My all-time ESC 50: The Countdown (Part 1)

Good morning/afternoon/evening etc, and welcome to a post that was supposed to be up days ago! I’ve had some stuff going on lately (you know, stuff) so please excuse the lack of regularity, those of you who have spent the last few days crying into your laptop keyboards because you were so heartbroken to discover I hadn’t written anything new. Ha. Ha.

ANYWAY, I’m back and I’m excited, because today I’m starting a major countdown. The one every contest fan has a love-hate relationship with. The one that is fun to do, but makes you second-guess your own opinion a million times and makes you want to tear your own hair out.

Yes, it’s the countdown of my top fifty Eurovision songs of all time!

With well over a thousand entries to choose from, a top hundred would be hard enough, but because I wanted to go into some detail about why I love each one, my list had to be cut in half if I didn’t want you guys to be subjected to a Twilight-esque saga of epic, yawn-inducing proportions. I’m satisfied with the list, but I’m not expecting you to be, so feel free to gasp in disbelief and then write me a loooooong comment about how terrible my taste is. But remember, we all have the right to our own taste…

With that, and without any further rambling ado, here is the first installment of my all-time fifty.



#50 – Follow My Heart by Ich Troje (Poland 2006)

Kicking off the list today is the sometimes green-haired, always gravel-voiced Michał and his minions from Ich Troje, who narrowly missed out on qualifying in Athens with this tre awesome song. Real McCoy’s rapping is the most enjoyable I’ve ever seen at Eurovision (sure, there hasn’t been a heap of competition, but I mean it) and not even the image of that strange onstage ending makes me love the rest of the song less.


#49 – Solo by Alsou (Russia 2000)

I grew up listening to music like this (only it had Britney Spears’ name all over it) so it’s natural that I’d be drawn to it. Alsou wasn’t the best live vocalist, but she sold the song like a champ – although some would argue too sexily for a then sixteen-year-old.

#48 – Il Faut Du Temps by Sandrine François (France 2002)

For the second year in a row, France sent Celine Dion in disguise to Eurovision, and it paid off. I’ve never been too fussed with Natasha St-Pier’s entry, but Sandrine’s checks all my boxes. Soft start? Check. Mystical background music? Check. Epic, shouty chorus that I can sing along to even though I have no idea what she’s on about? Check and mate.

#47 – Nur Ein Lied by Thomas Forstner (Austria 1989)

Two years before he joined the Nul Points Club (as well as the Association for Mullet Enthusiasts, and Puffy Sleeves Anonymous) Thomas Forstner brought this German-language gem to Eurovision for Austria, and for that I say danke. It’s wonderfully Eighties in every way, just as Mary Poppins was practically perfect in every way, although I prefer Nur Ein Lied over A Spoonful of Sugar.

#46 – Euphoria by Loreen (Sweden 2012)

This year’s winner cashed in on the dance craze dominating the global music scene at the moment, but it had something special (and I don’t just mean Loreen’s ahem, unusual dance moves) that catapulted it up the scoreboard. The atmosphere, the banging chorus and the general freaking catchiness are why I heart it.

#45 – Lako Je Sve by Feminnem (Croatia 2010)

I’m not fond of talking about this song, because every time I do I’m reminded that it didn’t qualify. But there’s no way I could have left it off my list, not when it was the first entry of 2010 that set off my ‘Winner!’ alarm. And not when I love it just as much now as I did back then, mainly for the same reasons listed under #48.


#44 – Dansevise by Grethe & Jørgen Ingmann (Denmark 1963)

This is the oldest song on my list, as well as one of my favourite winners. I find it such a departure from the stuffy and serious songs that typify the ESC’s early years (no offence intended – they just aren’t for me) and it’s so hypnotic and mysterious it wouldn’t have been out of place playing over the credits of a Bond movie.


#43 – Forogj Világ by Nox

I pretty much laid all my cards on the table in relation to this song in my last post, but I will reiterate: everything about it is amazing! Even without the striking stage show, it stands alone as top-notch ethno-pop, and one of Hungary’s best ever ESC forays. If only it’d gone a little further and made the top 10.


#42 – Never Ever Let You Go by Rollo & King (Denmark 2001)

Go and grab a dictionary and look up ‘toe-tapper’. You won’t find this song in the definition, because I’m pretty sure ‘toe-tapper’ isn’t even in the dictionary, which makes that instruction pretty stupid. My point is, if it were this song would definitely be referenced as a prime example. I’m not normally a fan of countrified, bluegrassy stuff, but I love this, and I think it would have been a deserving winner on home soil.


#41 – My Star by Brainstorm (Latvia 2000)

I don’t think Latvia has or will ever top their debut entry (please don’t mention Marie N). Despite Renars Kaupers’ disturbingly zany rendition of it on stage (all hail the Master of the Crazy Face) My Star was as charming then as it is now, and that’s EXTREMELY. It’s one of the most favoured songs in my playlist of pick-me-ups.


