My favourite songs from the 2020 national selection season (that didn’t win)

With the end of the national final season, it’s become something of a tradition for me to look back over what might have been — those songs that I took a strong liking to but didn’t ultimately end up winning the ticket for Eurovision. Some came within a whisker, others were never in contention but were songs I enjoyed. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but it comprises most of my (lost) favourites.

Estonia: Synne Valtri feat. Väliharf “Majakad”

For the second year in a row, Synne was my favourite artist at Eesti Laul. This time she brought along two sailor bears (Väliharf) with a schlagertastic bop. It was never going to win, but it did make the final and certainly was one of the more enlivening and uptempo songs and performances of the evening.

Finland: Erika Vikman “Cicciolina”

This was the selection that sent the fandom into complete meltdown. The huge fan favourite, Erika won the Finnish televote but was let down by the international juries (well, single person juries). I can’t help think the Finnish broadcaster did what they could to minimise the chances of this winning when they twigged that this was getting a big fan following. Whatever the situation, it’s not right to launch vitriol at the winning artist as some have done.

Back to the song though, and as you might have expected from a Finnish language campy uptempo song telling the story of the Italian-Hungarian porn star turned politician and feminist, Cicciolina, the staging and performance was suitably as OTT and bonkers as you could hope for. Hope we might see Erika at Eurofest in the future…

Moldova: Pasha Parfeny “My Wine”

Another national final scandal, with the decision seemingly always going to go the way of the Kirkorov-backed winner. There were two songs I loved at the Moldovan final, but I’ve picked Pasha out as he finished as runner up (so I consider to be the true winner!) and he is Eurovision veteran and that does show. A real shame this isn’t going to Rotterdam – it’s such a catchy and obviously Moldovan entry.

Norway: Rein Alexander “One Last Time”

And we’re not out of national final drama yet! Norway’s online voting system broke down at a critical point in the voting stages which meant a back up jury was used and didn’t put our Eurodance singing Viking Hodor through to the final four. Not sure if Rein would have won overall, but I am sure he would have been popular with televoters.

Poland: Albert Černý “Lucy”

Trying to represent two different countries in two successive contests, sadly Albert was runner up in the rather bizarre Sunday afternoon show that constituted the Polish national final. Another bouncy indie pop number, it would have been good to have at the contest.

Portugal: Bárbara Tinoco “Passe-Partout” 

First of two Portuguese finalists from another high quality and distinctive Portuguese national final, this Parisian-sounding ditty was the pre-show favourite and indeed won the public vote, but did not impress the regional juries. I think this was Portugal’s best shot at a decent result this year, but as long as they continue to be bold and daring in their national selection line ups, I will be happy.

Portugal: Filipe Sambado “Gerbera amarela do sul”

As I anticipated, this liltiing, meandering songs that I enjoyed even before I saw the extraordinary perfomance/costumes in the semi-final, didn’t win, though it did remarkably win the jury vote before somewhat flopping with the televote. I suspect it would have met a NQ fate if it had got to Eurovision, but it would still have been good to see Filipe take his creative and provocative concepts to a bigger stage.

Ukraine: Khayat “Call for Love”

Ukraine once again showing everyone else how to do a great ethnobanger. This was one of three songs that would have done well at Eurovision and in the end it came second in juries and televote. Live vocals perhaps a little wobbly, but it’s such a great ethnic dance track. Khayat says he won’t be trying for Eurovision again which would be a shame. He is only 22 so plenty of time to change his mind yet!

That wasn’t even a full list of songs that I liked but do tell me which were your lost favourites!

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