Eurovision national finals are a treasure trove of new music, and as much as we love the Eurovision songs themselves (well, most of the time), there are some hidden gems from the public selections that take place across Europe. Throughout the 2017 national final season, overall, there weren’t a huge list of songs we liked, but the ones that we did, we really loved. With that said, it was a challenge to choose just 5 songs, so we’ve split this post into three parts, or regions, as such, and each week we’ll be discussing 5 of our favourite national final songs of 2017!
Today we’re starting with the songs from the Big 5 plus host nation and their national finals. Out of these 6 nations, five used national finals to select their Eurovision act, however today we’ve chosen songs from host nation Ukraine, as well as Italy and Spain. Without further ado, here’s part 1 of our Top 5!
5. Mirela – Contigo
What’s a Spanish national final without drama? This year it was the battle between Mirela and eventual winner Manel Navarro, and although I began to see the charm of Manel (mainly through his music other than his Eurovision song), I do think that Mirela fit the bill slightly better. She has the good looks, the energy, and she really did have a great song this year. The song is energetic and distinctly Spanish, and with a strong stage performance, this would have had a lot of potential had it had reached Eurovision. Spain has had it tough at Eurovision recently, and songs tipped to have done well just haven’t made an impact on the votes, but I do truly believe this song could have somewhat improved their disappointing results from previous years. With the jury as the tie break, many fans were disappointed this wasn’t chosen for Eurovision – me included!
4. Salto Nazad – O Mamo!
I was one of those people who was totally obsessed by this tune from Ukrainian national finalist Salto Nazad, simply because of how infectious the song is. What you see is what you get in this song; the lyrics are few and there’s a lot of repetition of O Mamo, but the melody is laid back but still incredibly catchy. Even if you don’t speak the language, it’s easy to sing along to the chorus. I love the retro vibes of the song and the national final performance, including the dance break in the middle of the song, which was a chance for the energy to be freed. It’s a truly simple song, but remained as one of my most memorable of the national final season, with few songs being played more than this one throughout the national final season!
3. Clementino – Ragazzi Fuori
Although perhaps not on the radar for many Eurovision fans, Clementino is one of my favourite artists just in general, and so knowing he would be once again participating in Sanremo brought a smile to my face, that’s for sure! Clementino does light-hearted songs well, with one of his former singles Cos Cos Cos up there amongst my favourite songs ever, but songs such as Ragazzi Fuori and his Sanremo song from last year, Quando Sono Lontano have this sensitivity about them that make them easy to connect emotionally, despite a language barrier. Rap also isn’t always the most loved genre, but this song, although rap, still has the pop undertones which makes the song more listenable for those who aren’t rap inclined. Out of his Sanremo performances, I would have to say Quando Sono Lontano would just top Ragazzi Fuori, but both are top entries.
2. Lele – Ora Mai
Italy often choose their Eurovision acts from the Big Artist section of the long standing Sanremo Song Festival, however on occasion have looked to the newcomers section, with Raphael Gualazzi a prime example. There was some incredible talent in the Big Artists section, but one of my favourite songs to come out of the national final as a whole was this tune from Newcomers winner Lele. The song is called Ora Mai, and it’s a powerful pop ballad performed by a powerful voice. The song starts simply with the piano and then the instrumentation grows over the first verse and beyond. The chorus is powerful, and the melody throughout is one that sticks in your head even after the song has ended. A top tune from Italy!
1. Tayanna – I Love You
Out of all the national final songs across all of Europe, this would have to be my number one place overall. Ukraine had a cracking national final this year, but this song was really the stand out entry – the ballad of all ballads. Tayanna is an incredible artist who persevered in the national final despite being ill, and still sounded incredible through a vocally challenging song. I find this song to be incredibly powerful and emotional, and that key change takes the song to the next level. Had this song won the 2016 national final instead of Jamala, I think that Ukraine still would have won. If this song had won the 2017 national final, I think Ukraine would have been in the Top 5. This is just one of those songs that blows you away, and each and every time I watch her performance, I feel so moved. How this didn’t make it to Eurovision I will never know…