Since 2013, we at escgo! and the #esc chat have been running our annual quest to find the best national final song of the Eurovision season. First called “Chat Charts”, the mission was rethought from scratch and renamed “SongHunt” back in 2015. Finally, after a few further changes, the year 2016 saw the SongHunt as we know it (more or less), with no chosen Eurovision entries allowed. Ever since, SongHunt has been synonymous with our endeavour to find that one song that really should have gone to Eurovision.
Join us as we dive into the SongHunt history together!
2013 and 2014: Chat Charts
The first version of this post began with the Chat Charts 2014, suggesting it was the origin of SongHunt. Little did we know about our own history, as only a few days after this post was published, we rediscovered the existence of the Chat Charts 2013! We can’t reconstruct the whole thing very well, but we do know the final result, and don’t want to leave it hiding in our cellar:
Final results of the Chat Charts 2013:
1. Adelén – Bombo (Norway) 2. Margaret Berger – I Feed You My Love (Norway) 3. Cascada – Glorious (Germany) 4. Lys Assia ft. New Jacks – All In Your Head (Switzerland) 5. Anton Ewald – Begging (Sweden) 6. Valentina Monetta – Crisalide (Vola) (San Marino) 7. Zlata – Gravity (Ukraine) 8. Mary N’diaye – Gosa (Sweden) 9. ByeAlex – Kedvesem (Hungary) 10. Anouk – Birds (Netherlands)
The original idea of the Chat Charts and later SongHunt was to establish something that would meet the following goals at once: First, to find our community’s favourite song of the season. Second, to create a simple and fun way for everyone in our community to find what other fans enjoyed in those national finals that they weren’t able to follow themselves. And third, to connect members of our community more beyond the regular national final viewings in the chat. While the latter wasn’t realised until later (there were no dedicated events in the chat until 2017), the general idea was already out there by 2014. The results of the final were revealed later in the year, in the “Chat Awards”, a last-decade tradition that didn’t live longer than six seasons (2013 – 2018).
Final results of the Chat Charts 2014:
1. Helena Paparizou – Survivor (Sweden)
2. MarieMarie – Cotton Candy Hurricane (Germany)
3. Linnea Dale – High Hopes (Norway)
4. Sil – What’s The Time In Tokyo (Belgium)
5. Mahan Moin – Aleo (Sweden)
6. Elena Sinyavskaya – Via Lattea (Belarus)
7. Oda & Wulff – Sing (Norway)
8. Catarina Pereira – Mea Culpa (Portugal)
9. MarieMarie – Candy Jar (Germany)
10. Ásdís María Viðarsdóttir – Amor (Iceland)
2015: Introducing SongHunt
It was a sleepless night in the second half of 2014 when the idea of SongHunt was born. It was indeed a new idea of how we could achieve what we had on our minds from the start. We rethought that underlying idea from scratch and came up with a system of heats, semi-finals and a final. Again, the final results were only revealed in the Chat Awards towards the end of the year.
Final results of SongHunt 2015:
1. MNTHA – Nefelibata (Latvia)
2. Mørland & Debrah Scarlett – A Monster Like Me (Norway)
3. Dinah Nah – Make Me (La La La) (Sweden)
4. Aminata – Love Injected (Latvia)
5. Elina Born & Stig Rästa – Goodbye To Yesterday (Estonia)
6. Alexa Feser – Das Gold von Morgen (Germany)
7. Isa – Don’t Stop (Sweden)
8. Elhaida Dani – Diell (Albania)
9. Siru – Mustelmat (Finland)
10. Molly Pettersson Hammar – I’ll Be Fine (Sweden)
11. Maraaya – Here For You (Slovenia)
12. Sunday – Fjaðrir (Iceland)
2016: SongHunt – our answer to Second Chance
If it wasn’t for five national final winners ending up in the final Top 12 of the previous edition, we might not have felt the need to change anything, at least not at this point. But we saw one of the three basic principles on the verge of being corrupted. One of SongHunt’s missions was supposed to be to introduce fans to national final songs that they had missed, and to give good national final songs in general a second life and the attention they deserve. So it became clear to us that national final winners – which already are in everyone’s focus anyway – should stay out from now on. In a way, SongHunt became our answer to OGAE’s Second Chance contest, with the difference that we never defined the number of songs that a country could have in our race: neither a minimum nor a maximum. It was always just about the songs and how they resonated with our community.
