OK, so we made it to the New Year and the great Eurovision engine is now roaring back to beautiful life. And while it’s WAY too early to make any predictions about Eurovision 2018, one thing is absolutely guaranteed: as the national selection processes crank up and crunch through the gears in the weeks ahead, we’re going to lose some high-class songs along the way.
Yes, we’re certain to see a whole platoon of our personal favourites chewed up and chucked out – surplus to Eurovision requirements. But we’ll still hold them in our hearts, won’t we? We’ll never let them sit unloved and unlamented in some dusty old storeroom of Eurovision rejects. No! Each of us will keep them in our own Eurovision Exhibition of Glorious Failures, safely encased in our personal ESC Memory Museums. Gone, but not forgotten.
So, before 2018 swallows us up completely, let’s just take a moment to remember three of the-ones-that-got-away from the class of 2017 – three great songs that, for some reason, Fate consigned to ‘doing a Margaret’ (as I like to say, in honour of Poland’s ‘Cool Me Down’ chantreuse from 2016):
1. Kerli: ‘Spirit Animal’ (Estonia)
Eesti Laul is probably my personal highlight of every year’s selection round. I usually find a whole stack of songs I really like. (Hell – I’m a massive Põhja-Tallinn fan, so I know a bit about crushing disappointment!) But my favourites are almost guaranteed to come up short – and that’s exactly what happened in 2017. I knew – yes, KNEW – that Kerli was bound to win and go Top 5 in the ESC Grand Final. Didn’t happen. I still haven’t really got over it. Not sure I ever will.
2. Spoon 21: ‘Deák’ (Hungary)
OK, I know ‘Origo’ was a world-class entry. I get that. Fantastic stuff. But Spoon 21 came up with a song that ticked all the pop boxes from my point of view. Catchy electro-riff – tick! Singalong chorus – tick! Shouty backing vocals – tick! Random animal masks – tick! Handclappy bit near the end – tick! Red drumstick – tick! Truly magnificent. I’m almost tempted to give it TGFE (Too Good For Eurovision) status. But that’s probably simply not possible, is it?
3. Emma: ‘Circle of Light’ (Finland)
Every year, there are bound to be some candidate songs that promise much but don’t quite deliver when it comes to the crunch. Regrettably, I’d have to place Emma’s mighty effort in that category. Wonderful song. CLASSIC riff. And I especially love the video, which lures you into thinking you may have stumbled on the last few minutes of Episode 1 of a time-jumping TV mini-series weaving a tale of love, loss, betrayal and revenge somewhere in a snowy forest. (Just my type of mini-series, as it happens.) Inevitably, the live performance couldn’t quite match up to the promise. But, I still sometimes wonder, what happened in Episode 2? Possibly a guest appearance by Mr Lordi.
So here’s to 2018! As the cycle begins again, now’s the time to dust down your personal ESC Memory Museum and get it ready to receive some new exhibits. Brace yourself, strap yourself in and take a few deep breaths. At times, it may be a bit of a bumpy ride…