Eurovision: Who delivered the top five performances?
Our pick of the best and boldest acts to hit the Eurovision stage
Whether you think it’s a camp catastrophe, or one of your highlights of the year, the glitz and glamour of Eurovision have been with us now for more than 60 years.
From breakthrough Scandinavian pop songs that took the world by storm, to little old ladies baking bread on the stage, Eurovision always guarantees a spectacle.
And as it was due to be held in Rotterdam this week, we’ve looked back at our five favourite performances.
5. Ukraine – Verka Serduchka – Dancing Lasha Tumbai – 2007
If there was ever a song that distilled the absolute essence of Eurovision down to its purest form, this it.
A Ukrainian drag act wearing a silver military costume, surrounded by men wearing what look like naval uniforms covered in gold glitter, singing nonsense lyrics in multiple languages, with a positive message about the power of dance.
While the song met with some controversy back in the Ukraine, the ‘am I really watching this?’ nature of the performance was a huge hit with the Eurovision audience, placing second overall back in 2007.
4. United Kingdom – Bucks Fizz – Making Your Mind Up
The UK are notoriously bad at Eurovision. Whether it’s political voting, or just because the majority of acts sent look embarrassed to be there, the end result is often a resounding ‘Nil Points’
That’s why the UK’s 1981 entry from Bucks Fizz needs to be celebrated– a cheerful pop ditty, with a mid-song dress removal that seemed scandalous back in 1981, but now seems rather quaint.
There’s a generation of people who have never seen the UK win the Eurovision song contest (Katrina and the Waves were the last to win, with 1997’s Love Shine a Light), which in its own way, is every bit as heart-breaking as not having won the World Cup since 1966.
3. Russia – Buranovskiye Babushki – Party for Everybody – 2012
You definitely won’t be able to remember the lyrics to this one, but the performance of eight elderly Russian ladies, baking bread in an ancient-looking oven while performing their heart-warming warble is simply unforgettable.
The song itself isn’t up to all that much, but the meaning (as explained by one of the ladies) is completely heart-warming and wholesome:
“We sing about lighting the oven, kneading dough, and spreading out a tablecloth while waiting for the children to come home. And we say when our children come home, we will have fun and dance.
2. Finland – Lordi – Hard Rock Hallelujah – 2006
What would happen if you crossed Iron Maiden, Andrew WK and GWAR, then sprinkled a little Finnish ‘ingenuity’ over it all?
Apparently, you’d get a man dressed as a rotting guitar-playing demon, barking out lyrics like: “Wings on my back, I got horns on my head, my fangs are sharp and my eyes are red,” while a giant pair of leathery bat-wings are unfurled from his back.
Finland’s 2006 contest winners Lordi showed that rock can win Eurovision and that if you commit yourself entirely to even the most absurdly over-the-top performance, the audiences will love you for it.
1. Sweden – ABBA – Waterloo – 1974
While most Eurovision-winning songs are likely to receive sales boost and increase the profile of the performing artists, most acts – internationally at least – tend to return to obscurity shortly after their performance.
ABBA are the exception to the rule, going on to huge worldwide success on the back of Waterloo – their first single going under the name ABBA.
Chances are, you could sing the chorus verbatim right now without looking up any of the lyrics. That’s probably not true of any other Eurovision song.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication