The nostalgia continues as I went through my old Eurovision DVDs that were provided by my dear friend Tobias. This particular show in Kiev is particularly important to me because I watched it over, and over, and over, and over, and over again and only saw the semi-final ten years after it actually happened.
On the evening of May 21, 2005 Kiev Ukraine welcomed the world accompanied by Maria Efrosinina and Pavyl Shylko to celebrate Ruslana’s successes in Turkey and host the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final 2005. It was a long show, so let’s waste no time getting to the most watched version of the contest in the history of my life.
Folk inspired dancing and singing really was a popular fixture this year and despite nobody having any idea what anyone was saying they were spinning their way to learn more about themselves. Much attention due to it’s catchy and different feeling (most Hungarian things are in fact different), this on was a performance to never forget; if not for the decent singing than for the amazing dancing.
Finishing 22 out of a possible 24, Europe rejected Javine and the lighting of her fire. There is no pun intended there, but quite honestly this entry was a hot mess from beginning to end. It was just blah singing, blah dancing, and a mix between pop-r&b-dance that really made me want to throw rubbish at the screen. The UK needs some help, and even 10 years later I’m not convinced that they have got the recipe correct with rumours of this year being Bonnie Tyler’s début and last year’s Engelbert Humperdink. In recent years we even saw Andrew Lloyd-Weber try to save the UK from Terry Wogan’s embarrassing quips.
Having directly qualified to the final for the previous year doing so well in Malta’s favour, Chiara took her diva Maltese voice and sang for us a ballad that would never be forgotten. Very reminiscent of her song back in 1998 in Birmingham, she seems to take the power-ballads and rock them out. Though suspicious in her qualification due to some technical televoting difficulties, she beat out other Maltese contenders that would later have the chance to represent their island nation; of which included Fabrizio Faniello, Glen Vella, and Olivia Lewis. I guess on a small island there isn’t much choice?!
This song will go down in history as one of most recognisable songs, voices, and biggest mouth of all time. It was a pleasure to watch her dance around and the drummers stomp around while she sung, I actually recall most vividly towards the end of the song where the musicians actually were stomping around with trash-cans which made some boom-noises. It was so cool and it’s no wonder that her song “Let Me Try” was a disco-dance hit from then on. It was only later in 2009 when she tried to become a politician (and failed) that she showed up again on the internet in a famous way. Great job Romania (and as it’s proven to be, the most consistent favourite country in my books).
Super popular glam-hard-rock singer Åge Sten Nilsen turned Eurovision upside-down by cross dressing and being fabulous. He’s quoted as saying that rock is the new schlager, which I disagree with because nothing can replace it. Although finishing top-9 in the final, the song is widely popular and is still played in radios in Scandinavia years after the competition!
When Turkey brings a song to the competition it usually is well representative of the East as the majority of Turkey actually resides in Asia and only a sliver in Europe, however this French singer representing Turkey in their native tongue is very ethnic and very fun featuring drumming, dancing, and really good vocals. A quality performance, that usually would garner more televotes due to Turkish diaspora only managed to muster 92 points and end in 13th place.
The grandmother beating the drum was a huge hit in the competition and to this day I still don’t understand why. The group made another appearance in the competition dressed like (what I would consider to be) gnomes and the song was equally strange and not my type of music. However they did well to represent their country in their inaugural entrance to the competition.
Flat out Albania usually has good singers but this one was hard on the eyes to me. I’m not really sure what happened in the whole scheme of things but it didn’t manage to get many votes and the song doesn’t really stick in my head with a memorable memory. Though having directly qualified she was able to avoid embarrassment in the semi-final where she likely wouldn’t have qualified.
The ever suggestive “Come Baby” song from Cyprus featured a number of very strange things on stage. Firstly a skinny muscled Constantinos who suggestively dances his way into the bedrooms of most (seemingly) women, the backing singer of Elina Constantopoulou who previously represented Cyprus in 1995 with her bitchin’ voice, and two dancers that are more suggestive than I have ever seen. Only Poland a few years ago with their Stripper-Cage, and Austria years later with their actual Stripper-Poles would rival this one. At one point when the dancers hit the floor like it’s hot and “pump” their way back up the frizzy-haired dancer raises her dress so far up that it’s impossible to tell if she’s wearing underwear. For fear that we accidentally saw a cooch, I will focus henceforth on the mirrors, barrels, and pole props that the use throughout the (again) suggestive lyrics. It’s just too sexual; asking us all to c[o]me with him…
The Spanish entry this year was a trio of colourful dancing women that sang about witchcraft. Though traditionally flamenco-pop band these three sisters whisk around the stage attempting to enchant the audience. Sadly it failed as they garnered 28 points and ended in 21st position. But really it doesn’t matter year to year for Spain as they get automatic qualification any ways.
With her power-song she warmed up to Europe and convinced them to vote for her and get her to 4th place (what?!) but I didn’t buy it for a second. Since her failure to win she has made a career of being a singer and tour with the names of Leona Lewis among others.
