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?
#39 – Elina Nechayeva – La Forza (Estonia, 2018)
So operatic songs in Eurovision have become very popular lately, and I have to say this is the best opera-inspired song we’ve ever seen in Eurovision. Not only was this a full stage production, but Elina has the voice of a goddess. Watching her and her dress come alive on stage made my jaw drop during the semi-final, and again during the grand final. This is arguably one of the best songs Estonia has ever sent to the contest, and probably the most money they’ve ever had to spend in one year too.
#38 – Conchita Wurst – Rise Like A Phoenix (Austria, 2014)
What a great winner this was. I know there are a lot of people who complain that Conchita didn’t deserve to win, but my god they made this stage show a MOMENT. Not only can Conchita sing, she looks gorgeous doing it, and everything about this package radiates passion and drama. This was the most impactful song and artist of the 2014 season, and such a deserved winner. You go Conchita!
#37 – Poli Genova – If Love Was A Crime (Bulgaria, 2016)
Eurovision: Genova Strikes Back is what this entry was. After years of non-qualifications for Bulgaria, including Poli’s non-qualification in 2011, Bulgaria came back to finish 4th in the contest. Up until that point we had never seen a better redemption story. This song is a complete jam on it’s own, and they picked the perfect artist to tackle it. The projection dancers were an excellent touch as well. Everything about this was perfect.
#36 – Lucie Jones – Never Give Up On You (United Kingdom, 2017)
I know what you’re thinking “Connor, this song didn’t do that well in the contest and it’s from the UK. Why is it so high?” Well, the level of impact this song has is the reason why it’s here. This is hands down the BEST staging of the 2017 contest. They managed to map the drama and growth of the track to the pulsing of the sparks, and then that moment when it all gets sucked back in….gives me chills. It’s a visual masterpiece. This song is hands down the best attempt from the UK this decade in terms of song and staging.
#35 – Teach In – Ding-A-Dong (The Netherlands, 1975)
This song is such an underappreciated jam on many people’s Eurovision playlists, it’s so fun and exciting and it sounds exactly the same live and in the studio version. Plus, look at those killer 70’s outfits! This song was also one of the few entries to win in a non-national language between the language rule from 1966-1972 and 1977-1998. I’m really hoping that they are incorporated into the show this May because I would love to see them live!
#34 – Robin Stjernberg – You (Sweden, 2013)
This song tends to get a lot of hate, mostly because it followed up Loreen’s Euphoria win, and also because Melfest fans played the “X should have been there not him, so we don’t like him” card. This song, regardless of how you feel about it, is an amazing self-penned composition with help from the Debs and Joakim Haukaas that takes you on a musical journey. From the lyrics, the modulations in the melody, and the choreography, it was a spectacular show of Robin’s talent. I often disagree with the high treatment of Swedish entries, but this one was criminally under-ranked in the 2013 contest. Also, the backing vocalists were seamlessly incorporated into this staging, it’s brilliant and allows them to shine just like Robin. Bravo!
#33 – Sandra Simò – Canzone Per Te (Switzerland, 1991)
Have you ever heard something this beautiful in the contest before? Don’t answer that, as it’s pretty subjective. Switzerland really played it smart here by sending an Italian song to Eurovision, given that Italy just happened to be hosting that year. Everything about this song is perfect and wonderful, and it reminds me why I love the live orchestra and language rule so much. It really made Eurovision a different experience than the modern contest for good and bad reasons. Sandra killed this performance, and ended with the country’s best placement since Celine’s win in 1988 (which was then topped by Annie Cotton’s 3rd place finish in 1993).
#32 – Marie Myriam – Loiseau Et Lenfant (France, 1977)
I listen to this song all the freaking time because it’s so amazing, and when you stack it up against the other songs entered in the 1977 contest, this was miles above them. While a lot of the songs in 1977 were flashy and “pop” tracks, Marie walked in with a simple French ballad that rocked the line-up and snagged victory for the French. This songs sits as one of my favorite French winners of the contest, but wait until the next edition when you learn my favorite of the five French winners.
#31 – Emmelie De Forest – Only Teardrops (Denmark, 2013)
2013 was such a packed year of quality entries, so I never know how I should feel about this song winning. Am I mad that it won? Of course not. Would I have personally picked someone else? Definitely. But you cannot discount the fact that this song is a finished package and was staged in a wonderful and unique way (minus being barefoot, Loreen did that first Emmelie!) This song helped to maintain the momentum that Loreen built for the contest a year earlier, and continues to be one of the most played winners of the decade next to “Euphoria”.
#30 – Duncan Laurence – Arcade (The Netherlands, 2019)
To be completely transparent, this song was difficult to slot because there are so many fantastic qualities about it, but also songs that I personally love so much more. At the end of the day, I placed it at 30 for a few reasons, one it’s a brand new winner and just like wine it will age well. It may even move up in the future. Another reason was due to the amazing list I have upcoming for the rest of this article. Duncan was a visionary for where the next decade would go (both in terms of host country but also musically) and showed that you don’t have to have the best dance or pop track to win the contest. Something I think the juries and televoters needed to be reminded of given the rankings of pop vs other genres in this decade.
