Best of the 2019 National Final Season!

Now that the dust has settled and we know all 41 entries that will be appearing at the Eurovision Song Contest in a few short weeks, it’s time for us to have a retrospective look back at how we got to those entries.

2019 seemed to be the year of the fallen front runners, with the Eurovision fandom collectively gnashing their teeth as favourite after favourite seemed to just miss out on the top spot in their respective contests to win the ticket to Tel Aviv.

Here at ESCBubble, we have been compiling a list of the best ones that got away, so that we can celebrate their greatness one last time – so here we go!

Australia Decides

We start off with one of the first contest that we were blessed with this year as on February 9th, Australia held their first ever national final, and we in Europe spent a lazy Saturday morning watching a really high class show with 10 amazing entries. There was one those that caught the imagination of the fans immediately, and was chosen by 3 of our editors.

Nikola: This entry was special as it has the real clash of traditional and uptempo vibes. Love the fact that part of the song is sung in Pitjantjatjara dialect very unique and it makes me dance from the beginning till the end. I am so sad it won’t be performed at ESC stage.

Anne: From the very first listen and from researching Electric Fields back catalogue, I fell hard for this song and performance. Unique and appealing to my banger roots this would have likely been my favourite (or second, and I’ll come to that later!) coming into Tel Aviv and whilst I mourn it’s loss to Eurovision, I’m incredibly grateful that it exists as a piece of music for me to enjoy for years to come.

Matt: A song which I found really fun that I think could’ve done really well. Really hope that Australia has a National Final again next year as I thought the quality of the songs was really good.

Destination Eurovision

The French national selection, Destination Eurovision, also produced a great line up this year and while Bilal Hassani’s “Roi” was the runaway winner, it didn’t mean that he had no competition.  Indeed, two of our editors included songs from that contest:

Ervin: Now this was FUN 🙂 And oh so very French! I loved the whole staging of it with the cut-out papers to showcase different parts of the Parisian (and French) lifestyle. Sylvan gave a fantastic performance, and I think that this is what Europe would have appreciated a lot more from France, much rather than a social-media star with a lower-than-average song (and vocal) – no offense.

Joe: Who wouldn’t want some whiskey cocktails rum rum rum at their Eurovision party?. Apparently not the French voter who placed this fun piece of pop into last position in the semi final.

A Dal

Our two Hungarian colleagues, editor in chief Ervin and A Dal supremo Orsi, took a keen interest as always in Hungary’s mammoth selection process A Dal, attending every show and interviewing all the contestants.  Unsurprisingly they have very strong opinions on the one that got away …

Ervin: I think it was absolutely unacceptable that THIS song was not voted by the jury to be a superfinalist of A Dal. “Roses” is literally played everywhere in Hungary, it’s THE biggest hit this show has produced in years, and the fact that the jury placed it 6th out of 8 for me is completely unacceptable. The song is so well put together, has a great rhythm, and András and Slash performed it so well each and every time! I do like Joci’s song a lot – more than Origo actually, but if you ask me, “Roses” was clearly the song Hungary should’ve sent.

Orsi: They’re definitely the ones my heart is breaking for. I mean how could the jury of A Dal 2019 be so dumb and not put them in the final four?! This was the coolest, most unique, contemporary – but still pop – song of A Dal this year. Had they put it in the superfinal, they would have won by a mile, there’s no doubt. Someone call the Taste Police, please! The jury of A Dal doesn’t put the biggest viewer favorites in the final four, at least since 2017, but this is the first time the public favourite is my favourite, and it hurts 🙁

Interval Act

I think it’s time for an interval! Melodifestivalen in Sweden is notorious for giving us some of the most fun performances to fill the time between voting and the results.  This year was no exception, with the very first semi final in Gothenburg giving us a mash up of Israeli Eurovision winners, performed by the hosts of the show, Sarah Dawn Finer, Eric Saade, Marika Carlsson and Kodjo Akolor

Selecţia Naţională

Moving on to Selecţia Naţională in Romania now, we have already talked about the drama that surrounded the final result in our article last week, but what was the one song that united our editors in disappointment?