Final results of SongHunt 2016:
1. The Hardkiss – Helpless (Ukraine)
2. Elouiz – History (Norway)
3. Ace Wilder – Don’t Worry (Sweden)
4. Robin Bengtsson – Constellation Prize (Sweden)
5. I Wear* Experiment – Patience (Estonia)
6. Margaret – Cool Me Down (Poland)
7. Laila Samuels – Afterglow (Norway)
8. Laura – Supersonic (Estonia)
9. Wiktoria – Save Me (Sweden)
10. Eini – Draamaa (Finland)
11. Elísabet Ormslev – Á ny (Iceland)
12. SaRaha – Kizunguzungu (Sweden)
2017: The SongHunt final becomes a chat event
Two years of SongHunt (three including the Chat Charts) and a few adjustments brought us very close to what we had on our minds, but there was one thing that we suddenly developed a desire for: to give SongHunt more of an event character, and to make it more independent from the Chat Awards. We wanted to give it its own celebration, and to crown the end of the SongHunt season with the reprise of the winning song. The first song that ended a SongHunt season with its own reprise as part of a chat event was Romania’s “Petale”, and in the eyes of this very editor, it was the best and most deserved SongHunt winner we had so far.
Final results of SongHunt 2017:
1. Instinct – Petale (Romania)
2. Ariadne – Feel Me Now (Estonia)
3. Loreen – Statements (Sweden)
4. Roger Pontare – Himmel och hav (Sweden)
5. Inês Sousa – Se o tempo não falasse (Portugal)
6. Holly Brewer – I Wish I Loved You More (United Kingdom)
7. Wiktoria – As I Lay Me Down (Sweden)
8. Nano – Hold On (Sweden)
9. Mirela – Contigo (Spain)
10. Rúnar Eff – Make Your Way Back Home (Iceland)
11. Ace Wilder – Wild Child (Sweden)
12. Paula Rojo – Lo que nunca fue (Spain)
2018: Editors’ Choices introduced
Our “now-traditional method of finding the best national final song of the year”, as introduced in the article accompanying the launch of SongHunt 2018, came with another change to the format. Before 2017, actual entries eliminated before their national final were also counted in the elaborate calculation for SongHunt qualification. It became too much work to keep track of all the chat votings on all the shows and rounds of the various national final formats, so in 2017 we began only counting the national final shows themselves; songs that didn’t reach their national final still had the chance to qualify via a “Second Chance” poll. In 2018, we got rid of that in order to make things even more flexible. From now on, each heat consisted of nine songs that qualified by their good result in the rolling SongHunt list, and an additonal three songs that were picked by the editors’ team. In this way, we could respect what our chatters enjoyed in the various semi-finals or give our own favourites another chance, without having to stick to specific lists and rules (which always equate to “more work”). SongHunt became simpler for us, and more fun too. In a way, this was a necessary measure that would guarantee the longevity of the format we love, and it’s still at the heart of how we determine the SongHunt entrants now.
Final results of SongHunt 2018:
1. Dora Gaitanovici – Fără tine (Romania)
2. Aitana & Ana Guerra – Lo malo (Spain)
3. Inis Neziri – Piedestal (Albania)
4. Rebecca – Who We Are (Norway)
5. Emmy Liyana – OK ou KO (France)
6. Tamás Horváth – Meggyfa (Hungary)
7. Felix Sandman – Every Single Day (Sweden)
8. Nassi – Rêves de gamin (France)
9. Margaret – In My Cabana (Sweden)
10. Asmik Shiroyan – You And I (Armenia)
11. Lisandro Cuxi – Eva (France)
12. Aitana – Arde (Spain)
2019: SongHunt: An established tradition
When there’s nothing new to announce for something like our SongHunt for a year, I think you can call it a real tradition. Unchanged from the 2018 format, SongHunt 2019 brought us a lot of unforgettable classics like “Tower Of Babylon” or “Passiò”. After two years of Romanian champions, it was now time for another new country to be added to the winners’ list: Albania.
