We are, of course, in national final mode at the moment, but there are still lulls in the action which mean I have nothing to talk about. This current lull is thanks to Belarus, who decided to change the date of their selection for the second time last week (as of my writing it’s now February 14th). I can’t talk about something that isn’t happening, which only leaves France’s song presentation from Sunday. Since I’m not sure how I feel about that yet, I have one option, and one option only. I didn’t want it to come to this, but it’s time for…ANOTHER TOP 10!
Today, it’s all about the songs that had to settle for silver, but to me are pure gold. Read the title, read the list, then tell me below which second-place songs are your most loved. If you want, I mean…I’m not forcing you. ???
Lane Moje by Zeljko Joksimović (Serbia & Montenegro 2004)
The 2004 winner from Ukraine was a whip-cracking, hair-flicking, leather-rocking wild woman known as Ruslana, and there’s no doubt she deserved her victory. The entry she beat (possibly literally, and into submission) to nab first place was a much more understated but still dramatic affair, from a multitalented Serbian we all know as Zeljko Joksimović; an entry I am proud to call My Favourite Eurovision Song of All Time – even if Kanye West interrupts me and tells me that actually, it was Ruslana who had the best entry ever. Whatevs, Kanye – Lane Moje never fails to give me goosebumps and that’s how I know it’s the one.
Why Do I Always Get It Wrong? by Live Report (UK 1989)
‘Why does she always mention this song?’ is the line most of you would sing on reading this. Unfortunately I don’t have a proper answer for you, because I can’t explain my undying love for the man with the braid and the oh-so-eighties power ballad he and his band brought to the ESC before I was even born. It just is.
Never Let You Go by Dima Bilan (Russia 2006)
The 2006 contest was my first Eurovision (gasp!) and so I have many fond memories of the acts and songs – not all of which include latex monster masks, surprisingly. Dima Bilan, his mullet, and the piano that was suffering from a serious infestation of painted lady definitely stick in my head, as does his song. Yes, I actually do talk about the music sometimes. Russians know how to do pop, that’s for sure.
Is It True? by Yohanna (Iceland 2009)
I have a bit of a girl crush on Yohanna, I must admit. I think the moment of realisation came in Moscow, not with that dress, but with that note – the clear-as-crystal money note that may as well have been subtitled with ‘Iceland is going to rake in more points than Carola has had visits to the Fountain of Youth.’ The pitch perfection of her voice helped make Is It True? a ballad extraordinaire that would have topped the ‘09 lot had Alexander Rybak never been born/given a violin.
All Out of Luck by Selma (Iceland 1999)
Selma was Gina G when Gina G should have been Gina G. I.e. had the real Gina G performed Just A Little Bit in the ’99 contest, it would have done a whole lot better than it did three years previously, and possibly would have had to battle All Out of Luck for a top-end finish. As things stand, Selma had the right song at the right time, a song that still has the power to get people (a.k.a. me) up and dancing (a.k.a. flinging my arms about and knocking ornaments off my shelf).
To Nie Ja by Edyta Gorniak (Poland 1994)
Another ballad? Well, these babies have a knack for getting close, but not close enough, to the Eurovision trophy.Polandgot their best ever result on their first ever attempt with this cracking ballad. Thinking of it now makes me wish they would change their minds about withdrawing, go and fish Edyta out of her nursing home and give her a similarly ear-pleasing tune to perform in Azerbaijan.
Sanomi by Urban Trad (Belgium 2003)
Does anyone else compulsively mimic the onstage hand movements when this song comes on? I’ll assume yes to make myself feel less weird. Anyway, I think Urban Trad and their imaginary-language ethnic entry surprised everyone in Rigawith second place. Sanomi may have been pipped by Sertab Erener’s glittery belly button back then, but to this day it remains a favourite of mine. That’s despite the fact that it reminds me of a sewing machine (you know, Janome? The well known brand of…ah, forget it).
Solo by Alsou (Russia 2000)
Speaking of glittery belly buttons, here’s one that apparently wasn’t glittery enough to ooutshine two middle-aged men with a vocoder. It did beat a bunch of skinny college guys in flares though, which counts for something. ‘It’ is also known as the torso of Alsou, whose 2000 runner-up is yet more proof of the Russian pop prowess.
Rock Bottom by Lynsey De Paul & Mike Moran (UK 1977)
These days you can enter a song in the ESC called, oh, I don’t know, My Number One or We Are The Winners, and good things can happen. In the past, however, you had to sing Last Place or This Is Going to Fail Miserably…or Rock Bottom, if you wanted to do well. I guess it was about not jinxing yourself.
Are You Sure? by The Allisons (UK 1961)
Yes I am sure. Sure that I love this song (boom tish). It may seem like a random addition to this list, but I am a girl of eclectic taste – sometimes – and so here we are. It’s a catchy little number that was sung, not by a trio of poofy-haired, synchronised teenage girls as the group name would allude, but by two grown men with more product than poof in their luxurious locks.
A little something extra…here are the ones that just missed out:
Eres Tu by Mocedades (Spain 1973), Better The Devil You Know by Sonia (UK 1993), Never Ever Let You Go by Rollo & King (Denmark 2001), Shady Lady by Ani Lorak (Ukraine 2008) and We Could Be The Same by MaNga (Turkey 2010).
COMING UP: Another Saturday brings a song from Malta and semis from Scandinavia, and I put the spotlight on a record-breaking ESC country.