Top 10: Best last-place songs in ESC history

Well, Eurovision fans, what better way to spend a Monday evening than to wind our way through another ESC Views Top 10? Tonight, I’m going to follow a similar theme to Rory’s recent “worst winners” article, but turn it on it’s head slightly. Put simply, I’ll be looking at what we at ESC Views consider to be Eurovision’s “best losers” – those criminally underrated songs which somehow finished in last place, when we believed they were deserving of so much more! Got ideas already? Well read on to discover if your favourites are in our list!

One of Finland's many last-place finishes, how high will Waldo's People reach on our countdown?
One of Finland’s many last-place finishes, how high will Waldo’s People reach on our countdown?

So, the pretence of this one is pretty straightforward, but just to run through it anyway: we have selected, from the sixty-odd songs which have suffered the ignominy of coming last at Eurovision, the ten songs which we think deserved it least – in other words, the ten “best losers” in Eurovision history. We have focused on the songs which finished last in the finals only, as we intend to do a top 10 best non-qualifiers in future, which would obviously encompass the eighteen entries which have ended up in last place in the semi-finals too. All clear? Awesome. Here we go then!

10 – Ryan Dolan – Only Love Survives (Ireland 2013)

We begin tonight’s top 10 with the most recent last-place entries at ESC: Ryan Dolan from Ireland. Now, I’m sure that back in May, as soon as the running order for the final was announced, not a single one of us would have predicted that this song – an admirably performed and bang-up-to-date club number which had the added bonus of running last and following a decidedly bland and overcalculated Georgian effort – to be the one which would end up right at the bottom. But it did. And I’m really not sure why. What was it about this song that didn’t quite connect with the pan-European audience? I have no idea – which is why Ryan makes an honorary appearance in today’s top ten, I guess. Because “Only Love Survives” was most certainly worthy of more than 26th!

9 – Waldo’s People – Lose Control (Finland 2009)

Ah, Finland. Hey guys. Without a doubt one of my favourite ESC countries, yet they have been notoriously hit and miss over the years. Which has resulted in them hitting rock bottom no less than NINE times, people. Ouch. This, their most recent wooden spoon, was another one which was tipped for a decent result, and, like Ireland 2013, managed to plummet from a supposedly strong running order position. And, again, similar to Ryan Dolan, I for one reckon it was entirely undeserved. I mean, yes, “Lose Control” was never gonna win, but the song was definitely strong enough to warrant a Top 15 placing, right? If it’s any consolation, however, Waldo’s People notched up a total of 22 points, which is the highest score amassed by a last-placed song in Eurovision history – if we exclude the results between 1971 and 1973 whereby the voting system wouldn’t allow for a song to score less than 32 points. So I guess *technically*, they are ESC’s most successful losers.. but not in our top 10…

8 – Knut Anders Sørum – High (Norway 2004)

Finland have 9 last-places. Norway, not to be outdone by their Nordic neighbours, however, have an *ahem* “impressive” ELEVEN last-place finishes to their name. And one of the most recent ones, “High” from 2004, has made it to #8 in our countdown. Now, the field was a pretty strong one in Istanbul, and this mid-tempo, radio-friendly pop-rock number from Knut Anders Sørum was by no means one of the strongest. But it was one of those songs that it’s hard to dislike, the ones that finally catch your attention in the first week of June, when you’re listening back to all the entries trying to fight back your PED, and there’s that one song that jumps out at you as “woah, why didn’t I realise how awesome this was before now!?” So, his choice of costume and the overall presentation may have been more than a slight faux pas, but the song remains a very credible and catchy effort… after a while, anyway.

7 – Isis Gee – For Life (Poland 2008)

Now, for this one, I am going to struggle to sing its praises, as it was selected and endorsed by Rory in our compilation process for this list, and I have never really liked it, both as a song and a performance. But, when searching for the merits of “For Life” – to date, Poland’s last appearance in a Eurovision final – I guess we can definitively say that it didn’t deserve to end up in its eventual shared last place. It didn’t deserve much higher than that, but still.. there was a lot worse in that final. *cough* Azerbaijan *cough*. Isis certainly poured her heart and soul (and her tangoed tits) into this performance, composing the music and lyrics, and belting out an impressive rendition of her creation… pity it was an unremarkable piece of music at best, ey? But still… did not deserve last.

