Back in the Eurovision Saddle: Bosnia's Dino Merlin


Six acts competing at Eurovision 2011 have performed on Europe’s biggest stage before. And two of them—Dana International and Lena—have already tasted victory. But does a second trip to Eurovision make them likely victors—or does it make them tired and stale? (Let’s not forget what happened to Malta’s Chiara Siracusa in 2009? Sad.)

Let’s take the returning artists in turn. We’ll watch their previous Eurovision performances and then you guys can separate the shoe-ins from the has-beens in our poll at the bottom of the post. Click on their name if you want to see their entry for 2011.

1. Bosnia’s Dino Merlin. In 1999, Dino teamed up with French singer Béatrice Poulot to sing a duet he wrote entitled “Putnici” (Travellers). It placed seventh out of 23 acts in the final.

2. Germany’s Lena. The granddaughter of Germany’s former ambassador to the Soviet Union, Lena was still a high school student when she harnessed quirkiness and a horrible Cockney accent to help her win Eurovision 2010. It’s a shame she’s decided to compete again, so soon after her victory, but young people frequently make bad decisions. Here she is giving trauma ryhthm in “Satellite.”

3. Iceland’s Gunnar Ólafsson. A member of Iceland’s entry Sjonni’s Friends in 2011, Gunnar first competed at Eurovision ten years ago. Back in 2001, as now, he didn’t go solo but instead competed with with Kristján Gíslason as the duet Two Tricky. Their song “Angel” scored just three points, and the duo finished dead last.

4. Israel’s Dana International. Her heart-warming performance of “Diva” at the 1998 ESC final encouraged transgenders from Topeka to Tallinn to feel their communal pain and unite through struggle: “She is all you’ll ever dream to find/ On her stage she sings her story/ Pain and hurt will set her heart alight/ Like a queen in all her glory.” European voters were moved and crowned her the winner. The video below is of her encore performance. Her feathers were designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier:

5. Moldova’s Zdob si Zdub. In 2005, the quirky rock group placed sixth, which remains Moldova’s best-ever finish. Their song “Boonike Bate Doba” told the story of a grandmother beating a drum, and showcased the lead singer Roman Iagupov’ chiseled body.

6. Slovakia’s TWiiNS. Back in 2008, Daniela and Veronika Nizlova appeared at Eurovision as back-up dancers for Czech artist Tereza Kerndlová. While their hip-shaking was quite extraordinary, Tereza’s song “Have Some Fun” wasn’t. She finished 18th in the semi-final.

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