Final results of SongHunt 2019:
1. Artemisa Mithi & Febi Shkurti – Dua te besoj (Albania)
2. Aly Ryan – Wear Your Love (Germany)
3. Mørland – En livredd mann (Norway)
4. Lorena Bućan – Tower Of Babylon (Croatia)
5. Electric Fields – 2000 And Whatever (Australia)
6. Battista Acquaviva – Passiò (France)
7. Kerrie-Anne – Sweet Lies (United Kingdom)
8. Arja Saijonmaa – Mina fyra årstider (Sweden)
9. Hanna Ferm & LIAMOO – Hold You (Sweden)
10. Lidija Bačić – Tek je počelo (Croatia)
11. Anna Bergendahl – Ashes To Ashes (Sweden)
12. Chimène Badi – Là-haut (France)
2020: Not cancelled.
2020 changed all our lives, in one way or another. We don’t even need to explain to you what 2020 meant for nearly everything, including Eurovision. Unaffected: SongHunt. We kept searching for a song that should have gone to Eurovision, and this premise wasn’t changed by the fact that the contest itself was cancelled. Why stop the fun?
Final results of SongHunt 2020:
1. CHАKRАS – La-ley-la (Belarus)
2. Dotter – Bulletproof (Sweden)
3. Sara Bajraktari – Ajër (Albania)
4. Erika Vikman – Cicciolina (Finland)
5. Anna Bergendahl – Kingdom Come (Sweden)
6. Indira – You Will Never Break My Heart (Croatia)
7. Iva – Oculis videre (Iceland)
8. Olga Lounová – Dark Water (Czech Republic)
9. Didrik & Emil – Out Of Air (Norway)
10. We All Poop – All The Blood (Positive Song Actually) (Czech Republic)
11. Paul Rey – Talking In My Sleep (Sweden)
12. Tone Damli – Hurts Sometimes (Norway)
2021: More compact, but also more glamorous
The aftermath of 2020 meant a whole bunch of national finals being cancelled until 2022, as many countries decided to send the same representatives to ESC 2021 that should have gone to the previous year’s contest. This completely changed the map of the national final season, resulting in fewer shows and fewer songs, but also more room to enjoy them. After the tough time that most of us have been through with uncertainty as to what the future might look like, this national final season is (writing this in February 2021) bringing some fun, light and colour into many of our lives that we’ve been thirsting for, more or less conciously. It’s the first time in many years that a national final season was this compact. As a result, SongHunt 2021 had to become more compact, too: We cut the total amount of songs from 96 to 48, and the amount of rounds from 15 to 6. But on the other hand, we decided to stage the event bigger than before, giving each round its own event in the chat, and introducing a 50/50 voting rule to give the chat more power regarding the results.
In a way, SongHunt has now become our own national final, deciding what we would have sent to Eurovision – and staging it similarly with an even bigger final event in the chat, in which 15 songs will be competing for this year’s title of “SongHunt winner”.
You can take part and vote in the current poll here, if you haven’t yet!
Nothing can be said about the future, especially not after 2020 happened. But our dedication to SongHunt shows no signs of declining. Maybe it even reached new heights, now in 2021. What the future brings? We’ll see – but whatever happens, we hope you enjoy traveling further on the SongHunt journey with us!
We are delighted to introduce SongHunt 2021 – this year’s edition of our annual quest to find the most robbed losing national final song of the Eurovision season!
We’ve made a few changes this time. Just like the 2021 national final season, our SongHunt is a little more compact – but on the other hand, it’s more glamorous too!
Most notably, our #esc chat community will now play a bigger part, with a regular Sunday night viewing event followed by a vote that will count for 50% of the result. The familiar website poll will count for the other 50% – so if you’re a website reader but not a chatter, you can just stay tuned and vote in the weekly polls here as usual!
SongHunt 2021 will consist of four heats, a chat-only “Last Chance” round, and the grand final. You can see an overview of the format below:
As usual, we have been compiling our “master list” of how the chat voted on each national final show so far. This serves as the basis for qualification for each heat, and you can investigate the list right here! We will also be selecting some wildcards – editors’ choices – to reward those songs that perhaps didn’t get the love we thought they deserved.
