My All Time Eurovision Top 100: The Grand Final

Well we have made it, after a 9 week journey through my history of the contest we have finally arrived at the top 10.  What an eclectic top 10 it is and If I say so myself a very eclectic countdown.  Something I believe is the great pleasure of Eurovision, that it takes all sorts and treats them the same.  Well this is coming early as I am off on Holiday tonight and wont be back for two weeks.  Look out for articles coming your way in November as well as some news on the Eurovision Season coming up.

  1. “Contigo Hasta El Final”- ESDM- Spain, 2013

I adore traditional celtic music, therefore it was such a pleasant surprise that I heard a pipe at the start of this song.

ESDM are a band that hail from the Asturias region of North West Spain, so it all tied in when I found this out.  That part of Spain has a lot of culture ties with the Irish and Gaelic cultures as a whole.  This obviously trickled down through their musical influences.

Raquel has a very fragile voice and in the studio version it sounds beautiful, although the former Mrs Alonso (Fernando’s ex) couldn’t control her nerves on the Malmo stage and therefore landed Spain second to last with 8 points.  It is a shame as the song is so good, and I remember hearing this for the first time and thinking WOW, what a cool, laid-back poppy folk track.  Spain could have done so well with this if Raquel had reeled in those nerves.

Nevertheless, this has a deserved spot in my top town for being a song that I always include in my summer holiday playlist, it gives me that chilled-out summer time vibe and enjoy that so much.

‘That performance was a Nightmare, but the song is from a dream’

  1. “Il Etait Temps”- Virginie Pouchin- France, 2006

Now I think if there was ever a song more deserved of making people questioning its inclusion, it is this one.  Now I have no problem in admitting that 2006 is not a contest I overly enjoyed, there are not many of the entries I listen to 10 years on, but this on I most certainly do.  June 2006 saw me take my first ever school trip to Paris, I remember having just received a MP3 player for my birthday that March and downloading a lot of Eurovision songs on to it for my travels.  I thought it would be fun to download some French songs, and while I wasn’t keen on “Il Etait Temps” at the time I thought it was apt.

Now whenever I listen to the song it takes me back to my first time in Paris, gives me that feeling of emotion and excitement when I first got to see a big European City and explore it with my own French soundtrack (what a Drama Queen!).  To think I almost didn’t hav this as my soundtrack is also somewhat upsetting, as originally Virginie was to sing “Vous C’est Nous”, before the song was changed after the National Final.

It is purely Nostalgia that has got this song onto my countdown and so high up as well.  Another performance that murdered a song, but still I adore it now and I could not think of having my countdown without it.

‘It is time for some recognition’

  1. “Euphoria”- Loreen- Sweden, 2012

Well I am sure many wondered when this song would appear, and not surprisingly it made it into my top ten, Just!

I don’t think anyone was surprised at Loreen’s victory in 2012 and it was well deserved.  The song is a heavyweight in regards to Eurovision winning songs and for me really brought the contest screaming into the 21st century with a crash, bang, wallop.

Loreen Is an accomplished and innovative performer, and her performance on the Baku stage was nothing short of mind blowing, her move may have been inspired by Kate Bush, but she brought her own flair to it and produced the single most memorable performance to the contest of the last 20 years.

I do prefer her other Melodifestivalen entry to this one (but only slightly), and this for me is Sweden’s Greatest moment in the contest.

‘Just missed the summit Loreen’

  1. “Dansevise”- Grethe and Jorgen Ingmann- Denmark, 1963

As we have seen previously 1963 is one of three years that featured extensively in my countdown.  It is a vintage year and it produced one of the greatest winners in the contest.

Denmark had started pretty strong in the contest, if not somewhat controversial with that kiss in 1957.  By the time the London contest had come around, Denmark had faired less well and they were hoping to do better with the Dance ballad “Dansevise”.

Jorgen himself came to the contest in the aftermath of his success on the U.S.A Billboard charts, where he scored a massive hit with his instrumental version of “Apache” a song made famous in the U.K by future U.K. representatives, The Shadows.

The song is such a feel good jazzy number, that is of its era and yet 50+ years later still ahs me sway away to it.  I adore the English version of the song that they performed.  It can be found on youtube I will post it someday on Facebook.

‘I love your music for so many different reasons’

  1. “Bandido”- Azucar Moreno- Spain, 1990

I would suspect that the majority of fans that think about this song, recall or reminisce on the cock-up that the audio people made in Zagreb.  On many funny compilation shows I have watched, Azucar Moreno’s hiccup is featured and I have to admit it is thanks to those shows that I went to watch this performance.

The Salazar sisters were one of the most successful artists in Spain having multiple gold albums under their belts when they were chosen to represent their country, this must have made it harder for them when the mistake took place.  It just showed though how professional they were as they started all over again and gave a great performance of their flamenco inspired pop song.

It is still seen as one of Spain’s best moments in the contest, and I can see why.  You can see the intent and passion in their faces when they perform this, they really wanted to do well and by reaching the top 5 they made their home country proud.

‘Not so sugary sweet’

  1. “La Fiesta Termino”- Paloma San Basilio- Spain, 1985

I don’t think there has ever been a classier person to performer than Paloma San Basilio to take to the stage at Eurovision.

By 1985 Paloma had already had a decade and a half of experience under her belt and had become a star in her home country when she performed “La Fiesta Termino” for Spain in Gothenburg.  She sang this song beautifully and the song itself is such a wonderfulluy stylish song with great emotion.  Unsurprisingly this was written by the same person that wrote Spain’s 1973 entry Eres Tu.  The same as “Paradies, Wo bist Du?”, this song was on the soundtrack to my 2014 summer and it will always stay with me.

