Top 10 Eurovision Non-Winners of the 21st Century That Deserved Better

Tags: #Eurovision ,   #EurovisionSongContest

Scarlett Goldstein

Scarlett Goldstein

Last updated:  2023-05-16 06:00:07

For every music freak, the Eurovision Song Contest has to be the favorite night of the year. The tension stays for almost a week for hardcore fans because of the exciting semi-finals, too! Many people will say that the winner "isn't fair" every year, and some will agree, while others know that there are simply too many great but also weird songs. To make you remember the unforgettable hits that never stood a chance to come first, here are our top ten favorite non-winners in the 21st century!

10. "A Million Voices" by Polina Gagarina (Russia, 2015)

Russia is also known for massive ballads

Now, we can agree that 2015 gave us the most remarkable gems. Many songs sounded like winners, and Russian's representative, Polina Gagarina, really gave off that vibe with her angelic white dress and wild vocals. Something about her performance felt so confident that you just know she expected the trophy. And she deserved it!

What was ever a prettier motto for Eurovision than "If you ever feel love is fading, together like stars in the sky, we can sing and shine?" A competition like this should unite the whole world, and this song attempted to do precisely that!

9. "Deli" by Mor ve Ötesi (Turkey, 2008)

Turkey never disappointed… Until it left the show

Turkey leaving Eurovision might be the saddest moment for this song contest ever… Nevertheless, we still have their good old rock entries that we can admire forever. No one delivered rock sound the way Turkey did, and it even ended up second with the 2010 entry "We Could Be the Same," which kind of deserved that trophy; let's not lie. 

Still, their older rock ballad in Turkish, "Deli," feels like a winner even more! Even the lyrics about two sides of people's sanity took it to the next level. After they didn't take their trophy home, they even came back in 2009 with the wild banger "Düm Tek Tek," and it still wasn't enough. Give Turkey what it deserves, please!

8. "Always" by AySel and Arash (Azerbaijan, 2009)

"Always" is that song you remember when you think of authentic Eurovision rhythm

Azerbaijan got their first place in 2011 with the sweet "Running Scared," which was forgettable and obviously the worst winner of the 2010s. Still, this country tends to send some quality performers, and they showcased that especially in 2009 with "Always." It indeed is another sweet love song, but this time, it stays on your mind forever!

This song's magic doesn't lie in its lyrics or vocals; it's just the way this rhythm sticks and makes you feel like you've known it for eternity. It's always so fresh, yet so familiar, and its emotion is so natural. This obviously is one of the greatest Eurovision duos!

7. "Beauty Never Lies" by Bojana Stamenov (Serbia, 2015)

The 10th place is an honor, but this woman deserved top 3 at least

"The moment when you hear the scream you didn't hear in the winning song" is the most liked comment under Serbia's 2015 performance, "Beauty Never Lies." We see no lies there! Even though this country sings in its own language (as it should) most often, this year was made for an anthem in English. The song brought strong vocals, even stronger stage presence, and it's absolutely unforgettable to this day

The moments that deserve to be praised here are countless. Let's start with the lyrics – so many people worldwide related to the message about confidence, believing in your beauty, and embracing yourself, as you should. The audience was going crazy, and the second when Bojana raised her hand and screamed with the whole arena was the most uplifting moment in Eurovision history. All of that for 10th place?

6. "Qélé, Qélé" by Sirusho (Armenia, 2008)

This is still a hit, especially in the Balkans

The way the lyrics "You wanna be with me, you think and dream of me, come qele, move qele" live in our heads rent-free today says a lot about this song's influence. It will never get too old for any occasion! Literally, every Eurovision party has this one as the number one choice.

Besides being a smash hit that keeps living, "Qélé, Qélé" is also the most outstanding choice for a Eurovision entry. It obviously kept the energy, the Armenian roots, and even lyrics in their language. The folklore that this song holds, combined with a sound that everyone likes, is the mix that only a master can make.

