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?
#159 – Nevena Božović – Kruna (Serbia, 2019)
I any of you listen to my podcast Amerivision, then you know that I love this song. While I do dislike how often Serbia relies on ballads at the contest, this was the right one to send through. It’s got emotion, power, and Nevena sold it on stage in May. Plus I really love the build this track has, it’s constantly growing and swelling.
#158 – Youddiph – Vechni Stranik (Russia, 1994)
You’ve heard of a bathrobe and a snuggie, but have you heard of the new 5-in-1 dress? Boy, it sure is crazy to think that they went from this to Kirkorov in one year. This song was majestic on stage, and another example of how amazing the 1994 debut entries were. A song for the history books that goes underappreciated for sure.
#157 – Kaliopi – Dona (F.Y.R. Macedonia, 2016)
This song was a big dark horse for the 2016 contest, and while it stood out in the semi-final, there were just too many good songs for it to push through. Kaliopi is something special, a rock goddess with the shriek of a banshee and I have a feeling she’ll be back again someday for the contest. Or at least, I hope we will.
#156 – Aud Wilken – Fra Mols til Skagen (Denmark, 1995)
I’ve only watched the 1995 contest once unlike many other contests, so I forgot about this song until I did a review of Danish entries for the series. This song is definitey one that has been forgotten by Eurovision fans (mostly the younger ones), which is a shame because it’s simple, catchy and beautiful. Yes it’s no Fuego, but it deserves the exact same attention that Eleni gets.
#155 – Iveta Mukuchyan – LoveWave (Armenia, 2016)
You know, when this song first came out I didn’t understand all the hype around it. Sure it’s a cool song and at the time I liked it, I just didn’t think it was ALL that and a bag of chips (if you don’t know that 90’s reference, look it up). However, 3 years later I can it a bit more now that I’ve listened to more songs. It’s got a great track behind it, Iveta is a vocal professional, and whenever you hear this you immediately think of how they staged this. So sad that her live performance is still geoblocked…
#154 – The Humans – Goodbye (Romania, 2018)
I have some pretty controversial personal picks on my list, and I think this could be one of them. I don’t think people really understood the message of this song in the contest, especially the casual Eurovision voters. However, this song is a masterpiece of passion, call for change, and visual imagery. Plus, the switch from a simple ballad to a rock band track is such a cool moment. This song wasn’t made for the contest, it was made to make a point to the world. One of the best Romanian songs in the contest and you can’t tell me otherwise.
#153 – PÆNDA – Limits (Austria, 2019)
Speaking of entries that people didn’t understand, next up is my gal PÆNDA. When this song came out everyone said “I expected more from Austria, I don’t like it” and then that became their reality. They wanted a big boom in the song. Well, they missed the point of this song and how beautiful it is in its simplicity. No smoke or men in glass boxes needed. Just a woman in blue hair, pouring her soul out to you for 3 minutes. This entry deserves more love.
#152 – Edsilia Rombley – Hemel en aarde (The Netherlands, 1998)
This is a song that every fan should know, because it’s such a great song from a pivotal year in the contest, with it being the last year of the language rule and orchestra. And yes, I did put this higher than “Diva” because I think it’s a better song, sue me. Edsilia may not have won the contest that year, or qualified in 2007, but now we get her as a host for the 2020 contest. What a glow up moment!
#151 – Carl Espen – Silent Storm (Norway, 2014)
Gosh, one of my guilty pleasures from 2014. This song was a big grower on me because I used to think it was just a bleh song when I watched the 2014 contest, but then that clever camerawork came in, his performance gets more powerful, the orchestra comes in, and shoot I got goosebumps (I still do). Norway did good when they picked this one up for the contest.
#150 – Justs – Heartbeat (Latvia, 2016)
Fun fact about this song: I sing this in the shower almost every morning. This song is proof that Aminata is an amazing songwriter (in case you needed more proof of that). Gosh, if only Latvia could get back to some of these amazing songs. They usually fall into this weird trap of having these amazing artists with okay songs, rather than sending them with amazing jaw dropping entries. Let’s fix that in 2020, thanks.
#149 – Sofi Marinova – Love Unlimited (Bulgaria, 2012)
The performance that launched a thousand memes (also known as Sofi’s weird shoulder wiggle at 0:23) is of course going to be on this list. I feel like this song is much better in the studio version than it is live, which is why I placed it on the list and so high up. It’s a track for the car, for a party, for anything you want really. Sofi, I love you so much.
#148 – Michela – Chameleon (Malta, 2019)
I was really skeptical about this song when it first came out, because after all it is Malta. But boy, did this song sound exactly the same live as it did in the studio. Christer really screwed her chances of doing well when he put her first. This song is a spectacle and I’m hoping it marks a resurgence of Malta in the contest following some shaky entries this decade (but not Ira Losco of course).
#147 – Niahm Kavanagh – It’s For You (Ireland, 2010)
This was such a good song for such a meh year of songs. I still find it so strange that this song placed so low in 2010, but hey that’s the game of Eurovision I guess. Niamh gave a magical performance for this song, and every time I hear this song it makes me happy. I can’t tell if that’s because I love her and her voice so much, or if this song is THAT good. Either way this better be on the actual 250 list or I will riot.
#146 – Madame Monsieur – Mercy (France, 2018)
This song was such a great entry and follow-up from the mess that Alma was handed. And I’ve always appreciated how it managed to become a political statement about the refugee crisis without specifically using that imagery or reference in the Eurovision staging. But boy, did the audience know the story and to do the unifying hand pump. I think that’s why this song is on my list, that moment towards the end really makes me think back to the unifying force of this contest.
#145 – Jonida Maliqi – Ktheju Tokës (Albania, 2019)
The queen of Albania is of course going to end up on this list, that should not shock anyone in the fandom. This song was an amazing and fresh attempt at Albania’s attempts of the contest, combining a unique Albanian sound with a call to return to the country and giving it to a woman who is well respected in the Albanian music world. Jonida deserves all the acclaim this song got her and more.
Well that’s it for this installment of the Eurovision 250 list. Tune back in soon as I reveal songs #130-144 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!