Amid the blur of winter’s national final super Saturdays, the shows can start to blur into one. Switching from nation to nation to cherry-pick the best bits, if only we could combine the best of the bunch to create the Ultimate National Final…

Best Staging – Sweden

There’s no better debate to draw fire, fury and fanaticism among Eurofans than to discuss the pros and cons of Melodifestivalen’s evolution, but even the most ardent Scandiphobe cannot deny that Sweden puts on a professional, well organised, technically sound and excellently staged show that gives its performers a fair stab at showing exactly what their song can do.

Best line-up of top acts – Estonia

Estonia’s national final editions often feature familiar faces, but since Eurolaul took a cunning rebrand and revamp, emerging as Eesti Laul in 2009, it has been no trouble for ERR to gather a line-up of many of this nation’s top pop acts. The same applies to Estonian pop songwriters. This year, Estonian pop queen Kerli makes an appearance on the writing credits for one of the entrants, Cartoon ft Kristal’s “Immortality”.

Picking the right winner…somehow – Ukraine

The selection processes may be various and dubious, and the national final performances will rarely bare much resemblance to the style of presentation on the Eurovision stage, but the Ukrainians always muster that special something and somehow, by hook and by crook, pick the right winner. No matter how dire it may be at first, eventually it is proven that Ukraine knows best.

Best jury – Ireland

A few honourable mentions to give here. The Ruslana-led Ukrainian panel of 2016 that were determined to criticise every act and interrogate their professional and political intentions. Festivali I Këngës jurors who practically nodded off when called upon to give their scores. But there can only be one winner. Whether a voting jury or a pundit panel, what you really want from them is a blazing row. And you cannot beat the Irish for that. Gobshite!

Best #Skandal – Belarus

If an annual competition, it would a rare year that Belarus were not nominated for this honour. No result is guaranteed. Presidential intervention and vote-rigging allegations are common-place. Whether she be a pawn or a player, Alyona Lanskaya has certainly been caught up in it all.

Lanskaya warbled and wailed her way to victory in 2012 with the ballad “All my life”, only for cries of vote-rigging and corruption to be hurled at her. Consequently, President Aleksandr Lukashenko, that beacon of fair play, declared that the result was null and void, disqualifying Alena.

Not put off by a presidential sacking off, Alyona/Alena reappeared in 2013.  at the national final performing “Rhythm of love”, again claiming victory. But you know things are never quite so straightforward in Belarus. “Rhythm of love” was ditched in favour of “Solayoh” before reaching the Eurovision stage.

Best #Fiasko – Moldova

Half of the appeal of watching a national final is that element of risk. It’s a live broadcast, it may involve some performers less used to the TV environment, it involves a contentious competition, it’s being organised by a broadcaster that don’t quite get organisation. It’s promising.

TRM conducted a two-part selection in 2006 that ended in a three-way tie. The youngest juror was charged, as per the broadcaster’s rules, with the responsibility of giving a verdict. That juror abstained, and so no result was given.
A second national final was scheduled, but two of the tiebreakees called the #fiasko and refused to turn out again. Serj Cusencoff stubbornly showed out again, but thankfully managed not to win, the nod going to newcomers Arsenium ft Natalia Gordienko.

Best evolution – Hungary

From hotchpotch finals, abstentions, internal selections and withdrawals, hot on Wolf Kati’s heels came A Dal (‘The Song’), in a bid to revive Hungarian fortunes. As well as showing the Hungarian public have a canny knack of picking something a little different, it has also proven very successful Saturday night TV with strong ratings and drawing in some good names to compete.

Best theme tune – Albania

No contest here. This little ditty could have won most editions of Festivali I Këngës in recent history, key change and all.

 

Chief Editor: A non-schlager Europhile who's been doing this ESC writing malarkey since 2008, usually championing Eurovision's alternative or quirky offerings. My role at Xtra isn't too dissimilar from my previous life as a school teacher, but they're a well behaved class. Also responsible for dropping bum notes on a piano.

Load More Related Articles
More from  Simon Wells
Load More In Editorials & Opinion

7 Comments

  1. Martin Palmer

    February 29, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    Glad someone else likes Albania’s theme tune – I always wonder why they don’t get those singers and put THEM forward for Eurovision!

    Reply

    • Kermit

      March 1, 2016 at 3:08 pm

      yes…very cute song! Niave and charming…sounds very 80s ESC!

      Reply

  2. Kermit

    March 1, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    I think Albania has a better staging than Sweden! So much glamour and kitsch in Sweden….a very overrated NF.country: Alabnia has more “classy”. maybe a bit old-fashioned though. But they have an orchestra…adds a lot to the show . nice to see lots of real instruments in action. And the fact that they ditch the 3 minute rule give the songs a more natural developement…..More room for musical details etc, better structured songs, not the usual ESC-pattern.

    I think also Estonia is best…most daring / alterive songs. Many modern entries, good diversity etc.

    Reply

  3. Andrew Crawford

    March 1, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    I hate Linda Martin getting any exposure for her outrageous outburst, she humiliated herself & Ireland that night.

    Reply

  4. betterscooter.com

    August 16, 2016 at 12:07 am

    betterscooter.com

    We have possessed numerous twos from betterscooter.com the opportunity to try practically nothing significantly better. They are very fine,robust, tasteful and, style! No hosiery necessary.

    Reply

  5. Smart Balance Wheel

    August 21, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Smart Balance Wheel

    Their Smart Balance Wheel are so very supple! The color are so dazzling also, the hassle-free, voguish, in addition to easy fashion fits all things as well almost everyone!

    Reply

  6. Smart Balance Wheel

    August 23, 2016 at 12:06 am

    Smart Balance Wheel

    The Smart Balance Wheel for business, The pair were my favorite to start with set of two. Ive got all of them for two a number of yet seem brand new. They’re nice manner but they are simply colored. Find it difficult to carry them from the wet weather…

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Check Also

Junior Eurovision: It’s Mariam Mamadashvili for Georgia

The Georgian Public Broadcaster has announced that the 10-year-old singer Mariam Mamadashv…