Every year television audiences are subjected to hours of unbearable tedium, tuneless caterwauling, and an enormous waste of money. But that’s enough about The X Factor, let’s talk about The Eurovision Song Contest. The standard line that most (slightly xenophobic) British people trot out is that all the other European nations are incapable of making decent music, take the competition way too seriously, and hate our guts. Well, I would probably agree that they do hate us – but the fact that we never win is likely more to do with the fact that our entries are invariably wank. In 2011 we sent Blue, for fuck’s sake - for that we deserve to be kicked out of Europe forever.
So here is my rundown of the best of Eurovision through the ages – Yes, yes, obviously Waterloo by ABBA is brilliant (although not as good as the live version of Does Your Mother Know, replete with guitar solos and “stupid sexy Flanders”), but by “best” I obviously mean “most ridiculous”.
Svetglana Loboda - Be My Valentine (Anti Crisis Girl)
It sounds like Mikki Disco from The Fast Show covering Flight Of The Conchords, but Anti Crisis Girl has a serious message. I can’t be certain, but I think it’s about the Global Recession. Topical in 2009, topical now. It seems this proactive Ukranian has this covered, however, and she’s going to sort out the worldwide economic meltdown, presumably by using her Sexy BOM!
Teräsbetoni – Missä Miehet Ratsastaa
Metal! Battle Metal is not something you would normally expect from the competition that brought you Ding a Dong (Netherlands, 1975) and Diggi-Loo Diggy-Ley (Sweden, 1981), but The Finns clearly love metal as much as they love Moomintroll. It’s probably a good thing Teräsbetoni didn’t win, however, as some trophy or other would have been an insufficient prize for these musical marauders. They probably would have demanded their enemies crushed and driven before them, and to hear the lamentation of their women.
Lena – Satellite
Being cute never hurt anyone. Your average British racist sees The Germans as humourless, cold and officious – or at least angry, intimidatingly stylish, or good with computers. Lena didn’t fit any of these stereotypes - imagine Amélie, with Björk’s mangled faux cockney accent, singing about her underwear. No wonder it won the competition in 2010 – we all know those Europeans are dirty!
Lordi - Hard Rock Hallelujah
Monster Rock! Finland entered these rubber clad panto rockers in 2006, and they well and truly brought home the demonic bacon. Sadly this didn’t open the floodgates for vast hordes of Euro metal bands to take part in subsequent years ( Teräsbetoni notwithstanding), but we live in hope. Lordi are named after their singer, Mr Lordi, so they must be a sort of monster version of Winger or Bon Jovi. Despite all looking like Citadel Minatures, they have done some pretty decent radio friendly rock anthems over the years. Best of all they have their own movie Dark Floors, an atmospheric Twilight Zone ish affair. Sadly, it doesn’t feature the band all that much, but it does include one of their better tunes Beast Loose In Paradise.
The Ark - The Worrying Kind
Glam! Sweden’s 2007 entry didn’t win (boo) but they’re still ace. The Worrying Kind is suspiciously similar to Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes by Edison Lighthouse, has definite shades of The Sweet’s Blockbuster, and quotes Bowie’s Quicksand, so what’s not to like? They’ve also toured with The Darkness, which should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone.
Ruffus - Eighties Coming Back
80s! Songs about international brotherhood and understanding took a back seat to this baffling entry from Estonia in 2003. Less a boyband, more a bunch of dudes who have taken way too long to put together their GCSE music coursework. It’s hard to tell whether Ruffus (original name: Claire’s Birthday) consider the fact that the Eighties are Coming back a good thing or a bad thing- It’s fairly upbeat but the singer apparently “wakes up in the middle of the night in terror”, maintains that “it makes you wanna cry” and yells out “I can’t stand it”! Also, those deep synthesiser sounds really freak you out.
LT United - We Are The Winners
Confidence! Crazed electric violin solo! Idiot dancing! Shouting into a bullhorn! Five blokes that look like second division Football managers! What more could you possibly want?
LT United were Lithuania’s entry in 2006, and should definitely put paid to the old chestnut that all the non UK entries take things way too seriously. The group was made up of musicians and television personalities, all well known in their home nation, and the official video featured clips of each of them- brilliantly out ofcontext for the rest of us. Their stated aim is “to represent the truth”, but this mostly consists of repeatedly telling us “We Are The Winners. Of Eurovision”, and suggesting that we “vote”.
Sadly, the truth is that they didn’t win (2006 was a strong year, at least for crazy gimmicks), but they did manage the (admittedly easy) feat of making Daz Sampson look like a fucking idiot. Who is Daz Sampson you might well ask? He had the UK entry that year, Teenage Life, a sort of embarrassing chummy hip hop number. Daz looked like the kind of guy that would hang out around schools, trying to pick up the hot 25 year old schoolgirls that were onstage with him (unconvincingly lip syncing the Grocer Jack style kiddie chorus). Immediately following We Are The Winners and perhaps realising he had been blown off the stage by our Lithuanian pals, he capped off the performance by bellowing “Vote for the music!”, as if to say Teenage Life was a serious piece of musical theatre, rather than a dopey joke song.
That year Daz came 19th, with with a total of 25 points. LT United came 6th, with 162 points. In your face, Bus Stop!
Bonus vid- presumably a rehearsal version where they can’t be arsed, yet somehow 98.5% more awesome. Vote!