Today the first total solar eclipse to cross the entire continental U.S. in 99 years will attract millions of viewers, all hoping to watch as the sun and the moon’s paths collide. And while Americans will get the best views, folks in Iceland, the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, and part of Portugal will be able to see a partial eclipse as well. For those on the direct path of totality, the eclipse won’t last longer than three minutes (or, to all of you, the length of a Eurovision song). But from start to finish — as the path of the eclipse moves east — the event will be a multi-hour spectacle.
So before you reach for your eclipse glasses, why not set the mood with some eclipse-themed music from Eurovision Song Contests old and new? We’ve compiled a short list of the most celestial songs to hit the Eurovision stage, and we hope they’ll help bring this astronomical event a little closer to Earth.
Shine (Russia 2014)
They’re the twins who’ve taken on both JESC and Eurovision hand-in-hand — but it was their second entry that really shot for the stars. Well, star to be more precise. The Tolmachevy Sisters’ “Shine”, like so many similarly-titled Eurovision entries, was a motivational pop ballad featuring an epic key change and plenty of light metaphors. Eurovision legends Philipp Kirkorov and Dimitris Kontopoulos, however, were able to combine their artistic visions to elevate “Shine” to a whole new level. Its memorable staging included a seesaw and — the main reason it’s on this list — a glorious unfolding sun. Yes, to accompany the song’s dramatic bridge and the stage’s burst of warm colors, the sisters brought out a two-piece fabric sun, giving them a powerful solar backdrop to earn a respectable 7th place.
Made of Stars (Israel 2016)
In 2016, Israel hit Stockholm with a one-two celestial punch. Not only did Doron Medalie pen the anthemic ballad “Made of Stars”, but Hovi Star was selected to sing it! Don’t even mention that Israel’s national selection translates to “The Next Star for Eurovision”. On the Eurovision stage, Hovi’s performance was praised as being 2016’s most anthemic. As it grew from cropped camera shots to facial constellations on the LED floor to the audience’s light-up wristbands to a shower of pyrotechnic rain, it became more and more difficult not to feel the stardom onstage.
Running on Air (Austria 2017)
No solar eclipse is complete without the moon, and that’s why Austria 2017 deserves a spot on this list. Although he claimed to be “Running on Air”, Nathan Trent smartly chose to stay grounded on the Eurovision stage in Kyiv. Sticking to his theme, though, and in true Dreamworks fashion, he leapt up and down from a mirror-tiled moon to highlight his carefree spirit. He belted out the song’s high notes while, well, high. And while it’s true that solar eclipses require a full moon, we’re willing to let Nathan slide this once.
Children of the Universe (United Kingdom 2014)
During the eclipse, we’ll be looking from our planet to our moon and sun, but at Eurovision 2014, Molly Smitten-Downes looked far beyond any of these. Yes, with “Children of the Universe” she sang about “dancing on the edge of time” and not giving in to this “madness”. Although her entry didn’t make any direct celestial references, it certainly broadened our minds to the solar system, galaxy, and universe around us. And on top of that, it gave the United Kingdom its best finish since Blue in 2011. Our advice: stand on the edge of time today, even if only for 3 minutes.
Solayoh (Belarus 2013)
At Eurovision 2013 in Malmö, Belarus stepped up its game and brought the heat. Featuring a human-sized disco ball and fire shooting every which way, “Solayoh” brought a fresh rhythm and feel to the Eurovision stage, earning Alyona Lanskaya Belarus’s first qualification since 2010. We’re including “Solayoh” on this list out of sheer irony, though. The song’s chorus joyously speaks of a place where “the sun is always shining on you”, and although that’s certainly what we all normally look forward to, not today! Although the three minutes of “Solayoh” could make anyone long for some sun, we’re hoping that the three minutes of darkness during the eclipse will be an even better replacement. Just this once.
My Star (Latvia 2000)
Charming and just a tad eccentric, Brainstorm delivered a memorable performance of “My Star” in Stockholm, at the 2000 edition of Eurovision. The song’s meaning was straightforward and authentic: Renars Kaupers (the lead singer) would follow his dreams no matter where they took him, and he hoped his lover would join him for the wild ride. And although Renars saw the possibility of his star falling, Brainstorm did nothing but rise to the occasion at Eurovision, earning an impressive third place finish.
Honorable Mention: Total Eclipse of the Heart (Bonnie Tyler)
We know, we know — Bonnie Tyler’s Eurovision entry “Believe in Me” had absolutely nothing to do with the sun, moon, or stars. Her biggest hit, on the other hand, is just too on-theme to ignore. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” reached the top of the Billboard charts in 1983, and earned Tyler multiple Grammy Award nominations. Although “Believe in Me” wasn’t nearly as successful, landing the Welsh icon 19th place at Eurovision, it was still a rare chance to witness such a legend representing her country in the 2000s.
What’s most exciting, though, is that Bonnie Tyler has announced that she’ll be performing a live rendition of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” during the eclipse. Backed by Joe Jonas and his band DNCE onboard the Royal Caribbean Total Eclipse cruise, this eclipse has given Tyler her first opportunity to sing her chart-topper at such a perfect moment. We believe in you, Bonnie!
We understand that there are many other Eurovision songs that could have been included on this list, but how do you think we did? What other songs are on your eclipse soundtrack, and which of these is too much of a stretch? Let us know in the comments section below!