Eurovision 2024: National Final Round-Up – PT 1

 

Hey guys!

Hope everyone is having a delightful 2024 so far – although it has felt like it only started last week and we’re already nearly in March! The Six Nations Rugby Tournament has started (Ireland are top of the leaderboard so far), Karneval in Cologne has been and gone (a follow up post to be made on that) and supermarkets have started displaying the Easter Eggs and goodies. And so far in 2024, I’ve made trips back to Amsterdam a couple of times and to Luxembourg City, both of which are just incredible places – I’ll be doing a write-up on Amsterdam soon!

We are 75+ days away from Eurovision 2024 and I’m so excited to be able to attend this year and join people in Malmö for the festivities and parties!

December 2023, January and February have seen the commencement and selection of artists who will represent their country at the contest and has seen it’s own “Super Saturday” event where multiple selections have taken place. I’ve decided I’ll do a write up on the participants and my general feedback on each national selection so far and give my preference on who I think should have won – this will be in number of installments.

I’ll be linked the artists with a clip of their studio cut, so you can all get to experience each song and I’ll give my feedback based on the live final performances. And, each artist could be a winner if you stream their song, so be sure to give them all a listen.

The Five National Selections Featured in this article: Czechia, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg and Moldova

Czechia – ESCZ 2024

The Czech Republic’s national broadcaster, ČT (Czech Television), held the live final of ESCZ 2024 in Prague on December 4 2023. This is the third national selection from Czechia after it’s run of internal selections. After announcing its intent to participate in Eurovision 2024, broadcaster opened up for submissions and received over 200 applicants. These participants were whittled down from 200 to 7 by the Czech delegation and their music advisor, Cesár Sampson (2018 Representative for Austria). The 7 Contestants chosen and announced on November 28 were:

  • The final of ESCZ was held in the Roxy in Prague, which, similar to the RTÉ studio where the Irish Eurosong selection takes place, may not present the song in the best format and can also minimize the impact the song may have. Remember, these songs are made with the intent of being performed in an arena for approx. 15,000 people!
  • David’s Take: The ESCZ final was a good showing, with different pop songs with different variations. The crowd seemed to get behind all artists on stage, which shows good interest. However, it can’t be a Eurovision National Selection without some bum notes or over energetic artists. AIKO with “Pedestal” was the winner on the night, out of 98k votes cast. In my opinion, the live performance was energetic but the vocals were not where they needed to be, compared to other artists. My personal winners on the evening were “Dopamine Overdose” by Tom Sean and “The Angel’s Share” by Elly. Both of these artists brought not just a song, but also strong vocals and a performance. The studio cut of “Pedestal” is a banger and could present itself really strongly at Eurovision, I just hope that AIKO uses the next couple of months to work on the vocal.

Germany – Eurovision Song Contest – Das deutsche Finale 2024

After using internal selections for 2020 and 2021, this is the third national selection to take place by German broadcaster, ARD in collaboration with Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NRD). As a member of the “Big Five”, as you may be aware, Germany do not need to worry about contesting the semi-finals and automatically enter in at the Grand Final. In September ’23, the submission window was open for entries wishing to compete in the German selection. In this period, a total of 693 artists consisting of soloists, duos and bands. This large number of submissions was pared down to 32 artists, which, with the help of an international jury, was slimmed down to 8 finalists who would compete at the Das deutsche Final 2024 live final. On top of this, a separate show, “Ich will zum ESC!” (“I want to go to the ESC!”), was created with 15 selected entries from the received submissions to pick the ninth and final contestant for the selection final. The final 3 of “Ich will zum ESC!” were “Scars” by Floryan, “Yellow Brick Road” by Anne Im and “Farben neuer Tage” by Luca M. Wefes with Floryan advancing to the Das deutsche Final. The 9 entries in the national were:

David’s Take: Isaak with “Always on the Run” was the overall winner of Das deutsche Final 2024. The song and vocal are very radio friendly, but so were entries like Michael Rice and James Newman from the United Kingdom, who didn’t finish too well. I have to admit, there wasn’t a song I didn’t like from this national selection and the vocals really came through but I personally feel that Marie Reim with “Naiv” would have been a great way for Germany to get out of the bottom of the board. Schlager fans across Europe would really love this entry and it’s been a hot minute since a German language song was sent for Germany. The typical pop, Rag ‘N’ Bone-style vocal, is something we expect at Eurovision so, I’ll eat my words if Germany make it to the left side of the scoreboard in the Grand Final. The song is really nice though, but has potential to get lost in the crowd.

