01 April 2016
We just had the Fab Five, so what’s the Sad Five? It’s five songs that sadly you won’t see at the Eurovision Song Contest. These are songs from national finals that arguably are superior to the eventual entry chosen. Some years there’s some really shocking and egregious decisions, which can amount to civil war in the respective countries or, for me personally, annoyance, frustration and sometimes fury.
This year will be my first ever Eurovision in person so it was exciting to note three of my favourite artists were competing in various national finals. They were Molly Sanden in Sweden, Grete Paia in Estonia and Mihai Traistariu in Romania. Alas, all failed – and convincingly, so no real complaints.
Sometimes national finals are really strong and conceivably there’s no right or wrong winner, just an insufficient number of winners. Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, the UK, and some of Slovenia, were the national finals I watched this year, and I could easily sweep into Eurovision a dozen losing songs that are better than some countries’ final entries.
1) Poland – Margaret – Cool Me Down
This was the big controversy with fans in Poland and across Europe outraged – even suggesting Poland threw away the chance to win Eurovision. That’s highly exaggerated even if Cool Me Down is such a catchy, contemporary song. Since the dust has settled, fans have warmed to the actual winner, Michal Szpak. He was far superior on stage, particularly vocally, and ultimately ended up in my Fab Five. The solution is not to replace Michal with Margaret, it’s to send Margaret to Greece so she can represent them. There’s no videos online from the national final, so here is the preview video.
2) Estonia – Kea – Lonely Boy
Juri Poostman’s Play is already sounding so played. Laura, Cartoon, Mick Pedaja, Grete Paia, I Wear Experiment – I could have picked any one of them as preferable. One song I never highlighted in my Eesti Laul The Verdict post is Kea. Emphasising the strength of EL, she finished second last and still would have been more exciting on the ESC stage than many others.
3) Romania – Mihai – Paradisio
I really had high hopes for Mihai, particularly after his outstanding Tornero at ESC 2006. It’s in my top 10 best ESC songs ever. Ultimately, Paradisio wasn’t really up to standard, and the presentation was bizarre. It’s worth a look simply to appreciate the purity of the guy’s vocals. He’s one of the very few male vocalists with a five-octave range (Mariah Carey is five and a half for comparison), and just listen to the long note at 2:18. Then go listen to his version of Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love you, live in Latvia, on youtube!
4) Finland – Barbe-Q Barbies – Let Me Out
Since I covered Sweden’s better offerings in the Melodifestivalen The Verdict post, we move to Finland. They had a few songs I preferred more than the eventual winner, notably these rock chicks.
5) Denmark – Anja Nissen – Never Alone
It’s become tiring in Denmark. Three times in the past 5 years they’ve sent a dull boyband instead of a superb solo female. This year to suffer was our own Anja Nissen. While it wasn’t a great DMGP, and Anja’s song wasn’t anything special, she sung it brilliantly and was clearly superior to Lighthouse X. She did everything right, including camouflaging her ample boobs to reduce the risk of alienating the jealous teenybopper vote. My theory is some of the vote against Anja might have been a vote against Australia. A large proportion of ESC fans don’t want Australia in ESC, and the last thing they want is two Australians on stage. So they protest against Anja, even if Anja wasn’t Australia’s official ESC entry.