2020 - YouTube


It sounds like Efendi
was our winner.

Daði og Gagnamagnið

Daði og Gagnamagnið think
about things that might have been.

Little Big

Russia's tribute to Nicole & Hugo.

Athena Manoukian

Diamonds shining on Athena Manoukian.


Why have one "Hasta la vista"
when you can have three?

Samanta Tina

Latvia with their bleach and PPE.
It's almost as if they knew...


Will Go_A get to go again next year?

Things were looking good for Rotterdam 2020: it was all set to be our favourite contest in a long while... And then the lurg came.

On 18th March the cancellation of the contest was announced, with the decision made to basically write off this year's entries. But the entries had all beeen announced and all the official submission videos were on YouTube. It seemed a shame to just consign them to the dustbin, so we made our own draw and cobbled together a playlist for the evening.

Twitter favourites, Iceland, with their green boilersuits, and home-made keytar saxophones were very much the sound of the spring. This had been Daði and co's second attempt at the National Final, and the 'Go 8-Bit'-style avatars were left over from attempt one – hence the different haircuts. We'll never know if they'd've updated the graphics for the final proper. What we do know is that they'd've delivered some funky librarycore earworm with kooky choreography, a wind-machine breakdown and a key-change. It could very much have been their year.

Russia's Little Big have had a few million more hits on YouTube than Iceland, though, so it was never going to be an open goal for the Icelandic kids. The Russian entry's Wes Anderson chic and Nicole & Hugo inspired dance routine certainly gives "Think About Things" a run for its money. The two entries are rather similar in a way, and in another way they couldn't be further apart. Both might be described as 'novelty' but they are subtly different flavours of that, and both are far better than the term might imply. One thing they certainly have in common is that they split our jury, opening the door for Azerbaijan to come up through the middle.

Azerbaijan's Efendi is here to compare herself to Cleopatra. You don't get many songs in which men compare themselves to Pompey, but Cleo's a different matter. It's difficult not to spend the whole song grinning at the delightfully 2003 verse, the chanting primeval bridge, and the stomping "la la la la la la la la la la la la la la" chorus with its Minaj-like 'R'-rolling "Cleopatrrrrra". A worthy winner, really, even if we are being our usual iconoclastic selves.

Not a million miles away from Azerbaijan (musically as well as geographically) is Armenia. Athena Manoukian is vamping it up on her throne, throwing chains on us and diamonds on her. Indeed, there's a theme of fierce women this year: Serbia's Hurricane deliver a similarly relentless eastern stomp, and the third Eurovision entry with the title "Hasta La Vista" (after Ukraine 2003 and Belarus 2008); Latvia's Samanta Tina is a bit less stompy but she's brought the cleaning fluid to tackle the grime in a video that looks like a rejected Beyoncé first draft (we also get a bit of rapping, and some ridiculous headwear); San Marino's Senhit gets freaky freaky freaky with some pretty slick funk-pop disco; and then, of course, there's Ukraine's oh-so-Ukrainian Go_A, casting ominous runes to determine the fate of the galaxy.

Less fierce by quite a way (but still maintaining the female dominance of our top 10) is the beautifully mellow ditty from Bulgaria. The video begs the question of whether they'd cram five backing vocalists on the stage (the two live performances on YouTube don't bother with the haunting oohs), and the whole thing makes you weep for the loss of orchestras. On that matter see also Belgium's Portishead-do-a-Bond-Theme entry which didn't quite make our points. So what did? Let's take a look...

For each year's songs we apply our points in the 12-10-8 style of the modern contest, irrespective of how the voting functioned at the time.
While there was no official contest, ten national broadcasters conducted polls and their results have been aggregated as an alternative European placing (given in brackets):



Daði og Gagnamagnið
"Think About Things"

Athena Manoukian
"Chains on You"

Little Big

"Hasta la vista"


Samanta Tina
"Still Breathing"

"Solovey" (Соловей)

"Tears Getting Sober"


Benny Cristo

Europe had nothing of course, but combining the polls of Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway, San Marino and Sweden, Lithuania came joint second (11th place on our scorecard), Switzerland were fourth, Italy fifth, Malta seventh, Sweden eighth, Germany ninth, Denmark and Norway joint tenth, Albania joint twelfth, France 15th, Greece and the UK joint 16th, Austria, the Netherlands and Spain joint 18th, and Poland joint 19th, with Belarus, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Israel, Moldova, Portugal, North Macedonia, Romania, and Slovenia failing to make the scoreboard.

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