Hera Björk who represented Iceland in 2010.

Hera Björk – “Moving On”

This was a big classic Eurovision power ballad, complete with big key change and some powerful vocals from Hera.

Italy: Sanremo Music Festival 2019

The winner of Italy’s long running music festival (now in its 69th year) who will be representing Italy at Eurovision this year is firmly in my favourites for the contest but there were a good few songs alongside it that I enjoyed, not least the one I’ve selected which would have been a real treat to have at the contest.

Arisa – “Mi sento bene”

Arisa is a veteran of Sanremo, winning the newcomers’ section in 2009, was a runner up of the main contest in 2012 and then won in 2014. Sadly that year Italy decided to go with an internal selection for Eurovision rather than doing the usual of offering the Sanremo winner that opportunity. I think this song would have worked really well at the contest – it’s so happy and bouncey and empowering.

Latvia: Supernova 2019

I have to confess I watched very little of the Supernova shows, though suffice to say neither my favourite nor second favourites were successful (I think it was that weekend when a whole load of my favourites failed to win in national finals.

Markus Riva – “You Make Me So Crazy”

So it had to be Markus for my choice from Latvia. He’s tried so many times now to represent Latvia at Eurovision, and this seemed to be one of his best chances with a relatively weak field and an uptempo song. But it wasn’t to be (again) though I feel in a year with so many male solo acts at the contest he wouldn’t have made the grand final. But it would have been nice for him to actually go at least!

So that concludes the first part of my favourites from national finals that didn’t make it through – I will have nine more songs in part 2 coming up soon!

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