Semi-Despatched # 4: If Only We'd Let Them Save the World...
Eurovision fans know that Andorra has been entering the Contest since 2004. Andorrans know that their country has been entering the Eurovision Song Contest since 2004. Sadly, many people outside of the tiny principality in the Pyrenees are unaware that Andorra enters the competition as they have yet to progress from the semi-final phase. That's despite the fact they have sent some stuff through for the televoters' consideration which belies the fact the country ranks 194th in the list of the world's most populous nations and its 84,000-ish inhabitants (around a fifth of the number of people who live in Liverpool) means, in all honesty, its music industry is never going to set the Grammys alight.
But just like equally tiny Luxembourg did all those years ago, the Andorrans aren't just at the Contest for the free buffet. They haven't had anywhere near the success of the Grand Duchy - but 2007 marked the year when Europe nearly, oh, so nearly... saw Andorra make the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. With a little help from a lad from Guildford.
The group Anonymous formed in 2004 and are still popular in Andorra and the Catalan-speaking parts of northern Spain today. When they won the national final in 2007, the song was considered an also-ran but as rehearsals got underway in Helsinki, the sheer vim, verve and energy of the lads when they launched into the eco-friendly pop anthem got everyone talking, even to the extent that the ultimate trophy wasn't considered too far out of their grasp.
WHAT SORT OF SONG IS IT?
This was very of its time, although to be fair, at 21st Century Eurovision, contemporary-sounding stuff isn't a rarity, despite what some commentators will tell you. Riffing off the sounds of Busted and McFly, complete with untucked white shirts and school colours-style ties and much leaping-about on stage this was ideally placed (21st in the running order of a mammoth 28-strong qualifying round) to do well. There was some degree of consternation when this didn't progress, to the extent that a massive 'Where is Andorra?' banner was waved in the crowd at the Saturday night final. Presumably until someone tapped said waver on the shoulder and informed them of the country's precise geographical location.
HOW CLOSE DID IT COME TO GETTING THROUGH?
Anonymous were 12th out of the 28 songs in the end, scoring 80 points. Moldova, the country coming in 10th and therefore *just* making the final, scored 91. However, when you consider how many countries were voting in this semi-final (around 40) that deficit wasn't so difficult to make up. A real shame.
WHY DIDN'T IT MAKE THE FINAL?
Maybe because too many countries were scrabbling for those 10 spots in the final that this wasn't exactly the fairest, most balanced semi-final process ever. Also, the qualifying round is, as we've mentioned before, more ideally suited to the hardcore fans of the competition and not the teenagers of Europe who would appreciate the sound Anonymous was making for their delectation.
IN HINDSIGHT, SHOULD THIS HAVE GONE THROUGH?
There have been many songs like Salvem el Mon in national finals over the years (especially in Norway) but never at the Eurovision itself. And it would have been soooo good if this had got through to Saturday in Finland.
If only the lads had waited a year before entering as, when the semis were split across two nights from 2008 onwards, the result shows they had a great chance of getting through. Aah well, we're confident the Andorrans will make it one day.
Next time on Semi-Despatched, every thing is lovely - and a bit nighty - as we look at Belarus' big blousy effort from 2005.