Playing footsie: 10 artists who went barefoot at Eurovision

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With all its glamour and glitz, Eurovision has provided us with various types of footwear through the years. Who, for example, can ever forget Tina Karol’s colourful boots or Edurne’s laced-up gladiator pumps?

But there has also been a fair share of contestants who just decided to go au naturel and sport their bare feet.  Including five winners! Lets take a look at some of the Eurovision stars who wiggled their toes on the big stage.

10. Tanja – Estonia 2014

Not only did Tanja do all sorts of gymnastics on stage, while performing “Amazing”, she also did it without any shoes. Let’s face it — it’s probably a lot easier to do all the running and the jumping and whatnot, without having to worry about some pesky heels, guaranteed to screw one over during important moments. But despite her shoeless shuffling, Tanja didn’t make it out of the semi-final in Copenhagen.

9. Dima Bilan – Russia 2008

Dima was the star of the show back in 2008, and along with the Hungarian wunderfiddler Edvin Marton and multiple Olympic gold medalist for figure skating, Evgeny Plushenko, he brought home Russia’s only victory to date. Dima wanted to feel free during his performance, so he ditched his shoes and, oh, just went ahead and won the whole thing! No biggie. But it was a perilous performance for the shoeless showman. The tension was palpable each time Plushenko skated too near Dima’s toes. Just imagine. One… wrong…. move and Eurovision 2008 would have been memorable in a whole different way. Ouch!

8. María Ólafs – Iceland 2015

María took the “no shoes” trend to another level and dipped her bare feet in gold paint before entering the stage in Vienna. And earlier she also walked red carpet barefoot, without worrying about heels getting caught in the hem of her dress. The golden toes however, did not live up to the legend of the barefoot winners, and María was forced to tiptoe her way out of the semis. But she was just cute as a button though, and her golden feet were the icing on the fairy princess cake.

7. Emmelie De Forest – Denmark 2013

Emmelie certainly seemed like a “less is more” type of gal, and ultimately proved it when she let the warm breeze of victory tickle her bare toes in Malmö. Armed with a big dose of Danish fuzziness and a flirty flautist, Emmelie followed in the bare footsteps of other Eurovision goddesses and refused to be held down by something as trivial as shoes.

6. Christina Metaxa – Cyprus 2009

Before María´s fairy princess stage outfit, there was Christina Metaxa, the Cypriot teenage girl who chased fireflies on the stage in Moscow, and twirled around, completely free of any footwear. She failed to reach the finals, but that certainly had nothing to do with her bare feet. It all just seemed fitting for the act and Christina’s laid-back cuteness.

5. Sertab Erener – Turkey 2003

One could cut the atmosphere with a knife during the voting procedure in Riga. Such suspense! Such a race towards the trophy! Such… total lack of shoes! Oh yes. The Turkish firecracker Sertab Erener refused to let shoes slow her down on her way to first place. In her sultry act, where she and her dancers danced around totally barefoot, she managed to wow Europe like there was no tomorrow. Manolo Blahnik must have cried, when watching barefoot Sertab declare victory for Turkey.

4. Frizzle Sizzle – Netherlands 1986

A quadruple threat without any shoes. This Dutch girlband might have looked a little bit like they were doing their laundry down by the river on a hot summer day, but they definitely had memorable staging nonetheless. The act was jolly and cute and the girls seemed to enjoy every minute of it as they earned a 13th place finish. And they didn’t have to worry about sore feet or blisters on their heels either! That is a win-win situation for every girl out there. Trust me.

3. Loreen – Sweden 2012

Loreen was, and still is, a child of nature, and she also proved to be one of Eurovision’s most successful winners in later years by breaking Alexander Rybak’s record for the most 12 points given to a winner. Oh, did I mention that she didn’t wear any shoes while she was at it? Sweden’s win in 2012 was euphoric to say the least, but Loreen was laid back and relaxed, while waving her bare toes in front of Europe, without so much as breaking a sweat.

2. Sofia Nizharadze – Georgia 2010

A powerful performance by a powerful singer, and Sofia looked gorgeous in her red dress on stage. But she obviously was no fan of unnecessary accessories such as shoes, and went barefoot. And she made her dancers go barefoot as well. So there was a festival of toes during Georgia’s act in Oslo, and that (with the song of course) secured Sofia a top-ten placing and her countries best effort since their debut three years earlier. Not a bad days work, I’d say.

1. Sandie Shaw – United Kingdom 1967

The one and only Sandie Shaw was the first to step barefoot on stage in Eurovision, and she also just went ahead and gave the UK their first ever win! The swinging ’60s was the era of freedom and Sandie was a poster child for that. Giving the sometimes stuffy atmosphere of Eurovision’s early years, Sandie gave a metaphorical finger, threw all “rules of society” out the window, and took to the stage wearing nothing but her minidress. She set the tone for all the people who made it on this list, with her toes and attitude laid. There truly is only Sandie Shaw.

What do you think about this list of barefoot goddesses and one god in Eurovision history? Who is your favourite?

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