This used to be a thing? Eurovision trends from the ’00s


Eurovision reflects the times — and, for better or worse, the fashion, style and musical trends of the day. Through the years we’ve seen all sorts of trends come and go. And one of the most fruitful periods for this was definitely the ’00s. Trends considered en vogue back then now have us raising our eyebrows (fully grown eyebrows, I might add — not the pencilled-in ones). So, nodding to the good and the bad, let’s take a look at the Eurovision trends that came and went in the noughties.

Spiky hair (dash of glitter optional)

From around 2000 it was clear that Eurovision was changing. Gone were the conservative evening gowns and sophisticated hairstyles. Now it was all about making your hair as wild as possible. It had to be seen from outer space! After going on hiatus at the end of the 80’s, the use of hairspray returned with a bang (and thank goodness no one lit a match).

Spiky hair, with loads and loads of bobby pins and/or butterfly pins, as well as wacky colours and frosted tips, was all the rage. And those who were feeling particularly wild also sprinkled endless amounts of glimmer over their hair, which already had at least one can of “strong hold” hairspray in it. Not even a hurricane (or jumbo wind machine) could move an artist’s hair in those glory days.

The contest in Stockholm in 2000 is the biggest offender (or winner?) regarding this trend. The Swedish backing vocalists for Malta probably used about a gallon of hairspray in total. Iceland’s Telma not only had the spiky part down, she also rocked some seriously funky purple stripes in her hair. Alex Panayi was spiked AND glimmering during his powerful performance of “Nomiza”. But the award for the most use of all those trends together goes to the Norwegian girl group Charmed. So much spiky, so much glimmer, so much colour, so much hairspray!

Fake tan

It’s safe to say that this particular trend won’t be missed. But we have to face the fact that fake tan was da shizzle back in the 00’s! Reality TV was at its height with shows such as The Simple Life and Jersey Shore ruling the airwaves. Thanks to reality tv celebrities like Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie, and for those who go for that sort of thing, Snookie, everybody wanted to look like they’d rolled in a pool of chocolate. And of course this horrible trend entered Eurovision.

This was painfully visible in 2004 and reared its ugly orange head every now and then for the next couple of years. That year Spain sent the Latin heartthrob Ramón del Castillo. So Spanish in every single way. But clearly not enough for he was lathered in fake tan to emphasize the fact that he was Latin. The Slovenian duet Platin, from the same year, had also bathed in Hawaiian Tropic before going on stage, although they’d toned it down a bit since the national finals. The Oompa Loompa worship was full-on again in 2005, but the ultimate fake tan award has to go to Keith Camilleri, the Maltese member of Six4One, the pan-European group representing Switzerland in 2006. He was practically on the verge of being burnt orange. Poor Keith. Guess he didn’t want the trend to die…

Short dresses and skirts

When I say short, I’m talking SHORT. If the camera couldn’t catch someone’s vajayjay from the right angle, that outfit was too prudish. Through the first six years of the 21st century, one could almost see the dresses and skirts get shorter by the minute.

In 2002 we saw one of the first über short garments when Estonia’s Sahléne came on stage wearing a white skirt, which was cut all the way up to her ovaries. The following year, 16-year-old Claudia Beni represented Croatia wearing a top and a skirt that left literally nothing for the imagination. And they still managed to rip some of her clothes off during the performance. The UK’s Jemma Abbey had to deal with a cut back at the BBC…when it came to making her dress. In 2004, Romania’s Sanda Ladosa rocked a specially made nothing with a frill attached to it, and in 2006 Moldova’s Natalia Gordienko not only had to wear a belt disguised as a skirt, she also had her few garments removed during the performance, before popping backstage to change into a wedding dress.

Songs of peace

It’s a trend as old as Eurovision itself and it seemed to reach its peak in the 00’s. Before there was “Love love peace peace”, there were all sorts of songs about peace, unity and harmony in some shape, sound or form.

Israel has been the master of peace songs throughout the years, like in 2009 when the Israeli/Palestinian du0 of Noa and Mira Awad proved that it doesn’t matter where you come from in matters of friendship and hope. Other countries have also expressed their wish for a peaceful world, such as “Keine grenzen”, Poland’s entry in 2003, which was performed in Polish, German and Russian. Latvia entered in 2005 with their peace anthem “The war is not over” and Ireland’s Eamonn Toal begged for a “Millennium of Love” back in 2000. But it was in the same year that the Israelis opened the contest with a bang when the group Ping Pong showed up, all loose and relaxed, not afraid to show affection for each other…or for their neighbouring country Syria. Israel and Syria were, of course, embroiled in a serious feud, and the group expressed their wish for a peaceful relationship by waving both the Israeli and Syrian flags. Needless to say Ping Pong ruffled some feathers: Their own state broadcaster disowned them ahead of the broadcast.

Denim and earthly colours

The 00’s was, as mentioned before, all about being casual and free. Not many contestants had worn jeans before the millennium, and those who did were considered “wacky”. In 1995 Belgium’s Frederick Etherlinck wore jeans and a denim shirt during his performance. The Icelandic commentator said he had borrowed his outfit from a nearby construction site when Frederick (clearly not the tuxedo type) was simply keeping it casual and comfortable.

But then the 2002 contest happened. Suddenly everyone was dressing like the extra in a bad movie about cowboys and Indians. It was all about beige, light brown, white and denim that year. Everything was frilled, with weird accessories such as random strings. Basically all 2002 outfits looked like someone had gone on a rampage with scissors and leather strings, after taking a crash course in what Hollywood considered to be the “Native American” look. Oh, and every woman was wearing pointy shoes.

The UK’s Jessica Garlick was sporting some sort of that Native American/”oops, I went through the shredder” look. Her outfit seemed to be seconds away from completely falling into pieces.

Bosnia’s Maja had shoes so pointy that they could’ve pierced through someone’s heart…if she had taken a roundhouse kick in the wrong direction.

But the trophy goes to Sergio and the Ladies, who represented Belgium. An energetic performance with Sergio doing all sorts of stunts on stage, resulting in him being completely out of breath by the end. But his Ladies in the back took all of the above mentioned trends to a whole new level. They had everything going on. Frills, denim, lightbrown colours, jackets that looked worn out, but weren’t, skirts over jeans, leather strings and pointy shoes. You name it — it was there! They summed up 2002 fashion with a bang. Those trends could be seen on and off in following years, but nothing can beat the contest in Tallinn.

Those are just a few of the trends that came and went during the 00’s. There are so many more — enough to fill another list, really. Which spoke to you the most? What did we forget? And which trends do you want to see as part of a revival? Let us know in the comments box below. 

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