Closing in the on the top 10, we’re really in the upper echelons of my top 41 countdown, especially given how many songs I have liked for 2020. This is the last cluster of songs by three and a very soulful theme in this trio.
#14 SWEDEN: The Mamas “Move”
This was both heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure – the Mamas, a Swedish-American gospel and soul group were best known as being the backing singers for John Lundvik at 2019 Eurovision 2019 and they were a really important part of that performance. One member has since left in the meantime, but the remaining trio entered Melfest and won (slightly against expectations of Dotter fans) but “Move” won both the international jury and Swedish public vote. It was such a nice moment to see John Lundvik hand the Melfest trophy to them.
“Move” is a really uplifting soul/gospel number with a catchy, positive, solid vocal and I have to say I think I prefer it to John Lundvik’s song (even if this is slightly lower in my ranking from last year). They’ve been so lovely in their lockdown videos and all the more gracious given that almost as soon as it was announced that this year’s songs wouldn’t be permitted next year, Christer Björkman was quick off the mark to say how sorry that they weren’t going to be at Eurovision (next year). Perhaps it’s not surprising maybe given how big Melfest is and such a fundamental pillar of Swedish TV, but it still seemed rather harsh to say it so quickly and bluntly. Who knows though, they could decide to enter and see if they can win again next year so don’t rule them out just yet.
#13 MALTA: Destiny “All of My Love”
Destiny won Junior Eurovision in 2015 and it’s always felt like a matter of when, not if, she would represent Malta at the contest proper – such was her impact as a vocalist. She won X Factor in Malta earlier in 2020 which gave her the right to go to Rotterdam. Boris Milanov was involved in the song (who has a very strong recent Eurovision pedigree) and it’s an uptempo soul/R&B track that suits her voice well and also very slick music video once again (last year’s music video was also impressive).
I thought this was very good but I wasn’t sure if it would have been in the mix for overall winner; however in various polls and particularly those outside the core fandom, this was performing up there with the other big favourites so perhaps it was closer to the top than I thought. I certainly think it’s a good base for her as she will be back next year. Wouldn’t it be great if Malta finally won that big prize they so deserve…
#12 UKRAINE: Go_A “Solovey”
After the fiasco of the 2019 selection, Ukraine came back with a more focused national selection and I think clearer expectations all round. The national final, Vidbir, had a stronger element of folk/traditional Ukrainian sounds and appropriately, electrofolk band Go_A won with their folktronica
song “Solovey”. This would have been the first Eurovision song wholly in Ukrainian.
The lead singer may only 21 but her voice really resonates – it has that distinct Eastern European “white voice” sound (which I appreciate isn’t to everyone’s taste) but this is exactly the sort of genre I like. I am pleased to say that unlike many of the countries that hold national finals, they have got their place secured for 2021. There may be a final to select their song, and recent news suggests they could be looking at English-language songs, though I would hope they will stick with singing in Ukrainian.