Country Profile: Armenia At The Eurovision Song Contest

Barev evropa ! In our longstanding tradition of country profiles, we shall continue with the land of Yerevan, Apricot, Kardashians, Sirusho, and Kirk Krikorian– Armenia! Armenia has participated in Eurovision Song Contest since 2006, making it the first country from the Caucasus to join Eurovision. They haven’t sealed a victory yet but in these 8 years Armenian entries have placed in the TOP 10 six times. Armenia’s most successful entries are Sirusho’s  ‘Qele Qele’ from 2008 & Aram Mp3’s ‘Not Alone’ from 2014. They both finished in fourth place and their radically different sounds reflect the variety Yerevan has fielded. In 2012 Armenia withdrew from the contest due to security concerns and forgetting the (not-so-popular) 2013 song, they returned with a real bang in 2014!

Recent History:

2014- Aram MP3 with “Not Alone“, 4th place with 174 points
2013- the Dorians with “Lonely Planet“, 18th place with 41 points
2011- Emmy with “Boom Boom“, Failed to qualify (12th place with 54 points)
2010- Eva Rivas with “Apricot Stone“, 7th place with 144 points
2009- Inga and Anush with “Jan Jan“, 10th place with 92 points
2008- Sirusho with “Qele Qele“, 4th place with 199 points

Song Stats:

1. How many times did Aram MP3 say the word “Alone”? – Shockingly, only 10. It felt like 100.
2. How many sets of “douze points” did Armenia receive since their debut in 2006? 19 in the finals (8 of which went to Sirusho alone!), 19 in the semi-finals.
3. How many times have Armenia placed in the top 10 during their ESC career? 6 times, out of 9 attempts. Pretty snazzy.

Best Scoring Entry:

2008 – Sirusho with ‘Qele Qele’, 4th Place in the Grand Final with 199 Points

The 21 year old singer entered the stage of Belgrade with three dancers & two backing vocalists. In these three minutes of her performance she invited everyone to dance & sing with her “Qele Qele”.  She came fourth place with 199 points: the best score in Armenian history at the Contest. Girl werked it on stage. In 2014 Aram Mp3’s “Not Alone” got the same placing but a lower score with 174 points. She was seriously fierce but unfortunately was up against strong diva competition from Kalomira and Ani Lorak. Even more unfortunately the divas cancelled each other out and enabled Dima Bilan to win (#sadface).

Memorable lyrics: Qele, qele! Qele, qele! Qele, qele! Qe-le/Time is here tonight,/You should make it right,
/To end our fight just hold me tight!

Worst Scoring Entry:

2011- Emmy with “Boom Boom”, DNQ, 12th Place in the Semi-Final with 54 Points
When Emmy sang “Boom Boom chacka chacka” Europe collectively went “boom shakalak-aaaaaaaaaah” in terror. A country with a five-year streak of top 10 songs finally fell, and rather spectacularly. A nonsensical love song that was more cheesier than a bowl of fondue was somehow chosen. The song was so terrible that you jump to identify it as a joke entry, but then you realize: it’s actually a serious entry. This song was probably found on a sale rack at the Goodwill store, along with those poorly fitting costumes (I cannot dignify them by calling them “outfits”).
Memorable lyrics: The whole thing. It’s atrociously memorable.

Team Wiwi Says:

Wiwi: Underestimate Armenia at your peril! This small nation pulls out big surprises, and rarely fails to bring something F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S. I let out a massive WTF when Angelina Jolie look-a-like Eva Rivas brought flames and an oversized apricot stone to Oslo. And the next year my jaw dropped again when Emmy, who is seriously underrated, danced in front of a bejewelled boxing glove. What a knockout! Armenia: “I wanna say one thing is true: I’m in love with you!”

Francheska: Inga and Anush are by far the best. They have mastered the art of performing and had such a wonderful song that was ethnic yet modern without sacrificing elements of either. Their placing 10th in 2009 is an abomination, but 2009 was a very competitive year. I have full confidence that in any other year, they would have made the top 5. Breaking apart from wonderful memories of “Jan Jan” and all of those sequins, Armenia has had a remarkable track record.

The one Armenian Eurovision act I would have to say that needed a massive overhaul was Emmy. How the mighty have fallen. The humility of being the first singer to break such a wonderful 5-year streak is one thing, but then not to qualify is another blow. The kitschy performance should be banned for being indecently terrible.

Sopon: I don’t really love Armenian entries: they are just middle-of-the-road to me…with the exception of Inga and Anush. It’s different from the normal pop, I love the ethnic sound, and it shows off so much national culture. It really shows how the original purpose of Eurovision, bringing semi-ethnic and cultural music from each country, can still resonate in new countries. The Dorians are their weakest effort, in my opinion. They belong back in the garage, not on the Eurovision stage.

Deban: Armenia deserves recognition particularly for their 2010 entry, Apricot Stone, by Eva Rivas. Perhaps one of the most important entries in the 60 year history of the contest, “Apricot Stone” chronicles a country’s turbulent history, using the fruit as a metaphor. She managed to avoid EBU censorship, engage 170 million global viewers and plug her national identity at the same time.

So what do you all think? Did the Dorians rock your lonely planet? Do you wanna shake your head with Sirusho to ‘Qele Qele’? Comments below peeps!