The ones that missed out – looking back at favorite national final entries

The national final season has finished last weekend with Portugal being the last country to select their entry through a national final. Also, Azerbaijan released their song for Eurovision yesterday, thus we now have all 37 competing songs. We wanted to look back at the past national final season, and point out some of the songs that didn’t make it to Eurovision, but certainly made an impression on one or more of our team members.

Irama competed in Italy’s Sanremo for the fifth time this year. Similar to his previous entries, he brought another power ballad, performed it with a lot of heart and emotion, and finished in 5th place. His “Tu no” did not go unnoticed, and was the top pick of several of our team members. Edita from our team said:

This song is PERFECT. The instrumental gives me goosebumbs, and Irama has such an incredible voice. The message of this song is very deep and emotional, and it touches my soul.

This was one of Nikola’s top favorites as well, and he added:

The music Irama creates is fantastic, and I go through an emotional roller coaster while I listen to his songs and watch his performances at Sanremo. The lyrics of “Tu no” as well as the way he sang the song made me cry my heart out while I listened to it for the first time.

KEiiNO were back once again in Norway’s MGP, trying to secure a second victory, and a return to Eurovision after having represented their country in 2019. Their entry “Damdiggida” – same as their entry “Monument” two years ago, finished in second place, and thus the band just missed out on their Malmö ticket. This was Jord’s favorite, and he said:

How can you not love this? It’s what we’ve come to know from the Norwegian trio – an energetic and catchy ditty with the obligatory yoik included. This wouldn’t have been out of place in Malmö this year, and would’ve been fun to see “Damdiggida” next to “Rim Tim Tagi Dim”.

Dave added:

I’m not convinced Gåte will resonate with the wider audience in May. KEiiNO narrowly lost MGP, and as a result, Norway missed a chance to secure a spot in the Final with a happy, upbeat party track that would have fit in quite well with the other Eurovision songs for 2024.

Oliver Mazurtšak, aka Ollie, was back in Eesti Laul for a second year in-a-row. And unfortunately, he failed to get that one step forward he needed, and finished as the runner-up once again. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride? We hope not! Will third time be the charm? We hope so!

This was Nikola’s top favorite in Eesti Laul:

I loved “Venom” but I have to say that “My Friend” resonates with me more, both with the lyrics and with the Linkin Park vibe and nostalgic sound. Every word in those lyrics felt so relatable and the way Ollie delivered the song was touching and emotional. Hopefully his next attempt will be with an even better song, even though this one will be hard to beat in my opinion.

Edita added:

Honestly this music genre is the one I listen to the most. Ollie and his song are amazing, and it is a huge crime that he didn’t win…

One of the biggest fan favorites in this year’s “Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu” (UMK) – “Paskana” by Sara Siipola was on its way to Malmö after the jury votes. However, it was the Finnish public that was the downfall and the dream-crasher for Sara, as the overwhelming support for Windows95man meant that Sara will finish in 2nd place. She isn’t heading to Malmö to represent Finland, however it’s a song our very own David, as well as a lot of fans around the world, will listen to for a long time:

Unfortunately the voting format in Finland is set up to make it very difficult for anything except a favoured rock act, a big name, or a novelty act to win. Sara came pretty damn close for a modern R&B ballad in a sea of strong and different entries. Shame her incredible vocal and beautiful staging will not be seen in Malmö.

According to the fandom, since the re-branding of the Serbian national final from “Beovizija” to “Pesma za Evroviziju”, this year’s edition was the strongest one yet. In a competition of 16 in the Grand Final, we find an absolute tune that failed to win the ticket to Malmö, and only finish in 5th place – of course, it’s Zejna with “Najbolja”. Ervin did indeed believe that she was “The Best”, as the songtitle suggests, and he said:

This was one of the, if not *the* catchiest song in this national final season, and Zejna performed the hell out of it on the PzE stage! Year after year she is coming with something stronger, catchier and more memorable. Zejna, come back again next year, because if someone needs to represent Serbia in Eurovision – it’s you! Zejna je najbolja! ❤️

Loredana Bertè has not only competed in Italy’s Sanremo, but also in “Una voce per San Marino” – with the same song! Whilst in Italy she finished in 7th place, she was the runner-up in San Marino. Our very own Dave stated:

In an overall unspectacular line-up, San Marino RTV were able to convince a music icon from Italy to compete in their selection this year. It was simply embarrassing bringing Loredana to San Marino to have her lose to an act that had to make it through the Second Chance round. What a missed opportunity for San Marino, who crave the international exposure that Eurovision provides.

Shaun added:

This song deserved to go to Eurovision, one way or another but I’m glad it’s getting the attention it deserves by younger fans, despite not having an obvious appeal towards the youth.

After a third-place finish in last year’s Melodifestivalen, Smash Into Pieces were back again in this contest this year, and they easily made it to the Grand Final in Friends Arena through the heats. Unfortunately, they repeated the same result with “Heroes Are Calling” as their last year’s attempt “Six Feet Under” – 3rd place in the Final. This was Isaac’s top pick of this entire national final season:

“Heroes Are Calling” perfectly straddles the line between pop and rock, with epic staging that brings Apocalypse DJ’s iconic face to the foreground of a cataclysmic landscape, accompanied by pyros and lasers. With an insanely catchy chorus and an anthemic, singalong quality, the song not only gets stuck in your head, but also builds to a Eurovision ready climax, supported by Chris’ high notes and a well placed children’s choir reminiscent of Italian Mr Rain’s Supereroi.

