Over the last few weeks, we’ve been rediscovering the hidden gems of Eurovision – the songs that didn’t qualify to the final, but we love them anyway. It was an interesting year in 2011, a lot of memorable songs in amongst the group, but today we’re putting the spotlight back on our five favourites that didn’t reach their full potential, but lost out to the brutal Eurovision maths.
5. 3JS – Never Alone
This was a tough one. I was tossing up between Turkey, Cyprus and the Netherlands, where for the Turkish performance, I probably grew to like the song more, whereas I preferred the subdued performance of the Dutch entry and the Cypriot entry was somewhere in between. Considering the Netherlands came last in the semi-final, I thought it’s about time they got a mention. Ok yes, it wasn’t the best vocal performance, nor was it the best song, but it did have some charm to it. I can very safely say that the Dutch version was better, or for both cases, the studio version had a bit more atmosphere to it. At the time, the Dutch version was one of my favourite songs of the 2011, but I just don’t think it translated to Eurovision very well. Regardless, it’s probably about time 3JS got a mention!
4. Anastasia Vinnikova – I Love Belarus
This would have to be one of the most iconic entries for me, and as soon as anyone even mentions Belarus, I just can’t help but belt out this tune. I’m not sure if I genuinely love this entry, or if I like it ironically, but either way, it’s remained in my memory all these years after. This is Eurovision all over, with the distinct cultural pride and the generous use of pyro. It was pretty safe to say this wouldn’t make the final, as for the most part, the Top 10 qualifiers comprised of some of the best songs of the year, but it’s a song you just love to hate and hate to love. I LOVE BELARUS!
3. Musiqq – Angel in Disguise
This was hands down one of my favourites of the year, and I remember being a bit devastated that this didn’t make it through. It was a simple performance of a cutesy song with incredibly good vocals from the lead, who has a tone of voice that makes me swoon. Can’t say I’m huge into the white vests, but I mean, there had to be one negative to this performance! If you know me, you know I love a little rap break, and Latvia didn’t disappoint. It’s funny watching this back, because I’ve only just noticed how awkward the backing singers were throughout the performance, especially with the overhead clapping action. Why this came in at 17th place out of a field of 19 is beyond me. Sure enough it missed out, it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I certainly think Latvia was a bit ripped off!
2. Aurela Gaçe – Feel the Passion
I remember distinctly sitting on my lounge room floor, looking up at my TV screen and watching Aurela perform this incredibly powerful song and thinking to myself ‘this is the best performance I think I’ve ever seen.’ Even watching this back now, I think this could be one of my favourite ever performances from Albania, and I simply think it’s because of how all the elements come together, but at the core is Aurela’s incredibly impressive voice. The staging was super cool – there’s the smoke billowing, red lighting to match her incredible hairdo (which I also remember being incredibly in awe of), there’s pyro as well, but really, her voice is next level. This song is very Albania at Eurovision, it has that Festivali i Këngës feel, the feel of a very dramatic and moving song, and it moved me enough to put this in 2nd spot in our Top 5!
1. Poli Genova – Na Inat
This is straight up criminal (no pun intended), and I’m sure many would agree this really should have been in the final. This song has everything going for it. First up, it’s led by now Eurovision icon Poli Genova who had a rock inspired song that rocked our socks off. The staging was cool, and her outfit was cooler – plus, we got a bonus costume reveal! That moment through the song where she runs to grab the camera, I just want to grab her and drag her to the Grand Final, because that’s where she deserved to be. The song received huge cheers, and perhaps that was due to the near boob slip covered thanks to a piece of nude material, but near costume failure aside, this was all but 2 places away from qualifying, but that’s still 2 places too many. Let’s praise the Eurovision Gods for letting Poli come back to redeem herself!
Read our previous posts about our Top 5 Non-Qualifiers here: