This week marks Europe Day. And what is Europe without its infamous song contest, Eurovision? Nothing; it’s part of our DNA and only we understand it. We don’t hear about it during the entire year, and then it suddenly sneaks up on us while zapping in between TV channels — and you can’t help watching the crazy performances, the awkward political references, and the cringing interaction of the hosts.
You might not know that Eurovision is now the longest-running annual international TV song competition ever since 1956 — so it’s been around longer than the actual European Union.
And the great thing about it is, it has been the stage of musical and political history. Musically, Eurovision gave us ABBA. Socially, Eurovision gave us Conchita Wurst. Politically, the Portuguese song in the 1974 edition, Paulo de Carvalho’s “E Depois de Adeus“, is one of the songs that marked the kickoff of Portugal’s Carnation Revolution, which overthrew the Estado Novo regime. The fall of the Soviet Union led to the inclusion of the Eastern Bloc in the competition. Georgia’s banned 2009 entry, “We Don’t Wanna Put In,” was a Putin satire which the organisation found too political, proving the competition’s controversial nature of serving as a proudly silly musical event and a pleaser for Europe’s present political status.
While you’re waiting for this year’s edition to start, look back at 10 of the craziest Eurovision performances ever:
10. “Eurovision”, Telex — Belgium, 1980
Our favourite part: The scarf move after minute 0:55.
9. “Shine”, Tolmachevy Sisters — Russia, 2014
Our favourite part: Obviously, the unlikely idea of connecting two sisters by their hair.
8. “Wolves of the Sea”, Pirates of the Sea — Latvia, 2008
Our favourite part: The killer dance moves after minute 2:13.
7. “Luta É Alegria”, Homens da Luta — Portugal, 2011
Our favourite part: The construction worker’s enthusiasm (snippet after minute 1:48).
6. “Hard Rock Hallelujah”, Lordi — Finland, 2006
Our favourite part: The fact that Finland actually won the competition with this hard rock song.
5. “Djambo Djambo”, Peter, Sue & Marc — Switzerland, 1976
Our favourite part: NONE. NO. CLOWNS.
4. “Day After Day”, Elnur & Samir — Azerbaijan, 2008
Our favourite part: The shameless high-pitching going on around minute 2:15.
3. “Meiecundimees üks Korsakov läks eile Lätti”, Winny Puhh — Estonia, 2013
Our favourite part: The producers going all in for this performance with a sliced screen, flashing images, and a wobbly camera.
2. “Dancing Lasha Tumbai”, Verka Serdyuchka — Ukraine, 2007
Our favourite part: All of it. Pure poetry. No wonder it won second place.
1. “Irelande Douze Pointe”, Dustin The Turkey — Ireland, 2008
Our favourite part: We… we can’t.
As you can see, as years went by, the competition has gotten nothing short of batshit crazy. This year’s 62nd edition is “Celebrating Diversity”. The first semi-final is on May 9, the second is on May 11, and the finale is on Saturday, May 13. Are you tuning in?
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