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 where did I begin for this list? Well I’ll tell you how this came along. I went back through every country and every entry from the contest, and picked out the entries, artists, and staging’s that stuck out to me the most. As mentioned above, this is just my personal opinion, so if your favorite doesn’t show up on the list it’s okay, just a difference in musical taste.
So enough talking, let’s dive on in shall we?
#250 – D’Nash – I Love You Mi Vida (Spain, 2007)
Okay so before we get too deep into this I have a confession to make, the Spanish Backstreet Boys (read D’Nash) made the list because this song is my guilty pleasure from the last decade. And while yes, it was a bit shaky on the night in terms of the live vocals, this song really pushed Spain into a resurgence in the contest….official results not taken into account. This was likely the most quality entry that Spain sent in the 2000’s and for this reason, it made my list but barely.
#249 – Franka – You and Me (The Netherlands, 2012)
Okay I apologize but I added another guilty pleasure to the list, but I promise this is the last one. When you take this song out of the contest bubble and listen to it independently, it actually is a great song. I think it just suffered from poor artistic vision for the stage, and was upstaged by an amazing year of songs. The LED wall of a colorful black hole was also a big choice. Arguably one of my favorites of the 2012 non-qualifying songs.
#248 – Ingeborg – Door de Wind (Belgium, 1989)
This is one of my most memorable songs from 1989 that didn’t place top 10. It’s a calm power ballad a bit before it’s time (due to the ballad heavy decade of the 90’s) but also one of Belgium’s worst placements, tied with Linda Lepomme from 1985. I love listening to this song, and I think it’s important for younger fans of the contest to know this song exists. If you have complaints there’s the door and here’s some wind and storms.
#247 – Åse Kleveland – Intet Er Nytt Under Solen (Norway, 1966)
This song gets stuck in my head ALL of the time, and it’s because it has such a catchy melody. What I also love about the song is that it’s so simple. It’s Åse on stage with a guitar, and then for the final 50 seconds it transforms with a powerful orchestration, performance, and then ends just as it began. It’s sad that I don’t see this song floating around that often, truly.
#246 – Christos Callow & Wave – Horis Skopo (Greece, 1990)
So I tend to root for the underdogs, and show them some support it seems. In the case of Christos, I think he was truly robbed from a higher placement, being . This is a great entry from Greece, and was so modern, fresh, and entertaining. I think about this 19th placing often before I go to bed at night, and for that reason he got a spot on the list.
#245 – Suzy – Quero Ser Tua (Portugal, 2014)
The Portuguese entry that almost qualified, and their second 11th place in a semi-final (the other instance happened in 2007) that made everyone wonder where this went wrong. The non-energetic staging aside, this track is one that I love to play in the car to get me excited for a long trip because it has a great beat to it. If Suzy had been more secure in her vocals and the staging been less stagnant, this would have been so much higher for me. Or maybe if they added just one more light up drum on stage.
#244 – Linda Wagenmakers – No Goodbyes (The Netherlands, 2000)
Now this performance is iconic, and relied heavily on the magic of a massive dress revealing to a smaller, more dissapointing dress. However, this song perfectly captures the Eurobeat craze of the 1990s and early 2000s, and likely still plays at clubs everywhere. I even heard it one night at a Chicago bar and was…well shocked to say the least. If her vocal performance was slightly more solid, it’d be slightly higher but I can’t deny this song has longevity.
#243 – Tajci – Hajde Du Ludujemo (Yugoslavia, 1990)
Honestly, this song was better than Rock Me from 1898, which brought the contest to Yugoslavia two years before the collapse of the country and the independence of many countries like Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina to name a few. Politics aside, this entry was fun, energetic, and exciting. In addition, this song is often stuck in my head. Next to Insieme: 1992, this is my most memorable song from the 1990 contest.
#242 – Maja Blagdan – Sveta ljubav (Croatia, 1996)
While this may not be one of my favorite songs of all time, this song does possess a unique quality that didn’t happen again until Kaliopi came to the contest. Maja’s shriek 1:06 minutes into the performance is one of the most vocally difficult things to do, and is the highest note in contest history (at least as of 2014). For that reason, Maja earned her spot on the list.
#241 – Stella Mwangi – Haba Haba (Norway, 2011)
When I first started to learn about Eurovision, I had no clue that this song didn’t qualify from the Semi-Final. While I love this African-pop infusion and the representation of ethnic culture at Eurovision, I felt that this track is what failed the song. The lyrics, performance, and choreography were all there….but the track was a bit rudimentary and lackluster. This is still an amazing song, but when up against all Eurovision entries, I had to knock it down a peg.
#240 – Leonora Andrade – Há Um Mar Que Nos Separa (Portugal, 2015)
I will officially come out of the closet as a Portugal stan, though if you follow me on social media that is not surprising. This song was let down by competing in the best year of Eurovision to date, and it never stood a chance in its semi-final because no one seems to understand why it’s so beautiful. It was a modern take on an ESC song for Portugal and bold after Suzy didn’t qualify in 2014 with a Portuguese-dance track. Add in a beautiful staging, impeccable vocal delivery, and that killer outfit, this song belongs in the top 250.
#239 – Katerina Garbi – Ellada, Hora Tou Fotos (Greece, 1993)
The 90’s Greek sound was a beautiful thing and I’m sad that it didn’t stick around long. With this song in particular, I think the specific combo of the synth melody, the percussion, and intensive knee bend choreography makes this song so exciting and enjoyable. Also that dress is SO good. I’ve never been able to figure out some of these camera angles though, let alone the triple pixel screen fly animation into the chorus. The 90’s have some explaining to do.
#238 – Marcha – Rechtop in de wind (The Netherlands, 1987)
This blast from the past is such an earworm, and I appreciate the massive shoulder pads and triple synth keyboard because it’s just so 80’s. I will admit this song is a bit disjointed, starting off as a synth ballad and flipping into a pop entry in the chorus and then back again…but the melody is just so catchy. While I love this song, I knew that I couldn’t put it much higher on the list that the lower 230’s.
#237 – Anastasiya Vinnikova – I Love Belarus (Belarus, 2011)
Honestly, I tend to forget about this entry often, and it’s for two reasons. The first being I never utter the words “I love Belarus” as of late given the eclectic entries they send these days, and the second reason being that the verses are so weak compared to the chorus. Oh and the fact that it didn’t qualify doesn’t help either. But the chorus and bridge are the best parts here and whenever I hear it I think about the expensive pyro show put on for this. Flaws aside, this is a good song, and made for a good performance as well.
#236 – Fusedmarc – Raine of Revolution (Lithuania, 2017)
Okay now I bet you think I’ve lost my marbles. But let me explain this pick. Honestly, this song has really grown on me for being avant-garde, jazzy and a stellar performance overall. Now yes, it’s wacky and the “yeah, yeah’s” can be a tad annoying but that shouldn’t distract from the fact that this was a bit different and off the beaten path for Eurovision. I appreciate creativity and also that amazing pantsuit. Can I get one for myself?
#235 – Paradise Oscar – Da Da Dam (Finland, 2011)
One of the most feel good “We’re all about to die” songs out there in the contest, honestly. This was a beautiful song for the contest, and the most confusing placement in the line-up for a song that came 3rd in it’s semi-final, which resulted in a disappointing 21st place finish. Besides that, Paradise and his little guitar were well supported, and he seems to be resurfacing in some Twitter memes these days. Greta Thurnberg could never.
That’s it for this installment of the Eurovision 250 list. Tune back in soon for the next installment of the 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!