Top 40: Best non-qualifiers in ESC history [Part 3]

Hey everyone and welcome back to ESC Views! Sorry we haven’t been posting much over the past week, life’s been hectic for both of us! But today, we’re going to dive straight back into the top 40 and in this episode, we’ll find out which of the 145 remaining songs that haven’t qualified for the final, have made it into places 20-11. So which songs have just missed out on a spot in the all-glorious top 10? Well keep reading to find out!

Where could Magdalena Tul end up on our countdown today?
Where could Magdalena Tul end up on our countdown today?

In recent years, the majority of Eurovision entries have had one major obstacle to circumnavigate in order to bring their countries the contest glory they so desire. This obstacle is of course the semi-final elimination process. Many favourites do manage to traverse these muddy waters, and reach the solace of the grand final on the other side. However, there have been just as many injustices along the way, whereby absolutely amazing songs have been unceremoniously abandoned on the Tuesday or Thursday nights and largely forgotten about. Well no longer! We have collected and resurrected the best of these semi-final casualties, and assembled them for your nostalgic enjoyment (you can thank us later, it’s alright).

This top 40 will be brought to you in four stages – two articles were published last weekend, and the final two parts this weekend, so that we reveal our top 10 in time to get started on our national final coverage the weekend after that! In addition, for the first time since we started featuring multi-stage countdowns, James and I will both be contributing two articles each, rather than having just one narrative voice guiding you guys through the entire list. We have ranked the entries together too, so what we have prepared really is reflective of our combined opinion.

While we’re here, I may as well stress that point – this ranking represents our opinion, and as such it may be a little controversial or unexpected. Please take this into account before passing a condemnatory eye over some of our more ambiguous choices! Right, let’s see who’s managed to make this part of the countdown!

20 – Lise Darly – “Tout de moi” (Monaco 2005)

We’re only starting this part of the countdown and already, we’ve reached the infamous 2005 Contest, which featured quite heavily in the second part of this countdown. Monaco sent a really nice song to the Contest in Kyiv, so it’s very weird that it came second from the bottom and therefore, failing to qualify for the final! Of course, because the song was in French, nobody apart the French and the Monegasque could understand it, so that may have been a possible reason, but she sang it really well! Yeah, there was a lack of key change or dramatic build up to the end of the song, but  the song is brilliant in itself, so I was a little disappointed when it didn’t qualify.. but seriously, Europe?! 24th?! She wasn’t that bad!! She would have been guaranteed a top 5 placing back in the 60s or the 70s, so it’s a shame the song was after its time, but still not worth 24th place!!

19 – InCulto – “Eastern European Funk” (Lithuania 2010)

Lithuania had some of the weirdest/funniest/WTF-est songs in their national final in 2010 (Mariaana Seppern deserves a worthy mention here) and in the end, they sent InCulto – probably the best choice for them, in my opinion. When they came onto the stage in Oslo, I knew we were going to see something extravagant in the performance – we most certainly did! But when they didn’t qualify, I had just the slightest inkling that Europe wasn’t exactly comfortable seeing six men prancing about wearing sparkly underwear. They were fun to watch, however, and you always ended up singing along to the lyrics. In a year where, let’s face it, nearly every song was either a ballad or a really modern pop song, it’s good that Eurovision had InCulto to rely on to keep the tradition alive.. well, then again, you could stick Sieneke in there too, but compared to InCulto, we think the guys were better. Anyway, they would have been thrashed in the final, but it would have been great to see them bring some colour into the final!

18 – 2B – “Amar” (Portugal 2005)

Back to the 2005 Contest now and this time, it’s turn for Portugal with the song “to love”. In fairness, all jokes aside, it was a good-ish song and the performance was reasonable, but dayum girl, what’s wrong with your voice? Her voice definitely overpowered her co-singer, who’s microphone was blatantly having problems picking up his own voice. As well as that, what is she wearing? She looks like a lycra ballerina! Anyway, it was a weirdly good song and if it qualified, I think they’d get nul points, but even now, it’s so fun just to watch the performance.. both for the right and the wrong reasons!

17 – Kuunkuiskaajat – “Työlki Ellää” (Finland 2010)

Aw, Kuunkuiskaajat. Why didn’t this qualify, I wonder to myself quite often and also once I’ve seen the performance. Very little went/was wrong in the performance. First of all, when Susan blew that first note on the accordion during the postcard, I knew it was going to be a fantastic performance and it did look like they had fun on the stage in Norway – although it did look like Susan was a little excluded from such fun because of that accordion while Johanna was being thrown around by those backing dancers/singers/random people on stage. All the factors could have guaranteed them a place in the final, but they missed the cut by only three points. Why wouldn’t people want to hear this, it’s fantabulous! Tut tut, Europe!

16 – Elán – “Amnestia na neveru” (Slovakia 1993)

Like James mentioned in the section about Estonia 1993 in part 1 of the countdown, there were two criminally underrated songs in that qualification round, and this was the best one. It’s very moody and atmospheric, real meaningful lyrics, there’s an anthemic tune, brilliant vocals and it sounded nothing like anything else on offer in 1993. It’s rare that we both genuinely love a rock song (although with me, Lordi may also be an exception), but with this one, there’s something about it that just connects with us. Miles better than the contrived efforts from Croatia and Slovenia, really deserved to be Slovakia’s debut at an ESC final! Why, Europe. Why?!

