In the space of a mere three months, the pandemic has wildly changed our world in almost every way. There isn’t a corner of the globe that hasn’t been impacted in some manner by the virus and the need to instigate measures in an effort to stave off its fast-growing spread. Every day, we are bombarded by new updates on government measures, self-isolation, and various postponements, cancellations, and alterations made to upcoming events. If there was a thing you were looking forward to over the next few months, the chances are it’s not happening anymore. The Cannes Film Festival? Postponed. Coachella and Glastonbury? Canceled. The release of practically every movie? Bless. For cheesy Europop fans such as myself, however, the biggest casualty was the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest.
This year’s competition was set to take place in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in May, and some of us *cough* had already tried in vain to get tickets for the big show. Sadly but justifiably, the decision was made to cancel it for the safety of potentially millions of people. We all knew it was going to happen but it still stings. In dark times, we needed Eurovision more than ever. Where else are we going to get our annual dose of wind machine overuse? It’s just not the same trying it from the comfort of one’s own home with a hairdryer.
Of course, just because the contest isn’t happening anymore, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the music. Eurovision 2020 was shaping up to be one hell of a competition, so in its honor, we pour one out for the best songs of the season that we sadly won’t get to see performed in their manic glory in Rotterdam. Pull up your butter churners, polish that saxophone, and get those dancing turkeys out of the way… Let’s see who would have been going home with douze points!
Daði og Gagnamagnið - Think About Things (Iceland)
This one is an absolute banger independent of its genuinely adorable and all-too-perfect Eurovision-ready staging. My Euro-mad friends had this one pegged as a real threat for the top prize and I can see why. It’s definitely an earworm for the ages in all the right ways.
Victoria - Tears Getting Sober (Bulgaria)
Holy Billie Eilish, Bulgaria. Victoria’s number has been criticized by many for sounding a tad too much like the current worldwide creepy pop queen, but frankly, originality can be a tad overrated. It’s a good song but it’s a tad too understated for Eurovision for my liking, even if it is the bookie’s favorite, according to EurovisionWorld.com. The contest has typically favored those more legit pop numbers over the goofier novelties that defined them in decades past, so I definitely see why some fans were checking flight and hotel prices for Bulgaria 2021.
Gjon’s Tears - Répondez-moi (Switzerland)
Look, if you’re going to send yet another ballad to Eurovision then you’d better make sure those high notes are pristine, so credit to Switzerland for this French-language number that features some true range, honey. The 21-year-old Gjon’s Tears also continues a relatively recent tradition of countries sending reality TV contestants to the big event, as Gjon Muharremaj has appeared on Albanians Got Talent, Die grössten Schweizer Talente, AND the French version of The Voice.
Little Big - Uno (Russia)
For the past few years, Russia was trying oh-so-very hard to win this thing. They put hardcore effort into some lavish pop productions designed to win over Europe and make them forget that whole anti-LGBTQ+ legislation thing. That didn’t work, so now they’ve got full novelty act, and honestly… it kind of slaps? This is what I want from Eurovision, my friends. It’s catchy, it’s utterly inexplicable, it’s impeccably silly, and you just know that the staging would have been astoundingly gauche. Look at that death drop!
Senhit - Freaky! (San Marino)
Bless the Most Serene Republic of San Marino for continuing to send songs to Eurovision even though their qualification rate is, to put it bluntly, not great. But that’s what Eurovision is all about, my friends: Trying and failing in lavish fashion (oh, we’ll get to you, United Kingdom.) This year, San Marino had planned to send the Italian singer Senhit, who had represented them in 2011 but failed to qualify. I’m not sure that Freaky! would have gotten them any further but it was good to see them fully embrace Euro-dance camp, with an appropriately cheap video full of Christ imagery and queerness to match.
James Newman - My Last Breath (United Kingdom
So it looks like the U.K. was actually trying this year? Brexit regrets kicking in hard or something? James Newman isn’t some nobody picked out of the abyss or a retro nostalgia act either. He has some legitimacy. The song works because it’s clearly written to be a good song and not just some bargain bin remnant deemed to be ‘Eurovision worthy.’ That’s been a big fault for the U.K. in years past: We claim we’re too good for the contest so don’t bother with a good song then complain when nobody votes for us. So, of course, the year when we put some bloody effort into it, it all gets canceled. Oh, by the way, the old guy rolling around in the snow in the video is Wim Hof, the so-called ‘ice-man’ who comes with GOOP approval (and some seriously sketchy credentials.)
The Mamas - Move (Sweden)
Sweden gets criticized a lot for sending songs that are generic or sound like everything else on the radio, but come on, Sweden basically invented modern pop music. It’s Swedish producers making every darn song you hear on the charts right now so let’s give that beautiful Scandinavian paradise of audio delights its due credit, okay? This isn’t my favorite entry the nation has ever sent to Eurovision but it’s got that right mix of modern and retro that feels so perfect for the contest.
Samanta Tīna - Still Breathing (Latvia)
Look, it’s not Eurovision unless you have one act whose performance looks like it was designed to take place during a space-earthquake. Enjoy!
What was your Eurovision 2020 song of choice? Let us know in the comments.
Header Image Source: YouTube