As the dust settles on the 2022 contest and Eurovision fans stare down the barrel of a long off-season, here at ESCXTRA, we wanted to spend the summer highlighting our moments of appreciation for Eurovision 2022. Up next, we celebrate the success of native language entries at Eurovision 2022.
I’ve been a champion of linguistic diversity at Eurovision ever since I discovered the contest back in 2005. Sadly, in the years since, there’s been a decline of native languages at the contest as more countries have opted to send English-language entries. This year, I was thrilled to see all but one native language entry qualify for the Grand Final (poor “Disko”).
Note: This article does not include bi-lingual entries that featured English lyrics.
Monika Liu – “Sentimentai” (Lithuanian)
The concept of this article was inspired by Monika specifically. When she was first selected, she gave an interview on Lithuanian television in which she defended her entry as a risk worth taking. Not only was it the first Lithuanian entry at the contest in decades, but it also showcased a distinctly “Eastern” jazz sound that didn’t seem immediately accessible to Western viewers.
However, she ended up qualifying from semi-final one with ease, placing 5th in the televote. She summed up this triumph and the importance of linguistic representation perfectly when speaking at the qualifiers press conference:
It means everything to me. First of all, it means a lot to Lithuanians. I want them to be proud of their language. A lot of people said that I shouldn’t go to Eurovision with a Lithuanian song because no one would understand it. But I was confident and this [making it to the final] just confirms it. I’m very proud.
Even yesterday, someone came and asked me if Russian is our national language. I said no because it has been 30 years since we regained our independence. Lithuanian language is not that popular, so I am here to make it cool.Monika Liu at the qualifiers press conference
This pleasantly surprising public backing carried forward into the Grand Final, where she placed 14th overall with 128 points, 93 of which came from the public vote, where she finished 11th.
Kalush Orchestra – “Stefania” (Ukranian)
This is a pretty obvious one, but important nonetheless. Regardless of what you made of Ukraine’s win this year, you cannot deny that a song with no English lyrics winning Eurovision in 2022 is a wonderful thing and something to be celebrated.
At a time where artefacts of Ukrainian culture are being wiped off the face of the earth on a daily basis in the ongoing war; “Stefania” – a tribute to Ukrainian mothers – remains a permanent and visible showcase of Ukrainian culture.
Konstrakta – “In corpore sano” (Serbian)
In my opinion, Serbia is one of the most reliable and consistent countries at the contest. Since their debut as an independent and Montenegro-less country in 2007, 80% of their entires (12 out of 15) have been in Serbian.
Konstrakta not only continued this proud tradition, but took it to another level with a totally unique, challenging, intricate and entrancing performance, with lyrics advocating for the health of artists. This is exactly the kind of entry I come to the contest for, so I hope its top 5 placing will encourage more artists like her to take creative risks in the coming years.
Mahmood and Blanco – “Brividi” (Italian)
Look, I know this entry faced a bizarre level of backlash from some fans in the run up the contest, but it remains objectively one of the most successful entries from the 2022 contest. Further, you can always count on Italy to bring something quintessentially Italian to the contest, and “Brividi” continued that proud tradition.
S10 – “De diepte” (Dutch)
I’ll keep this brief since I already wrote a whole article in this series in which I gushed about how much I love “De diepte”. The first Eurovision entry to be sung in Dutch in over a decade; “De Diepte” not only brought a song that sounded like a number one hit from the Dutch chart, but a song that actually was a huge Domestic hit. More of this please, from every country.
Systur – “Með hækkandi sól” (Icelandic)
Again, I also wrote a whole article in this series about Systur already, but it bears repeating: I love “Með hækkandi sól”. Iceland have sent many beautiful Icelandic-language entries in the past, but after two consecutive English language entries, I was thrilled to see this little dark horse triumph. A love letter to Icelandic nature; “Með hækkandi sól” was yet another example of an entry bringing an important lens to an international contest.
Alvan and Ahez – “Fulenn” (Breton)
All I have to say is JUSTICE FOR FULENN!!
No but really, “Fulenn” was only the second French entry at the contest to be performed in Breton, and I fear this may impact future attempts from artists trying to bring regional languages from France to the contest. Hell, I’m sure many viewers weren’t even aware that there are many regional languages spoken in France besides French, of which Breton is just one.
Stay tuned for the next instalment of our Moments of Appreciation series next week! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter, @escxtra on Instagram, @escxtra on TikTok and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! Also, be sure to follow us on Spotify for the latest music from your favourite ESC and JESC acts.