Eurovision Again Semi Final Special – Review

20 December 2020

In another special event created to help fill the hole left by the cancellation of the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, fans chose the best Eurovision song not to make the grand final. First there was a nomination process, and then the top 26 songs presented in a special online show, with the winner decided by an online vote.

Eurovision Again Semi-Final Special - Review
Image: EBU

The only rules were one entry per country and a country needed to fail twice to be part of the show. So no Sweden or Russia will be seen. The overall show was quite slick, using material from past Eurovisions to create a well constructed and comprehensive presentation, almost as good as the real thing.

Watch the full show here or the recap of all 26 songs below

Review

01 Norway 2011 – Stella Mwangi – Haba Haba (17/19)

Dull and repetitive song, and with weak vocals. 17th out of 19 with 30 points was the right result and a song I’d rate worst of the few Norwegian failures. Agneta in 2016 would be my top pick, then Giru Schanke in 2007.
3/10

02 Estonia 2017 – Koit Toome & Laura – Verona (14/17)

Quality song and a huge fan favourite, let down by a rather clinical and cold presentation. Fourteenth out of 17 is not too harsh a result considering the quality of the semi final and they were only 16 points off qualifying.
7/10

03 Belarus 2009 – Petr Elfimov – Eyes That Never Lie (13/18)

What’s not to love about a clean-skinned Belarrussian gratuitiously flashing his chest? Not too much. They seem a dime a dozen at Eurovision and Petr brought one of the more memory performances, especially that mega tracking cam shot from the back of the arena to Petr on stage about halfway through. The song, while good power-rock, took a while to get going, and being one of the early songs of that year’s event, it lacked presence on the mega stage in Russia. Later songs allowed the viewers to adjust. Final place was about right considering the competition.
6/10

04 Bulgaria 2011 – Poli Genova – Na Inat (12/19)

Probably only made the list out of fanaticism for Poli following her fourth place If Love Were A Crime in 2016. While the power vocals were superb and it’s probably the best of the Bulgarian losers, the song was never that strong, and other countries like Serbia, Latvia and Lithuania never made this list despite superior failures.
5/10

05 Slovenia 2005 – Omar Naber – Stop (12/25)

Perhaps a repeat of the Poli Genova situation? Although, Omar’s 2017 appearance, also in Kyiv, ended in a semi final loss whereas Poli reached the grand final. While Omar finishes the song off well, there really are so many better Slovenian entries that missed this list like ManuElla (2016), Hanna Mancini (2013), Eva Boto (2012), Rebeka Dremelj (2008) and Anzej Dezan (2006).
6/10

06 Netherlands 2007 – Edsilia Rombley – On Top Of The World (21/28)

One of the great travesties with its big catchy nature and superb vocals. This was the era of the single semi final and rampant bloc voting, so 21st out of 28 is not a complete embarrassment for such a song. Seeing it again also reminded me of the mega crush I had on the blonde dancer.
9/10

07 Moldova 2015 – Eduard Romanyuta – I Want Your Love (11/16)

This one is more show than go with its elaborately choregraphed routine, and was 20 points off 10th spot despite be finishing 11th. Lidia Isac in 2016 and Anna Odobescu in 2019 are better.
5/10

08 Finland 2017 – Norma John – Blackbird (12/18)

This failing was a big shock at the time, not that I could see much to it beyond the exquisite vocals. The song was always a bit dull, and needing again to make sure I don’t type Norma Jean (Marilyn Monroe) instead of Norma John is annoying. The result was about right.
5/10

09 San Marino 2013 – Valentina Monetta – Crisalde (Vola) (11/17)

One of the big shocks for me, as this was one of my favourites of 2013 and it was in a reasonably weak semi final. Perhaps viewers didn’t like the glowing ball?
9/10

10 Romania 2019 – Ester Peony (13/18)

In by default, as Romania never failed to reach the final until 2018. I’d have put their other entry, Goodbye by The Humans, in (better song and they only just missed the final) over On A Sunday. It’s still a good song, just nothing special.
6/10

