While we await confirmation from the Polish broadcaster, TVP, regarding Poland’s participation in 2015,
I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at Poland’s journey since their first appearance at the 1994 contest in Dublin twenty years ago. With a history that spans finishes near the top and very bottom of the scoreboard, Poland’s ESC participation has been as varied as it has been entertaining.
Poland’s first ever entry was “To nie ja!” performed by Edyta Górniak. The musically and vocally powerful ballad carried Poland right to the top, landing in second place and securing Poland’s best finish to-date. At the time, this was also the highest ever finish by a debuting nation (a record later broken by Serbia in 2007 when their debut entry won the contest).[vsw id=”YTSNiY76fFE” source=”youtube” width=”425″ height=”344″ autoplay=”no”]
Following this incredible start, Poland continued its participation in every contest through 1999. After taking a year off in 2000, Poland returned in 2001 with “2 Long” by Andrzej Piaseczny. Due to the change in language rules in 1999, this was Poland’s first non-Polish entry. Unfortunately is also turned out to be Poland’s worst performance up to that point in the contest.[vsw id=”NCq5JI4h0m4″ source=”youtube” width=”425″ height=”344″ autoplay=”no”]
After another year off, Poland returned in 2003 with “Keine Grenzen-Żadnych granic” by Ich Troje. This appeared to mark a turnaround for Poland, as they entry reached 7th place and was Poland’s second ever top ten finish.[vsw id=”8nGZAzG429w” source=”youtube” width=”425″ height=”344″ autoplay=”no”]
This march toward success was short-lived, however, as Poland failed to make it into the top fifteen over the course of the next eight contests. In six of those years, Poland also failed to qualify to the Grand Final and even came in last place overall in 2011.
At this point, Poland took another break after the 2011 contest – this time for two years – before returning in 2014. This much-anticipated return made quite a splash with fans from all around Europe and the world. Though labeled ‘controversial’ by many for its portrayal of women and sexuality, Donatan & Cleo’s “My Słowianie” was the eighth qualifier in the second semifinal and finished in the 14th spot in the Grand Final.[vsw id=”VJ920cN2HmA” source=”youtube” width=”425″ height=”344″ autoplay=”no”]
While “My Słowianie” did not earn a top ten spot in the final results, it was clearly a favorite of many Eurovision fans. Looking solely at the televote results for the 34 countries from which data is available, 23 of them ranked Poland in their top ten with 16 of them ranking Poland in their top five. Of those, Poland placed in the top three in 12 countries and was even the highest voted entry in four. As has been widely discussed since the contest in Copenhagen, Poland’s final result was significantly impacted by the results of the jury votes. In contrast to the televote, only 6 of the 35 juries ranked Poland in their top ten and none of them ranked Poland in the top three. Furthermore, 15 juries ranked the entry in their bottom five, with three ranking it in last place.
What’s clear is that Poland won over many fans while failing to impress the juries. It will be interesting to see if the results impact not only Poland’s decision to participate again, but also if they factor into the selection of an entry for 2015. From a record-breaking debut to a last place finish to a provocative entry that has stirred controversy not only for its presentation but also its reception, there’s no doubt that Poland’s past and present in the Eurovision Song Contest has been worth watching.
Do you hope to see a Polish entry in Austria? If so, what are your predictions? Will they send another song that is destined to become a fan favorite or do you foresee something more likely to garner votes from the professional juries? Join the conversation on the ESCUnited forums.