No less than eight “new” countries will take part in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018. These countries all missed out on qualification last year, but are now back for the Grand Final on Saturday night!
It shows that no year at Eurovision is the same. Every year, we see great changes in the scoreboard of the contest we all love to watch. Another proof that at the end of the day, voting at Eurovision is never about the flags, but always about the songs and performances.
Slovenia – Lea Sirk – Hvala Ne!
The qualification of Slovenia was a bit of a surprise, but after two absenses in a row the country is back for the show on Saturday. Odds are that Lea Sirk just narrowly qualified, as the third slot in the running order does not do her song any favour. But since it is only their fourth final in the last ten years, Slovenia should already be pretty pleased with their result.
Lithuania – Ieva Zasimauskaite – When We’re Old
Last year the shouty song by Fusedmarc, “Rain of revolution”, got only a 17th place in the semi final in Kiev. It is beyond amazing that the same country that gave us thát, now sends one of the most beautiful songs the Eurovision stage has ever hosted. In this entire list, this is arguably the most deserved returnee to the final. Keep your eyes out on song #4 in the Eurovision Song Contest 2018!
Estonia – Elina Nechayeva – La Forza
Remember “Verona” from last year? Sixth with the televote, but kicked out by the jury, giving Koit Toome and Laura a shock exit from semi 2 in Ukraine. This year, things went better. The opera song “La Forza” has been a favourite throughout the entire season and even was number two in the betting odds for victory. Nobody is talking about that anymore but a comeback in the final was of course a certainty for Estonia.
Serbia – Balkanika & Sanja Ilic – Nova Deca
It’s a new time for Serbia, as they also return to the Eurovision final. They are probably the most surprising finalist of the whole bunch, but don’t dare to say that this anything to do with a Yugoslavian voting block, as such. The ethnic song “Nova Deca” probably made a proper connection with the millions of people that speak the language of the song. It will probably sink to the bottom of the scoreboard, but after missing out on the final in 2017 and 2013, Serbia is back.
Albania – Eugent Bushpepa – Mall
To be honest, not a lot of people predicted that Eugent would be in the final, having a bad draw in his semi final. Also the strongest semi final in years. Still, with vocal capabilities like he showcases in “Mall”, a spot in the final is well deserved. Albania started to get grumpy, with only one place in the final in five years. Maybe still set them on course for more success in the years to come.
Czech Republic – Mikolas Josef – Lie To Me
Only the second time ever that we see the Czech Republic in the Grand Final! And they MUST get more points than in 2016, when Gabriela Gunčíková got zero points in the televote and ended up in 25th place. The contemporary performance and song by Mikolas Josef will surely give Czechia their best placing ever at the Eurovision Song Contest. They perform from startin position 14.
Finland – Saara Aalto – Monsters
It has been three dark Eurovision years, but Finland is back in the final! Saara Aalto is a highly professional artist and that got picked up by the jury. The televote also favoured her, as she is already quite famous becaue of the talent show history in the United Kingdom. The timing for this comeback could not have been better, since Finland had to swallow a bitter pill last year when Norma John was the most surprising non-qualification of semi final 1 in Kiev.
Ireland – Ryan o’Shaughnessy – Together
And finally we have Ireland, with a great starting slot at 24. Almost the only ballad in the second half of the show! For that reason, but mainly because of the big impact the song makes with its sweet and sincere staging, it is now THIRD in the betting odds to win it all. Could it be? Ireland, after four years without a qualification, comes back with the biggest bang possible? It would be a stunt that will go down in the history books forever.