Slovakia's history in the Eurovision Song Contest
It's Constitution Day in Slovakia which marks when the constitution of a future independent Slovakia was adopted in 1992 (The official independence occurred on 1 January 1993). Because of the day we're taking a closer look at the former participating country.
Slovakia may have only participated seven times but their presence has not been forgotten. They debuted in 1994 and last graced the competition in 2012.
The mid 1990s were changing times for Eurovision as many Eastern European nations reclaimed their Independence and what better way to re-introduce cultures to the 'west' than to enter the world’s largest singing contest. It seems many countries had this mindset in 1993 and unfortunately for Slovakia, they were not successful in the qualifying round (an audio contest) and thus their first appearance was delayed to the following year when they qualified with Slovak hard rock band Tublatanka and their song "Nekonečná pieseň" ("Neverending song"). Tublatanka finished in a respectable 19th place - not bad for a debuting nation. The band, although with a few line up changes over the years, still performs today.
Tublatanka- Nekonečná pieseň (1994 - 19th place)
Slovakia did not qualify regularly for Eurovision and only participated in 1996 and 1998 before going on hiatus from 1999 to 2008 due to poor results and the direction that the Slovak television broadcaster STV wanted to take at time. 1996 was the only year in which Slovakia was successful in qualifying for the final via the audio-only pre-qualifying round with Marcel Palonder qualifying in 17th place out of 29 and then placing 18th in the Final.
This was to be Slovakia’s best result in their tenure in the competition. Marcel Palonder attempted to enter the 2010 but was eliminated in quarter finals of Eurosong 2010, the National Final for Slovakia that year.
Marcel Palonder- Kým nás máš (1996 - 18th place)
Slovakia returned to the competition in 2009 and STV decided to adopt a National Final format rather than the internal selection method that they had utilised in the 1990s. Unfortunately, this proved unsuccessful as well with neither of their entrants qualifying for the finals in 2009 and 2010.
One shining light for Slovakia was the cult favourite 2010 song “Horehronie” sung by Kristína Peláková. It was tipped by bookmakers to do well at the contest that year. However, it finished in a dismal 16th place out of 17 songs in Semi Final 1 but its National Final video is one of the most viewed on the Eurovision YouTube channel. Kristina continues to release music. Having such a large fan base, “Horehronie” was covered by New Zealand reggae band- Cornerstone Roots.
Kristína Peláková- Horehronie (2010 - 16th place SF)
Cornerstone Roots - Horehronie (cover version)
2011 saw a new era in Slovak television when STV (Slovenská televízia Slovak Television) and SRo (Slovenský rozhlas Slovak Radio) merged to form RTVS. The new public broadcaster decided to try a different approach by internally selecting their (now final two) entrants but with songs sung in English. Again, neither TWIINS nor Max Jason Mai (who finished last in their semi final) were successful in reaching the finals and Slovakia opted to withdraw from the competition. Coincidentally as with their first song in the competition, Slovakia’s last song in the competition was also a rock influenced composition.
Slovakia is not an economic superpower and hence has often cited financial constraints for non-participation over the years. This and the broadcaster RTVS’s view on the lack of the Slovakian public interest in the competition explains their intermittent involvement with the Eurovision Song Contest Unsurprisingly, RTVS confirmed on 5 June 2019 that they would not return to the contest in 2020 again citing lack of interest from the Slovak public.
Will we see Slovakia return once again to the contest? We’re certainly hoping so.