Before the article, a disclaimer – the below editorial is tongue-in-cheek and written from the personal opinion of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views of ESC United as an outlet, its contributors or anyone associated with Eurovision.
As we wind down the calendar year and prepare for the release of ESC Radio’s ESC 250 list, I’ve been thinking a lot about what my personal 250 list would look like. Despite only being a fan for 5 years, I’ve listened to nearly all of the Eurovision entries at least once, currently work on a podcast where we review past contests and current happenings, and of course work for ESCUnited. All this to say, I’ve done a lot of my homework on the 1,500+ songs that make up the Eurovision playbook. Every few days I will release a new chunk on my list, leading up to the grand reveal of ESC Radio’s ESC 250 on December 31st, 2019.
So enough talking, let’s dive back in shall we?
#174 – Feminnem – Call Me (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2005)
You know, I was reading through the comments on this song, and someone said “If this song was from Sweden, it probably would have been top 3.” And while I agree with their pessimism towards Sweden in the contest, this song actually outranked “Las Vegas” by 5 places that year. Honestly though, this song gets slept on often despite being such a fun entry and it’s a great pop banger. B&H did a great job on this one.
#173 – Poli Genova – Na Inat (Bulgaria, 2011)
The rise of a queen in Bulgarian music was this moment right here. While I will say that the song leaves a little bit to be desired in the live performance and that is likely the reason for it’s non-qualification, this song is still a great listen. Well that and the fact that she flips off Europe at 3:06. That all aside, Poli’s first run at Eurovision rebuilt some credibility for Bulgaria, and helped to set them down the path they’re on today.
#172 – Inga and Anush – Jan Jan (Armenia, 2009)
C’mon everybody, move your body to this ethnic pop track. Not only was this a great track, it also showed off Armenian cultural dress which I really love. These girls were really let down by a lackluster Eurovision stage that swallowed them and their pin cushion whole. Nevertheless, this song is one of Armenia’s top tracks.
#171 – Elhaida Dani – I’m Alive (Albania, 2015)
From one quality track to another, we move into a track that was semi-underappreciated in a stacked year. Yes this song has a very boring beginning and the Albanian revamp killed this song (if you don’t believe me please listen to the Albanian version of it then come back). Even still, Elhaida has an amazing voice and talent, and this song is still a guilty pleasure from 2015.
#170 – Tulia – Fire of Love (Pali Się) (Poland, 2019)
My goodness do I love this song so much. I appreciate that Poland went for something out of the box and dangerous here, they broke the Eurovision pattern. They brought in a group of 4 women and said “screw musical composition and complex stagings!” and gave us traditional folk band that utilizes “White voice.” While it didn’t pay off in terms of qualifying, it stood out in an oversaturated year of pop and dance tracks.
#169 – Sahlene – Runaway (Estonia, 2002)
First of all, this entry’s postcard is so freaking funny and awkward. The song itself was a great host entry compared to what actually won the contest the year before (ugh), and it showed when the song came 4th at the end of the night. Many of the songs from the 2002 contest have been forgotten, some for good reason, but this one should never be forgotten.
#168 – Doris – Maria Magdalena (Croatia, 1999)
Ah yes, the last year that Croatia did Eurovision correctly and broke the top 5. This is another song that has surpassed the test of time, and is often talked about in the fanbase as the best song of 1999 (I disagree, but hey we all have opinions). This is a great track, complete with powerful vocals, classic Croatian string and percussive instrumentation, and their affinity for white on stage. I can’t wait for quality Croatian songs to come back to the contest.
#167 – Sertab Erener – Everyway That I Can (Turkey, 2003)
You know in order to be fully transparent, this song was lucky that it competed in an extremely weak year because its victory wasn’t super astonishing although the final votes made it a tense experience. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great song, but if it was put up against more quality songs, I can’t say that it would have won. The ribbon dress was an interesting concept and probably inspired Poland in Junior Eurovision for 2018. This song also spawned my affinity for going “huh huh?”.
#166 – Alyona Lanskaya – Solayoh (Belarus, 2013)
This entry was so much, both in terms of the track, the choreography, the outfit, the giant disco ball, just everything. Also, who allowed her to wear an beige heel with that dress and her tan skin? That was just criminal. All that aside, it’s a good quality track from Belarus (a rarity), and it showed on stage. This is a one and done song though.
#165 – ManuElla – Blue and Red (Slovenia, 2016)
The closest we’re ever going to get to having 2009 Taylor Swift at Eurovision is ManuElla and Blue and Red. No but really, you can’t tell me that she doesn’t look and sound like a Slovenian version of Taylor. While this song wasn’t the strongest song in a packed year of entries, it’s still a quality song. Even if it ignores that yellow is also yellow. Plus who doesn’t love a random hunky pole dancer swinging around the stage?
#164 – Valentina Monetta – Crisalide (San Marino, 2013)
The duly elected queen of reinvention, San Marino, and of Eurovison is up next with her best non-qualifying song. When she returned for 2013 it wasn’t hard for her to do better than “The Social Network Song” (Not to be confused with Facebook Uh Uh Uh of the same title, melody, and lyrics…) and she knocked it out of the park. This woman even got a joke video about her entries for Valentine’s Day and it was posted on the official Eurovision YouTube channel. But in reality, this was her best song and “Maybe” can suck it.
#163 – Scott Fitzgerald – Go (United Kingdom, 1988)
And now for something completely different and a 25 year jump into the past from Valentina’s 2013 entry we land on this gem. It’s subtle and simplistic, but effective. If it wasn’t for Celine Dion being in the contest this year, Scott would have won the entire contest, but that’s okay I’m not mad at the result now. Poor UK, they went from 2nd place every few years to next to last every year. What a glow down.
#162 – Marta Jandová & Václav Noid Bárta – Hope Never Dies (Czech Republic)
Did you know that even though Marta and Václav and Martina Bárta both finished in 13th place in their semi-final, Martina earned 50 more points? I guess throwing your heel earns you a hefty point deduction, huh? This was the turning point for the country in Eurovision, as they finally figured out how to actually compete in the contest. Also his face after the song ends is precious.
#161 – Mahmood – Soldi (Italy, 2019)
You know, post-Eurovision this song has grown on me a tiny bit, but I still don’t understand the massive hype around it. I guess it’s something I’ll never quite understand. What I appreciate about this song is that it was yet another approach to Eurovision from the country (even though the delegation didn’t get a say) and they sent something that wasn’t everything and the kitchen sink. I appreciate this simplistic track that’s modern and different, but I just can’t put it much higher than here.
#160 – Mor ve Ötesi – Deli (Turkey, 2008)
There’s something about rock bands at Eurovision that I love a ton and I’m sad that it took so long for them to show up in the contest (a live rock band pre-playback would have blown the roof off the stadium). This was a great song, a great arrangement, and an awesome stage show. Also, they look so happy to be there!
Well that’s it for this installment of the Eurovision 250 list. Tune back in soon as I reveal songs #145-159 on my list!
What do #YOU think of my picks? Is there something you disagree with? Let us know in the comments, social media, or our forum!