Many countries elect to utilize a national final to determine which artist(s) and which song will represent them at the Eurovision Song Contest. However, like so many things with Eurovision, you never know what’s going to happen, and in some cases, the song that is originally chosen can change.
This is the first of two articles that will explore songs that were selected for the Eurovision Song Contest, but ultimately replaced or never performed. We also discuss our thoughts about how that song could have done had it been in that year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Nina Zilli – Per sempre (Italy)
When Italy returned to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011, Italy selected their representative through the world-renowned Sanremo Music Festival. A special jury was held responsible to select the artist and song. In 2011, they chose Raphael Gualazzi, who won the “Newcomers” competition of Sanremo with the original Italian version of “Madness of Love.” In 2012, the jury selected Nina Zilli, who competed up through the second-to-last round of the “Established artists” competition with the entry, “Per sempre. However, Italian broadcaster RAI quickly noted that “Per Sempre” may not be the Italian entry. This was confirmed a few days later when “L’ Amore E’ Femmina” was confirmed as the 2012 Italian entry. While “L’ Amore E’ Femmina” was a catchy number, “Per Sempre” was a mid-tempo ballad that showed off Zilli’s strong voice. However, I think that “Per Sempre” would have been lost in the mix, particularly given that there were stronger ballads that night (i.e., “Kuula” and “Quedate Conmigo”). In my opinion, Italy made the right decision to make the switch.
Alena Lanskaya – All my life (Belarus)
On February 14, 2012, the Belarus’s national final, “Eurofest” announced its entry for the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest as Alena Lanskaya’s “All My Life.” However, ten days later, the president of Belarus initiated an investigation regarding rumors that Alena and her producers had rigged the televoting to give her maximum points and thus, the victory. These rumors appeared to have been sufficient to have her disqualified. Runners-up LiteSound were instead sent to Baku with “We Are the Heroes.” It is hard to say whether Alena would have done better than LiteSound at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. For one thing, Alena had quite the stage show with the acrobat and the flying moon prop. On the other hand, I found “We Are the Heroes” to be a far superior song. However, I preferred the original mix from the national final, compared to the mix created for Baku. In my opinion, Belarus would still not have qualified for the final had they retained “All My Life.”
Anastasia Vinnikova – Born in Belorussia/I am Belarusian
An internal jury selected Anastasia Vinnikova as the representative for Belarus in the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest. The song “Born in Byelorussia” had lyrics that made references to the USSR. These lyrics were thus modified and the song was retitled to “I Am Belarusian.” However, it was soon discovered that the song had been performed in public in Summer 2010, thereby making it ineligible for the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest. As a result, it was replaced with “I Love Belarus.” When you compare the two songs side-by-side, it’s evident that “I Love Belarus” is a rehash of “Born in Byelorussia.” Of course, “Born in Byelorussia” is the superior song. Since it finished 9 points from the 10th place entry in the second semi-finals, I actually believe that “Born in Byelorussia” probably could have found a spot in the final in Dusseldorf.
Vasyl Lazarovych “I Love You” (Ukraine)
Ukraine broadcaster NTU internally selected Vasyl Lazarovych to represent Ukraine at the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest. From a jury vote and a televote at a National Selection, “I Love You” was then selected. However, ten days later, it was then decided that Vasyl Lazarovych and “I Love You” would compete in another national final with 19 additional songs. Within a week’s time, a new song to represent Ukraine at the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest was chosen: Alyosha “To Be Free.”
Alyosha “To Be Free” (Ukraine)
Unfortunately for Ukraine, the selection process was far from over. Allegations were made that “To Be Free” sounded remarkably similar to “Knock Me Out” by Linda Perry and Grace Slick. Worse yet, Alyosha was accused of having released the song years before its entry into the national final. Two days after the national final, NTU announced that “Sweet People” was the 2010 Ukranian entry. Thankfully, this disaster for the NTU turned out not so bad. “I Love You” would have been a terrible entry for the Eurovision Song Contest as it was hardly memorable and pale in comparison to other memorable Ukranian entries. As for “To Be Free,” it is a nice song, but a bit too dark for the likes of Eurovision. “Sweet People” had a similar message but was a bit more Eurovision-friendly. And the background music and bits of the singing sound exactly like “Knock Me Out.” In my opinion, Ukraine would not have placed as well had “I Love You” or “To Be Free” were selected.
LISTEN TO LINDA PERRY & GRACE SLICK “KNOCK ME OUT” (SKIP TO 2:05): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gWtNbHBNqM
3+2 “Far away” (Belarus)
If you’ve noticed the trend, Belarus has struggled in the past few years in selecting a song for Eurovision. An internal selection chose 3+2 and “Far Away” as the 2010 entry. However, the song was changed to “Butterflies” three days before the submission deadline. I know a lot of people loved the song and the sprouting of butterfly wings at the end, but I just found the song to be a snoozefest (Roy and others, you’re gonna have to defend Butterflies in the comments, but I’m actually curious to know what everyone found appealing about it because maybe I’m just missing something. Mind you, my Eurovision taste is questionable!). I think “Far Away” would have made the finals in Oslo and placed higher than “Butterflies” did.
Stefane & 3G “We don’t wanna put in” (Georgia)
Stefane and 3G won the Georgia national selection with “We Don’t Wanna Put In.” The song was obviously a reference to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. In March, the EBU asked the Georgian delegation to revise the song lyrics or choose another song. This is because rules of Eurovision forbid lyrics, speeches, or gestures of a political or similar nature. Georgia’s delegation refused and withdrew as a result. Typically, I would say a fun and catchy song like that, if performed well, could place within the top 10, especially with the media coverage that ensued because of the jabs to Putin. However, given the strong competition in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, plus the fact that Russia was the host country, I would suspect it would have placed just outside of the top 10.
More disqualified and rejected songs to coming soon