11 Monaco 2006 – Severine Ferrer – La Coco-Dance (21/23)

Ah, the “coco woman” – as I typically refer to Severine. I loved this with its infectious Polynesian rhythm and coco dancers, not to forget Severine’s epic tan and shapely curves. A bit of a harsh result even in a tough single semi final.
7/10

12 Greece 2018 – Yianna Terzi – Oniro Mou (14/19)

Only two failures for Greece, and this is clearly the better one compared to that shocker by Argo in 2016. Overall, a bit bland so not sure why fans ever considered it for a list like this. Something like Moje 3 for Serbia in 2013 deserves far more recognition.
4/10

13 Denmark 2007 – DQ – Drama Queen (19/28)

Before the contest, I thought this might win. It was catchy, flashy and had plenty of hype going for it. Then I was left underwhelmed watching the performance and the weak vocals.
5/10

14 Poland 2019 – Tulia – Fire Of Love (Pali Sie) (11/17)

Not the screech queens. I understand their appeal; I just don’t like it. Only two points off the final too, and almost knocked out my girl, Zena, from Belarus.
4/10

15 Switzerland 2018 – ZiBBZ – Stones (13/19)

No surprise to see this appear, as Stones was a superb rock anthem and really brought to life by Coco’s powerful vocals. It was a tough semi final in 2018, so 13th with 86 points is not so bad. A shame only one entry per country is allowed, because Timebelle’s classic Apollo in 2017 deserves a spot too.
8/10

16 North Macedonia 2017 – Jana Burceska – Dance Alone (15/18)

While it might called Dance Alone, it doesn’t mean you should. Great song let down by an unimaginative presentation. I’d have had some dancers appear for Jana to dismiss. Jana’s 15th place was one spot below Estonia’s Koit & Laura and three spots below Timebelle. A tough semi final.
6/10

17 Ireland 2015 – Molly Sterling – Playing With Numbers (12/17)

I didn’t enjoy this much at the time; I did now. It shows you that context matters, and I feel that Molly got lost a bit by being second to perform among a bunch of ordinary songs, and people just ignored her. Towards the end here, she stands out. She did well with the jury and wasn’t too far off a grand final spot. Making this list ahead of many excellent Irish failures (like Sinead Mulvey & Black Daisy in 2009) is also a good effort.
6/10

18 Montenegro 2013 – Who See – Igranka (12/16)

One of my great Eurovision memories, I was awe-struck watching this. I never rated the song before Eurovision, only to be transfixed and transformed by one of the great Eurovision performances ever. Twelfth place is actually a strong result as the first semi final of Eurovision 2013 is my highest rated Eurovision Song Contest show ever.
8/10

19 Croatia 2010 – Feminnem – Lako Je Sve (13/16)

The year most notable for all my favourites, except the winner (Germany’s Lena), being epic failures. Feminnem was one of them, and other than hearing criticism of them appearing in lingerie, I struggle to explain the lowly 13th spot even in a rather strong semi final. It was the one where Sweden had their one and only failure.
8/10

20 Andorra 2007 – Anonymous – Salvem El Mon (12/28)

While Andorra have had a few decent entries for such a small country, this was the clear pick (with Susanne Georgi in 2009 the closest competition) thanks to its infectious and energetic nature. 2007 was the most notorious year for semi final injustices, and Anonymous can easily feel their 12th from 28 songs is a good achievement.
8/10

21 Israel 2014 – Mei Finegold – Same Heart (14/15)

2014 is the year several uptempo acts struggled with the giant cube stage and being diminished, notably Israel, Estonia and North Macedonia. Of those three, Israel were definitely the best, and the Madonna-lookalike did her best to overcome her presentation shortcomings by really ripping the vocals – and deserved better than the disastrous second last place in a weak semi final.
8/10

