Well this is later than usual, sorry but I am just back from a weekend in Amsterdam and haven’t had a minute since touching down in Belfast. Hope everyone is well and i have to say I am officially done with the host city announcement.
- ‘Could It Be?’– Paul & Georgina Giordimaina- Malta, 1991
Malta didn’t have the best start to their participation in the contest. After three attempts to crack the top 10 they decided to take a break from the contest for 16 years. It must have taken them that time to figure out a combination that was successful. It is obvious that they had cracked the code to Eurovision success by 1991, as they returned for one of the longest and most successful runs for a Eurovision country in the history of the contest. Between 1991/98 the country that couldn’t crack the top 10 previously could not place any lower that 10th, an extraordinary feat that the island nation should be very proud of.
Could It Be? Is the perfect Eurovision ballad, it is equal quantities of romanticism, Disney and cheese. Paul and Georgina are great singers and performers, although they had some questionable hair and costumes, but I’ll put that down to the era itself.
Malta Came back to show they were in it to win it, which they should have by now.
‘Malta Came back to party hard’
- ‘C’est Le Dernier Qui A Parle Qui A Raison’– Amina- France, 1991
If there is one thing I personally love, it is listening and learning about culture, art and music from around the world. I love listening to world music, therefore I was very happy to come across this song in a playlist on Spotify.
1991 is a vintage year, and obviously when I compiled this countdown I couldn’t make it more uniform so that one contest overshadowed a week. Therefore it is a bit annoying for my OCD that this week is mainly comprised of two contests.
Amina sings effortlessly and another performer that shows off their vocal gymnastics to great effect. So I can just imagine that fans of this song were flabbergasted when after the voting and France drew with Sweden, Carola ended up walking away with the trophy. Believe me I understand mathematics (I got a ‘C’ in my GCSE’s) so I know that Carola won fairly; I just don’t feel that music really won that year.
‘French are “flapping” classy’
- ‘Get A Life, Get Alive’– Eric Papilaya- Austria, 2007
I know many won’t remember this song, or even watching the early years of the semi-finals. 2007 is not a year I look back at with fond memories, the winner was a decent song, yet apart from that there are only a handful of songs I have listened to since that contest. Therefore to see this song not qualify in 2007 was such a shock.
This rock-pop song was very well performed and was a welcome upbeat interlude to a rather drab and lacklustre semi final. The obvious AIDS reference in the performance always intrigued me and only recently did I discover that Eric Papilaya works closely with AIDS charities to raise awareness for those living with the disease.
This fact gives the song a whole new life and makes me think about the lyrics in a completely different way.
‘Raising awareness one stage at a time’
- ‘Say Yay!’– Barei- Spain, 2016
Yes another 2016 song!
Spain’s National final this year was great. I enjoyed four of the entries on offer any of them would have been a great Spanish entry in Stockholm. Although I did have a sneaking suspicion for this song from first listen.
Barei is a vivacious performer and so down to earth. I love to see an artist fully immersed into the Eurovision experience. Someone that wants to bring their A-game must always be commended and I believe that is why this became a fan favourite. Her 22nd placing in the final was a slap in the face for Barei and the song and performance really should have done better.
Say Yay! Is a great pop song with a thumping beat and inspirational lyrics. Many will class this as a “fanwank” song, but for me this should never have been referred to as that. One of the best songs of 2016.
‘Spain fighting for acceptance’
- ‘Come Back’– Jessica Garlick- United Kingdom, 2002
When the UK get it right, no one is more proud than me. Although I can’t say that is an regular occurrence.
In 2002 after 3 years of less than satisfactory results, the BBC sent Jessica Garlick to Tallinn after winning the national final, with the country inspired ballad ‘Come Back’.
Jessica had just finished as a contestant on Pop Idol and was looking to carve a name for herself on the music scene. She gave the ultimate performance at Eurovision, emotional and perfect vocally and it really is a shame that a stage show won over talent. I suppose we can put this down to the curse of number 2.
