Andorra's history in the Eurovision Song Contest
Today is Andorran National Day (Mare de Déu de Meritxell), and it is marked by the feast day for Our Lady of Meritxell and the signing of their first constitutional document.
Andorra’s patron saint Our Lady of Meritxell was an Andorran Roman Catholic statue, dating from the 12th century, depicting an apparition of the Virgin Mary. The chapel in which the statue was located burned down on the 8th of September 1972 which destroyed the statue along with the chapel, however a replica was made a few years later. The saint is so significant that she is mentioned in their national anthem.
Also today Andorra gained independence from the Crown of Aragon through the first Paréage of Andorra, their first constitutional document, which was signed in Lleida on the 8th of September 1278. It laid down an agreement between the then Count of Foix, Roger-Bernard III and the Bishop of Urgell, Pere d’Urtx, establishing their joint sovereignty over the territory of Andorra. It stated that each of the co-rulers would receive a token tribute every year known as the Questia. In 1993 the people of Andorra voted to abandon this mode of government and adopt a parliamentary system through the signing of the Constitution of Andorra, this has given rise to the unusual situation where the President of France is an elected Prince of Andorra.
It has been over ten years since we last saw Andorra compete in Eurovision. This landlocked micro-state, bordered by France to the north and Spain to the south, left a legacy in Eurovision for showcasing the Catalan language, taking risks with their diverse background of acts and trying with all their might to make it to a Grand Final but to no avail, being the only country to not make it past a Semi Final. Looking back at their entries you can’t help but think that some of these were well deserving of a place in the Grand Final.
In celebration of their National Day lets go through a journey of Andorra’s Eurovision entries:
Marta Roure - Jugarem a estimar-nos (Semi Final 18th place - 2004)
Marta had the honour of being the first singer to represent Andorra in Eurovision. She sung her song “Jugarem a estimar-nos” in the Catalan language, which was a first in Eurovision. Her song’s very catchy chorus wasn’t enough to grab Europe’s attention as it only resulted in 12 points all received by neighbouring Spain, leaving them to miss out on a Grand Final spot.
Marian van de Wal - La mirada interior (Semi Final 23rd place - 2005)
Upping their game in the 2005 entry, Marian represented Andorra in an upbeat song with a slight “Wild Dances” feel and flashy costumes, with lots of feathers and topless male dancers accompanying female back up singers. She sings about the need to find one’s beauty before one can find it in the wider world. Even though they improved on their points from their inaugural performance, 27 points was still not enough to qualify. Looking back at it now it definitely deserved a Grand Final placing.
Jenny - Sense tu (Semi Final last place - 2006)
In 2006 Andorra took a risk with a dramatic rock sounding ballad by Jenny, in a rather risqué performance where she is dressed in a black night gown-like dress with her female back up dancers in white lingerie. The raunchy performance wasn’t enough to entice the public, scoring only eight points from Spain. Andorra claimed the wooden spoon with this entry, coming in last in their semi-final.
Anonymous - Salvem el món (Semi Final 12th place - 2007)
Finally Andorra took a risk shying away from solo female vocalists and full Catalan lyrics and going for an all male punk rock band who sung about saving the world. It was the first time a pop punk song was sung at Eurovision.
The momentum behind Anonymous to get Andorra to a Grand Final wasn’t enough with only 80 points, their highest score in the Contest to date, getting them a 12th place. This performance was Andorra’s best placing in Eurovision, so close to getting to the final but failing to get across the line.
Gisela - Casanova (Semi Final 16th place - 2008)
This entry has to be Andorra’s most memorable. Singer Gisela clad in a copper dress with matching hat singing an upbeat pop ballad with a catchy chorus and being very Eurovision. She also went for English lyrics with only one line in Catalan. She threw everything at this performance to garner the audiences attention. But she ended up with only 22 points. The silver lining for Gisela however was the strong chart performance in Spain for her song.
Susanne Georgi - La teva decisió (Get a Life) (Semi Final 15th place - 2009)
In 2009 Andorra decided to once again host a national final to select their Eurovision representative, something they hadn’t done since 2006. They chose Susanne Georgi with the song "La teva decisió (Get a Life)”. Unfortunately their semi final placing was marred with controversy where the EBU removed Andorra from the same semi final as Spain was voting. They claimed they would not get enough points and won’t make it through the Grand Final. Sussane was ableto get Andorra their second best result in their Eurovision history.
Due to lack of funding for an Andorran entry they withdrew from the 2010 contest and have not re-entered since due to financial difficulties. RTVA, the Andorran national broadcaster confirmed that they will not be returning to the 2020 Contest. We hope they try again in the future to show case their great Catalan songs.
Let us know your favourite Andorran entries. Who do you think got robbed from a spot in the Grand Final?