The Eurovision Song Contest, generally, produces some great hits (euphoooooooooooriaaaaaaaaaa!) which, quite frankly, deserved their place. It also produces some trash which finishes in the bottom three rather in the top three (ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh, be happy!), some things which are neither good nor bad and finish mid-table (waterfaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal), some criminally underrated songs (baby, bye byeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!), and some woefully overrated songs whereupon you have to question Europe's collective wisdom.
There's no lying the blame on 'bloc voting' - because Russia would win every time if that were true, no ex-Yugoslav countries made the final in 2013, and the westerners vote for it - these songs simply are either bland or bad. Everything here finished in the top five, and here is my personal top 10:
10th - Ukraine 2007 - Dancing Лаша Тумбай
|A whole new meaning to the phrase 'kick up the bottom'.|
Well, we kick off with the quite frankly ridiculous. Ukraine are currently thinking of making it illegal to be homoesexual, which is kind of hard to believe when you see that they sent this, with drag queen Verka Serduchka looking like he (she?) is about to go into the oven. Famous for mispronouncing 'Лаша Тумбай', meaningless Ukrainian, for 'Russia, goodbye!', it finished second. I personally think that was too high.
9th - Germany 2000 - Wadde Hadde Dudde Da?
|I'm a celebrity... get me out of here!|
A song that translates as 'what do you have there', performed by none other than Stefan Raab, sort of like a German Eurovision-friendly Simon Cowell who sings a bit (and drums, and plays guitar...), it's fair to say he's had finer moments than his self-composed performance in Stockholm. Having written "Guildo Hat Euch Lieb!" two years previously (where Guildo Horn broke the cheap BBC set in Birmingham and the audience couldn't tell whether the song or the performer was more insane), surely "Wadde Hadde Dudde Da?" couldn't be worse? Wrong, and you knew you were wrong when the backing singers shouted out "OH MY GOD, HE [Raab] IS REAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!", and after a John Travolta 1970s throwback, Stefan Raab sings, after a climatic intro... "Wadde Hadde Dudde Da? Wadde Hadde Dudde Da? Wadde Hadde Dudde Da?" Fifth place. What on earth were you thinking, Europe?
8th - Belgium 2003 - Sanomi
|And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why we don't want to be governed from Brussels.|
One of the worst Eurovision songs ever, possibly. Eastern, oriental, performed by Urban Trad, who are a duo, and look like they just came from a Greenpeace rally, this song is dull, boring, and really falls into the 'bland' category. I can't work out why it came just two points behind the winners Turkey (with a true oriental song) and beat international pop sensations t.a.T.u. from Russia by one point. Second place for this somewhat baffling song. And did I mention it was written in a fictional language?
7th - Bulgaria 2007 - Water
|This is NOT a drumming contest.|
Dark, mysterious, and given a good draw position, this was always going to do well... until we saw it was Bulgarian and heard the song. A masterclass in drumming and out-of-tune singing, it featured about three words and was ridiculously bad. The word 'water' wasn't even heard, not even in the language of the song, Bulgarian. I can now see why UKIP don't want the Bulgarians in. Fifth place, somewhat incredibly, including a baffling five points from the United Kingdom.
6th - Russia 2008 - Believe
|Crouching tiger, hidden, erm...|
Making his second appearance at Eurovision, Dima Bilan had come second in 2006 with "Never Let You Go", and he sort of deserved it, but when he returned, he brought along an ice skater with him. Sadly, Torvill and Dean were busy, so he hired some Russian, imported a huge block of ice into sunny Serbia, stuck on a loose shirt and sang a ballad starting on his knees. It was incredibly dull, and he amazingly won the contest by a huge margin.
5th - Azerbaijan 2011 - Running Scared
|Beam us up, Scotty!|
"Oh, oh.... oh-oh" is a one-bar idea which is stuck in your head for the wrong reasons. It's dull, it's repetitive, the song is boring, and for a country that was desperate to win, this wasn't the right thing to send. Except that it was, because it won, only because Italy and Sweden kept taking points off each other, and the early-leading United Kingdom fizzled out, leading after the votes from four countries but never receiving anything higher than seven points after that. Dull, dull.... du-uul....
4th - Serbia 2007 - Молитва
|What's all this? Dress-down Saturday?|
Lesbians. I know some people will read this blog post and go 'eugh'. I know some people will read this blog post and launch into a pro-gay marriage rant. I know some who would lick the screen. But when Serbia sent a woman who looks remarkably like a man to their debut entry (well, technically, since they were Serbia and Montenegro between 2004 and 2006 and Yugoslavia until 1992), the song was insanely dull. It was called "Молитва", meaning "prayer", and it was one of the strangest choreography routines ever seen. Certainly didn't deserve to win that year - should probably have been Russia, who only finished third! And her costume was a mess (although it was deliberate), it looked like she'd just been to a party and had forgot to change. She looked ridiculous.
3rd - Serbia 2012 - Није љубав ствар
|Oh, cheer up.|
Staying with the rather baffling Serbian entries, Serbia 2012 was one of the dreariest ballads known to mankind, and yet, amazingly, it achieved third place, and, for a while, looked as though it would get second. Whilst Sweden were running away with "Euphoria", Russia and Serbia were slugging it out for second place. Russia, thank heaven, won it with the extremely cute "Party for Everybody" (performed by the grannies!) - but Zeljko Joksimovic has not let third get to him. He's due to appear on The X Factor UK grand final in December 2013...
2nd - Latvia 2002 - I Wanna
|It's nice to see you to see you...|
I wanna do lots of things. But I would not wanna do this. A terrifyingly bad striptease routine which I still can't get my head round after 11 years. Europe only has itself to blame for voting this in to the winner, which started with a woman dressed like a man from 1950 going to the theatre and finishing in a dress I'm guessing they had to pour her into. I couldn't actually understand some of the things that were done here. Bruce Forysth poses? A hideous flower on your lapel? It was a real hat-astrophe (ba-doom, tish!), and Europe putting Maire N in first place was arguably the biggest mistake that the European public have made in their lives. But then along came...
1st - Albania 2012 - Suus
|You think it's painful!? What about us listening to it!?|
Rona Nishliu from Albania. That is a woman who will go down in Eurovision history for many things: for, at the time of writing, achieving Albania's best position ever; that hair; those notes; the 'song' she 'sang'; forcing Europe to suffer from idiocy in one big bite. She sang "Suus", which is Latin for "his", "hers", or "its", depending on the context of the sentence. It's pronounced 'sue us' - and maybe she was asking to be sued for crimes against my ears. This was one of the worst songs in Eurovision history as she screamed her way through the song after mumbling the verses (including the line, translated: "My plane is landing on the unlit runway of your soul" - get a room!), and then going "me lerni te QAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAJ! QAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAJ! QAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAEAOUAOUAAAAAOUAUEEEAAOAUJ!" Two lines of rest before off we go again with "OOOOOOOAOAUHAOUOAUAOUEOEOUOAUOOAUOOAOUOAUOUAOUAOAUOOAUOUOEUOUAOUOAUOAUIOAUOUAUOUOOIOUOUOUOAUOUEOIOUAOEUOAOH! OOOOOOOOOOIOIOIOIAOIOEOEIEOEIOEIOEIOIOIOIOIOIOIEOOOOAEAEAEAEEAEAEAEOOUOUOUOOOOOOOOOH! Me lerni te QAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAJ! QAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAJ! QAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAEAOUAOUAAAAAOUAUEEEAAOAUJ!" - at which point we get those two lines of rest again and the song, mercifully ends. Fifth place. What on earth was Europe doing?