This Saturday the gang at Halfway II Heaven are screening the Eurovision Final live in the Charing Cross bar hosted by Kelly Mild, Eurovision guru Kitty Patten and special guest Shae G’Day. We asked the lovey Kitty if she could talk us through a selection of her favourite moments from the competition’s eventful history.
Donatan and Cleo – We Are Slavic (Poland 2014)
This performance featured more cleavage and suggestive moves than was probably decent. Who knew you needed ‘that’ kind of equipment to churn butter and wash clothes…
Pastora Soler – Quédate Conmigo (Spain 2012)
The rumour was that the Spanish TV company had asked her to throw her performance as they could not afford to host if she won. Well she went out and gave one of the best performances, and one of the best held notes ever!
Silvia Night – Congratulations (Iceland 2006 )
Although a ‘comic character’, Silvia performed her entry to a backing of booing from the crowd. Lyrics such as: ‘Hello, is it God? What’s up dog? It’s your favourite person in the world Silvia Night’, made her performance one of the most self indulgent in recent times.
Cezar – It’s My Life (Romania 2013)
When we think of Romania we only think of vampires, right? Well the staging of Cezar’s song had him as a vampire figure performing over a stage billowing with a blood red cloth. That would be strange enough, but the outlandish operatic style, combined with contemporary dancers, made for a totally bizarre spectacle. The song was about love, nothing more, nothing less, and confusingly the official video had him as a skydiving playboy.
Michalis Rakintzis – SAGAPO (Greece 2002)
A group of leather clad Greek men, performing almost robotic choreography, to a song about passwords. Yes, seriously.
Zlata Ognevich – Gravity (Ukraine 2013)
Zlata had one of the most bizarre stage entrances. She was carried onto stage by the USA’s tallest man, playing the part of a giant troll. At over 7-foot 8-inches they certainly made an impact, as they finished third on the night.
The 1969 Contest
The organisers had never wondered what to do if there was a tie. Well in 1969 four countries tied for the win: the UK, Spain, the Netherlands and France. With no tie break rules in place they were all deemed winners. Needless to say tie break rules have been in use ever since.
LT. United – We Are The Winners (Lithuania 2006)
Another indulgent song from 2006. The fact it was performed by what appeared to be six accountants out on a boozy lunch did not help them either. Amazingly they finished in 6th place.
Dana International – Diva (Israel 1998)
Dana International was undoubtedly a breakthrough act for diversity at the ESC. As an out trans woman she had to overcome protests from her own orthodox Jewish population. However, she went on to win on the very last vote. She then made Terry Wogan and Ulrika Jonsson wait whilst she insisted on a rather lengthy costume change. Diva indeed. I can not resist including Dana International for a second time. As winners, Israel hosted the Contest in 1999 and she was asked to present the winners trophy. Whilst doing this she pretended to drop the trophy. Instead she fell over and was immediately surrounded by security guards. Rumour had it that they thought she’d been assassinated. Thankfully she regained her composure and carried on.
Buranovskiye Babushki – Party for Everybody (Russia 2012)
In 2012, Russia sent a group of elderly grandmothers. They had started their group to raise funds to rebuild their church, and their catchy song featured an oven, and fake bread. None of this held them back as they finished in second place.
Lordi – Hard Rock Hallelujah (Finland 2006)
What can I say about this winning act? It featured a rock group clad in more latex and rubber than one of my parties in the 1980s. They were never seen out of their costumes at all, so I’m just glad I did not have to sit next to them on the plane home.
Conchita Wurst – Rise Like a Phoenix (Austria 2014)
In a period where east-west tensions were building, and the Russian government and others were imposing new laws against the promotion of LGBTQ+ lifestyles, along came a bearded drag queen from Austria. Many loved her Bond-esque song, but no one could ever have predicted how she would have won over the hearts of Europe in such a dramatic way. This was the night we witnessed the birth of the ‘Un-stoppables’.
Loreen – Euphoria (Sweden 2012)
Loreen was a red hot favourite and she delivered an outstanding vocal and an almost at times balletic performance. It’s probably the one Eurovision song that most people remember and still play to this day.
The Birth of Riverdance (Dublin 1994)
The contest has produced global hits and given some major international acts their breaks. However, one of the most memorable moments came from the interval in 1994 in Dublin. To fill the interval the Irish broadcaster RTÉ commissioned a music and dance extravaganza featuring Irish dance champions Jean Butler and Michael Flatley. What followed was one of the most exhilarating interval acts in Eurovision history. The concept went on to dominate the world of popular dance for decades.