Happy Belated Halloween, everybody! I’m celebrating the occasion for the first time on EBJ today, despite having been running the blog for over three years. The thing is, Halloween’s just not that big of a deal here in Australia. Sure, we get the odd ‘Treehouse of Horror’ Simpsons episode on TV, and we go to the odd dress-up party…but apart from that, there’s not much effort involved. The fact that I’m posting this the day after the day after Halloween is testament to that. But hey, I’m doing something in honour of October 31st, which is commendable, right?
Anyway, this special top 10 is devoted to the most bloodcurdling moments I could think of from Eurovision history. Before it kicks off and you decide whether or not you’ll be sleeping with a light on tonight, take note:
– When I say ‘moments’, I mean songs, people, voices, performances…all sorts.
– When I say ‘bloodcurdling’, I mean ‘don’t take anything too seriously. It’s all a but of fun. But don’t blame me if you’re too terrified to ever watch the contest again after this.’
That’s the fine print, folks. So let’s get spooky with my first Halloween post…
#10 | Punk’d, Eurovision style
2001 – Søren Pilmark’s trophy drop
I’d like to thank Terry Wogan for ruining this prank in the above video. Not. When I first saw the 2001 contest it was without commentary, and I had no knowledge of what was about to happen when hosts Natasja and Søren started rambling on about the winner’s trophy. So when Søren proceeded to ‘accidentally’ drop it, I experienced a heart-stopping moment (not unlike when you slip but don’t fall over) when I thought he’d genuinely screwed up – and that was scary. Can you blame me for being fooled, especially after Dana International’s trophy stack of 1999?
#9 | Possessed by flamenco
1983 – Remedios Amaya, representing Spain
I don’t want to be disrespectful to the flamenco tradition, but to my untrained ears (and the ears of everyone who failed to award points to Remedios Amaya, which was in fact everyone) Quien Maneja Mi Barca? is one scary three minutes. I put this down to Remedios’ apparent demonic possession by a malevolent Spanish spirit with a throat infection, just prior to her stepping on stage. Also, the title is repeated throughout the song a frightening number of times.
#8 | Think rabbits can’t be scary? Think again…
2009 – Belarus up the JESC scare stakes
This one’s from Junior Eurovision, which made me reluctant to include it. But in JESC-land, a land of smiles and rainbows and the odd Harry Potter costume, Belarus’ entry in Kiev stood out in all its Tim Burton-esque, nightmarish glory. The song is a guilty pleasure for me, but even I can see it’s a big ol’ frightfest. Yuriy’s high-pitched vocal combined with the choir chants and epileptic lights is enough to send anyone running to the safety of yodeling Laura or click-clacking Ralf…
#7 | No qualification for the violent
2010 – Poland’s onstage headlock
When this poor girl had half her costume ripped off and Marcin proceeded to strangle her in the crook of his elbow, it wasn’t 100% clear whether it was choreographed, or if she’d just been really annoying backstage. Either way it was disturbing. I think the only time someone needed to be assaulted on the Eurovision stage was when Jimmy Jump gatecrashed – but Daniel Diges somehow resisted the temptation.
#6 | Bulgaria’s Bride of Dracula
2009 – Krassimir Avramov’s screaming sidekick
I know a lot of people think everything about Bulgaria’s entry in ’09 was scary (at least in terms of the live performance) but I’m zeroing in on one thing in particular: the most frightening of Krassimir’s cronies, known only as Screamy Boofyhair. Seriously, this woman had THE biggest hair I have ever seen (I think she was keeping a beach ball under there) cut into a mullet-esque mane that defied the laws of hair styling. Her job was to stalk menacingly around the stage, yelling in time with the music and waving her talons around. Shudder.
#5 | Hat’s one scary dude!
2006 – Six4One’s frightening fedora man
This is a hard one to appreciate via the medium of still photography, but I don’t have to tell you where to find Youtube. In 2006, Switzerland sent a group of singers from all over Europe to Athens to sing a heartwarming song about giving and uniting and stuff. What ultimately made the performance less warm and fuzzy was a man in a hat who leered like no one had ever leered before, about 30 seconds in. Blink (very slowly) and you might miss it, but it only takes a second for something to scar you for life. PS – it helps to imagine the Psycho music playing as you watch.
#4 | Take me to your heaven…or your home planet
2008 – Charlotte Perrelli’s alien encounter
There was a time when I thought ‘Perrelli’ must have been Italian for ‘man-eating demon from outer space’, and it was all thanks to whoever did Charlotte’s makeup in Belgrade. Until early 2012, blaming her face, and not what was put on it, for the alien look she was sporting back then was a genuine option. Then she appeared at Melodifestivalen looking amazing, and very much like a member of the human race. I therefore find that anonymous makeup artist guilty: on one count of cosmetic insanity, and one count of frightening the heck out of us viewers.
#3 | Unfortunately facing my Waterloo
2012 – The winners’ ABBA disaster
Here’s a fresh one from Baku. When I heard that the last five Eurovision winners would be coming together to perform a semi-final medley, I was so excited. That excitement continued in the lead-up to the show, and in fact, all the way through Dima, Maria, Alexander, and Lena’s Azerbaijani-style renditions of their victorious entries. But the second Ell and Nikki emerged and Waterloo kicked off, it disappeared. I and millions upon millions of others were forced to watch as the group (some more than others) fumbled their way through one of the most well-known songs on the planet. Two words: quelle horreur!
#2 | Exhibit A of all things frightening
2006 – Moldova goes Loca
The level of tackiness in this performance is what makes it scary: the questionable vocals; the eyesore of a prop that looks like a child’s paper mache rendering of the Sydney Opera House; the choreography that’s part kids’ TV, part hip-hop video; the costumes, or what’s left of them after Natalia’s completed her striptease…AAAAAGH! But don’t think you’re safe now I’ve listed all that – there’s still the cringe-worthy moment when Connect-R arrives on his scooter and Arsenium tries desperately to get into shot during his rap. The cherry on top? Well, that’s when the backing dancers applaud at the end because NOBODY ELSE IS. I’m guessing the audience were too stunned by what they had just witnessed to give an ovation.
#1 | Russian in the opposite direction
2001 – The lead singer of Russia’s Mumiy Troll
Again, it’s hard to comprehend the severity of this guy’s scariness through pictures, but as you can see I’ve done my best. Above is just a selection of his many frightening faces, which during the performance of Mumiy Troll’s entry Lady Alpine Blue (which I actually quite like) accompany sudden, frenzied movements, as well as ultra-creepy vocals. I remember watching the Copenhagen contest for the first time and being totally freaked out; not even the keyboardist’s little chair spin could console me. Watching it back today, I’m just as disturbed, and that’s why Ilya Lagutenko is my number one (cue Helena Paparizou…).
What did you think of my list? Has anything from ESC history horrified you?
PS – BOO!!!