It is such a shame that Paloma did not only win the contest, but that she came a very disappointing 14th, for me this is the second greatest criminal result in the History of the contest.

‘The party will never end for us Paloma’

  1. “Hemel En Aarde”- Edsilia Rombley- Netherlands, 1998

After mixed fortunes for The Netherands in the 1990’s, 1998 came as a great turn around for them.  As I had previously talked about their great result with Marlayne in 1999, this was the song that really brought the Netherlands back into play.

There is no denying Edsilia can sing, and in Birmingham she sange her heart out, as there was a chance that due to Netherlands performances of late, if she didn’t reach the top 5 the country could be left out of the following years contest.  This never came to fruition as Edsilia not only reach the top 5 but comfortably sat in 4th place at the end of the voting.

The song is such a soulful piece of music, almost gospel and was performed impeccably by the Dutch songstress, this had to put fight in the belly for the dutch broadcaster and they returned with that great entry in 1999.

This is my Ultimate Dutch entry, it is fun, emotive and sang with such conviction.  Edsilia you done your country proud, and if anything should have lifted the trophy.

‘A heavenly song for a down to earth singer’

  1. “Diexa-Me Sonhar”- Rita Guerra- Portugal, 2003

When I look back at this countdown I can see that two countries have been represented more than any others and Portugal is one of them.  As I have already said, they have been very much underappreciated in the contest and this is the ultimate reason why.

Rita was an established artist by the time she took to the stage in Riga, with some Eurovision background, after performing and coming second in the 1992 Portugese National Final.  But nothing prepared her for the ordeal that she would go once she reached the contest.

The song is an emotional ballad talking about keeping a dream alive, even just one more time, and what happened to her the day before the final makes this all the more poignant.  Rita found out on the eve of the Final that her brother died of cancer.  When I listened to this song and watched the performance after learning this, it took on a whole new meaning for me.  I got so emotionally involved and it really made me tear up.

This for me is the biggest crime at Eurovision, how could this song not only fail to reach the top 10 but come 22nd with 13 points?  It’s unfathomable, Rita Guerra was a great representative and went on to have a hit in her home country with this song, but for me this will always have a special place in my heart.

‘Keeping this song alive forever’

  1. “Nacida Para Amar”- Nina- Spain, 1989

As you all will have seen by now I love a strong female ballad, and this is one of the best examples to ever grace a Eurovision stage.

A classy song, with a great singer can do no wrong in my eyes, I will not think about Nina’s dress sense at the end of the day it was the 80’s and we all know that 80’s fashion was questionable.

“Nacida Para Amar” not unlike “La Fiesta Termino” is a strong vocal and performance, and an emotional ballad which is unsurprising as the writers of these songs is none other than a great Spanish songwriter Juan Carlos Calderon.

1989 is all but a lost year for me, but this song has really kept it in my mind.  A year after Celine’s victory it showed that strong female ballads were the way to go and Spain’s 6th place finish was their best result in 5 years and started a string of successful entries for them.

“Born to love the contest”

  1. “In Your Eyes”- Niamh Kavanagh- Ireland, 1993

Well for anyone that knows me or has read my article “My Love of Eurovision”, will realise that there could only be one song that could possibly be my Number One Eurovision song.

In the summer of 2015 I was able to meet Niamh Kavanagh at a Pride event in Belfast.  She is such a down to earth person and talented at the same time, she sounds just as good as she did in 1993.

Now 1993 is my Ultimate Eurovision year, as you all know it is the first contest I owned on DVD and therefore it has a special place in my heart.  You may have noticed that I didn’t not have a lot of actual winners in my countdown, and that was not intentional.  It just shows that there are so many great songs in the contest that don’t get the recognition.  Yet “In Your Eyes” got the recognition it deserved.  I will admit that although it was easily won the Irish National Final, it wasn’t the best performance of the song I have heard, it had a slightly different arrangement that made it somewhat clunky in places.  This arrangement was ironed out and by the time it came to the Eurovision Final performance no other song could beat it.  Niamh’s vocals were on point and in a league of their own.

Niamh was relatively unknown before she romped to victory at Eurovision, yet many would have heard her voice in the 1991 sleeper hit, The Commitments.  Having auditioned for a role in the movie she was unsuccessful, yet Alan Parker loved her voice so much that he asked her to record two songs for the soundtrack.  One of those songs “Destination Anywhere” is such a soulful Motown inspired song that I have not been able to stop listening to since I first watched the movie, and it made me buy the soundtrack.

“In Your Eyes” is such an emotional ballad and the lyrics speak to me on a level no other song has ever done.  It tells of a person trying to be strong at the start of a break up, but realising that the person they are leaving is the one person that makes them feel human and themselves.  Niamh’s vocals are soaring and when she gets to that high note my heart breaks, my eyes water and I realise that we all hurt, we have all been through these emotions and that we are all stronger as people from these experiences.

I was delighted to see Niamh back in the contest in 2010 with “It’s For You”, another stylish ballad, but nothing can ever match her winning entry and my all-time favourite Eurovision song.

‘In my eye’s, you are simply the best!’

I want to thank you all for sticking with me through this walk down memory lane and I hope you have enjoyed it.  I certainly have, this is only my opinion on the spectacle that is Eurovision, and everybody will have a different opinion.

Stay tuned to Eurovision addicts for more articles and news.  But for now I am away on holiday, so take care guys and see you all soon.

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