#29 – Chiara – What If We (Malta, 2009)
She is beauty, she is grace. She is Malta’s Chiara, robbed and put in 22nd place. Like honestly this song was so much better than “Fairytale” (can you tell I really dislike this year’s winner?) and was twice as good as “Angel” from 2005. We were not worthy of her presence. Everything about this entry is magical and perfect, and this is my favorite entry from Malta of all time.
#28 – Moran Mazor – Rak Bishvilo (Israel, 2013)
This was my winner for 2013, and here it is left behind in the second semi-final. Something I don’t think I will ever understand. When I first listened to the songs for 2013 this song was in my top 10, but then when this song was performed live everything changed. Also, that dress is absolutely gorgeous! I can honestly say that a song in Hebrew has never sounded so magical then it did in Semi-Final 2 in 2013.
#27 – Flor-De-Lis – Todas As Ruas Do Amor (Portugal, 2009)
Another robbed entry from the 2009 year! Flor-De-Lis ended up in 15th place for the Grand Final, despite being one of the most fun, memorable, energetic, and culturally true entries of the year. I mean, who else had an eccentric drummer who shimmies and an accordion player on stage? This song was perfect from Festival da Canção to the Eurovision stage, and is one of the best songs they have ever sent to date. Sometimes simple is better than crowded and complicated dance tracks. Also talk about an entry that utilized every bit of the stage and LED walls. Very few entries created a projection that covered the entire wall and contained as much detail as Portugal had.
#26 – Ilanit – Ey Sham (Israel, 1973)
Israel has had many successful entries in Eurovision, and it all started in 197 3 with Ilanit. Seeing her in the 2019 Grand Final was an amazing moment, and reminded me of how much I love this song. It’s relaxing, simple, and so pure. It creates a moment in time where you forget about what’s happening around you, and you’re focused in on the music. I also love how Ilanit was approached by Germany to represent them in 1972, and instead of going the easy route she approached the Israeli broadcaster about participating in the contest and thus Israel became a Eurovision country. My hat is off to you ma’am.
#25 – Chanée & N’evergreen – In A Moment Like This (Denmark, 2010)
If you asked for my opinion, this is the song that should have won the 2010 contest, hands down. Sure the staging is rather meh, but at least they had a concept going. This song is hands down my most played song from the 2010, because it’s so radio friendly, the track is perfect, and it is the more memorable of Thomas G:son’s many dramatic key change filled entries.
#24 – Cláudia Pascoal – O Jardim (Portugal, 2018)
The best of the last placing host entries, and the best song that Portugal has ever sent in the contest. While I’m glad that the Portuguese fans supported this song well, it’s a shame that no one else latched on to it. Every time I hear this song I am transported to another world, and while I know that the lyrics are about a love who has passed away it fills me with so much love. I’m not sure if the voters were put off by her pink hair, the simple track, or her flawless performance, but this did not deserve to finish last. Also special shoutout to Isaura, the writer of the song and Cláudia’s backing vocalist.
#23 – Pastora Soler – Quédate Conmigo (Spain, 2012)
Time for another Thomas G:son song that takes inspiration from “In A Moment Like This” but with a slower melody. Pastora is without any flaws as a performer, and I’ve thought that since I stumbled upon this song and well after the 2012 contest. It’s also scary that we went from this and “Dancing In The Rain” to “Do It For Your Lover”. Regardless, this song sits in the hall of fame for a non-winning Spanish entry, and would likely appear on any Eurovision fans top 25 list.
#22 – Kate Miller-Hiedke – Zero Gravity (Australia, 2019)
Talk about the most memeable song of 2019. I know that most fans were extremely upset that Electric Fields did not win Australia Decides, but my god I’m so glad they didn’t. I don’t think that the Eurovision fans were ready for the tricks Kate had up her sleeve for Tel Aviv with that pole, and how she created the most challenging, technical and mesmerizing staging we may ever see for the contest. Knowing about the song’s inspiration and her past with depression, makes this song even more inspirational than it already was. We stan Kate Miller-Heidke in this house.
#21 Massiel – La, La, La (Spain, 1968)
What an accidental win this was for Massiel, as she was in fact not the original singer for this song. Joan Manuel Serrat was initially chosen to perform “La, La, La” but because he could not sing it in Catalan due to the native language rule, he was replaced by Massiel. This decision was so last minute that she had to leave her tour in Mexico nine days before the contest to learn the song and record it in Spanish, English, Italian, and German. Her win over fan favorite Cliff Richards was a massive ordeal, although if you ask me this is a much better song than “Congratulations”. Her win in 1968 sparked an extremely successful career for her in Spain.
Well that’s it for this installment of the Eurovision 250 list. Tune back in tomorrow as I reveal songs #1-20 on my list and finish the series!
- Songs 40-54
- Songs 55-69
- Songs 70-84
- Songs 85-99
- Songs 100-114
- Songs 115-129
- Songs 130-144
- Songs 145-159
- Songs 160-174
- Songs 175-189
- Songs 190-204
- Songs 205-219
- Songs 220-234
- Songs 235-250
What do #YOU think of my picks? Is there something you disagree with? Let us know in the comments, social media, or our forum!