Hungary was the subject of my very first post in my “Top 5 songs from…” series so it is well overdue an update, not least as the site has changed WordPress theme at least twice since then and I need to update the images and page template! Aside from that, there hasn’t been any change in my Hungarian top 5, though their entries from 2017 and 2019 (both by the same artist, Joci Pápai) made me think very carefully about whether to adjust it or not.
Hungary debuted in 1994 and their first contest remains their most successful result, finishing fourth that year. They have proved quite consistent in subsequent contests, qualifying for the final more times than not (including an unbroken qualification run from 2011 to 2018). They’ve yet to crack the top 3 and challenge for the win, but they have a good set of results under their belt, and there is quality and choice in depth when it comes to picking my top 5.
5. Magdi Rúzsa “Unsubstantial Blues” (2007, 9th place, 128 points)
I’ve kept this in my top 5, in spite of pressure in my own head to replace it with either 1994, 2012 or 2019’s entries. It’s an atypical Eurovision song (something I do appreciate) and it’s a classy but laid back number, beautifully sung, and certainly merited its top 10 placing (in fact, deserved even higher). It was one of Terry Wogan’s favourites that year. Magdi was also the composer of the song and won that year’s Marcel Bezençon Award for Best Composer.
4. ByeAlex “Kedvesem (Zoohacker Remix)” (2013, 10th place, 84 points)
This gentle, relaxing indie pop song saw Hungary (perhaps surprisingly) return to the top 10 for the first time since Magdi Rúzsa and was also the first song since 2005 to be sung solely in Hungarian.
3. Freddie “Pioneer” (2016, 19th place, 108 points)
The strapping Freddie (he’s 1.93 metres tall, or 6’4″) gave me quite the hot flushes back in 2016 with his tailor-made for Eurovision power pop song. Maybe it was too obviously tailor made as it finished 19th, lower than expected but still maintained Hungary’s consistent record. Freddie has gone on to present A Dal (the Hungarian national selection) in 2018 and 2019 and is still looking very good!
2. Kati Wolf “What About My Dreams” (2011, 22nd place, 53 points)
The lovely Kati remains as my Hungarian runner up, delivering this Eurodance classic in 2011. It’s not the most sophisticated song of course, and a so-so live vocal on the night of the final meant it finished quite low on the scoreboard, but this is still a cracking dancefloor filler at any Eurovision night.
1. András Kállay-Saunders “Running” (2014, 5th place, 143 points)
An outstanding effort from Hungary, and their most successful entry since their 4th place on their 1994 debut. It’s a high quality song, high production values, great performance, worthy (and unusual subject) and even brought some drum and bass to Eurovision. András Kállay-Saunders is American-born with a Hungarian mother, while his American father was a musician and long term musical partner of Lou Reed. He’s tried to represent Hungary again since this success, though not been selected but I think he would be a popular return artist (and is easy on the eye of course!)
As always, please do comment below and let me know what your choices would be or if you agree with me!