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Which National Finals Sent The Wrong Song To Sweden? Written by on May 23, 2013 | 19 Comments

Now it gets interesting. While there will be many broadcasters more than happy with their results at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö, there will be many more looking at the right hand side of the table and wondering what went wrong.

The obvious answer, and it’s probably the right one, is that they didn’t choose the right song. For whatever reason, they zigged when they should have zagged. So let’s point out those wrong turnings and wonder what could have been in Malmö…

This Is Gonna Hurt The United Kingdom

To be fair to the BBC, they were really close this year. I think they chose the right artist in Bonnie Tyler (seriously), and they even chose the right album (it’s called ‘Rocks and Honey’, and trust me, everyone in the ESC press centre knows about it because Bonnie made sure to tell us). It’s just that they managed to pick the most useless track on the entire album for the Contest in ‘the National Final voted on by one person in an office somewhere deep in New Broadcasting House.

This is Gonna Hurt‘ was track one and it’s quintessential Bonnie Tyler. They must have listened to it before reaching track 4 ‘Believe In Me’. Whoops.

Romania Should Have Sent Luminita Anghe

There was something classy about sending a theatrical number to Eurovision, but it needed more than just the high voiced chest-waxing tones of Cezar. Where the counter tenor had a rising platform, Luminita Anghe’s backing dancers had a fantastic dance move to replicate the sea that we wanted to try on the Euroclub dancefloor. When Cezar went all Emperor Palpatine, Anghe went all Idina Menzel. And if Cezar had stayed at home, Anghe would have been far higher than 14th on the night.

YLE Sent Krista Siegfrids One Year Too Late

This year’s ranking system favours less controversial songs, those that appeal to the AOR crowd across Europe. Which means, much as it pains me, YLE missed a trick in not sending Mikael Saari. Even though Krista’s song was infectious, fun, and made me smile, it needed the 2012 jury system if it was going to reach the Top Ten. Saari could have been this year’s Kuula result, with an appeal to the Radio 2 listener that lives in all of us.

Serbia Should Have Sent Someone Who The Wardrobe Department Liked

Because really, there was no excuse for those outfits except that the head of wardrobe blamed Moje 3 for the death of her Alsation/Corgi cross-breed puppy. How about Spas, by Dusan Svilar?

Latvia forget the rap rule.

Anything but rap. Anything. Even dubstep will perform better. But if you want us to put the cards on the table, Samanta Tina. A fantastic power ballad that built over the three minutes from cold and vulnerable waif to a strong and independent woman. We could have had a song with a story and a fabulous performance. Instead we got a stage diver.

The Estonian jury were wrong to send Birgit Oigemeel

Because they could have sent Winny Puhh…

Any other countries that you think made the wrong call? Let us know in the comments, just as you all did . And if you think some of the countries had a perfect night, yesterday’s ‘National Finals That Got It Right‘ is for you.


About The Author: Ewan Spence

British Academy (BAFTA) nominated broadcaster and writer Ewan Spence is the voice behind The Unofficial Eurovision Song Contest Podcast and one of the driving forces behind ESC Insight. Having had an online presence since 1994, he is a noted commentator around the intersection of the media, internet, technology, mobility and how it affects us all. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, his work has appeared on the BBC, The Stage, STV, and The Times. You can follow Ewan on Twitter (@ewan) and Facebook (

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19 responses to “Which National Finals Sent The Wrong Song To Sweden?”

  1. […] Any other countries that you think made the right call? Let us know in the comments. And if you think some of the countries had a complete disaster, rest easy… head over to ‘The National Finals That Got It Wrong‘. […]

  2. Rob says:

    Mikael Saari (Finland) was the glaring error this year – he would have achieved an Ott-type result in the final.

    Aimee, Crashing Down (Ireland) would certainly have done better than Ryan Dolan.

    Gigi Radics (Hungary) had a good song but Kedvesem managed 10th so she might have struggled to do better than that.

    Winny Puhh, no, Grete Paia, yes – would have done better than Birgit.

    Ralf Gyllenhammar or Ulrik Munther instead of Robin for Sweden.

    Blitzkids, Heart On The Line, instead of Cascada. Or maybe Betty Dittrich, La, La, La.

    Tatiana Heghea, A Brighter Day, had a lot of potential for Moldova.

    One of the best songs this year was Davinia Pace’s Betrayed (Malta) – sadly, she couldn’t sing it live.

  3. Peter says:

    I was so busy being annoyed that Electric Fence didn’t get through, I completely forgot about Luminita Anghe! Yes, she would have been a great choice as well.

    As Rob said, Gigi Radics would have been a better choice for Hungary, but it’s hard to deny that they had a great result with Kedvesem.

    Similarly, Sweden could have done so much better than Robin. Of course, Ralf would have been great, Ulrik would have had more of a fan appeal, but YOHIO would have been an inspired choice if only the surprisingly untolerant Sweden didn’t get together with a massive protest vote against him.

    Latvia should have sent “Antra Stafeka” with “When You Are With Me”
    This would have been something a little bit classier and more soulful than yet another slow ballad sung by someone with a dead seagull on her head.

  4. Peter says:

    Actually on reflection, I really should take back the “surprisingly untolerant Sweden” comment. A lot of the fan comments I read were surprisingly untolerant, but that doesn’t mean they were Swedish or in a position to vote.

    It’s entirely possible and most likely that a lot of the protest votes for Robin were because they didn’t like the song and not any reflection on YOHIO.

  5. Ewan Spence says:

    ROb, personally I couldn;t stand Blitzkids, it was like an Alison Moyet reunion gig…

  6. Stephen Colville says:

    Surely Ireland made a bad call with Ryan Dolan. Aimee was the safe choice and would have got them a respectable top 15 place.