5. “Lejla” by Hari Mata Hari (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2006)

Bosnia and Herzegovina rarely attends the show now, and, sadly, Hari didn't win back then

Suppose the public ever forgives Eurovision for not giving Željko Joksimović his trophy for "Lane Moje" in 2004. In that case, no one will excuse this robbery! In 2006, we experienced another Željko's masterpiece delivered by Hari Mata Hari, and it finished third. This hit is basically so timeless that whenever you ask someone who deserved to win, there's this song listed everywhere!

This ballad's emotion is basically why they call songs like these the "Balkan ballads," and it will be a challenge to surpass this quality. The lyrics, the instruments, and everything about this song is the level we rarely see in music nowadays, so it's sorrowful to know that it wasn't a winner at all.

4. "Playing with Fire" by Paula Seling & Ovi (Romania, 2010)

Romania is desperate because they think they won't ever get as impressive as this performance from 2010

The "playing with fire" motif in love references is very often in music since BLACKPINK has a tropical banger with that title, too. The idea is not innovative, but this performance indeed is. From the first moment you hear it, you'll see it's the winning material – start with their vocals, stage setting, presence, energy, or anything you wish!

Something is enchanting in how Paula Seling and Ovi play the piano sitting opposite each other. The fire is burning everywhere, just like their energies and that Paula's memorable high note. That vocalizing after chorus sounds like the champion material, to say the least!

3. "Fuego" by Eleni Foureira (Cyprus, 2018)

"Fuego" doesn't even look like a non-winner at all

Do you still ask yourself how Cyprus doesn't have any trophies from Eurovision? These guys keep selling the quality bangers, trying to do better than their pioneer, Eleni Foureira, did. Even though Eleni guaranteed her land the best result ever, it was second place, and it's a hard pill to swallow.

2018 wasn't a year that delivered timeless hits, not even Netta's women empowerment winning anthem "Toy," which had the fans annoyed and salty. On the contrary, "Fuego" was the shiniest moment of the year, with Eleni staying on the charts and playlist even today. This fierce lady was a special guest at 2019 Eurovision, and we see her glowing on the stage years after!

2. "Spirit in the Sky" by KEiiNO (Norway, 2019)

Not to brag about Norway's chances to win when they won many trophies… But this is too good!

We're not saying that the northern lands didn't win Eurovision enough times because they literally own the stage every year. Norway had its chance to shine so many times that we can't even count them, but it's a crime that their iconic "Spirit in the Sky" didn't take the trophy home. KEiiNO won the televote, and it tells you enough about how this anthem found its way to everyone's heart!

If you're asking yourself what makes this song stand out this much, it's the energy that makes this tune the epitome of Eurovision. The mix of English and Norwegian? The folklore roots in the bridge? The northern lights dancing behind them? The outstanding vocals and the worldwide theme, with a strong message, but still authentic to Norway? That's Eurovision, at its finest ever!

1. "Grande Amore" by Il Volo (Italy, 2015)

Italy is always fan favorite, and in 2015, they were the purest quality

When you look closer, 2015 was that year that has blown our minds, obviously. No one can ever deny the power Sweden's banger "Heroes" has, but still… Who would stay indifferent towards the ethereal and powerful ballad "Grande Amore," delivered by Italy's iconic trio Il Volo? The whole continent was so salty that this wasn't the winner, and Italy deserved to win so many other times, too, especially in 2019 with Mahmood's "Soldi." Luckily, 2021 Eurovision did them justice.

This song reminded us what real love is, how humble and innocent it should be, and how three guys with powerful vocals can own the whole stage, and you just don't need anything else. Their emotions said it all, and you don't even have to translate the lyrics. This is one of the ballads that aged like the finest wine, just like winning songs should! Don't you think so?

After all, don't let people tell you that Eurovision lost its glow over the years. There are so many songs that couldn't fit into this top ten list, but they deserved the first place as well. That's why we believe that this show will always have something outstanding to offer, now and till the end of time!

Do you usually root for the favorites, or you prefer the songs that never won? What's your favorite non-winning tune? Share in the comments section!

Cover photo: YouTube screenshot



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