Whenever we hear a Eurovision song, we expect to hear it in English—despite the fact it’s not the native language of any participating countries bar the UK and Ireland. Strategy-wise that’s a good idea—until you forget HOW to sing in English. Eurovision has been rife with terrible accents and mispronunciations over the years, so we have gathered our top 10 phonetic blunders. Repeat the lyrics slowly, people: someone out there can hear you and will remember to pronounce them correctly in the future.

10. “Satellite” (Lena, Germany 2010)
Singing an entire song in a foreign language can be tiring, can’t it Lena? Especially when you seem to be using an exaggerated London accent. We don’t have a problem with Lena embracing her inner Britishness, but it becomes an issue when she starts thinking about her British themed lunch rather than her lyrics. We understand that you’re tired, but there’s no excuse for telling someone that they “set the pies” rather than they “set the pace”. Whether you enjoy eating pies or not, stick to the lyrics in your song book rather than the words in your recipe book.

9. “Something” (Andrius Pojavis, Lithuania 2013)

It’s fair to say Andrius confused us all when he seemed to be a singing a declaration of love, and then blamed his feelings on his shoes. We were all wondering whether we were hearing the lyrics right by that point anyway, but it was the names of his shoes that truly left us all befuddled. Naming each shoe is weird enough, but what would make most sense, naming them “Love and Pain” or “Love and Spain”? We were left to our own devices pondering this as Andrius had pronounced the lyric so terribly. We had no way of knowing what the names of his shoes actually were!

8. “Hard Rock Hallelujah” (Lordi, Finland 2006)

Eurovision has a tendency to get political. But the last people we expected to share their political views were Finnish “hard rockers” from 2006, Lordi. Funnily enough, they weren’t actually intending to get political. A little slip of the tongue led to the lead singer pledging his support to the US Democrat party and predicting who the future president of the USA would be. Turns out pronouncing “The rock’s about to roll” as “Barack’s about to rule” wasn’t actually incorrect. Who knew monsters were psychic?!

7. “Illusion” (Krassimir Avramov, Bulgaria 2009)

We remember Krassimir Avramov for his terrible vocals in Moscow in 2009. So it must be quite a slap in the face to be told his English skills weren’t all that impressive either. The unfortunate Bulgarian was too busy trying to hit those high notes to realise that his song lyrics were “Baby, I need you so much” rather than “Baby needs to munch”. Forgetting about those few extra syllables could have made the difference between Bulgaria qualifying for the finals and being eliminated at the semi’s. But considering the fact “Illusion” finished in 16th place with seven points at the first semi final, it probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

6. “What If” (Dina Garipova, Russia 2013)

Eurovision wouldn’t be complete without an anti-war protest song telling us to “bury our guns” and “come together as one”. Dina Garipova encouraged the people of Malmö to “help each other more” and all be friends. But it all turned a bit morbid after she made one tiny mispronunciation that spiraled the whole chorus into one shockingly bad innuendo. “What if we all opened our arms, what if we came together as one” sounded awfully like “What if we all opened our arse, what if we came together as one”. Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear.

5. “Gravity” (Zlata Ognevich, Ukraine 2013)

When a seven foot giant carried Zlata to the stage in Malmö, we all wondered what his relevance would be to a song called “Gravity”. For a moment, we thought his name was Mike Rafferty, and Zlata had dedicated the entire song to him. But then we realised that she wasn’t even mentioning Mike Rafferty at all and she was actually trying to say “My gravity”. Either way, the lyrics didn’t make much sense: “I’m like a butterfly, spinning ’round a sword as if to dare, I should have stayed up high, It’s stronger than me, my gravity”

4. “What for?” (Aisha, Latvia 2010)

You’d be lying if you said you fully understood what was happening with Latvia in 2010. Aisha looked like a perfectly sweet young singer, but turned out to be a pretty huge pessimist with a pretty strange song. And it all got even stranger when she seemed to say God’s thought’s were “gay and out of reach”. We we’re all totally lost by this point. Turns out she was trying to say God’s “phone today is out of reach”. That doesn’t make any sense either! Back to the dictionaries, eh Aisha?

http://youtu.be/HJyRvV21kRA

3. “Unbreakable” (Sinplus, Switzerland 2012)

You’d think practicing your vowel sounds would be a priority when learning to sing a song in English for Eurovision. It clearly wasn’t for the lead singer of Sinplus who got a bit confused between his “a” sounds and his “i” sounds. Resulting in him telling the people of Baku to “swim against the strim, following your wildest drim”. He’a making up his own words! Unfortunately, Switzerland didn’t qualify for the final in 2012, so hopefully that gives them more time to practice the basic a,e,i,o,u!