Well, that’s the end of that chapter. But don’t worry, there’s plenty more to come (‘plenty’ of course meaning four – do the math). Stay tuned for those, as well as some Olympic-themed posts to celebrate what I like to call ‘Eurovision: Sport Edition’.


About Jaz

I'm Jaz, I'm 27, and I'm 110% Eurovision OBSESSED. The contest is one big party and I like to keep it going 365 days a year - that's why I write about anything and everything ESC on my blog. Come join the fun, and I promise you'll never have a nul-point experience!

Posted on July 23, 2012, in Random Stuff and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. nprovenghi271

    #50: That isn’t detestable rapping, which is a huge plus. As for the rest of the song, it’s not really my cup of tea. Love the outfits and green hair, though.
    #49: Next. Contemporary girl-pop has never been my thing (especially when Spears’s name was plastered all over it) and this solidifies that belief. Although, with my luck, it’ll probably be in my head all day.
    #48: Yay! This is very nice without being forgettable because of the lovely choruses. I’ll definitely be adding this to my playlist.
    #47: Well, I never really cared for the Eighties, so… The performance video wouldn’t load for me, so I watched the wonderfully-weird video.
    #46: I’ve really come to like this after it won, especially after my first place prediction finished last. I think the reason it won was because the slick Swedes sold it as a “better than Eurovision” song. They kept all of shots tight on Loreen and the background was completely blank, unlike pretty much everyone else that night. If someone played the video of her performance, but muted the sound and replaced it with the studio version, it would probably pass as a music video to anyone unfamiliar with Eurovision. At least, that’s what I think.
    #45: I wasn’t supremely heartbroken about this, but it definitely should’ve qualified over that dull Irish ballad.
    #44: I’ve never really been interested in the older contests, but this certainly stands out as a charming little gem from the pre-ABBA era.
    #43: Another one for the playlist! What a great song that, I think, wouldn’t be out of place in a medieval video game.
    #42 & #41: Both endearing, both sing-alongable and both fun. I really like both of them.

    I can’t wait to see the rest of the list! I’m so excited!


    • So you predicted Norway to win this year too?? Sigh. I still get tears in my eyes thinking about it (especially since the day of the final was also Tooji’s birthday. Big-time bummer).
      I have to wonder what Loreen’s performance looked liked from inside the hall, with the shots being so close. Not that it matters, since what it looked like on screen was the key to everything…but when you see rehearsal footage and there’s camera guys running around the artists in circles it takes a bit of the polish off!
      I don’t think Niamh’s song of 2010 would have qualified if she hadn’t been singing it. I love her, and I love “In Your Eyes” but that song was totally yawn-worthy.
      Everybody seems to like “Dansevise” so far! I’m surprised. Obviously I love it. A lot of the songs seemed to blend in together back then and that stood out.

      Thanks for your excitement, by the way!!


      • nprovenghi271

        I totally did! I thought it would be neck and neck between Sweden, Norway and Serbia through all the voting! Although, I was the same person who thought that Russia would (deservedly) miss out on the final. The circling cameramen are unavoidable with a live TV show like Eurovision, X-Factor or the Olympics, so it probably wasn’t too much of a letdown. Loreen’s performance was really minimal and especially stood out against the kitschy and very Eurovision-y Greek and Turkish staging, so if anything, it came as a relief. You’re totally right; that song wouldn’t have had a chance coming from someone else and it’s disappointing that a better song like Croatia missed out to that. That’s what I thought! In those ensemble winner videos, all of the songs from that era just sound so boring and samey, save “Dansevise!” Everyone likes it because it’s got a timeless quality. I think that if “Dansevise” entered in 2013, it would qualify and finish in the top 10 because it would still sound great, especially against the silly pop that’s oh so common today.

        I’m so excited because, as and American student with a ridiculously long summer break, I have nothing to do for the next month and a half! So if there’s anything I can follow/get addicted to, I’ll find it! And thank you for making such a wonderful blog!

        P.S. I have another theme! It’s a bit more generic, but it looks SO much more professional. If you’re curious, check it out.


        • Well, we all make prediction fails! I was certain that Norway would be top 5, and I thought the grannies would sail to the final and then crash and burn becuase the novelty would have worn off. WRONG!
          I don’t have much to do for the rest of the year so hopefully I will be able to entertain you a bit during your break. I will at least attempt it =]
          Just watched your theme. Awesome!! Seriously. Simple but effective, and I love the patterny/graphicky concept (I can’t think of the term). Let’s just hope Azerbaijan don’t win next year! I realise that result was for illustrative purposes, but it was enough to freak me out. I’m hoping for London 2013. Not expecting, hoping….ahaha.


      • Thank you so much for everything! Yes, Azerbaijan winning was for demonstration only. However, I’ve wanted their songs to win, but not their country. It’s a bit sad. Personally, I’m hoping for an oddball win from a country that hasn’t won in a long time or ever (and they don’t really try too hard), like Switzerland, Slovakia, Lithuania etc.