Normally the first national selection of the season, Albania’s traditional festival “Festivali i Këngës” was the second selection, as Czech Republic went for an early-December final. In the strangest of all selections for Eurovision, where songs eliminated in the Semi Finals of the Festival could still have ended up in Eurovision, there was an absolute stand out – and it indeed did not make the Final of Festivali i Këngës. “Përsëritja” by Luan Durmishi was a huge fan favorite, and the Eurovision community was surprised to see this getting eliminated in the Semi. The Eurovision dream finished in the last moments of the Grand Final of “Festivali i Këngës”, when Besa was announced as Albania’s entrant. Our very own Joe B said:

Luan, aka Konstraktisn’t, really threw a curve ball into the mix at this otherwise forgettable edition of FiK. It had a clear staging concept, repetitive lyrics in three languages and an utterly barmy bridge with whistle notes that classically-trained Luan hit without flinching. Had it not been for the juries tanking him out of sight and out of mind before the final, would’ve absolutely been an “In corpore sano” moment in Malmö.

The first national selection in this national final season was Czechia’s ESCZ, and for the first time after 2009, this was a live show and in front of a live audience! Even though other acts were favoured by the fandom, Aiko took the victory and she’s taking her “Pedestal” to Malmö. Elly was overwhelmingly the favourite domestically, but the international vote didn’t go her way, and overall she finished in second place, and this is David’s top pick for this season:

It’s such a great song, sounds like a Florence + the Machine indie type ballad with those electro ballad feels in the chorus. The national selection may have been months ago now, but it still remains as one of my more played national final season 2024 reject entries.

Luxembourg is back after 32 years of absense in Eurovision, and boy did they come back with a bang! They produced one of the best national selections of the year. Tali took the win after overwhelmingly winning the jury vote, and by being the public’s second pick but there was one song that was Ervin’s number 1 choice (and in his view, the only choice) for Luxembourg – One Last Time’s “Devil In The Detail”. He said:

Luxembourg could have come back with a BANG had they selected One Last Time. This is a really well put-together song, the band’s energy really came through the performance, and they would have stood out in Eurovision.

PS. The drummer needs to know how to throw his drumsticks in the air 😁

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, Portugal was the last country to select their entry this year through a national final. A week ago in the Grand Final in Lisbon, both the juries as well as the public went for Iolanda and her power-entry “Grito”, thus she will be representing the Iberian republic in Malmö. Our Joe had a different view of how things should have gone, as his top pick finished only in 9th place out of 12. He said about “Bem longe daqui”:

I loved this song so much. It’s not the sort of thing we often hear in FdC with a retro electronic feel to it. The thing I love most is just how much they looked to be enjoying themselves on stage. A feel good entry.

Malta selected their entry for Eurovision once again through MESC, but this time it was different – there was no live audience, the performances were filmed in a studio, and they were not performed live on the night – all of them were pre-recorded. In a very strange voting, where the jury gave out 406 points (77,62% of the results) whilst the public only gave out 117 points (22,38% of the results), the winner was Sarah Bonnici with “Loop” who was the runaway favorite with the juries, and the second favorite with the public. Our very own Eszter had a different view of the Final, and her top favorite finished in 5th place – “Wild Card” by Gail Attard. She said:

This was such a classic ballad, but the voice of Gail really made it stand out. The song took me on an absolute journey of thoughts, and became one of my top favorites instantly.

We also couldn’t have gone past one more Sanremo entry – of course, Mahmood’s “Tuta Gold”. After he successfully represented Italy in Eurovision 2019 with “Soldi” and finished 2nd, and then came back in 2022 together with Blanco with “Brividi” and finished in 6th place, Mahmood was hoping for a third chance at Eurovision this year with “Tuta Gold”. Things didn’t go his way this year, as he only finished 6th in the Final of Sanremo. Nevertheless, his entry is a massive hit, and has been one of the top picks for several of our team members. Jord stated:

“Tuta Gold” is another song that felt probably a little too ahead of it’s time, a bit like Lady Gaga’s Artpop. Attempting to represent Italy for the 3rd time in 5 years, he fell just short despite having arguably the best song in this years San Remo. Justice is served though, Italy finally sending a women for the first time in what feels forever!

Joe B added:

Mahmood proved on a third occasion at the Ariston this year that he’s the host with the most: four octaves, killer dance moves, amazing flow and the potential of making a hit that reverberates around the world, as proven by the global Spotify charts. Maybe a third appearance at Eurovision was a push, but this would’ve been up there with the prime Soldi / Ghettolimpo days, and even a contender for victory.

Not only songs that made it to the final stages of their national selection made an impression on our team members. CeaseTone’s “Ró” from Iceland’s Söngvakeppnin was one of the three songs that made the biggest impression on Sophie from our team. She said:

It’s a shame this didn’t quite hit the spot live as the audio has been on repeat for me since the Söngvakeppnin songs were released. Such subtle yet impactful instrumentation, paired with a hard-hitting drum and bass build that really sells the final chorus.

These were several other songs that made impressions on our team members, but which songs made the biggest impact on YOU? Which song that competed in their country’s national selection that failed to make it to Eurovision will you keep listening to? Let us know in the comment section below, or on our social media pages.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

Support ESCBubble!

Like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter, to get all the Eurovision news as they happen!