Iceland unfortunately didn’t qualify for tonight’s Eurovision finals, but we’re still going to be watching, that’s for sure. To get you in the mood for tonight, here are 8 incredibly amazing performances in Eurovision history.
Sakis Rouvas – This is our Night (Greece, 2009)
Sakis returned in 2009 after having blessed us with his Greek sensuality in 2004, performing his mega-hit “Shake It” (he finished third). Sakis has a killer body that he likes to show off with his trademark low-cut shirt that’s a few sizes too small. In his performance in 2009, Sakis twitches, gyrates and grinds as if the arena were full of thirsty sugar mamas and the rent was due yesterday. His main prop is a small stage with a conveyor belt where he and his backup dancers pull some impressive dance manoeuvres. During the last chorus, in case we didn’t get our fill of his convulsive body, Sakis opens up a few more buttons on his shirt, steps onto the small stage, which rises with Sakis on it, exposing a giant Greek LED flag underneath. The number of gimmicks per second in this three-minute performance is staggering. He pulls out all the stops, but sadly his jaw-dropping performance only got him 7th place.
Laka – Pokušaj (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2008)
This is one of those acts where you’re not sure if they’re being serious or not. Pokušaj starts with a girl, dressed in raggedy doll-like attire, hanging up laundry in front of backing singers dressed in bridal dresses. That’s pretty eccentric already. Her brother then jumps out of her laundry basket and starts singing. He sports a moustache that looks like it could only be drawn on a face. During the whole performance they express themselves by running around in a flailing manner. At some point, the brides in the back suddenly start knitting. It doesn’t make any sense, but people seemed to embrace the oddness of this song as it ended up in 10th place.
Cezar – It’s my life (Romania, 2013)
Cezar is an opera singer from Romania who’s worked with brilliant and respected musicians such as Andrea Bocelli and Vangelis. You might think his Eurovision song would be some classy, old school opera song. Think again! Cezar looks like Count Dracula (we get it, Romania. Dracula is like your Björk) wearing a massive, low cut black dress with a giant embellished collar. His singing voice catches you completely off guard and you don’t know whether to laugh or to be impressed as his falsettos are feminine, haunting, and extremely… odd! It’s something you have to hear to get the full experience. When the falsetto peaks during his first chorus, people suddenly appear from under his clothing and start doing interpretive dancing. Their song has a sudden surprise dub step bit (2013 was the year of dubstep Eurovision entries) and near the end, Cezar rises, his dress elongates and another person comes out from under his skirt (How many people does he have under there??). The audience loved this, but it wasn’t enough. Cezar was one of the favoured to win, but he landed in a disappointing 13th place.
Alf Poier – Weil der Mensch zählt (Austria, 2003)
This song was meant to be a parody of the competition, but it kind of backfired. Alf Poier went into the competition with his eyes on last place, but Europe ended up loving his performance. It’s a children’s song about farm animals sung in a funny German accent (not the regular funny German accent, but one that’s funny even to the Germans). His backing band consists of instruments being placed in front of cardboard cutouts of animals. Alf sings and dances like he’s performing for children until suddenly the song transforms into a metal chorus with Alf thrusting, pulling faces and looking pissed off before he goes back to the children’s song like nothing ever happened. Europe apparently got the joke and really enjoyed the parody, much to Alf Poier’s chagrin. The song landed in a respectable 6th place.
Valentina Monetta – The Social Network song (San Marino, 2012)
This is Valentina Monetta’s first entry into the Eurovision song contest. The original title was “The Facebook Song,” but San Marino had to change the name due to Eurovision’s rules. The song and performance are cringe worthy with lyrical gems like, “if you want to come to my house then click me with your mouse.” There’s no coherence in the backing dancers’ outfits. There’s a cheerleader, a pilot, a doctor and a musician and displayed in the background are speech bubbles saying “oh” and “uh.” The performance is so awkward that it kind of goes full circle and becomes good (but not really). San Marino didn’t make it through to the finals, but Monetta’s a stubborn individual and ended up competing again, the two following years, on San Marino’s behalf. This year, however, she’s disappointingly given up on her Eurovision dream and won’t be returning to the competition. If it were up to me, she would participate every year for the rest of her life. The Social Network song came 14th in the semi-finals.
Sébastien Tellier – Divine (France, 2008)
Ah, Sébastien Tellier. What a man! He oozes indifference and coolness as he enters the Eurovision stage in a golf cart, carrying an inflatable globe filled with helium (which he of course breathes from on stage). The camera shots are totally absurd, with close-ups of his feet and belly. He walks out of the shot as the camera pans in on him. I think he’s very deliberately showing how little he cares about Eurovision. The guy is so cool that the female backing vocalists even dressed up like him (probably by choice), wearing sunglasses, long wigs and a beard. Iceland was one of the only countries that recognised Tellier’s excellence. We gave the song 8 points, but it ended up in 19th place.
Verka Serduchka Dancing Lasha Tumbai (Ukraine, 2007)
Verka is a Ukrainian comedy drag queen. Her entry had the invented language chorus “I want to see Lasha Tumbai” which sounds a lot like “I want to see Russia goodbye” when sung by Verka. She claims that the lyrics are not about Russia, but that it means “whipped cream” in Mongolian (Mongols have denied this). This isn’t the only Eurovision song with anti-Russian word play as Georgia almost sent a song called “We Don‘t Want to Put In” in 2009, but ended up withdrawing from the competition because they refused to change their lyrics to something less political. During her performance, Verka dressed up as a human disco ball, supported by campy backing dancers in silver police uniforms. She runs circles around the stage smacking her backing singers’ bottoms and ends the song with a hip thrust. This is one of the catchiest and most ridiculous Eurovision songs ever made and it got Verka an impressive 2nd place in the competition.
Silvía Nótt – Congratulations (Iceland, 2006)
Silvía Nótt (played by Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir) is a well-known satirical character in Iceland who was at the peak of her career back in 2006. She took her spoiled, narcissistic brat persona all the way and never broke character. Some of her interviews have her ordering people not to look her directly in the eyes and calling the other competitors sluts and prostitutes. During rehearsals she told the technicians to fuck themselves and called them retarded amateurs while dropping F-bombs left and right. Most of Europe didn’t find any of this funny and the audience booed her performance. She sang about how much better she was than the rest of Europe that she was there to save them: (“Born in Reykjavík in a different league, no damn Eurotrash freak”). On stage, she has a golden shower and a phone conversation with God in which she claims to be his favourite person and that she’s saving the universe. For some reason people weren’t feeling this and Silvía Nótt came 13th in the semi-finals, not making it through to the big final. She was so angry at this that she spat at reporters and threatened to jump off a bridge. The experience must have taken quite the toll on Silvía Nótt because we’ve barely seen her since.
Enjoy the show, everyone!