Mikolas Josef this year not only added another qualification to the list, but also the best Czech result so far – 6th place with 281 points. In 2016 Gabriela Gunčíková ended 25th with 41 points.
The Czech Republic located in central Europe, debuted at the Eurovision Song Contestin 2007.
Eurovision Song Contest 2007 – 2009
When the Czech Republic took part for the very first time in 2007, they held a national final called Eurosong. Out of 10 songs, the public chose the rock group Kabát with their song Malá dáma, sung in the Czech language. This, unfortunately, didn’t appeal to the Eurovision audience and the Czech Republic ended last on the 28th place in the only semifinal that year, receiving only 1 point from Estonia.
In 2008, the national broadcaster Česká Televize (Czech Television) decided to stick with the national final. What was supposed to be again a 10 song final ended with only 9 participants after one of the contestants withdrew from the competition. Tereza Kerndlová and her entry Have Some Fun won. But again, the result in the semifinal wasn’t much better than the previous year as she ended up 18th with 9 points. It was one before last in the semifinal.
The following year, 2009, marked a different approach from the Czech broadcaster as they internally selected the group Gipsy.cz. The people then had two songs to choose from during the national music awards ceremony. English/Romani song Aven Romale won, and later in Eurovision marked the worst possible score that an entry can reach – the dreadful nul points, the last place in the semifinal of 18 songs.
These three bad results, combined with low TV ratings, may have convinced the local broadcaster that the Czech Republic is not destined to be at the Eurovision and they withdrew. After that, the Czech Republic was a black spot on the Eurovision participation map for the following 5 years.
Eurovision 2015 – 2017
For the 60th anniversary in 2015, Česká Televize announced their comeback to the Eurovision Song Contest, which was very happily received by the Czech Eurovision fans. The entry was chosen completely internally, both the artist and the song. It was a duo Marta Jandová & Václav Noid Bárta with a dramatic duet called Hope Never Dies. With their best entry so far, Czech hopes were high and aimed for their first qualification. In the end, the duo took 13th place in the second semifinal with 33 points and even though they did not qualify, it was the country’s best result at the time.
That seemed like the boost that the Czech Republic needed, and for Eurovision 2016 they also approached foreign composers when the internal selection process began. As a result, they chose Swedish/Irish team with the song I Stand for which they got Gabriela Gunčíková, who studied and worked in the USA recently. This song had the biggest support from the Eurovision fans that the Czech Republic had experienced so far in it’s Eurovision history. And it proved to be the right choice, as Gabriela took the title of the very first Czech finalist of Eurovision Song Contest. In the semifinal, she received 161 points which were enough for a 9th place. Starting as second in the final wasn’t lucky at all and the Czech Republic ended one before last on 25th place with 41 points, all of them from the professional juries. For the first time, we also experienced the new voting system and also the first nul points from the televoting in the grand final – those given to the Czech Republic. But no matter what, Gabriela Gunčíková kept the best Czech result up to that date.
With the results going better every year, for the Eurovision 2017 there was another change in the selection process. This time, the submissions were completely open so the Czech delegation had a lot to choose from. As a result of that, they chose the song and the artist individually, which was My Turn, a ballad with jazzy vibes, sung by Martina Bárta. She took part in most of the preparties and proved that the live performance of the song is much better than the studio version. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for to qualify to the final, but the result wasn’t bad neither. Again 13th place, this time with 83 points. As in the final of Eurovision 2016, all those points for the Czech Republic came from the juries only, again no points were given by the televoting.
This leads us to this year when the submissions were not only open to the public again, but this time a Czech artist was required with the submission. Out of the received entries, the broadcaster chose 6 entries, which were presented to the public online and they had the possibility to vote for their favourite via the official Eurovision app. It was the first time since 2009 that the Czech public could choose its entry. On top of that, there was also a 10 piece jury set up by the former Eurovision participants. Mikolas Josef took the trophy with his own song Lie To Me and it immediately became one of the hot favourites to win the contest. He participated in all of the pre-parties, but when rehearsed in Lisbon for his semifinal, he got injured. After several hospital visits and a quick recovery, all’s well that ends well and he managed not only to qualify but also to achieve the best result the Czech Republic ever had.