The Eurovision 2017 season has already begun, and already, we are learning of nations who have already chosen their acts. Before we get into the heart of Eurovision national final season, we thought we would look back to this time last year, where hopefuls from across Europe were competing it out to earn the right to fly the flag for their respective nations in Stockholm for Eurovision 2016. We’ve somehow picked only 5, although there were many great songs through the NF season. Without further ado, here are our top 5!
5. Brooke – Golden
Brooke was fighting it out in the Maltese national final, and unfortunately for her, she was competing against Ira Losco who was the certain winner, despite having a very average song. Brooke, and her song Golden, for me, are the true winners of the Maltese national final. Brookes vocals are pitch perfect throughout the entire song, and during the incredibly great hook in the chorus, she absolutely nails it. Her stage presence is really good, and even through the national final, the whole performance felt really polished. I think with a good revamp for Eurovision, this would have done so well, potentially better than Ira Losco. Overall, it’s not a ground-breaking pop number, but in terms of songs in the national final, Brooke slayed, and that’s enough to get her into our top 5.
4. Margaret – Cool Me Down
Coming in at number 4 is Margaret, who was probably the most hyped act of the national final season of 2016. Even in the betting pre-contest, before Poland had even selected their act, they were at good odds to win Eurovision itself. The studio version of this song was a huge hit, and many thought this was an easy ride for Margaret to Eurovision. But no. Michal Szpak was the eventual winner of the Polish national final, and Polands odds of winning immediately fell. Cool Me Down is an incredibly catchy, modern pop number which would have suited the Eurovision
stage, and is also really radio friendly. The downfall was the live performance in the NF, which left viewers a bit underwhelmed. For me personally, I don’t think her live performance was all that bad, and I still think this would have been a better choice for Poland, as with a few months of preparation, and a crazy stage show, this would have been very memorable on the night.
3. Simone – Heart Shaped Hole
In the Danish national final of 2016, it seemed to be a race between Anja Nissen and Simone for the most popular act to win, yet the boy band Lighthouse X took the win from under them in the final. Between Anja and Simone, I personally think this song is miles beyond Never Alone (even with the Australian pride factored in). Heart Shaped Hole is a modern sounding pop ballad which I feel can be a hard genre to master in Eurovision. The song has a melody which is easy to follow, and builds well over the 3 minutes. It’s similar to Icebreaker in the sense that it has some changes in the song, but unlike Icebreaker, this song has smoother transitions between verses and choruses. The stage show for Dansk Melodi Grand Prix was great as well, so I really think this had what it took to win, and I guarantee this would have reached the Eurovision final, whereas Lighthouse X failed to do so. A definite loss for Denmark!
2. Kallay Saunders Band – Who We Are
Many will recognise Kallay Saunders from his Eurovision 2014 performance of the song Running, however he returned to A Dal, the national final for Hungary in 2016, backed by his band. The song is called Who We Are, and is an absolute foot tapping delight. Kallay’s vocals are raw and full of emotion in this track, and this song feels like the older brother of Running in the sense it feels mature and developed. This song is an absolute stand out, and even though I enjoyed Freddie’s song, I think this would have also done quite well at Eurovision, as it’s almost on the same page as Softengine from 2014. I certainly wouldn’t complain if we saw Kallay back in Eurovision, maybe 2017, who knows?
1. Mikael Saari – On It Goes
This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who follows my reviews. Mikael Saari is a musical angel, who somehow always creates the most unique and consistently incredible music. His first entry into UMK for Finland was We Should Be Through, which should have been through to Eurovision, but no. Then, he returns with what sounds like a part 2 of We Should Be Through, and the Eurovision road should have been paved for him, but yet again he was defeated. This song is mind-blowingly incredible in the way that the song builds so well over the 3 minutes. Mikael yet again impresses with his orchestral sounds and expressive vocals, which are a signature of all his tunes. The climax of the song gives shivers down the spine, and just when you think it’s over, he hits *that* note and you can’t help but just say, wow, why the heck didn’t this win. In terms of Eurovision, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind this would have been a finalist, which Sandhja was not, and this could have been a top 5er in the final. It still saddens me that we have not yet had the opportunity to watch Mikael blossom on the Eurovision stage. Maybe one day, if Finland get their voting act together.
Make sure to tell us who your makes it to your top 5 favourites from the 2016 national final season!