The first heat will be launched this Sunday, 21 February, with an event in the chat at 21:00 CET. So be there and support your national final favourites!
SongHunt 2020, our poll series to find the best non-winning national final song of the year, has come to an end: “La-ley-la” by CHАKRАS from the Belarusian has won the grand final!
Based on the votes of our chatters in the #esc chat and supplemented by our editors’ choices, a total of 96 songs took part in the eight SongHunt heats between January and March, followed by four quarter-finals and two semi-finals. The poll for the 12-song final was open for the past week, and the results from that were combined with our chatters’ votes in tonight’s special live chat event to get the following final ranking:
CHАKRАS – La-ley-la (Belarus)
Dotter – Bulletproof (Sweden)
Sara Bajraktari – Ajër (Albania)
Erika Vikman – Cicciolina (Finland)
Anna Bergendahl – Kingdom Come (Sweden)
Indira – You Will Never Break My Heart (Croatia)
Iva – Oculis videre (Iceland)
Olga Lounová – Dark Water (Czech Republic)
Didrik & Emil – Out Of Air (Norway)
We All Poop – All The Blood (Positive Song Actually) (Czech Republic)
Paul Rey – Talking In My Sleep (Sweden)
Tone Damli – Hurts Sometimes (Norway)
This year’s SongHunt was additionally complicated by the fact that ESC 2020 was cancelled right in the middle of the competition, but we were delighted to see that the level of interest remained as high as always – everyone clearly wanted their say in which song was most “robbed”, even if it turns out they wouldn’t have made it to Rotterdam anyway.
“La-ley-la” duly follows in the footsteps of “Nefelibata” by MNTHA (2015), “Helpless” by The Hardkiss (2016), “Petale” by Instinct (2017), “Fără tine” by Dora Gaitanovici (2018) and “Dua ta besoj” by Artemisa Mithi & Febi Shkurti to become our sixth annual SongHunt winner! You can check out the full results of the entire SongHunt 2020 season if you want to see how we got from FiK to here.
And to conclude, here’s the reprise of the winning song and performance. Many congratulations to CHAKRAS and thanks to everyone who voted in our chat and on our website during all the rounds. Even if next year’s national final season looks to be a bit more scaled-back than usual, there will still be plenty of finals to watch, so there will be a SongHunt 2021 – we’ll see you there!
SongHunt 2020, our competition to find the most robbed national finalist of the 2020 Eurovision season, has reached the grand final. 12 songs remain in the hunt for victory, and the poll is now open for your votes – but before you vote, we’d like to introduce you to each of the finalists in turn!
Anna Bergendahl – Kingdom Come
Following on from last year’s “Ashes To Ashes”, the Melodifestivalen comeback queen cemented her return to the scene this year with the meticulously staged “Kingdom Come”. Despite being tipped by many, it wasn’t quite enough to win her the ticket to Rotterdam – but there’s always some kind of Swedish presence in the SongHunt final and Anna Bergendahl duly takes her place among our 12 contenders this year.
We All Poop – All The Blood (Positive Song Actually)
For a few months it looked like we were going to get a televised Czech final for the first time since their return to the contest, but in the end it was another internet-only selection. Why change a successful formula, after all? Sadly that means we’ll never get to know how We All Poop (worst band name ever?) would have translated the impactful music video for their Cooper Temple Clause-esque “All The Blood” into a live setting – but that hasn’t stopped it from sailing through to the final of SongHunt 2020.
Didrik & Emil – Out Of Air We were blessed with two wildly different performances of “Out Of Air” – the first featuring a weirdly near-romantic vibe between the Solli-Tangen brothers and a choreography involving junior versions of themselves (which obviously wouldn’t have been allowed at ESC), and this staging from the final with a rather more sober, light entertainment take on the song. The latter is what got Didrik and Emil into SongHunt in the first place, and that journey has led them all the way to our final.
Erika Vikman – Cicciolina
SongHunt is essentially a project to find the most “robbed” national final song of the season, and if you ask many fans, they’ll tell you that “Cicciolina” is that song. The ingredients for a classic fan failure at the national final stage are always the same: you need a heavily hyped entry like this one, yes, but you also need some evil juries (ideally foreign) to throw a spanner in the works, and a fairly unspectacular song to reap the rewards instead of the big loud fanfave. No wonder Erika Vikman has made it this far in SongHunt – it may be the only thing she wins this year.