Boy-bands at it’s absolute worst with this entry that not only tried to convince us that they were audible in any intelligible language, but actually decent singers (huh?!) they somehow came in 7th ahead of other superior songs. I don’t really understand it, but given the massive vote-sharing in the Balkans it’s not entirely surprising, though I do think that other songs like Bosnia & Herzegovina’s song was better…
Talking to us, once again having qualified from the semi-finals, this Danish entry represents a feel-good laid-back song that people just find easy to listen to. The chorus is memorable but it’s by no means a winning song and as such finished top-9 in the competition.
One of Sweden’s worst performances in the competition this one was supposed to do much better having directly qualified but failed to make it no higher than 19th place in the song contest this year. Needless to say a complete fiasco for Melodifestivalen organisers as the country barely raked up any points at all and as a result were relegated to the semi-finals the year later where Carola would storm through (quite literally). I would attribute this loss to the too focused female accompaniment, where Martin appears to be a severe womaniser. Typical of the hit-songs in Sweden, this one was popular for a long time and still plays on the radio, even though it flopped Eurovision-side.
Between Macedonia and it’s monster name, and problems that it gets in with other nations, and their horrible singers like this year and the year before, and after etc, I just want them to return to the Balkans and never come back. Even his drumming couldn’t save him from the horrible swaying.
As host countries in the competition Ukraine had something to prove. One year prior the Orange Revolution occurred where there was much dismay over the presidential election. It essentially was a politically motivated song that even named Presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko in it’s original text, though translated later did not include it was a clear demonstration or re-demonstration that the Ukraine was trying to re-brand itself as democratic.
This song came dead last and for good reason, it was a complete and utter disaster and hot-mess of a song. Gracia’s singing was odd, at best, and although the song was supposed to be inspiring it failed to do anything but remain in the minds for clear unobstructed strangeness.
The folk dancers and singer come from the semi-finals to replay their favourite song, only to end up being 11th in the final. The Balkans did well this year, and in subsequent years did even better, however it’s strange to have watched such a region dominate and it was years after voting controversies occurred and deep into the then accepted “voting blocs” that would try to be dispelled years later. This ballad just didn’t do it for me.
Having been chosen to sing the original 4 songs (then became 3) in the Greek pre-selection competition, with fierce promotional touring this song garnered the top votes and won the competition and brought the song contest to the pre-economic meltdown of Athens Greece. The song was high-tempo, very ethnic while still being pop-tastic, and pleased many ears. It got the most 12 points and the most votes overall (of course). Though what’s interesting most to me is that in the pre-selection one of the songs that was disqualified for being pre-released by another artist “The Light in Our Soul” was my by-and-far favourite and I listen to it on a regular basis. Personally I think it’s a superior song.
What the hell is this? I really don’t have words for the horrible hot mess of an entry that Russia put together this year, though after staunch review she was discovered to be actually Belarussian which explains so much so I won’t harp much on Russia (who later in the competition turned it around to win, of course and produce some really top music). This one however, did absolutely nothing for me or the televoters as it ended up in 15th position mostly getting points from form Soviet Union nation-states.
Fabulousness personified this super-fun song was a disco hit to celebrate the 50th year of the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s fun, it’s catchy, it’s schlager, and it’s classic Andrej Babić composition! The actually Croatian group eventually tried to represented Croatia in 2007 and failed, again in 2009 and failed, and then crashed and burned out in Eurovision Song Contest 2010 with their ballad, and the group subsequently broke up as a result of the poor performance, but no matter because the “Call Me” number left them all dancing and having a grand old time! Call me is a 5-star song in my play-list from now until forever!
Estonia’s “Swiss” entry to the competition with this girl rockers appealed to televoters not only for their attractive ensembles, but for their rock song that reverberated with the nomo (non-homosexual) populations that gather towards Eurovision like a moth to light. They finished 8th with their song “Cool Vibes.” In review of their history they formed in 2002 and tried to represent Estonia in 2002, 2003, 2004, their successful nomination in Switzerland in 2005, and further failures in 2005, and 2007 display a proficient attempt at getting into the contest again while still having a successful career.
Well the cute boys from Latvia and their nasal voices and song commenting on war and peace finished 5th and was a good example of the innocence of music despite the musicians probably being secretly (probably) scandalous. There is no way that adorable boys can go so long without being corrupted by the wicked wiles of women, or men…
France’s song was a total pathetic attempt at music and showed that everyone thinking only of themselves is not going to help them in their attempt to win Eurovision. Go home France and come back with something better and less hipster.
The competition effectively ended successfully with Greece hoisting the flag for the next year in Athens, and as a side-joke probably ran Greece into financial ruin years later. Jokes aside it was another controversial year as the top-4 countries that get direct admittance in the competition (Spain, United Kingdom, France, and Germany) came in the dead last 4 positions raising questions about their automatic qualifications. In hind-sight it’s likely just the result of bloc-voting or protest-voting and wasn’t likely to change. Years later even Italy returned back as automatic qualifiers and have been doing quite well. Also a few years later United Kingdom turned things around and came top-5, and Germany actually won the competition. It just goes to show that if you ruffle enough feathers, you might end up proving the continent wrong!