Every year since 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest has united an entire continent with the power of music and the beauty of poorly translated English. This year’s competition, held in Baku, Azerbaijan, is no different. Each country submits a song, and viewers voting by phone or text select a winner. In grand Eurovision tradition, their choices include a few folk songs, a few rock songs, a few dance-pop songs, and innumerable sappy ballads. Oh, and a Romanian entry that’s inexplicably in Spanish.
If you tune into the finals on Saturday, you’ll get to see a lot of amazing performances, but you’ll miss out on the songs that have already been eliminated. For those of you who would like to see some of those eliminated entries but don’t have the fortitude to comb through the archives, I’ve compiled a list of the five songs that should have made it to the finals but totally got robbed. (ZERO sappy ballads allowed.)
5. Latvia: Anmary, “Beautiful Song”
Why it’s amazing: It’s an upbeat, inspirational Eurovision song about creating an upbeat, inspirational Eurovision song. The video starts with the singer’s friends telling her not to worry, because everything about her performance will go great — and what do you know, it does! Except for the backup dancers at 2:23.
4. Georgia: Anri Jokhadze, “I’m A Joker”
Why it’s amazing: A poor man’s Eddie Izzard proclaims himself, among other things, a joker, a rocker, a shocker, a poker, a broker, and an evil-blocker. Evidently, those words all rhyme in Georgia. He also tells us, “I’m just a womanizer / Let me be your supervisor.” Let’s hope that’s not how job applications work in Georgia.
3. Montenegro: Rambo Amadeus, “Euro Neuro”
Why it’s amazing: The backing track is actually super cool — a funky bass line in shifting time signatures. Unfortunately, the singer (whose name, by the way, is Rambo Amadeus) seems to be trapped in a different song, one that involves gathering all the words from an English rhyming dictionary into a little pile and then tunelessly chanting them one by one: “Hermetic, pathetic, analphabetic / Forget all cosmetic, you need new poetic / Esthetic, ecletic, dialectic.” The weird thing is, his accent somehow makes it all work.
2. Austria: Trackshittaz, “Woki mit Deim Popo”
Why it’s amazing: The group is called Trackshittaz, I guess because they … well, they shit tracks. Trackshittaz. According to Wikipedia, their albums have titles like It’s Gotta Pump, Dude and Back to Them Turnips, the latter of which includes their Eurovision entry, “Woki mit Deim Popo.” That title translates to something like “Shake Your Booty,” but when they yell it in their Austrian accents from under their Yankees caps, it sounds like they’re saying, “Fucking with the popo.” I don’t speak German, but I feel confident in saying that the rest of the lyrics are just as affecting.
1. San Marino: Valentina Monetta, “The Social Network Song (OH OH – Uh – OH OH)”
Why it’s amazing: The random capitalization and variety of dashes in the song’s title are the least of our worries. Apparently, in San Marino, Facebook isn’t used for keeping track of what your relatives are up to or reconnecting with middle school classmates. It’s just a limitless online hookup palace. That’s literally the only use for Facebook that the song mentions: “Do you wanna play cybersex again?” “The sin is right for a socialite.” “Do you really like politics / When I talk about dirty tricks?” And — my god — “Everybody is calling out for more / Everybody is cybering / Knocking on your door.” Is the Internet just different over there? Is that why they can describe it as “Googling, giggling, gaggling” and “beeping around the bend”? Regardless, it’s clear that the day this song was eliminated from the competition was a dark day for Europe.
Lauren O'Neal lives in Austin, Texas.