I have been following national finals for the first time in 2002 and very closely since 2004 but in 2005 for the first time I downloaded, sometimes purchased on DVD, every national final of the year and of course, followed them live to begin with. In 2006 with an American friend, we said “hey, what if the contest was filled with the better songs we heard this year, regardless of where they were from” and this is how we got to create the BoNF contest.
This is a very private contest in the sense that I get to pretty much orchestrate most everything about it. Since there are between 400 and 700 songs per year, no need for everyone to go through it all and I’m the one who does a preselection. After each national final, I write down the names of all songs that I thought were good and when all songs were heard, I finally select the top 30. Yes, just me. But it’s the last time I have a say on the results! After that, I send the 30 songs in mp3 audio format to 10 of my friends who do not follow the contest. They have to grade the songs between 1 and 5, 1 being awful, 5 being great (just like the Eurovision in 1971-1973). That way the result I get is more about if they liked the songs then them having to rank them. And since it’s only audio, this is really about songs. The 15 finalists are them put “in random” thanks to the computer and I then send the videos (from national finals or official presentation from internally selected songs) and this time my same ten friends vote 1 through 12 for their favorites, which gives us a ranking of the best songs of the year!
I started in 2006 onward. In 2007, considering that I had all of 2005, I also did 2005 in “retrospect”: as of today, it’s the only year I didn’t do in the regular April-May period and I will not do it anymore. So the contest officially starts in 2005. I use the same ten friends for a season but they can change between years depending how willing they are to do it. Some every year ask me how it’s going and are quite into it even if they’re not crazy about the songs, some are hard to convince to go through it. Which means we get a fairly “non-conventional” results, at least not by esc standards.
Here, you’ll find a page for each BoNF edition giving you the 30 selected entries, the 15 finalits, the final rankings. If you’re interested in videos, I created a youtube channel for BoNF: http://www.youtube.com/user/SekhmetMorgan?feature=g-high-s
And so far, all BoNF winners:
2005 Montenegro | “Zauvijek moja” No Name
2006 Bosnia & Herzegovina | “Lejla” Hari Mata Hari
2007 Finland | “Anyone anymore” Lovex
2008 Sweden | “Lay your love on me” Bodies Without Organs
2009 France | “Et s’il fallait le faire” Patricia Kaas
2010 Estonia | “Siren” Robin Juhkental
2011 Bosnia & Herzegovina | “Love in rewind” Dino Merlin
2012 Estonia | “Oblivion” Tenfold Rabbit
2013 Germany | “The Righteous ones” Ben Ivory
2014 Germany | “Cotton candy hurricane” MarieMarie
2015 Norway | “Human beings” Karin Park
2016 Latvia | “Heartbeat” Justs Sirmais
2017 Azerbaijan | “Skeletons” DiHaj
2018 Israel | “Toy” Netta Barzilai