My all-time ESC 50: The Countdown (Part 2)
Hello again! It’s Friday night and I’m debating whether or not to get up at 3.30am to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics. It does come only once every four years, after all, and since I got a pretty sweet deal with the last one (my state being in the same timezone as Beijing) I figure I can afford to sacrifice some sleep this time around. But three thirty in the middle of winter? It’s a tough one. I don’t know if you’re planning to watch, or if you’ve been affected at all by Olympic fever, but I do know that you’re probably a Eurovision fan (if not, what are you doing here?) in which case you may be interested in the next installment of my contest fifty.
And here it is…
Oh wait, there’s one more thing – please keep the feedback coming! I’ve really enjoyed reading your comments so far, even the ones that trash my beloved entries. Feel free to let me know which of the songs I’ve chosen would make your hot list, or not.
#40 – Love In Rewind by Dino Merlin (Bosnia & Herzegovina 2011)
This was my absolute favourite song of 2011 and is one of many Balkan entries to make the cut in my best-of. And yet, I can’t put my finger on why it’s so brilliant. It’s a toe-tapping number with a catchy chorus like so many others, but somehow it kicks a high percentage of those songs’ butts.
#39 – Die For You by Antique (Greece 2001)
Similarly, this song is one of countless up-tempo ethno-pop tracks, the likes of which Greece in particular have been sending to Eurovision for Rambo Amadeus’ donkey’s years. But it’s just that little bit catchier than most, and the fact that it’s a duet between the fabulous Helena Paparizou and that guy with the bouzouki works in its favour, aurally and visually.
#38 – Horehronie by Kristina (Slovakia 2010)
If you can hear me screaming ‘Why didn’t this qualify????’ from wherever you are in the world at the moment, just ignore it; I have to pin it on the poor vocal performance. It’s the only explanation as far as I’m concerned, because the song is awesome. As were the indoor plants Kristina decided to roll in for her costume.
#37 – Sanomi by Urban Trad (Belgium 2003)
We all know the story of the imaginary-language song that came from nowhere in Riga to blaze up the scoreboard and fall only behind Turkey, and only by 2 points – it’s a great story to accompany a great song. It’s just a shame Belgium haven’t been able to recapture the success of Sanomi, even with another made-up language entry. Then again, that one was like nails down an overly-enthusiastic, red-and-white striped blackboard.
#36 – O Meu Coração Não Tem Cor by Lúcia Moniz (Portugal 1996)
I’m going there: this is by far Portugal’s best entry EVER. Okay, not all of you will agree with me, but I was never that gone on Senhora Do Mar (the entry I’m assuming would be ranked above this one by the disagree-ers) so this really stands out for me. Everything is ethnic, but still catchy, accessible, and generally charming.
#35 – To Nie Ja! by Edyta Górniak (Poland 1994)
This may not be my absolute favourite Polish entry (hint hint) but it’s up there, and it was both their first and most successful Eurovision outing. It’s a brilliant ballad performed by the Polish Mariah Carey (Wikipedia’s words, not mine) in a nightdress. What’s not to love? Apart from the fact that it lost to Ireland, who topped the scoreboard for the third year running with a rather dire three minutes of nostalgia, of course.
#34 – Ovo Je Balkan by Milan Stanković (Serbia 2010)
One of my strongest memories of Year Oslo was attempting to use mind power to will this song into the top 10 during the voting. Obviously I failed, but after Serbia didn’t even make the final in Moscow with one of my then-favourites, I had to be happy with the fact that Milan, his Lego haircut, and his cracking Balkan entry did. So. Much. FUN!
#33 – Anytime You Need by Hayko (Armenia 2007)
If Haunting Ballads for Dummies existed, I’m pretty sure the co-authors would be Željko Joksimović and Hayko. I love everything about this song and performance, right down to the bleeding heart (although the first time I saw it, I thought he’d been shot and had a panic attack). The combination of English and Armenian is perfect, and the music gives me chills/spine-tingles/goosebumps etc.
#32 – Work Your Magic by Koldun (Belarus 2007)
I have four ESC-themed ringtones on my phone, and this is the one I’m using right now. Every time it goes off my head is suddenly filled with images of fake tan and hairless chests and sliding doors that can be clung to in some impossible way. Ah, such good memories. As far as the song goes, I have one word: epic.
#31 – Ein Bisschen Frieden by Nicole (Germany 1982)
Three cheers for a message song that doesn’t make you want to vomit! Hip hip hooray x3. Back in ’82, all Nicole wanted was a little peace (why she didn’t represent Germany at Miss Universe I don’t know) but she ended up winning Eurovision instead…and later, my heart (now there’s something to make you nauseous). One of the things that really appeals to me in this song is how pretty German – which is not a particularly musical language in my opinion – sounds.
And so another one bites the dust. I may or may not have an Olympic-and-ESC-themed intermission from the countdown this week, just to warn you, so if you’re repelled by anything to do with people propelling themselves metres in the air with giant poles and such (as ridiculously amazing as it is) perhaps you should stay away.
To finish off, here’s a recap of my fifty so far.
#31 Ein Bisschen Frieden by Nicole (Germany 1982)
#32 Work Your Magic by Koldun (Belarus 2007)
#33 Anytime You Need by Hayko (Armenia 2007)
#34 Ovo Je Balkan by Milan Stanković (Serbia 2010)
#35 To Nie Ja! by Edyta Górniak (Poland 1994)
#36 O Meu Coração Não Tem Cor by Lúcia Moniz (Portugal 1996)
#37 Sanomi by Urban Trad (Belgium 2003)
#38 Horehronie by Kristina (Slovakia 2010)
#39 Die For You by Antique (Greece 2001)
#40 Love In Rewind by Dino Merlin (Bosnia & Herzegovina 2011)
#41 My Star by Brainstorm (Latvia 2000)
#42 Never Ever Let You Go by Rollo & King (Denmark 2001)
#43 Forogj Világ by Nox (Hungary 2005)
#44 Dansevise by Grethe & Jørgen Ingmann (Denmark 1963)
#45 Lako Je Sve by Feminnem (Croatia 2010)
#46 Euphoria by Loreen (Sweden 2012)
#47 Nur Ein Lied by Thomas Forstner (Austria 1989)
#48 Il Faut Du Temps by Sandrine François (France 2002)
#49 Solo by Alsou (Russia 2000)
#50 Follow My Heart by Ich Troje (Poland 2006)
Toodles! (and my apologies for saying the word ‘toodles’.)