6 – Ketil Stokkan – Brandenburger Tor (Norway 1990)

Aaaaaand we’re back to Norway. With what is I think one of my personal highlights from their Eurovision back-catalogue; this blatantly political anthem of post-Soviet peace from 1990 “Brandenburger Tor” (no prizes for guessing what that title translates as…) As a piece of music, it could be classified as a kind of easy-listening form of rock, with a catchy and memorable chorus which made stellar use of the backing choir. It is leagues ahead of Ketil’s 1986 effort “Romeo”, and whilst the political theme could be seen as a little false and contrived, it was one of MANY that year which approached the same theme in the wake of the fall of the Berlin wall. Heck, even the winner, the mediocre stadium rock plea for unity “Insieme:1992” from Italy was less convincing than this one, and yet it managed to amass some 141 points more. How can the juries of 1990 justify that!?

5 – Dervish – They Can’t Stop The Spring (Ireland 2007)

The second country to make two appearances in today’s Top 10 is Ireland. Funny really, they’ve won the contest seven times, the majority of the time with very lacklustre and forgettable songs that (in my opinion) didn’t deserve to be anywhere near the top position… and yet the two times they have finished last, it has been with absolutely incredible songs which warranted a much better response from the European voters! Back in 2007, this was the fourth song I witnessed on the Eurovision stage, and the joy evident in all the performer’s faces was absolutely infectious. Always a fan of Celtic-influenced music, I loved the song itself too, and was able to overlook the nerves evident in her voice and just enjoy what was, let’s face it, just a really lovely performance. 24th place, in a year when THAT Ukrainian entry made the top 2? Injustice at its worst, folks.

4 – Elpida – Tora Zo (Cyprus 1986)

Obviously a bit before my time, I’ve heard this song labelled by many as one of the contest’s worst entries ever… am I listening to a completely different song to everyone else? I’m sorry right, but I love this! Pure fabricated eighties joy, camp as Christmas, and almost annoyingly catchy, this song – although sung entirely Greek – will never fail to get me attempting to sing and dance along. With styling that channelled the look later made famous by Whitney Houston, Elpida’s performance looks classy as anything – yes, it’s all a bit chaotic at the same time, but she was a first-rate diva, and despite reportedly hating it, she sung the hell out of this challenging song, and – to my eyes at least – pulled it off admirably. Energetic, catchy and utterly brilliant. Miles better than her Greek entry “Socrates” which took home 8th place in 1978.

3 – Remedios Amaya – Quien Maneja Mi Barca (Spain 1983)

Hello hello, who do we have here? Our perennial favourite Remedios Amaya has already reached the lofty heights of an ESC Views Top 10 – she featured prominently in our countdown of “WTF moments” – and again, she pops up tonight to remind us just how unfair her 0 points in 1983 really was! Now, we accept that this song is very much a love it or hate it affair. And, as I discussed in the WTF article, the sequence of odd goat noises which make up “Quien Maneja Mi Barca” definitely did not connect with Europe back in 1983, but to hell with that. The fact remains that Rory and I both love this song, in all its imperceptibly quirky and insane glory. I can see exactly why it came last, but I do not for one second condone that final result. She deserved so much more for this courageous effort… so we hope today’s bronze medal will be some small compensation for her, in lieu of an improved place back then!

2 – Seyyal Tanner & Lokomotif – Sarkim Sevgi Üstüne (Turkey 1987)

Okay, so if this top ten was based solely on my own opinions, this entry would be the #1. But, as you all probably know, the two of us decide on these lists together, and I do see the equal merit of our number one at the same time as hankering for some much-denied recognition for this Turkish entry. “Sarkim Sevgi Üstüne”, performed by local superstar Seyyal Tanner, actually finished with the same total as Remedios Amaya – an unbelievable 0! Having first listened to this song last year, it captivated me so fiercely, in a way that few songs from so long ago still have the power to do. The rip-roaring energy, the epileptically frantic melody, the enthusiasm of the performers, this one is a little pocket rocket which grabs you from the very beginning, and doesn’t let you go until it has exploded through three and a half “is-this-a-verse-or-is-it-a-chorus” “I-have-no-idea-but-it-is-catchy-as-hell” rotations of “LA LA LA LA”-punctuated brilliance, before shoehorning in a fantabulous key change and depositing you into the dark silence of a Lokomotif-less world. You just gotta press repeat. Plus, it leaves you with the impression that she’s been singing about sharks for the last three minutes, which – even though she wasn’t – still presents an amusing mental image, right?

