After revisiting some classic contests in recent weeks – thanks Eurovision Again, we were reminded of some of the classic countries that we have love and lost as competitors in the Eurovision Song Contest. Of course the stipulation for taking part in this celebration of song requires membership in the Eurovision Broadcasting Union and many nations have this but do not choose to take part for various reasons. However, all the below countries have taken part in the past but do not do so now to our detriment.
Citing dissatisfaction with the voting system, Turkey stopped its over thirty year participation in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013. Joining in 1975 and even winning once in 2003, Turkey brought a middle eastern flair to the contest, always representing their culture’s musical heritage in a very Eurovision-friendly way.
The country won the 2003 contest in Latvia with “Everyway That I Can” from Sertab Erener – a truly deserved winner. Turkey slipped to the still impressive fourth place with Athena’s “For Real” (a sort of curious Turkish Madness) in 2004, despite the track lacking the Turkish charm of its predecessor. Successful entries also came in 2006’s gleefully camp “Superstar”, 2007’s catchy “Shake It Up Şekerim” and our personal favourite, full-on Turkish banger “Düm Tek Tek” which landed them another fourth place in 2009. 2010 saw another second place entry with soft rock group maNgas “We Could be the Same”, followed by a non-qualifying entry in 2011. Turkey’s final entry so far was Can Bonomo’s “Love Me Back” which put ethnic sounds to the forefront in a somewhat gimmicky sailor themed performance.
Of course this is just a snapshot of Turkey’s turns in Eurovision, their performances throughout the seventies, eighties and nineties provide some Turkish language gems such as Şebnem Paker and Grup Etnik’s “Dinle” from 1997 – although the country really came into its own when it adopted a blend of languages in its performances.
Participating between 1959 and 1979, before a hiatus until 2004 to 2006, and then ultimately retreating from the contest, Monaco was a prior fan favourite in the Eurovision community. The principality withdrew after 2006 after failing to qualify in each of its comeback attempts in the noughties – with geopolitical voting being cited as the reasons.
With a third place finish in 1960 from François Deguelt’s “Ce soir-là” and a second entry with Deguelt’s 1962 comeback “Dis rien”, the nation would go on to perform solidly with its internally selected French language entries. A further third place finish with “Où sont-elles passées” from Romuald (who would also compete for Luxembourg) would be Monaco’s best attempt until their sole winning entry, 1971’s “Un banc, un arbre, une rue” from Séverine. Due to Monaco being unable to facilitate the contest, Edinburgh stepped in to host on their behalf. Romuald would return in 1974 achieving fourth place, yet Mary Christie’s “Toi, la musique et moi” would be their final Top 3 finish of their history in the contest.
They would return in 2004 with Maryon’s underrated “Notre planète”, Lise Darly’s uplifiting ballad “Tout De Moi” in 2005, and finally Séverine Ferrer’s “La Coco-Dance” in 2006. Were they good enough to qualify? We’re not too sure. Nonetheless, we would like to see Monaco return and with a good song, we think they could qualify. Just look at the microstate of San Marino where perseverance is key.
Failing to ever qualify for a national final, Andorra have completed in the semi-finals from 2004 to 2009. Predominantly performing in Catalan, Andorra noted their withdrawal for financial reasons after the 2009 contest.
Marta Roure’s 2004 entry “Jugarem a estimar-nos” marked the nation’s debut on the ESC stage yet failed to land with a bang. 2005’s “La mirada interior” from Marian van de Wal also failed to make an impression with semi-final audiences. Yet 2006’s ballad “Sense tu” from Jenny Serrano was Andorra’s lowest performing appearance winding up last place of its semi-final. 2007 sparked a slight change with English lyrics incorporated in Anonymous’s excruciating Busted-inspired “Salvem el món”. The country contributed their strongest entry the following year with Gisela’s “Cassanova” a fiery dance bop – yet even that was not enough to qualify. Danish singer Susanne Georgi also contributed an enjoyable albeit non-qualifying entry “La teva decisió (Get a Life)”.
2008 and 2009’s performances showed that Andorra was finding the right path, so we would love to see them continue this 2021 onward.
Participating from 1956 to 1993 (with the exemption of 1959) with an impressive five first place finishes (in 1961, 1965, 1972, 1973 and 1983), Luxembourg is definitely a nation that we have loved and lost within Eurovision. Like so many small nations, Luxembourg’s absence comes down to funding, and despite desire to return in 2014 from their Minister of Culture, this has sadly not come to fruition. Luxembourg’s return was discussed in 2016 officially, but unfortunately broadcaster RTL reiterated its intention not to participate.
The notable names to participate for Luxembourg include: Jean-Claude Pascal (the nation’s first winner, competing in 1961 and 1981), Greek singer Nana Mouskouri, France Gall (1965’s winner with “Poupée de cire, poupée de son”), Vicky Leandros (in 1967 and winning in 1972 with “Après toi”), disco sirens Baccara with “Parlez-vous français?” in 1978, and Lara Fabian in 1988 with “Croire”
Their final entry would come in hairspray-coated “Donne-moi une chance” from Modern Times in 1993, reaching twentieth place.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Competing from 1993 to 2012 and once again in 2016, Bosnia and Herzegovina entered as an independent nation following the break up of SFR of Yugoslavia. Other constituent republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, and North Macedonia all followed suit over the years. Their strongest result came in 2006 with Bosnian language track “Lejla” from Hari Mata Hari reaching third place.
Other notable entries from the nation include 1997’s “Goodbye” from Alma Čardžić, 2002’s “Fairytales About Love” from Maja in 2002, 2004’s offensively high camp “In the Disco”, and Stepford Barbies Feminnem performing “Call Me” (not that one) in 2005.
Like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, a former constituent nation of Yugoslavia has entered independently – debuting in 2007. Montenegro has qualified twice from its eleven attempts, performing in Montenegrin or English usually. Their strongest result came in 2015’s Vienna held contest with Knez and his track “Adio” reaching thirteenth place.
Of our favourite Montenegrin entries is Slavko’s non qualifying “Space” in 2017. Their most recent entry came in the form of D Mol’s “Heaven” in 2019 in Tel Aviv, which failed to qualify. Not scheduled to compete in the cancelled 2020 contest, citing “modest results” and financial issues, Montenegro could be ripe for a 2021 return.
Competing only once at the The Hague in The Netherlands in 1980, Morocco landed in second-last place with Samira Bensaïd’s Arabic disco number “Bitaqat Hub”. With Moroccan public broadcaster SNRT being a member of the EBU, the North African country was eligible to compete. Due to Samira’s poor performance and the participation of Israel, it is thought that Morocco subsequently refused to participate.
“Bitaqat Hub” is a catchy little number and shined as a way to expand on the eclectic influences and cultures represented in Eurovision. We’d love to see Morocco return and bring some North African flavour back into the contest.