‘UK made a sensational Come Back’
- ‘If Love Was A Crime’– Poli Genova- Bulgaria, 2016
Back to 2016. Bulgaria returned after a three year hiatus, with former representative Poli Genova. She had previously appeared in the 2011 contest were she failed to reach the final with her song ‘Na Inat’. Although I did love her first entry, it is her returning entry that makes my countdown.
There is no doubt that Poli can sing, she proved it in 2011, but 2016 confirmed that she can also perform a great pop song, and again by bringing in some of the Bulgarian language it makes the song more interesting to the listener.
‘If Love Was A Crime’, is a great piece of pop and in no way generic. The song has a great hook and and the beginning of the song does draw you into the song right away. Bulgaria came back with a vengeance, and if they keep on this trend we could be going to Sofia in the near future.
‘I’d be in jail for my adoration of this song’
- ‘Icebreaker’– Agnete- Norway, 2016
How did this not qualify? Now we all know Agnete had a tough time during the Eurovision season and that forced her to pull out of all preview parties around the continent. Still when she got to Stockholm I had no doubt she would sail into the final.
The song is a mix between Feed You My Love and Euphoria, it has an interesting composition, and if there is one thing I love about a song it is how a song makes me think. I thought about the songs composition, the similarities to previous entries, and how it takes on a life of its own.
Agnete gave a great performance, although on the Stockholm stage she seemed somewhat nervous, I still believe that it should have qualified, so I guess Europe just wasn’t ready for a song like Icebreaker.
‘This song is stuck on repeat, on repeat’
- ‘Kroller Eller Ej’– Debbie Cameron & Tommy Seebach- Denmark, 1981
1981, one of those years in history that everyone remembers. Charles and Diana married, Reagan became president and Bucks Fizz won Eurovision. The United Kingdom winning this year is something I am pleased with, although you won’t find Making Your Mind Up on my countdown. It is Denmark’s entry that I would have placed first in that field.
Debbie Cameron and Tommy Seebach’s disco inspired entry never fails to get my hips clicking. If you know me, you will know I love 70’s disco, no better song to get me on the dance floor than Boney M’s Rasputin, and this song is so reminiscent of that era.
Debbie dances around the stage with her two backing dancers in their short flapper style dresses. This is such a cheery song and that is what you need sometimes, a song that makes you smile, leaves all the worries of the world at the door. It also wouldn’t be Eurovision without a strange title, and this must win for most unique song title ever.
Translated: Straight or Curly hair?
‘Love it or hate it, Eurovision never plays straight’
- ‘Dinle’– Sebnem Paker- Turkey, 1997
I’m in love with Sebnem’s voice, from the first note till the last her vocal and performance is flawless and the build throughout the song makes the song so much more interesting.
This is the song that made me interested in the 1997 contest and while it isn’t my favourite song from that year, it is still a great performance and one of the best ethnic songs to ever enter the contest.
Sebnem has represented her country twice and her second effort is so much more better, I will not mention the obvious difference between 1996 and 1997.
‘She edged it by a nose over her 1996 entry’
- ‘One More Night’– Esther Hart- The Netherlands, 2003
After the great finish to the century, The Netherlands came into the 21st Century with the hope of going on to better things at Eurovision. Linda Wagenmakers was a big favourite for the 2000 contest but after failing to reach the top ten and an even worse result in 2001 they took a year off in 2002.
Coming back in 2003 The Netherlands chose Esther Hart and One More Night. After withdrawing from the UK’s national final the same year, Esther went on to win her home country selection show and brought this piece of fun to Riga. In the long run this was a good thing, as Jemini romped to victory in the UK and look how well they done.
One More Night is another Eurovision by numbers song, with the obligatory key change. It is a feel good song, and Esther is a very confident performer, which made it a real shame when even she couldn’t crack the top ten for The Netherlands. If there is something positive to take away from her performance, it is that she had the most successful Dutch entry of the 2000’s, as after 2004, no Dutch entry made the final until 2013.
‘You can sing to me any night Esther’
Come back next week for the following installment of my Top 100 countdown: 60-51.