Since the 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest has been canceled, I thought it would be fun to highlight some of the songs that were supposed to compete. All 41 songs had already been selected, so why not take a trip through the musical offerings of Europe during your self-quarantine or while under lockdown?
I've selected 15 stand-out songs and divided them by genre!
Some of this year's biggest frontrunners were indie bands with catchy songs and memorable dance moves.
Lithuania selected the band The Roop in a national tv broadcast. Their song On Fire became an instant fan favourite after it won the Lithuanian selection by a landslide. It also topped the betting odds, which no other Lithuanian entry had ever accomplished before.
Iceland’s Daði og Gagnamagnið had previously attempted to represent the country in 2017. They won this years Icelandic competition after a viral Twitter campaign, in which foreign journalists and celebrities alike praised the song’s atmosphere and memorable music video. Even Russell Crowe got wind of the song. The song topped Spotify’s viral 50 charts across the continent.
Little Big is a popular Russian band with some success across Europe. They were a surprising choice for Russia, which usually plays it fairly safe at Eurovision. Their song Uno was the last song to be released in the 2020 season and instantly became the most watched and liked music video of this year's selection. The band has recently come under fire for homophobic comments, which some of their fans have defended as being satirical.
What would Eurovision be without uptempo pop songs fused with folkloric music? Some of this years’ standout songs showcased a unique blend of cultural elements and pop beats.
Israel’s Eden Alene gave the Eurovision fans everything they wanted by selecting a song that combines 5 languages (English, Amharic, Arabic, Hebrew, and an imaginary language) and blends a throwback pop style with Israeli and Ethiopian music. Feker Libi was chosen out of a selection of 4 songs by Eden Alene, who was praised for the quality of her songs as well as her abilities as a live performer.
GO_A won their bid to represent Ukraine by winning the TV show Vidbir with their song Solovey (Nightingale). The electro-folk band combines contemporary music production with White voice, a traditional style of sinign found across eastern Europe. The band is expected to return to Eurovision in 2021.
Stefania was set to represent Greece with her song SUPERG!RL. Having previously represented The Netherlands at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2016, the Greek-Dutch singer opted for a song by famous Greek Eurovision composer Dimitris Kontopoulos this time around. Stefania is expected to represent Greece at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021.
Eurovision 2020 saw an increase in songs inspired by gospel and soul music, genres that have proven to be successful at Eurovision in recent years.
The Mamas narrowly won Sweden’s Melodifestivalen and would’ve been the nation’s first female representatives since 2014. They have previously appeared on the Eurovision stage as the backing vocalists of Sweden’s John Lundvik in 2019. While their win in Melfest came as a surprise to many international viewers, the Swedish-American group proved to be very popular amongst the Swedish public.
While Eurovision host nations have underperformed in recent years, The Netherlands’ Jeangu Macrooy was determined to take the competition seriously with his song Grow. The song was polarising amongst fans, as many found the song boring, while others described it as very touching. Jeangu has already been announced as the Dutch representative for 2021.
Malta’s Destiny has previously won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2016 and was a serious contender to repeat her victory in 2020. Destiny won the second season of X-Factor Malta, granting her the right to represent her country at Eurovision, and teamed up with successful Eurovision songwriting team Symphonix for her entry All Of My Love. She’s expected to return to Eurovision in 2021, so she could still become the first person to win both the junior and regular editions of Eurovision.
Many of the Eurovision 2020 songs drew comparisons to last year’s Eurovision winner Duncan Laurence, and many of them took inspiration from Billie Eilish
Bulgaria’s song Tears Getting Sober was a massive contender for the win, as it was #1 in the betting odds right before the event was cancelled. Victoria co-wrote the song with Symphonix and received acclaim from fans and critics alike. Many people did call it a Billie Eilish ripoff, but a little plagiarism has never hurt anyone in Eurovision. Victoria is expected to return next year.
Switzerland would have been represented by Albanian-Swiss singer Gjon’s Tears. Gjon’s Tears has previously appeared on The Voice of France and had initially submitted his song to be France’s entry. If Répondez-moi (Answer Me) had managed to win in 2020, it would have been the first Swiss winner as well as the first winner in the French language since Celine Dion in 1988.
Romania’s Roxen presented 5 potential Eurovision songs from which the Romanian public could select their favourite. One of those songs, Cherry Red, became in instant fan fave, but Roxen preferred Alcohol You. After allegedly sabotaging the fan favourite song by literally doing nothing on stage, Alcohol You won and it remained high in the betting odds for the rest of the season.
Stan Twitter presents
While some of these songs might have had little chance to do well at Eurovision, they became instant fan favourites and memes in Eurovision social media circles
Few songs had the Eurovision fandom in its grip like Cleopatra by Efendi. A demo of the song leaked after Azerbaijani media reported that another song had been selected. Fans really took to the demo and it was discovered that San Marino was also interested in sending it. Another demo, this time sung by the Sammarinese representative Senhit, was leaked. Eventually Efendi changed her mind, and announced that she would be the one to sing Cleopatra at the Eurovision Song Contest. The song features a surprisingly supportive LGBT related message for Azerbaijani standards, as well as some iconic moments of Buddhist chanting.
Girl group Hurricane won the bid to represent Serbia with their song Hasta La Vista. Eurovision fans praised the song for being a fun and slightly dated slut pop jam in an otherwise ballad-heavy field. One of the band’s singers, previous Eurovision competitor Sanja Vučić, joked that the coronavirus had better be careful, because a hurricane was coming to sweep the continent. Turns out the virus reigned supreme after all.
Latvia’s Samanta Tina has been trying to go to Eurovision for years, entering national selections across the Baltic states. This year she finally managed to win in her homecountry with her song Still Breathing. The song went viral amongst fans for its high energy live performance and seizure inducing stage show, as well as it’s corona-defying message.
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