Our Editors choose their favourites from the 2018 National Finals season!

So… as rehearsals begin in Lisbon on Sunday 29th April and after months of planning, we have finally made it to the 63rd Eurovision Song Contest!

But how did we get to the final 43 songs that will be competing? Well, for 31 of them, there was some form of selection process, whether it was the 9 week long marathon of Lithuanian proportions, or a short sprint like Finland’s 3 song UMK Song for Saara selection.

ESCBubble has been there for them all, and our Editors have come together to share their favourite songs that didn’t quite make it

But first, a quick run through of some moments you may have missed:

1.Czech Republic did not have a televised National Final, however a mix of Jury and Public vote chose Mikolas Josef’s “Lie To Me” as the winner, and this is how he found out (click the subtitles)

2. Belarus’ initial audition process was brutal at times, with acts cut off in their prime. Here’s one duo who relished their 22 seconds of fame

3. Estonia always treat us to some unfathomable links during their “Eesti Laul” process. This year was no different as they introduced us to their opera-singing pig

4. And finally, Latvia refuse to be outdone by the Scandi’s and give us their own take on Love, Love Peace, Peace, starring Ralfs Eilands (PeR, Latvia 2013) and Justs (Latvia 2016)

Anne

Feli – Bună de iubit (Royalty) – Romania
One of the very best bits of the National Final season for me is discovering new music and whilst some songs are destined for the Eurovision garbage, for me they will live on forever. Royalty in it’s studio form is a thing of absolute perfection, however Feli finished 3rd in a strong Selecţia Naţională final with the English version of Bună de iubit . All Hail The Queen!

Kyle agrees, adding “What more to add to what I’m sure you feel! Its the summer party banger that would have taken Romania back to the summer pop days they do so well (Mandinga being another example) Shes a huge name in Romania too so would have been great to get her into the Eurovison fold, just look at those youtube stats! AHH!”

Asmik Shiroyan – You & I – Armenia
My second choice is another that just couldn’t translate to a live performance from it’s magnificent studio version. Didn’t help that Asmik needed to give someone a good slap for the staging! She finished 5th in a strong final that was beset with sound issues

Orsi

Jukebox feat. Bella Santiago – Auzi cum bate – Romania
My favourite national final this year without a doubt was the Romanian one. While I was meh about most songs in other NFs, with one or two standouts, I actually LOVED at least ten out of the fifteen finalists in Selectia Nationala. And while I’m not unhappy about “Goodbye”, I honestly thought that nothing else can win but “Auzi cum bate”. The song has such power, such passion! It’s like a tornado, it picks me up and puts me down at a different place. I get huge goosebumps every time I’m listening to it. The live performance was flawless too, Bella looked like a beautiful amazon with a fantastic voice. I’m in love!!!

Melissa adds “A standout song that won over the public in our ESCBubble poll, this had an arresting stage performance, excellent vocals from Bella and wasn’t tempted by an English translation. As much as I like The Humans’ song it’s a travesty Romania didn’t send this instead.”

Raya – Crazy – United Kingdom
I’m not as passionate about this one like the Romanian songs, but I really don’t understand the UK’s choice of song?? I thought this year the UK had some fine songs to choose from, but they went for the wrong one (again). Raya’s song could’ve been a party starter at the ESC. This song is a total booty-shaker, I love the thumping beat and she’s singing it with the right attitude. The live performance wasn’t bad either, although not as good as the studio version promised.

Kyle

Renaida – All the Feels – Sweden
A cracking modern song, great performance and always makes me want to dance and sing along! Would be a different type of pop from what Sweden have sent in the last few years and would have stood out in Lisbon.

Melissa

IROL feat Basti – Sorry – San Marino
I know everyone wanted Sara de Blue to be in Lisbon, but the biggest surprise for me was how good this song was. Every other song that featured Irol’s rap felt disjointed with the vocal he was paired with, however his version of ‘Sorry’ paired with Basti’s delicate vocals really showcased the lyrics beautifully

Nick

Aitana and Ana Guerra – Lo Malo – Spain
Picture the scene, Spain is gripped by a talent show which over several weeks had grown and grown in popularity and now they’re down to the final five contestants. So why not at this point pick a Eurovision entrant from those remaining and let the last eliminated contest take part too?!? Once you got your head around the format, 9 songs were presented of very differing styles and qualities. But one song stood out, REALLY stood out. The hot duet of the fiery Aitana and overwhelmingly gorgeous Ana Guerra. A full on Latin bop, completely on trend and ready for chart domination. A robbery.

Nassi – Reves de Gamin – France
France ventured back into National Final territory this year and what a success it was. A high quality selection with a good mix of on trend French pop and some more unusual timeless entries. France had teased us over several days with short videos of all of the entries and this one really stood out for me. It’s a full on, no holding back bop that just pops the speakers in studio form and it definitely had my leg twitching for the dancefloor. In live form it didn’t quite have the same impact but it still remains one of the best bangers this National Final season has produced.

Ervin

Kamil Show – Puerto Rico – Armenia
I can’t even start listing all the reasons why I think Armenia made the wrong choice of not sending Kamil Show to Eurovision! This is a love it or hate it kind of act, and I absolutely love it! It’s bonkers, crazy and it’s fun. For me she was the highlight of the entire season, not just for the song but for the whole act. I loved how she had every single second of the show planned – from jumping into other people’s interviews, taking a sandwich out of a suitcase and eating it, to “fainting” during the results, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. Kamil’s backing vocalists didn’t miss a single note making sure it was all pitch perfect live. Kamil made sure that the show was crazy. I must add that this is really NOT the kind of music that I like to listen to, but will be listening to this for years to come.

Albin Fredy – Music For The Road – Denmark
To be perfectly honest, the melody of this song is VERY similar to Alvaro Soler’s “Sofia” but, hey, I love that song as well. And if Sweden has been copying world-wide popular songs (and performances) for years and had success at Eurovision – I don’t see a reason why Denmark wouldn’t have the same sort of success should they have picked this song. I’m not a huge fan of country music, but really enjoy the banjo in this song and the whole arrangement. I have to add that I do enjoy “Higher Ground” but in my opinion Albin Fredy was miles ahead of everything else.I already have it on my playlist in my car as it’s “Music For The Road” and I think I will have it there for a long time.


What do you think of the choices of our Editors? Do you have any overlooked entries that you would have loved to see on the stage at Lisbon? Let us know in the comments below

ESCBubble will be on the ground in Lisbon, starting from Sunday, where our team will strive to bring you all the news and coverage as it happens.  Follow us on social media so that you never miss out!

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