    Robin was a crappy choice for Sweden. In the final Yohio or Ralf would have been better, although Martin Rolinski would have been the best overall choice imho.

    I would complain about Malta, but I can’t argue with the final result.

  7. Metze says:

    I agree that both Finland and Serbia made the wrong decisions in their respective NF’s, both coincidentally picking acts that seemed to fit the “Eurovision mold”. In addition I believe that…

    Belarus should have chosen Nuteki (and they would have if their NF hadn’t been rigged). In a year with very few rock entries they could have done very well indeed and perhaps even clinched Belarus’ best result ever.

    Germany should have chosen Blitzkids mvt. The song and performance were professional and retro-futuristic, and they certainly would have done better than the tasteless kitschfest from Cascada.

    Austria should have chosen Yela. Twee always does reasonably well in Eurovision (just have a look at Malta 2013), and Yela was far more experienced as a performer when compared to the timid Natalia.

    And whilst they did well with their eventual choice, Greece could have done even better had they chosen Alex Leon ft. Giorgina. The song was modern and unique, and could have easily placed within the top five.

    I’m not convinced that YOHIO would have done any better than Robin Stjernberg, and whilst I absolutely loved Winny Puhh (I am a hardcore-punk fan after all), Grete Paia would have been a far stronger bet for Estonia results-wise.

  8. Eric Graf says:

    I’ve said time and time again that “Believe In Me”, like most of UK’s recent entries, was chosen based on its title.

    I’m now going to go out on a limb and guess that “This Is Gonna Hurt” was NOT chosen for exactly the same reason.

  9. Ewan Spence says:

    More than likely Eric, but it sure sounds more like a Tyler song than what we ended up with.

  10. Ross says:

    I totally agree with you, Eric. I think the BBC place so much emphasis on selecting a song that they can use as some sort of “funny” or “clever” advertising campaign in the run up to the contest… which normally consists of one advert shown maybe 5 times before the Saturday night show.

    And yes, Ewan, “This is Gonna Hurt” is definitely far more Tyler-esque than “Believe In Me” – whether it would have fared better, I’m not sure. Personally, I think it would have nudged the result up a few places, but still pales in comparison to her big hits from the 80s. However, I do think she would have been more comfortable and happier performing it, and that would have come across in the stage performance.

  11. Ross says:

    I also agree that Bonnie was the right (or at least a good) choice by the BBC. She embraced the spirit of the contest, and put in a respectable performance of a relatively poor song. I find myself really feeling for her that she didn’t do better, because I think as an artist and as a person, she deserved a far better placing.

  12. Alex B says:

    Finland did not make a mistake at all. Eurovision was 1000 times better off this year having the presence of Krista, Reetta, Emelie, Hazi, Kiira, and Katrin.

    Talented, brash, loud, and energetic. There were tons of other ballads at the show this year but only one Team Ding Dong to liven up the festivities.

    We don’t need a homogenized Eurovision.

  13. Mag says:

    Romania made the right choice even if ESCInsight thinks differently. Luminita Anghel (that’s the correct spelling) is a great singer, but she had a boring song. The jury favored her regardless of her complaints in the matter. She finished actually 3rd in the Romanian final. I’m not convinced she would have obtained a better result, maybe 8-10 but no way higher…

  14. Ciara says:

    Sweden should have sent Martin Rolinski or Anton Ewald and watch them win on sex appeal alone!

  15. Robin Tremmel says:

    Would it even have mattered what songs Finland,Ireland and France sent? Tony Blackburn and Tony Hatch wouldnt have given them any points anyway.I think we should let these boys choose Britains entry next year-after all-we trusted them to pick a winner.Anyone for Cliff?
    Its all kicking off.Anyone notice that NONE of the Nordic countries gave a point to Azerbaijan? A greek journalist has brought this up to the swedish commitee..

  16. dimitrisesc says:

    I agree on Finland,Serbia and Estonia making the glaring errors of the season.”We Should Be Through” “Spas” and “”Päästke noored hinged” or Winny Puhh would have been much better choices.
    Germany had a great final and yet they chose one of the most cliched,typical eurovision songs.Betty Dietrich,Blitzkids.mvt and Saint Lu would have been much better choices.
    I also believe that Italy should have chosen the winner of the Giovanni category,Antonio Maggio with this song.He would have scored even better than Marco,IMO.

  17. Chris says:

    I don’t think the Irish chose badly. It was well performed, but the votes didn’t go their way.

    I never liked Finland – expected Mikael Saari to win there – and would have done better than the Ding Dongs.

    I’m going to place Slovenia here. Not because they had a bad song – they had an artist who could not perform the song live. She squealed all the way through and it wrecked the song.

    Sweden didn’t have much quality in their shows this year, but several better than Robin.

    Finally, Estonia should have sent Winny Puhh. It would have been funny.

  18. Martin says:

    It seems as if certain countries actively decided not to vote for Azerbaijan this year. It almost seems conspiratorial! I am confident that there was no gerrymandering, but while we expect them not to get a vote from Armenia, it’s a little shocking that only Iceland, among the nordic countries gave them any points.

    For my part, Farid Mammadov had the best song and the best performance of the evening, and the song should have had broad appeal to the Western European audience. Why Italy, the UK and most of Scandinavia gave nothing is beyond me.

    It will be interesting to see where Azerbaijan did fall in their national tele and jury voting. I hope that we wont see Farid languishing in the bottom few in the Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Finnish votes.

    As enthusiastic supporters of the Eurovision concept, I would hope that the Nordic countries realize the need to not fall into the habit of bloc voting exhibited by ex Soviet and ex Yugoslavian countries.

  19. Juan C Arzate says:

    I would like to hear comments on what happened with Montenegro, San Marino, Macedonia, and the rest of the “top 5” Spain, Germany, France…

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