Welcome to the first set of entries in my Eurovision 2020 countdown. I’m batching these lower places songs into one video/post rather than separately. It’s harsh enough the songs won’t be going to Eurovision let alone me spending lots of time saying why they are near bottom of my list!
#41 FINLAND: Aksel “Looking Back”
One has to start somewhere in these countdowns, and it’s Finland who gets the wooden spoon this time. Aksel seems like a nice fellow, and it’s not a bad song as such, just somewhat bland, forgettable and similar to other songs that have come before.
#40 POLAND: Alicja “Empires”
She would have been one of the youngest singers in the 2020 contest and she certainly has a powerful voice. This American-style ballad with the big long dramatic notes being favoured over the melody (in my opinion) doesn’t do it for me I’m afraid.
#39 MOLDOVA: Natalia Gordienko “Prison”
The Moldovan national final was frustrating – there were at least two much better (and very Moldovan) songs that could or should have won, but there was a certain inevitability that this Kirkorov-backed and cowritten effort would win (an it duly did) despite a less than stellar live performance. There are some parts I like – some of the instrumentation – but this does feel both dated and generic and Natalia’s previous foray at Eurovision in 2006 was far better.
#38 SLOVENIA: Ana Soklič “Voda”
Very much a typical (and slightly old fashioned) big Balkan ballad. No harm in that as many eurofans love that genre and Ana has a powerful voice and uses that to effect in the chorus. Good to see it being sung in a native language as well. Just not going to set my world on fire that’s all!
#37 ARMENIA: Athena Manoukian “Chains on You”
This was an utter mess when it won the Armenian national final, and the heavily produced revamp remains a hot mess in my view. Armenia so often blend modern music with Armenian themes but this felt like it’s just cheap duplicate or imitation of this genre. That said, it can be annoyingly earwormy!
#36 FRANCE: Tom Leeb “Mon Alliée (The Best In Me)”
Sad to place France so low as generally I have really liked French entries of recent years. Tom seems a lovely guy with a smooth voice, and it was a shame that so much criticism was made when this was first released. Tom though didn’t seem phased by this and released a new official version of the song (after the cancellation!) which marks an improvement on the original. It’s more acoustic (suiting Tom) and has more French in (also good) but it still can’t overcome that this sounds (and is) like a very generic Melfest midtempo ballad (and no surprising given John Lundvik and Thomas G:Son were cowriters).
On reflection, I think my placings 41 up to 37 are quite interchangeable – Armenia could have been my last place as easily as Finland (and in fact Poland was my last place for some time before I decided to swap it).