The 2011 Eurovision That Almost Was – Part III

We conclude our review of “what might have been” by discussing the 2nd place finishers and/or high-scoring alternatives from the Big Five. Three of Big Five nations opted to have some sort of a public vote for their Eurovision entries this year. Of course, for all the transparency involved in a public vote, it didn’t feel like they were all that up front about the results.

For example, Italy used as candidates all the songs at the San Remo Festival, but then made an internal selection. Spain held an open selection, but teased us by not telling us the runner up. Both countries showed us the alternatives, but their selection processes did not identify who was in 2nd place.

Meanwhile, Germany put the Lena’s songs up for public vote, but they were carefully vetted by Lena and the producers beforehand. In this case, it’s just a necessary part of the selection process, but it certainly guaranteed that Lena wasn’t going to be stuck for weeks with a song she hated.

France and the UK, on the other hand, simply made internal selections, which probably was a good idea given public opinion of the ESC in these countries.

The Big Five:

France. Internal selection, not applicable.

Italy. Roberto Vecchioni, “Chiamami ancora amore.” The Italians used a jury to select their Eurovision entry, and they could pick from any of the entrants in the established artists and the new artists category at the San Remo Festival. Raphael Gualazzi, the Eurovision pick, won the new artists category.  Roberto Vecchioni is the obvious “what might have been” because he won the established artists category–top billing at San Remo. “Chiamami ancora amore” is a big ballad with a diva star turn that we don’t often see from men these days. It has a similar character and scope to “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” Given Patricia Kaas’s result for France, Italy would probably have been better served if they’d sent him instead.

United Kingdom (Oooh!). Internal selection, not applicable.

Germany. Lena Meyer-Landrut, “Push Forward.” Lena was always going to defend her title; the challenge was finding her a song. “Push Forward” was the other song that rose to the top and gathered momentum. A ballad, the song had more gravitas and a more meaningful message than “Taken by a Stranger,” but our read is that it wasn’t as good a fit for Lena’s quirky style. When it came down to the final 2 songs, Germans overwhelmingly preferred “Taken by a Stranger” (79%), and “Push Forward” managed only 21% of the televote.

Spain. Second place unknown, Spain did not release the results of the vote. We do know, however, that Lucia Perez received 68% of the televotes for “Que me quiten lo bailao”, compared with 20% and 12% with 2nd and 3rd finishers in the superfinal. The other superfinal competitors were Melissa, who had a well-staged, big Eurovision-style ballad with “Eos.”and 5-member boy band Auryn with “Volver,” who led going into the superfinal. Auryn would have been particularly interesting — Blue comparisons anyone? But frankly, either of these songs would have been better than what they wound up with.