        • Ooh, I would love to see a Slovak ESC! I’m also desperate to see one in Reykjavik before I die, so Iceland better get their act together ASAP (not that I’m planning to die ASAP…I just really want them to win).


      • I’m sure that Bratislava would be a great host! Central Europe would probably be an interesting and fun place to hold Eurovision. Considering that their the only Nordic not to have won in the past 12 years, I think it’ll be their time soon! I hope they win with a really unique song that still high in quality, but isn’t super mainstream (like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga-esque pop). And that’s good, considering that kind of song is something Iceland is pro at producing.


        • Reykjavik 2014, pleeeeeeeaaaassssseee! I would also accept Reykjavik 2015/16, since that’s when I’m hoping to attend for the first time (squeeeeeee!)


      • Realistically, 2015 and 2016 are the earliest years I can go too (I’ll only be in my first year of university in 2014)! I’m planning to do study abroad, so it would be just stellar if it landed in the country I would be studying in (hopefully that would also be Iceland, but, as far as I know, most colleges don’t do study abroad with Iceland).


        • That would be a very happy coincidence! My uni only offered exchange to Japan. Not that there’s anything wrong with Japan, it just ain’t Europe!


      • The only problem I would have with Japan would be the cuisine. I can’t stand seafood and that’s a huge part of their diet (I know that it also is in the Nordics, which is my dream region, but I’ve convinced myself that I can deal with it there).
        I haven’t chosen a school yet, but my three shortlisted schools all have pretty broad programs all over the world. Only two have connections to the Nordics and both are in Denmark, which isn’t disappointing by any means, but I’d rather be in Norway or Iceland. However, one has connections to Australia and New Zealand, which is certainly interesting as I’d love to see that part of the world! So I guess I’ll be pulling for Denmark in 2015.


        • I assume there is vegans in the Nordics, and they get by somehow, so seafood may not be necessary!
          Come to Australia and visit me?? Ahaha. Unfortunately all the stuff that people want to see when they come here (Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Uluru etc) is a gajillion miles away from where I live.


      • With all the modernity associated with the Nordics, there would probably be vegans, so the cuisine wouldn’t be much to worry about. Coming from the desert, the worst would probably be the weather, and even that wouldn’t be too bad.
        We have the same problem! Anything that’s remotely interesting in the States is about a thousand miles away from me (for that matter, anything in Mexico too. I live on the border.)! Honestly, I hope I didn’t sound like a creeper, I just am really fascinated with Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. However, if you’ll have me in four years, I’d be more that happy to visit!


  2. Great list so far! Omg someone else who likes Dansevise?!!!! I LOVE that one! Pity Grethe is R.I.P. but I don’t know about the guy and sadly they broke up too years back.


  3. Oh btw, Thomas’ hair was much more epic in 1989 then 1991 XD!


    • It certainly had more volume. And it was less of a mullet then which is always a plus!!
      There has been a lot of hair talk on this blog lately, for some strange reason.


  4. Ok here’s my long comment about how terrible your taste is 😛 But seriously, I don’t think your taste is that terrible, it’s actually similar to mine xD
    (please,don’t take that as an offense xD)

    #50: I seriously started screaming of joy when I saw this one in your top. I’m a
    die hard ich troje fan and I loooooove this song! But you watched my video so you know that already 😛

    #49: Really like this one as well…

    #48: I’m not really fan of this kind of French ballads, idk, I think all of them sound the same.

    #47: I don’t think this song would have made it to my top something…not that I think it’s bad, but I find it so forgetabble.

    #46: I have such a love-hate relationship with this one xD

    #45: yes, yes, yes! It was my favorite back in 2010 and I still love it. Still sad it didn’t qualify, but oh well 😦

    #44: this one is a classic. And I agree, it’s so mysterious, I like it too.

    #43: I think I made clear how much I like this song on your previous post 😛

    #42: ugh xD this is probably in my least favorite esc songs top something…I can’t satand it.

    #41: Latvia’s best ever! Ewwww @ Marie N

    So that’s 6 out of 10 we agree on not bad 😛 can’t wait to see the rest!


    • How dare you suggest that we have similar tastes!!! Ahaha. No offence taken.

      With regards to #50…if you screamed with joy when you saw that, I’m not sure what you’ll do when I get to my top 10 (hint hint). Perhaps you should have a paramedic close by or something?? I really don’t want to be responsible for your overexcitement-related demise XD
      Wasn’t Natasha St-Pier in your video?? FRENCH BALLAD ALERT!! Though I suppose that was an old video, and I know I change my mind about the songs I like every two seconds, so I assume everyone else does too.
      I really want Feminnem back in Eurovision, but I think they’ve broken up so…yeah, not likely.
      So Rollo and King didn’t appeal to you much?? I can accept that (I can’t understand it though!!)
      Bahaha I think ‘Ewwww’ pretty much eptomises Marie N. Well, her song anyway. She’s probably a very nice person who just happened to win the ESC in a horrifying turn of events. Shudder.


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