When I was in choir (a while ago), I wasn’t always a fan of a cappella. The harmonies were pretty cool, but I couldn’t keep the rhythm because I couldn’t see the conductor (Yes, it was a really smart idea being a short person standing in the back row Orz). And in most cases, when our director said “we’re performing this a cappella,” before passing out the sheet music, it usually meant we were going to sing something serious, a hymn, something written by a dead guy over 200 years ago, or sometimes all of the above.
A few years later I found the Belgian entry from 2011.This completely changed my mind about a cappella in choir. It didn’t have to be serious; it could be fun. This mindset got cemented even more when listened to Witloof Bay performing “Eye of the Tiger.” Wait, you can beatbox? And rearrange the song so you don’t need the band behind you? Wow…! And now a cappella shows up on my playlist pretty regularly (lately it’s been Peter Hollens and the Maccabeats).
Still, it’s kind of challenging to send a cappella to Eurovision. It’s not your “standard” ESC entry that people play in the club, the “karaoke track” has no audio (yes, I fell for the trick on YouTube once), and people don’t always know whether to sing with or not. Due to this, there have only been 2 a cappella entries since 1956: Belgium 2011, which placed 11th in the semi, and Latvia 2006, which placed 17th out of 24 (because of pre-qualification and the weird robot)
Maybe it’ll take some time, but the genre will probably creep into the contest slowly. And it almost did this year, when Fool Moon came 3rd in Hungary’s national final A Dal this year with the song “It Can’t Be Over.” Ohrwurm-y? Check. Memorable choreography? Check. Your standard ESC song format so viewers can enjoy both old and new? Check. And because they’re not using any backing instrumentation, they don’t have to prove that they can sing live.