Bonjour, and welcome to the third chapter of my all-time countdown. You know the drill by now, so I won’t embark on a huge rambling intro; all I’ll say is that you may have some serious doubts about my sanity in a few minutes’ time. I apologise in advance, but only for making you recoil in horror – not for my particular (and in my eyes, perfectly acceptable) taste in music!
#30 – Every Way That I Can by Sertab Erener (Turkey 2003)
After two years of winning songs that were regarded as more ‘meh…’ and ‘OH DEAR GOD!’ than douze points by fans, a pint-sized Turkish singer wearing harem pants and body glitter gyrated into the contest with a cracking ethno-pop number and changed the game. EWTIC is Turkey in their finest form. The core riff never fails to get me up and hip-shaking.
#29 – Diamond of Night by Evelin Samuel & Camille (Estonia 1999)
I have a soft spot for Estonia in the ESC (excluding the “song” they sent in 2008) which well and truly extends to this entry, a mystical ballad that could have been lifted from the Prince of Egypt soundtrack. Evelin’s vocal in the chorus is verging on glass-shattering, but the fact that she performs it so on pitch makes it spine-tingling rather than eardrum-bursting. I particularly love Camille’s violin solo, more so in the extended studio version.
#28 – Suus by Rona Nishliu (Albania 2012)
This is the first of a few songs in this group which I assume will have you all gasping in disbelief, but trust me – a few months ago I would have done exactly the same thing. The first few times I heard it, I hated it; but then I watched the preview video, and something changed. Then I saw it live in the semi and I was spellbound. Rona is a spectacular vocalist, and actually moved me to tears with her emotional performance. Pure class.
#27 – This Is My Life by Anna Bergendahl (Sweden 2010)
Again, please respect my right to have an opinion. This song is one of the most-played on my iPod, simply because…well, just because. Contrary to many fans, I don’t find it depressing or boring at all – I’d say it’s more anthemic. Anna didn’t quite pull it off live, but she and her party-dress-and-Converse combo will always be much loved by yours truly.
#26 – Rock Me by Riva (Yugoslavia 1989)
Yes, you read that right – the much-maligned winner of ’89 is this high on my list. Why, you ask? Because it’s catchy, it’s fun, and I get a kick out of listening to it. It’s as simple as that. I will add that it was very well performed on the night, and I do love the red/black/white colour scheme (a popular choice for Eurovision success).
#25 – Hemel En Aarde by Edsilia Rombley (Netherlands 1998)
Edsilia kind of crashed and burned in Helsinki, but almost a decade earlier she’d brought the Netherlands one of their best results ever with this quite frankly amazing up-tempo ballad. She’s a powerhouse singer (if you watch this performance, listen out for the growl) and engaged the audience so well. The Dutch should be proud of this one.
#24 – Nije Ljubav Stvar by Željko Joksimović (Serbia 2012)
Ah, Željko, the master of the slow-burn Balkan ballad. I had high expectations of him coming into this year’s contest, and boy, were they met! The beauty in this song is everywhere, and like Suus it was one of the classiest entries this year. My favourite parts are the instrumental break after the first chorus, and the final thirty seconds, although I am pretty much infatuated with everything from 0.00-3.04.
#23 – Rändajad by Urban Symphony (Estonia 2009)
Estonia crop up once again (and not for the last time) at #23, with Sandra “Perfect Hair” Nurmsalu and her fellow urban symphonists. What makes their song so special for me is partly the atmosphere, and partly the Estonian, which sounds so beautiful and mysterious. I suppose the mysteriousness has to do with my not remembering what the heck the lyrics mean. Ignorance can be bliss after all.
#22 – Quedate Conmigo by Pastora Soler (Spain 2012)
I waved a Spanish flag for the first time this year, all thanks to the powerhouse that is Pastora and the song-writing machine that is Thomas G:son. As a sucker for a big ballad a la several recent Spanish national finalists (Nada Es Comparable A Ti by Mirela, En Una Vida by Coral etc) there was zero chance of my disliking the one that made it to Baku. That money note gets me every time.
#21 – Od Nas Zavisi by Karolina (Macedonia 2002)
It’s not just the costume reveal that makes me love Karolina’s first contest foray, though I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t part of it (who can go past a good piece of body armour?) Od Nas is a hard one to describe – is it a ballad? Is it ethnic soft rock? Or is it a hybrid? Maybe it’s that very uncertainty that I’m attracted to…
The End. For the moment, anyway. Next time the countdown will continue, but until then please keep the feedback coming! I’m really enjoying all the varying verdicts, as well as hearing which songs you guys would name as your most loved. It’s amazing how different opinions can be. Obviously, mine is the right one, but I will humour you with yours.