Iva – Oculis videre
Dutch-Icelandic singer Íva Marín Adrichem, better known as Iva, got a lot of the early hype ahead of this year’s Söngvakeppnin until she was inevitably swept away by the Daði tidal wave. Nevertheless, the unusual and haunting “Oculis videre” still has its fair share of fans, and who’s to say it wouldn’t have been just as clever a choice for ESC?
Dotter – Bulletproof
Never mind the fact that it was one of the fan favourites to win Melodifestivalen – you know you’ve really made it when you’re the subject of a meme, and Dotter’s “Bulletproof” did that in quite some style. Away from all that, it was perhaps surprising to see Dotter only just scraping into the SongHunt final. Will she find her feet here, or is this her glass ceiling?
Sara Bajraktari – Ajër
An Albanian song won the previous edition of SongHunt, so we’re always on the lookout for strong contenders when Festivali i Këngës kicks off the national final season. Sara Bajraktari got a strong response from the local audience on the first night of FiK 58, and our chatters were similarly enthusiastic by the time the final night rolled around – voting her straight into the first heat of SongHunt 2020, from where she has progressed all the way to our final!
CHАKRАS – La-ley-la
On a purely selfish note, we’re delighted to see “La-ley-la” in the SongHunt final purely because it was the song that received the biggest average score of the season in our chat during its respective national final. There is definitely such a thing as “chatroom taste” over in #esc, so it was perhaps no surprise that an angular, difficult and downright weird number like this would meet with our approval – but seeing it get this deep into the SongHunt process is very satisfying indeed!
Tone Damli – Hurts Sometimes
Amid the craziness that the national final season throws at us, there’s always room for a nice, sensible, grown-up song. Cue Tone Damli, previously best known to ESC fans for narrowly (ha-ha) losing out to Alexander Rybak in the 2009 Norwegian final. We’ll never know if “Hurts Sometimes” could have secured the ticket to Rotterdam had it not been for the app failure in the first round of this year’s Melodi Grand Prix, but Tone Damli can satisfy herself with still being in the running for the SongHunt crown.
Paul Rey – Talking In My Sleep Melodifestivalen tradition dictates that there have to be one or two “sleepers” – songs that take their time to make an impact on the public, eventually reaching the final via the Andra Chansen round only to suddenly develop into contenders for the crown. FELIX SANDMAN was widely tipped to play that role again this year, having done the same in 2018. Instead, it was the likes of Anis don Demina and Paul Rey who picked up the slack. The former’s “Vem e som oss” did better at MF, but the latter’s “Talking In My Sleep” is the one that has got deepest in our competition, making it all the way to the final of SongHunt 2020.
Olga Lounová – Dark Water
Another one from the internet-only Czech selection, it would have been interesting to see a live staging for Olga’s dark song about dark waters. (We’re betting it would have been dark.) In the absence of that, we’ll have to be satisfied with this video for the studio version and a healthy dose of imagination. Either way, the song is a good ‘un and that’s why it’s made it this far!
Indira – You Will Never Break My Heart
It’s loud, it’s in your face, it’s Croatian. Our chatters can rarely resist that formula, and the wider SongHunt voting public have been no less kind to Indira and her mildly bonkers “You Will Never Break My Heart”. It’s a perfect closer to our playlist, and if nothing else, it certainly ups the average BPM of this year’s SongHunt final.
Which song should have won its preselection this year? Who was the most robbed national finalist of all? Our annual SongHunt has been underway since earlier this year with the aim of finding out – and now we’ve reached the grand final!
Our final features 12 songs that qualified from the semi-finals. Your task is simple: You have between one and three votes to give to your favourite song(s)! That means you can vote for your one big favourite and make sure it gets a boost, or you can spread your love around several songs if you can’t quite decide. It’s up to you!
The poll closes at 23:59 CET on Saturday 16th May, and we’ll be crowning the winner in the #esc chat on Sunday evening. As always, a video playlist can be found below the poll if you need a reminder, or you can check out our detailed introduction to all 12 finalists.
Want to know more? You can see the full qualification list for SongHunt 2020 here!