As we start on our series of posts to wrap up the national final season, we will remember 2015 as a good Eurovision year. It’s a year where most (though not all) national finals made a good pick from the options available, and some (though not all) national finals had several high quality songs to choose from. Here are our favorites from the ones that got left behind.
Austria: Zoe – “Adieu.” In the opening episode of Wer singt für Österrich, Zoe introduced herself to the public with this adorable, retro French chanson. The first song was not eligible for the Contest, it was merely meant to showcase the artist’s style. Zoe’s performance was magnetic, and one of the judges aptly described her as “an Austrian Brigitte Bardot.” “Quel filou,” her would-be Eurovision song, tried to recapture the magic of “Adieu,” but Zoe wasn’t able to deliver on the promise and ultimately landed in 3rd place. Why can’t France send something like this?
Austria: Lemo – “So Leicht.” Austria ruled out Lemo on the first show because the judges felt the German lyrics wouldn’t translate well to the rest of Europe. Fair enough, we suppose, but “So Leicht” was nevertheless an elegant piece of singer-songwriter songwriting. The 3-minute version performed at WSFÖ was tighter than the official video linked to below.
Cyprus: Minus One – “Shine.” The title and lyrics come from the Eurovision Song Generator 3000 (TM), but Minus One rocked. Yes, they rocked a bit too much like Nickelback, but we liked them anyway. What can we say, we’re suckers for cool chord transitions. How badass could this song have been if it had been sung by Magni Asgiersson?
Estonia: Miina – “Kohvitassi lugu.” There need to be more songs about coffee. And there really need to be more songs about coffee that involve xylophones. Sadly, “Kohvitassi lugu” didn’t make it out Estonia’s first semifinal.
Finland: Satin Circus – “Crossroads.” “Crossroads” is the kind of song we might expect to hear during a Heineken ad, a Las Vegas tourism ad, or recorded by Kesha (and when you think about it how different are these things?). This bouncy pop song was immediate, accessible, and full of youthful exuberance. A huge missed opportunity for Finland.
Finland: Jouni Aslak – “Lions and Lambs.” If Casting Crowns recorded this song I doubt we would like it as much, but Jouni Aslak’s “Lions and Lambs” enraptured us (see what I did there?). Aslak’s gentle quirkiness and excellent fashion sense caught our attention, and the song’s super accessible hook “we are, we are, we are, a little bit of lions a little bit of lambs in the same eyes” reeled us in.
Hungary: Balázs Farkas-Jenser – “Liar.” In the first heat of A Dal, the judges scores put this Maroon 5-inspired ditty on the bubble. However, it didn’t get enough support from the public SMS vote to continue on.
Hungary: Ádám Szabó – “Give Me Your Love.” In a year of ABB (Anything But Boggie), Ádám Szabó was our preferred choice. He’s got a huge voice, and “Give Me Your Love” was a good showcase for it. Unfortunately, in the A Dal final, he just didn’t bring the performance that was needed to see it through.
Iceland: Sunday – “Fjaðrir (Feathers).” Iceland’s answer to Margaret Berger. The opening moments of “Fjaðrir” offer a tip of the hat to Björk, but thereafter it goes for a downtempo house vibe. Sunday sang in Icelandic in the semis, but switched to English for the final. The English language version was a travesty, sapping the song’s mystery and ambiance. We link to the superior Icelandic version below.
Sweden: Eric Saade – “Sting.” “Sting” is our big guilty pleasure from the 2015 national final season. The chant is “it’s gonna sting so bad it’ll drive you mad,” but it could have been “this song’s so bad it’ll drive you mad.” Seriously, it’s ridiculous. At the same time, the tune is crazy catchy, and Saade delivers in his Melodifestivalen performance. Fredrik Kempe songs can feel generic in the hands of a less confident artist. Credit where credit is due, Eric Saade takes “Sting” and makes it his own, just like “Manboy” and “Popular” before. Enjoy now. Eric Saade, 24, is getting a little old for the teeny bopper song about grade school popularity. “Sting” is his Last of the Summer Wine moment, if you will.
Sweden: Dinah Nah – “Make Me (La La La)”. “Make Me (La La La)” is a banging club track co-written by Dr. Alban, and one of our favorites to play loud in the car, right up there with “Heroes” and “Rhythm Inside.” “Make Me (La La La)” finished last in the Swedish final, but its triumph was being there at all. Prior to 2015, Dinah Nah was best known for being a member of the novelty act Caramell. Their 2001 hit, “Caramelldansen,” is sure to make your eyes bleed, and it was a knowing inside joke that pitted Dinah Nah against Dolly Style at Andra Chansen. It gave Dinah Nah another chance at a music career as well, the song peaked at 10 in the Swedish pop charts.
Ylvis – “Stonehenge”. Let’s talk about the henge. Norwegian act Ylvis (“What Does the Fox Say”) was the interval act at Melodifestivalen this year. They dusted off “Stonehenge” from their back catalog, added some new lyrics for the occasion and performed it in epic style. Hey, it was new to us, and we were entertained.