15 – Morena – “Vodka” (Malta 2008)

‘Vodka’ was all action both in the music video and on the stage, but as much as we love the song, it was gonna fail to qualify. *sob* You can’t have a fantastic upbeat – almost hyper – song without something going wrong and on the night, the victim was Morena’s vocals. Seriously, when she sang, she did sound nothing like she did in the studio version. This is probably what contributed to her not qualifying, but you can’t deny that she tried her best! And we did have a good show, with the backing dancers trying to do their best impression of a Maltese James Bond, but it’s Morena’s vocals that was we think she didn’t get through to the final. We still love the song, but..just try not to sing it too much anymore, okay Morena? We still think you’re a babe!

14 – Despina Olympiou – “An Me Thimase” (Cyprus 2013)

Despina Olympiou is somewhat favoured here at ESC Views and we both were shocked when she was so cruelly denied qualification in Malmö seven months ago. What did she do wrong? Maybe it was the song; Europe isn’t exactly fond of a ballad in a language that only two participating countries can understand, plus the cruel decision by Christer Björkmen to put Despina in between two dance songs would only make “I Made Tea Myself” “An Me Thimase” seem forgettable and lost within a particularly strong semi-final. Also, around 2:45 in the video, that note MAY have ruined her chances of qualifying even if the odds were against her in the first place. We both love her and the song and we’ll love both versions of the song too; both the original lyrics and the misheard lyrics version!

13 – Edsilia Rombley – “On Top of The World” (Netherlands 2007)

This is purely our opinion, but.. EDSILIA ROMBLEY WAS ROBBED IN 2007! ROBBED I TELL YOU!! How could she not qualify? She was fantastic in Helsinki and there wasn’t anything wrong with her performance. She sang every note perfectly, her song was catchy and memorable and she got everyone on their feet and the end of the performance, so why didn’t she qualify? Well, back in the good old days of having only one semi-final, there was over 20 countries you had to beat to get your place in the final and it seems that being in such a wide field, she couldn’t get enough “oomph” into her performance to get her a place and as well as that, because there’s always a stigma attached to returning artists, and because Edsilia was one of those, she was fated to not do well.. but 21st?! She was fantastic!! VERY disappointed with you, Europe!!

12 – Magdalena Tul – “Jestem” (Poland 2011)

So, Magdalena Tul was undoubtedly a fan favourite for the Contest in Düsseldorf, but when she came last in the semi-final, that raised a couple of questions as to why she didn’t do so well. Well, if anyone remembered, both Poland and Armenia had problems with the sound, so when Poland opened the Contest in Germany, it would be fair to say that it wasn’t what we were expecting to hear. But still, she sang to the best of her ability even though there were times that she did sing out of tune, but that’s because of that problem with the sound in the in-ears. She also managed to do the dance really well too, but sadly, she just couldn’t pull it back from those moments where she was more off than Petra Šubrtová giving points back in 2008. “Jestem” was still a great song though and no matter what, we’ll enjoy that dance routine!

11 – Ishtar – “O Julissi” (Belgium 2008)

Guilty pleasure time again! We both love Ishtar and to be honest, the song is an *amayzin* one. Of course, it’s no Sanomi, but in a year that was particularly weak, it was one of the standout songs of its semi-final. Even though it’s in an imaginary language, it’s still an incredibly catchy song just filled with innocence and a hint of craziness. I think it didn’t qualify because Europe isn’t just into hearing a nice little song like ‘O Julissi’, hence it didn’t qualify. But as much as I can praise the song, I can see how it didn’t qualify. That one backing singer who was refusing to be happy and joyful was a little bit of a bummer and the fact that the lead singer was the only one who was moving around the stage made the song almost dictate the performance. Getting back to the point, we think it should have qualified as she sang it well and they still wouldn’t have come last in the final!

So Ishtar have just missed out on the top 10 of our countdown! But what’s your favourite non-qualifying song?

Your views:

Which non-qualifiers are your favourites?
Which non-qualifiers are your favourites?

Orestis Moschonas from Greece: Many i have to say!! But Albania 2006, Bulgaria 2005, Andorra 2007, FYR Macedonia 2008, Belarus 2009, Finland 2010. In 2011 there are many: Cyprus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Netherlands..In 2012: Croatia, Belarus. In 2013 finally: Albania, Israel!

Peter Kirby from the United Kingdom: A few I do think of are Shame on you Denmark 2004, What happened to our love, San Marino this year Portugal 2012, Israel this year, Netherlands with the Song Sha La Lee Sha La-La and On top of the world are a few.

Claus Michael Fasting from Norway: Mine is Stella Mwangi – Haba Haba (Norway 2011), Guri Schanke – Ven a Bailar Conmingo (Norway 2007) & Valentina Monetta – Crisalide (Vola) (San Marino 2013)!

Azerin Quliyeva from Azerbaijan: I think that there have been a lot of beautiful songs which have not qualified to final.For example Vida Mihna.

So it seems that all the fans have different songs that are their favourite non-qualifying songs, ranging from Denmark 2004 to ValMon with ‘Crisalide’ this year. But what’s your favourite non-qualifying song? And what do you think of the top 40 so far? Who should we have in our top 10? Be sure to let us know by commenting below and stay tuned to ESC Views on Sunday when we’ll be revealing which song is our favourite non-qualifier!

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