1 – Anna Rossinelli – In Love For A While (Switzerland 2011)

*sigh* So mah babe Seyyal didn’t quite make it to tonight’s top spot, but that’s only because she was faced with this; the epitome of cute that is Anna Rossinelli’s “In Love For A While”. Back in 2011, she managed to bring Switzerland back into the final after an agonising five consecutive years of semi-final disappointment. As a result, her eventual twenty-fifth place wasn’t exactly met with great disappointment from the Swiss audience – who cares where she finished, the point is, SHE WAS IN THE FINAL!! But hold on a minute.. here at ESC Views, we don’t see it quite like that. Sure, the qualification is to be celebrated, but let’s not sell this song short. It is a very cleverly-built, radio-friendly, simplistic guitar pop song, which – as well as bringing a fresh and contemporary sound to the Düsseldorf stage – was presented in such an inherently likeable way that it really does genuinely confuse me as to why this didn’t sneak a little higher up in the eventual rankings. I mean, 2011 was overall a very strong field, but with very few standout songs. For me, depending on my mood, this one could be THAT stand out song. And for that reason, it has stood out once again, in comparison with leagues of other criminally underrated contributions to the ESC, and emerged victorious in tonight’s countdown. Anna Rossinelli, congratulations – you’re officially our best last-placed song in Eurovision history!

Would your opinion be similar to ours?

Your Views:

Which songs would you pick out as the best losers?
Which songs would you pick out as the best losers?

Jack Cuffe from the United Kingdom: I think Slovenia 2013 🙂 fantastic song, great performance however the vocals weren’t great… still should NOT have came last!!!

Morten Boldt Hansen from Norway: Denmark 2002!!

Svana Lístí Agnarsdóttir from Iceland: Anna is probably the least deserving last place of anything.. But the best. If I had to go for another one, it would probably be Tooji

Neil Dickinson from the United Kingdom: love Anna’s song…there is something very similar on a UK tv commercial just now

A pretty mixed bag here – Denmark 2002 and Norway 2012 being just two of the other suggestions which weren’t included in our own list. However, the selection of Anna Rossinelli seems to be a largely popular one, which would indicate that – for one rare occasion – our opinion seems pretty much in line with that of many other fans! Is this the same for you? Feel free to leave us a comment below and tell us what you think!



8 thoughts on “Top 10: Best last-place songs in ESC history”

  1. Last place in the final should not be counted at all unless they were prequalified songs. Last place in ESC post-semifinal introductions would mean last place in the semifinals…in other words, I can accept Norway 2004 and Ireland 2007 on the list as they came last out of the prequalified songs, but I dont accept Switzerland 2011, Ireland 2013, Finland 2009 or Poland 2008 as they actually did beat a whole bunch of other songs as to qualify for the finals.

    1. Thank you very much for your comment Stian 🙂

      I accept that some people will see it this way, and for that I can only apologise, because we have organised this differently. If you ask anyone who came “last” at Eurovision 2013, the majority would say Ireland – not Latvia, not Slovenia, Ireland. I would agree with them, simply because we cannot determine a single true “loser” from the semi-final results – yes, Slovenia scored fewer points than Latvia but they were never pitted in competition with each other, what’s to say that the Latvian entry was *really* three points more popular than the Slovenian one? Answer: we can’t ever find this out.

      Also, from an editorial point of view, we plan to do a separate top 10 comprising of the best non-qualifiers in ESC history, which will obviously include those which finished last in the semi-finals held to date. As they were already eligible for the other top 10, we decided to exclude them from this one, just to allow the opportunity to feature a more diverse range of entries in our countdowns. 🙂

  2. Definately Tell Me Who You Are from 2002. I love that song, and the dance remix is spot on! Jemini, on cd is a fab track from 2003 and also Tha ne Erotas is cool from 1999!

    1. Thank you for your comment James 🙂

      I’d agree with all of those suggestions actually – it was difficult to choose between them, so I’m sorry they weren’t included in the list! Although Tha’ne Erotas didn’t *quite* finish last 😉

    1. Thank you for your comment João! 🙂

      Glad you agree! Those songs really did deserve to do a lot better! (and now, I would personally add “Moustache” to the list too!)

Have your say!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s