Even though, traditionally speaking, everyone is saying that the national finals season starts in early September when any song released after that date, becomes eligible to compete at the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest, the ACTUAL season usually begins in late December with the Albanian National Final. Yes, there can always be exceptions, like Malta’s national final for 2015 when it was organized somewhere in November, but usually all the hype goes cray cray in December.
The 2019 season is set to be an explosive one as we will get some really exciting national finals. Some other countries have chosen to make their selection internally (Russia, Azerbaijan, Finland) while others will bring back their national final or just continue on with the tradition of letting the public decide the faith of the country (Romania, Croatia, Sweden, Norway).
I was always in favor of National Finals. Why? Because it’s more exciting, we get to enjoy more music even though at times, the ending can be quite dramatic and my favorite is not always making it to the international part of the contest. I picked several national finals, that in my opinion we should look forward to in 2019 as we might get great surprises from them, so here it goes:
#10: DORA – The Croatian National Final
Dora was used many years ago to select the Croatian representative at the Eurovision Song Contest. Even though, the overall quality of the national final wasn’t the best, sometimes it gave the contest great performers and songs. I think the last time DORA was used was back in 2011 and well, we all know how 2011 ended for them. I’m happy to see that DORA is back for 2019 and who knows? We might even get a great song this year, thumbs up, Croatia!
#09: ADAL – The Hungarian National Final
ADAL is a great high-quality national final, sometimes even getting in the top 3 National Finals of the year. ADAL gave us many amazing singers and incredible songs that I still listen to even today. The only thing which I don’t actually like about it is the jury, which at times, I think it’s quite biased and totally not needed but overall, it’s a great national final and totally worth watching. Because of it, Hungary kept on qualifying to the finals since 2012.
#08: Söngvakeppnin – The Icelandic National Final
Iceland is using this national final for many years now but sadly the quality of the songs in the past few years was quite…bad. Many of the songs felt really outdated and I really wish they could somehow improve the concept and make it better. I’m not sure if I’ll be actually watching this national final in 2019 but i will take this decision after checking the songs and competing artists. Many people love it though.
#07: Selectia Nationala – The Romanian National Final
What I love about my country is that we’re always having a national final and that is GREAT! But, if we talk about the quality of the songs…uhm well…we can totally do better at this chapter. We have many talented composers and sadly in the past few years, our national final became invaded with extremely cheap songs composed by random international composers. We treasure everything which is international and have this mentality that “everything which comes from abroad is better and better”. Yes, in some cases we had amazing songs that came from foreign composers but damn, in the past few years the average-ness of the songs was horrible. Selectia Nationala will have a new format in 2019 and yes, an international jury will be involved (that is a good thing!).
#06: Vidbir – The Ukrainian National Final
Oh my God. I just adore Ukraine. Their talent is absolutely astonishing and this is a final that you should have on your list. The only bad thing about it is the amount of talking that involves the show. The juries talk a lot, the presenter talks a lot, the contestant talks a lot and there is A LOT of bla bla bla which can last for more than 2 hours even though it’s a semifinal. My ear is quite sensible when hearing Slavic languages and at times, it can get really boring but man, the quality of the songs will never, ever disappoint. I should also mention the camera work (perfection) and the stage.
#05: Eesti Laul – The Estonian National Final
Since I complained about Slavic languages above, I do have to admit that I love Estonian. It sounds like a soft language and I could listen to it for hours and hours. The Estonian National Final is great in terms of quality songs, camera work and concept. It includes several semifinals and the grand final and this is a final that you should totally have on your list. They just revealed the candidates for 2019 and it totally got on my final list. I just really hope that it won’t intersect with other national finals that I want to watch (which usually happens sadly).
#04: Dansk Melodi Grand Prix – The Danish National Final
Oh boy, this is a great national final but I have no idea what happened in the past few years. I feel that the quality of the songs just got really bad and everyone started complaining about Denmark using recycled Melodifestivalen songs from Sweden, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but yeah. If I’m really honest, the last good Danish Final was back in 2013 when Emmelie won and since then we got a lot of boy bands which failed the country literally and a lot of bad entries. I just hope that in 2019, Denmark will get back of its feet and we’ll get some goodies.
#03: Destination Eurovision – The French National Final
This National Final was EVERYTHING last year. Tons of amazing songs and artists and I totally enjoyed watching every second of it. I admit it though, I am a bit biased since my favorites won, but still, WOW what a final! I’m really happy that the format will be used again in 2019 BUT I am extremely disappointed that Edoardo Grassi, the head of the French delegation quit his job a few months ago. He is basically the reason why France started doing so well in the past few years and also the reason why this final was so great. I’m sad about his departure but somehow I hope that Destination Eurovision will still be good in 2019, please.
#02: Melodi Grand Prix – The Norwegian National Final
I just love everything about this national final. It’s raw, great and never disappoints, except in 2018 when Rebecca was literally robbed by Rybak’s fame, but nevertheless, karma was served in May. 🙂 I hope that this year, NRK – their national broadcaster, will bring some diversity and no more, Jowst songs please. That guy got the Euro microbe and he just can’t stop entering songs now. The amazing news about this national final is that, for the first time in year, the final won’t intersect with Melodifestivalen final, which is AWESOME. I will totally watch it and I just can’t wait for 2019 will bring.
#01: Melodifestivalen – The Swedish National Final
Yes people, you guess it. I’m biased but you have to admit, this national final is by far, the best one out-there. It’s exciting, great and you never get bored watching it. It became so popular that people started watching it as “the small” version of Eurovision. I just hope that in 2019 they will include English subtitles to the show, yes, I was lazy with my Swedish skills lately.
Overall, here were the shows that I’m mostly looking forward to in 2019. There are other national finals as well, but in my opinion these are the ones that you should keep and eye on. To end this post, here are some of my favorite all time performances from national finals that sadly didn’t get to Eurovision.