As if I’d miss… EUROVISION!!

The 60th Eurovision Song Contest is being held this week!
The 60th Eurovision Song Contest is being held this week!

I know, the silence has been deafening from for a while. However if there is one thing this blog would never miss it is the Eurovision Song Contest. Sixty years young this month, it is the moment where Europe comes together in song for one (now three…) nights a year in one of the world’s most camp, kitsch and generally fabulous ways ever! I’ve listened to all the songs, the semi finals have been reviewed and will be posted Tuesday and Thursday morning ahead of the semi final that evening. In addition I’ll be live-blogging the semi finals from BBC Three’s coverage with a little help from some friends as well!

Of course this needs a little something to get us all in the mood, and to that end in total celebration of 60 years of Eurovision here is my Eurovision Winner’s Top Ten!!

10. 1988: Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi – Celine Dion (Switzerland, 137pts)

Arguably one of the closest finishes in Eurovision history saw the then unknown Celine Dion sail away with victory at the expense of the United Kingdom’s Scott Fitzgerald who missed out by just 1 point. It may not go down well with Bruce Forsyth (whose daughter wrote the UK’s entry) but I prefer this. A beautiful song in French – and when you look at that outfit, who would ever have thought she’d gain such success on the Titanic…!

9. 2001: Everybody – Tanel Padar, Dave Benton & 2XL (Estonia, 198pts)

This won’t be a popular choice amongst many fellow Eurovision fans I’m sure – however it’s bouncy, fun, I loved the breakdancing in the middle and quite frankly it’s a very different type of song. Estonia’s victory also represented the first time since the end of the Cold War that Eurovision ventured behind the illusory ‘iron curtain’. A truly carefree winner.

8. 1973: Un Banc, Un Arbre, Une Rue – Severine (Monaco, 128pts )

It’s old school and its catchy. I love the introduction and it’s the type of song that go around my head for hours and hours. In many ways it is a shame that Monaco doesn’t compete anymore – the country returned to Eurovision after a 24 year absence in 2004 only to disappear again in 2006 having failed to rekindle any of its past successes, but this song represents its only winner.

7. 2013: Only Teardrops – Emmille de Forrest (Denmark, 281pts)

Denmark had to wait 36 years for their second Eurovision victory (1964 to 2000) – and yet only 13 years for their second. Arguably the best of all three songs – though Fly On The Wings Of Love is a very close second – I just love the use of the drums in this song. As far as winning songs go in the last five years this one is possibly tops for me and that means it outshines Loreen’s ‘Euphoria’ which I think has become more overrated as time has passed. However whilst we’re on the subject of Sweden…

6. 1974: Waterloo – ABBA (Sweden, 28pts)

The original and classic. In 2004 they were even rewarded with a whole interval act at the contest devoted to them which featured just a tiny cameo of Benny, Bjorn, Agnetha and Anni-Frid. Famously the United Kingdom jury gave this song no votes at all and whilst this isn’t the most successful Eurovision entry of all time (in terms of proportion of votes it took), it is arguably the most popular. Love it!

5. 1997: Love Shine A Light – Katrina & The Waves (United Kingdom, 227pts)

My home country. How I remember an excitable Terry Wogan leading us through an evening of Eurovision that fateful night on May 3rd 1997. Unfortunately the UK haven’t known many Eurovision nights like it since – the BBC preferring to run our Eurovision chances on a shoe-string. This song however had everything – the lyrics, the music and the performance. It sounded like a winner from the offset and it had a fantastic draw and with that came a record win that wasn’t beaten until they had 40 odd countries voting in the contest. Fabulous!

4. 1994: Rock n’ Roll Kids – Charlie McGettigan & Paul Harrington (Ireland, 226pts)

Many people surmise that this, Ireland’s final song in their 1990s hat trick of victories, won purely because of Riverdance. However listen to the song carefully. It’s a bloody good track – and you may even find yourself listening to it over and over again. A cute song reflecting on better days, it’s the ‘two old blokes and a guitar’ vibe that was also very successful for the Olsen Brothers six years later.

3. 1976: Save All Your Kisses For Me – Brotherhood of Man (United Kingdom, 164pts)

Still the most successful Eurovision song, having been awarded an average of 9.55 points per jury in 1976 it’s ‘Save All Your Kisses For Me’. Who could the lead singer be singing about we ask ourselves throughout this track – until at the very end it’s revealed to be (presumably) his three-year old daughter. A little dance routine accompanied this on stage and despite being performed first it still managed to capture the jury’s hearts.

2. 2006: Hard Rock Hallelujah – Lordi (Finland, 292pts)

This song does not scream Eurovision – and that was why it won. A fabulous entry from Finland – their only winner in their many, many years of trying. The pyrotechnics, the masks, the music. This entry speaks for itself. Like it and love it!

1. 1985: La Det Swinge – Bobbysocks (Norway, 123pts)

Some may think this is an odd choice for my number one. However having gone to Eurovision’s Greatest Hits at the Hammersmith Apollo in March and heard this fantastic track performed live – it is by a country mile my truly favourite winner. Like many of the winners you will hum the tune for weeks but this one is a little special – the brass shines through the arrangement giving the tune some extra oomph. In 1985 this was Norway’s first winner after several nil-points and it was truly very well deserved.

The 2015 Eurovision Song Contest is being broadcast live from Vienna, Austria this week with semi finals on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 8pm, BBC Three. The grand final, as always, will be broadcast on BBC One from 8pm on Saturday 23rd May.