Our SongHunt 2021 just concluded with the crowning of the winning song, so we thought this would be a good opportunity to look back at a less recent national final season!
One decade ago, when SongHunt wasn’t even invented yet, we went to Düsseldorf and reported from ESC 2011. Sadly, we didn’t get to report on these twelve national final songs which lost along the way – but they left a big impression on us and still live on in our hearts:
1. Milena Slavova – Fire In My Hair (Bulgaria)
Songs about fire were a part of Eurovision long before “Zjarri im”, and this runner-up from the Bulgarian final 2011 is a remarkable example. Already just by the title.
2. Pernilla Andersson – Desperados (Sweden)
The definition of robbed. Pernilla came 2nd in the first round of voting in her Melodifestivalen heat with this country-tinged number, but she was overtaken by Swingfly in the second round and had to be satisfied with a slot in Andra Chansen. In the head-to-head battles there, she made it past Shirley’s Angels only to lose out to The Moniker. Like we said: ROBBED.
3. Rok Agresori – Kukuriku (Macedonia)
I don’t know what this is about. I read something about eggs. It might have a double meaning. Anyway: I was already looking forward to the faces and reactions of non-Eurovision-friends. Here’s a Macedonian chicken.
4. Sichelle – Trenger mer (Norway)
Sometimes a song comes last in its heat and still becomes a total classic within our community. This also happened to “Trenger mer”. Not the only MGP classic that “Haba Haba” left behind in Norway, as we’ll see later.
5. Band WG – 10 Sekunden Glück (Austria)
Not every song has the most fortunate of live performances. “10 Sekunden Glück” was a bit breathy and frenetic live and Nadine Beiler was undoubtedly the better choice for ESC, but Band WG’s song remains a cracking little German-language pop-rock bop. Even if it’s almost impossible to sing along to at times. “Schritt Schritt Schritt”, anybody…?
6. Orelipoiss – Valss (Estonia)
Probably no other country’s national final has such a density of nice, yet experimental music pieces. “Valss” is just another good example. Also pay attention to what happens on stage there – the entry is not as dry as you might think in the beginning!
7. Lena – Push Forward (Germany)
Having won the 2010 contest, Lena Meyer-Landrut was persuaded to defend her title in Düsseldorf. “Taken By A Stranger” defended the home country’s colours with style, but there were several other very nice songs in her Unser Song für Deutschland selection – not least the runner-up, “Push Forward”.
8. Yohanna – Nótt (Iceland)
Having achieved Iceland’s joint-best ESC result two years earlier with “Is It True?”, Yohanna didn’t wait long to try her luck again. “Nótt” would surely have gone pretty far at ESC once again – especially as we know there was a strong English version lined up – but there were other dynamics at play following the untimely death of Sigurjón Brink, and Yohanna ultimately had to settle for a place in the final of Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins and nothing more.
9. Lucky Bullets – Fire Below (Norway)
While Pernilla Andersson brought a soft country touch in Sweden, Lucky Bullets went full-on rockabilly over the border in Norway – and “Fire Below” eventually took them all the way to third place in the final of Melodi Grand Prix, although it had to go through the Siste Sjansen round to get there.
10. Outloudz – I Wanna Meet Bob Dylan (Estonia)
Another one from Eesti Laul, this indie-tinged song made it through to the superfinal but lost out to “Rockefeller Street”. The latter song’s subsequent fame as a nightcore track might suggest that it was the right choice after all – 65 million views and counting! In any case, Outloudz singer Stig Rästa had no reason to be sad for long. He eventually represented his country at ESC 2015 with “Goodbye To Yesterday”, achieving a top ten finish.
11: Albi Xhepa & Semi Jaupaj – Dritë (Albania)
Written by Bojken Lako. Do you need to know more? One of the rare examples of Albania going experimental in Festivali i Këngës, and it was memorable enough to mention it here. Chanceless against Aurela Gaçe, and luckless against all the other FiK 49 finalists: “Dritë” (“Light”) came last.
12. Matthías Matthíasson & Erla Björg Káradóttir – Eldgos (Iceland)
We began with fire, and we’re closing with fire. The following song, “Eldgos” from Iceland, is another unforgettable piece around the theme. Just a year after the eruption that made the volcano famous, here’s a song about Eyjafjallajökull. Yeah, it’s been over a decade, so you forgot how it’s properly pronounced? Let Matthías remind you – it’s the first word of the lyrics. Enjoy this gem.
First and foremost, there’s another absolute classic from Switzerland that we would love to have included here: Bernarda Brunovic’s “Confidence”, which sadly isn’t available on YouTube. Ever since her performance on Die Große Entscheidungsshow, Bernarda has become a cult figure in our community. Just listen to those vocals towards the end – even if we can’t embed the video, you can still watch “Confidence” here!
And of course, our post here was always meant to be incomplete. How do you limit yourself to just twelve songs? We obviously didn’t forget Melodifestivalen evergreens such as “I’m In Love”, ““Elektrisk” or “Something In Your Eyes”. Over in Norway, we obviously also loved “Vardlokk”, “Depend On Me” and the iconic “Guns & Boys”. Many fans will also remember Anne Noa’s “Sleepless” (Denmark) and the hype around Lauris Reiniks’ “Banjo Laura” (Latvia).
So now it’s your turn! What were your favourites from the 2011 national final season? What did we miss that we should have included? Let us know in the comments!