Orsi : Ok, so Bella’s been robbed – again. Her entry with Jukebox, “Auzi cum bate” was my favourite loser last year, I didn’t understand how it could have not won, and now here we go again. I mean Ester Peony – seriously? Bella is a fantastic singer, the song is a bomb, so powerful it makes you sing and dance on the tram (I tried 🙂 and the Filipino adds spice in the mix. When I saw her perform the song, there was a lof of Eleni in her moves – not as perfectly executed as The Diva-, but still, she was definitely my number one in this year’s Selectia Nationala.

Nick: It all seemed so clear, a late wildcard entry gets given to the most recent winner of the Romanian X Factor. The fandom becomes whipped up into a complete frenzy when it’s apparent that an absolute monster of a banger was about to be revealed. A no brainer winner of Selecţia Naţională right? NO. Not this banger with a drop so dirty that it left a Romanian tv host totally shook by the filthy breakdown and Tagalog rap:

So alas it wasn’t meant to be.  Bella got scuppered primarily by the ‘expert juror’ Emmelie de Forest who didn’t even rank it in her Top 10 and then we had a surprise epiphany by two members of a blogging fan site (who gave 12 points to a song they apparently didn’t like before).  I strongly believe that Eurovision fansites should here to discuss and bring you news and views on the Contest, and shouldn’t pick the contestants.  A tragic loss….

Eurovizijos Atranka

ESCBubble have attended a record number of National Finals this year, with timetables being as packed as they were this year (have we ever had 10 shows in one night before?!) it fell to Lithuania’s Eurovizijos Atranka selection to be the one that an astonishing 3 editors ended up at! LRT put on a fantastic show in the final, and whilst the runaway favourite again didn’t get the win, with Monika Marija being pipped at the post by Jurijus with his “Run With The Lions”, there was a third song that collectively broke our hearts by finishing only third

Matt: A mad, fun song that I personally really liked, although I’m not sure how this would’ve done at Eurovision.
Anne: I always have a soft spot for songs from a national final that I’ve attended and I returned from Lithuania with this being the soundtrack to my year! A song by a bunch of guys waxing lyrical about the love for their car doesn’t sound like it would be a goer, but the infectious trumpets and ska beats, coupled with the oh so learnable choreography means that this was my pick. Oh, and for a bit of background, the guys from Antikvariniai Kaspirovskio Dantys (let’s call them AKD…) were CRAZY backstage, running around and causing mischief, as I found out when I took a quick comfort break…

Eesti Laul

Eesti Laul is another of our favourite contests, and 2019 gave us everything with a great mix of songs to choose from. Whilst the winner of our poll eventually won in the end, it doesn’t mean that we should forget the strong competition that Victor Crone was up against

Nick:  Eesti Laul was great this year.  And this perfectly sung, Estonian language uptempo slice of dance pop got looked over and drowned in a sea of men.  Even more confusingly there was another singer called INGER, who also loved those CAPITAL LETTERS, and who between them kept picking up those 12 points just to confuse those of us trying to describe to you what was happening with the voting.

Ervin: I am normally not a fan of piano ballads, but this song I just can’t stop listening to. The lyrics of it get a bit repetitive, but it’s actually not a bad thing here – it just makes you sing along to it quicker. I love how gentle the melody is, the change in the arrangement whenever the chorus starts, and also how Stefan sung it in Eesti Laul. I believe that this was the song that would have scored the highest in Eurovision, out of all Eesti Laul finalists.


At the risk of this article lasting as long as the National Final season itself, I will end with one song that I think we can all agree on, should have been going to Tel Aviv. None of us picked it in our list as it wasn’t a failure, it actually won it’s national selection. But due to some questionable antics both on the night of Vidbir, and afterwards, Ukraine will not be participating in Tel Aviv and therefore the wider International audience will not experience the slick artistry of the magnificent Maruv and her Siren Song. Maruv, we salute you and you will be missed.

There were many, many more that we wanted to include here, which goes to show that we have had an amazing time over the last few months! But now we are moving on towards the contest itself with the preview party season starting soon. We will have a team on the ground for most of them, and will bring you all the interviews and insights that you could want 😊

Follow us on ESCBubble using the social media buttons below, because you won’t want to miss what we have lined up for you!

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