Ireland – Eurosong 2024

Hoping to break away from it’s decade of poor performances, Ireland opened up applications for the 3rd edition of the Irish national selection “Eurosong” which was held at the RTÉ Television Centre in Dublin. Applications for 2024 opened mid-June 2023 and over 375 entries were received by the broadcaster. The finalists were chosen by a mixture of industry experts, Irish delegation members and a select number of Eurovision fans who sifted through both applicants and direct interest from established artists who wished to enter. Out of 375 applicants, 4 were shortlisted from this group and 2 more were selected in a “fast-track” process. The artists were later revealed on the “Ray D’arcy Show” on RTÉ Radio from the 8th of January with the live show taking place on 26 January on “The Late Late Show”. The 6 participants at Eurosong 2024 were:

David’s Take: If the last 3 years of Irish National Selections have shown anything, it’s that Ireland is SLOWLY figuring out what it needs to do to break out of the semi-finals and isn’t afraid to pose some acts that offer something unique to 1) The Eurovision Stage and 2) The domestic Irish audience. Bambie Thug with “Doomsday Blue” was the winner of Eurosong 2024. It was a tossup for me between this and “Go Tobann” I though Ailsha’s Irish/English mix was something different but “Doomsday Blue” is totally left field and something I reckon will engage with the wider Eurovision audience. Erica-Cody was someone I had my eye on but I was slightly let down with what was offered – I think it’s a good starting point for her and I reckon she should consider trying again in 2025 or 2026 with a proper R&B banger. Ultimately, I’m excited to see the staging offered by Bambie Thug at Semi-Final.

Luxembourg – Luxembourg Song Contest

After a 30 year absense, 5-time winner, Luxembourg are set to make their glorious return to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2024 and they’re all in with their participation. Not only is Luxembourg returning but they kindly graced us with a National Final to choose their participant! The submission window was opened in mid-July 2023. From July to October, individual artists with songs, songwriters and artists without songs could submit and find their pairings to create an act, with over 450 entries being submitted. Once these acts were carved down from over 450 to 8 artists, the final of the Luxembourg Song Contest was set for 27 January 2024 at the Rockhal in Esch-sur-Alzette. The 8 finalists chosen to participate at the national selection were:

David’s Take: One thing about a country taking a 3 decade pause from a contest like the Eurovision is that it gave itself ample time for the next generation of music to come to fruition and this National Final showed that Luxembourg is coming back to the Song Contest and wants to make a big splash on stage. The 8 acts were on point with their performances and it showed that RTL, the national broadcaster, was willing to invest in its comeback. “Fighter” by Tali was the overall winner on the night, which was a real stand-out, Eurovision ready performance. The mix of French and English in a pop setting is pretty cool. She will be one to watch at the contest and could creep to the left side of the scoreboard! “Drowning in the Rain” by Krick was a close second for me, I think this could have also been selected and done fantastically at the contest. This makes me excited to see what Luxembourg produces for the contest this year and for the next editions of the competition!

Moldova – Etapa națională 2024

Moldova is always a fan favourite at the Eurovision Song Contest and is one of the countries on this list that has yet to score a win at the contest! So far, their best scoring entry has been SunStroke Project with “Hey Mamma” (SunStroke Project’s saxophonist is Epic Sax Guy, fyi). It’s always exciting to see what Moldova will bring to the contest’s stage as it’s surely a qualifier and will definitely get you humming along or scratching your head in bewilderment. This is the third national selection also for Moldova, after some internal selections. TRM, the Moldovan broadcaster, opened the submission window for 1 month, in the mid-November and received over 50 entries. These 50+ entrants were condensed to 32 and eventually 30, with two artists withdrawing before the live auditions. The live auditions which were held on 13 January 2023 and 11 artists were selected to proceed to the final of Etapa națională 2024. The 11 finalists who were shortlisted:

David’s Take: Oh my god. This national final gave me everything. Some bangers, great vocals, many instruments and some absolute meme-able moments! 2007 Entrant Natalia Barbu won Etapa națională 2024 with “In The Middle” but the competition was pretty fierce. In my opinion, the other 3 songs that could have easily won were: Iulia Teleuca with “Runaway”, Valeria Pasha with “Anti-Princess” and Reghina Alexandrina with “Contrasens”. Honestly, Natalia served us 5 violins and multiple look-a-likes as well as some top notch vocals, so it’s no surprise she won. For me, however, Valeria Pasha would have been the correct entrant to send to the contest… just for the sheer performance alone. The beat drop in “Anti-Princess” is just perfect for that massive stage! 

These were 5 very talent-filled national finals and serve as a taster to what the Eurovision is gonna shape up as for 2024. With each entrant who was selected from this list, I’ve excited to see what each of them will produce for the stage, in front of a tv audience of 200 million people! I’m excited to keep reviewing each national final that’s held and I’ll also do a break down of the internally selected artists and what I think of their entry’s!

Out of these 5 entries specifically, I think Bambie Thug and Tali will be the ones to watch and they’ll have some pretty impressive staging to go along with their acts. It seems Luxembourg may be willing to throw money behind Tali so it’ll be elaborate. I’m hoping Germany put something behind Isaak. The song is super radio friendly but I’m hoping they revamp the song a bit to make it more Eurovision ready.

This review will be one of many, as this years Eurovision has 37 unique entries to wade through and review before the show kicks off itself! For each 5 country review I do, I’ll do a designated Spotify playlist that you can check out to find the songs and add to your own playlists, and give something back to all these great artists!

Are many of you attending this years contest in Malmö? If so, drop me a follow on Instagram and let me know if you’re attending!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post – Be sure to keep up to date with my Instagram @TravelwDavid for updates on my trips!

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