Road to Liverpool 2023: Best of the National Final Season

For the last two weeks on our Facebook page we have been posting our favourite songs from the National Final season which did not end up being chosen for Eurovision.  Lets take a deeper dive into some of our Editor’s favourite songs that were pipped at the post.

Ukraine’s Vidbir selection started off the season on December 17th, held in a metro station due to the ongoing conflict, we were still treated to an amazing spectacle. Marco has chosen the eventual 3rd placed entry “When God Shut The Door” by Jerry Heil.

“Maybe my favourite song from this season, I loved everything about it, the message, the emotion and I’m sure if would have been a contender to win ESC23. And this song was very mature coming from Jerry, compared to her previous Vidbir song “Vegan”, that’s what I call an evolution!”

Next to choose is Ervin, and he has an eclectic taste at the best of times! He has however gone for Eesti Laul’s Ollie and his song “Venom”

“Estonia really upped their game this year, as there were multiple really amazing songs and performances in this year’s Eesti Laul. In my own personal opinion, by far the best one in this selection was “Venom” by Ollie. I loved the structure of the song and its instrumentation – slows down when needed, goes full blast in the choruses, and they were not holding back on anything – they did their thing. Ollie was vocally very strong, his stage presence was amazing, and he really knew how to deliver the song in both shows. Loved Ollie and his vocals, loved the song, loved the performance, and I’ve been listening to this song so many times since its release that I believe that it is currently my most listened to song on Spotify in 2023.”

Nikola has made his choice as well, and it’s Princ with “Cvet sa Istoka” which finished 2nd in Serbia’s Pesma za Evroviziju at the beginning of March.

“Pesma za Evroviziju 23 had a very interesting lineup and I was so excited about the songs and later on their performances and there was one which got me hooked from beginning to the end it was “Cvet sa Istoka” by Princ. Except of his great and strong vocal. Princ truly delivered the Prince of Persia, East, Disney, Eurovision vibes with his lovely dancers and he told a story about the beautiful flower from the east and love between the Turkish girl and a Serb, the forbidden love ended and was crowned by a bridge later on you can read more about it in his interview for ESCBubble


Some songs touch us in unexpected ways, and this is certainly true of Joe‘s entry, Elsa Lila’s “Evita” which ended up winning Albania’s Festivali i Këngës, but was not the televote choice for Eurovision.

“It’ll take me a while to get over the fact that if it hadn’t been for the new separate public vote FiK introduced this year, this utterly beautiful crooner would’ve been lighting up the stage in Liverpool in a year when we really needed something slow and sentimental that really meant something. Elsa named the song after her daughter, who appears in one of the most pure and joyous album covers I’ve ever seen. The way her unique alto voice effortlessly sweeps into the chorus from her seated position truly captivated the audience in the arena, who applauded loudly midway through, and me at home. I’m unashamed to say I teared up a bit. The lyrics speak of a mother’s undying love for her child and how, even though she can’t be around her forever, the way she brought light into her life will never be forgotten. Simple, beautiful, didn’t need crazy staging. Just her, her amazing voice, and her boyband stool. A deserved winner of the festival who might have been in the running for Albania’s best result in years.”

Before we get onto our last entry, there were some notable incidents during the shows we watched that deserve a mention.

Firstly, what happens if you are a previous winner of San Remo and you are invited back to sing your new song only to find that the in ear monitors aren’t to your liking? Well, you destroy the stage of course!

And an honourable mention to the worst kept secret in Norway – great fun to watch and a fitting way to hand over the trophy to the winner of MGP 2023, Alessandra.

The final choice is mine! I love a party song and whilst I had a few to choose from in 2023, the one that has stuck with me and is guaranteed to see me on that Euroclub dancefloor is Vicco with “Nochentera” which was 3rd in Spain’s BenidormFest back in February.  Massively helped along by an enthusiastic crowd, this would have been a fitting sequel to SloMo.

Of course there were dozen’s more that we picked, but we had to massively cut this down as it was in danger of becoming far too long!

ESCBubble will be bringing you a few insights into our National Finals travels over the coming days, so keep an eye out as we recall our experiences and what to expect should you wish to travel to them yourselves in years to come.

What were your National Final favourites in 2023? Let us know using the social media buttons below and make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss out on all our Eurovision coverage.



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