22 Slovakia 2010 – Kristina Pelakova – Horehronie (16/17)

The song I didn’t rate too highly until watching someone’s ranked compilation video on youtube and Kristina was number one. Just that snippet of that infectious beat got me entranced enough to watch the full song and I was hooked. After being so hyped to see Kristina appear on stage, and loving her beautiful Slovak pronunciation in interviews, not just in song, I can only say Kristina was too nervous, the performance flat, and without instant appeal, the result probably justified. Behind Kristina in last place was one my other favourites – What For? by Aisha from Lativa. I still love Horehronie, grown to enjoy her performance more and more over the years, and have been watching Kristina’s career flourish since. She’s such a sweetheart too.
9/10

23 Belgium 2006 – Kate Ryan – Je T’adore (12/23)

This was the era where I was beginning to encounter Eurovision chat on the internet, and all I remember is Kate Ryan this, Kate Ryan that. There was so much hype, which was only matched by the outcry when she failed to make the final. Cries of bloc voting and rigged results were rampant, and justified, especially the bloc voting in this single semi final era and 100% televoting. At the time, I wasn’t that fussed that she lost as the song seemed nothing special. It was only afterwards I really gravitated to it and Kate herself. I bought her CDs and became one of those people spreading “Kate was robbed” around the internet.
8/10

24 Czechia 2015 – Marta Jandova & Vaclav Nord Barta – Hope Never Dies (13/17)

Dramatic performance and solid vocals wasn’t enough to elevate a song of minor appeal.
5/10

25 Iceland 2016 – Greta Salome – Hear Them Calling (14/18)

No surprise to see this and predict it will win. I still remember vividly seeing Greta so disappointed the next day at the Eurovision Village in Stockholm. That she still turned up to perform is a great credit to her, and arguably I enjoyed more her rendition of Hear Them Calling there than at Eurovision. Her Eurovision performance just seemed so sterile, over rehearsed and copying the projection screen from the previous year’s winners, Sweden, is hardly original. All that fuss might have meant viewers missed the song itself. So 14th, while harsh, can be explained. Special mention to Silvia Night (2006) and Eirikur Hauksson (2007) as other excellent Icelandic failures.
7/10

26 Portugal 2014 – Suzy – Quero Ser Tua (11/16)

There’s something so likeable about this despite its repetitive nature and weak vocals. Perhaps it’s Suzy herself? She was only one point off qualifying too.
6/10

My Top 10

01 Netherlands 2007
02 Montenegro 2013
03 Slovakia 2010
04 San Marino 2013
05 Belgium 2006
06 Andorra 2007
07 Switzerland 2018
08 Croatia 2010
09 Israel 2014
10 Monaco 2006

Surprisingly I couldn’t squeeze in Estonia 2017. I’ve really gone cold on it.

While this doesn’t quite match my official Best Ever Eurovision Semi Final Losers from a few years ago, it’s how they presented in this show. Netherlands 2007 really stuck out early and it was only towards the end that others emerged. The main difference to my official top 10 is Netherlands 2007 doesn’t appear at all beyond a special mention and Montenegro 2013 is only 10th. Slovakia 2010 is third (behind two songs not appearing in this special), while San Marino 2013, Belgium 2006 and Andorra 2007 are in roughly similar spots. Switzerland 2018 is too new to appear while the bottom 3 only get special mentions. The list is probably due for an update to cater for newer songs and those that have evolved over the years.

Prediction

01 Iceland 2016
02 Belgium 2006
03 Estonia 2017
04 Switzerland 2018
05 Slovakia 2010

San Marino 2013 was just squeezed out.

Results

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more.

Eurovision Again Semi Final Special - Review
Eurovision Again Semi Final Special – Results

Probably not a surprise to see Finland 2017 in third as that was a shock result for many people at the time. The support for Israel 2014 is somewhat a surprise given its terrible Eurovision result. I guess it’s aged really well. Obviously plenty of Greeks voting because Greece 2018 in 9th is a nonsense result. All things considered, the top 8 really picked themselves and it was great to see so many classic Eurovision songs delivered in this superb package.

Story: Greta Salome from Iceland wins the Eurovision Again Semi Final Special

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