2. “Drip Drop” (Safura, Azerbaijan 2010)

When you’re trying to make a statement and ask some pretty direct questions, it’s best not to mumble. In 2010, when Safura from Azerbaijan was asking her man “am I in or am I out?” she forgot the golden rule: to speak clearly. In her live performance, we heard something like “am I he or how me ow”! Did she have a piece of hot potato on her tongue? Or was the intensity of the likely breakup with her boyfriend becoming too much for her she forgot all of her phonics?

1. “Angel” (Mika Newton, Ukraine 2011)

When we watched Mika Newton perform, there were plenty of sand related distractions going on to keep our focus away from the fact she didn’t really know what she was singing. Most of us expected her to sing “We are birds, we fly so high and we are falling down, when I dream of you, my dream is so fearless, we are people of the planet, we live human lives”. But instead we had to settle for her mumbles which sounded more like “We are broke our legs so high, we are falling down. When I dream of you I dream, Annsofi and lies. We are people on the planet with inhuman legs”. Oh well, at least she had a nice dress I suppose.

Katie Wilson contributed this story from the U.K. Follow her on Twitter at @katiewillfly and like our Facebook page to keep up with the latest Eurovision news and gossip.

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Anaconda
Guest
Anaconda

In Something, I thought for a long time he said (about the shoes) “one is called love, the other is gay”.

Kristin Kristjans
Editor

Oh so many lyrics, so little time!!! But I have to say that “Kill me with killer kiss, kill me with tender lips, stare me with candy eyes, love me with luscious thighs” is by far the best lyric ever….and its not even misheard!!!! 🙂

Francesca
Guest
Francesca

Here is an interpretation of the shoes:
“Love” and “pain” symbolize the two emtoions that come with loving somebody.
And “Summertime falls”, the idealism goes away.
HIGH SCHOOL LITERATURE CLASS HAS TAUGHT ME A USEFUL SKILL

Ayshen
Guest
Ayshen

This post is very funny 😀 Keep at it 😉

Alex
Guest
Alex

THANK YOU on Sinplus! I supported them in the Swiss national final as a joke, but when they actually won, I was kind of appalled. That’s exactly what the song sounded like to me. What If’s most obvious error was “burry” instead of the correct pronunciation “Barry”… lol at mention of Annsofi. One that caught my ear recently was the studio version of “We Are the Heroes” by LiteSound (Belarus 2012)… “As I stand beneath the starry sky” sounds like “As I stand beneath the stare-e sky.” The biggest one you forgot is “Watch My Dance.” Did anyone understand what… Read more »

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

How could you forget “You are sexy bum?”

Pablo Nava
Member

No Belarussian entries?

Add the entirety of Polina Smolova and their 2004 act.

Jordan
Guest
Jordan

Are we forgetting the infamous song “Show me your butt” by Tina Karol?

Padraig Muldoon
Editor

@David I don’t understand your point 😕 No one pretends Irish is English or vice versa. 2 very distinct languages, both of which are official languages of the Irish state. And just to let you know we sent an entry as Gaeilge one year:

http://youtu.be/xoPuM9WKcS8

David Thielen
Member

English is also the language most commonly used in Ireland. But we’re supposed to pretend it’s Irish.

Ohdear
Guest
Ohdear

And didn’t anyone hear Alyona Lanskaya sing about a Russia excitement instead of a “a rush of”?

James Puchowski
Guest

Another one. Sorry.

Alenka Gotar – CVET Z JUGA

“Send me. Send me sweets. Made of poo.” (That made me giggle when I was younger)

James Puchowski
Guest

Oh oh oh I have more!

Lena – TAKEN BY A STRANGER:

“She’s got mackerel in her eye..”

Tooji – STAY:

“I don’t know what I am doing tonight, but this Russian is making my stronger”

Angus Quinn
Editor

Oh Zlata and Mike Rafferty.

Petar
Guest
Petar

English is also the official language in Malta 🙂

David Thielen
Member

I once heard Lena’s English pronunciation as akin to a hamster speaking with a mouth full of sawdust. Now I’ve never heard a hamster speak with a mouth full of sawdust, but still, it feels like a good description.

Mette
Guest
Mette

Dina G. is my top favourite! I have always heard her sing “What if we all opened our arse”… No need to say, that I thought Russia had hit a new low 😉

Kristin Kristjans
Editor

Thank God I wasn´t the only one to see/hear this thing, that SInplus wanted to believe was english…not to mention a REALLY bad Robert Smith impression!! 😀

Aufrechtgehn
Guest

Concerning Zlata, I always heard her singing: “I’m alike a butterfly, spinning ’round a sword, as if today, I should have stayed at home”. No need to mention I’m very glad she didn’t stay at home!

Anthony Ko
Editor

Katie should’ve added Austria’s entry last year, mispronounced as something I’m unable to mention here for obvious reasons.

Bogdan Honciuc
Editor

Great article! I would also add Farid Mammadov’s “Hold Me”…

Anthony Ko
Editor

Apparently, here’s the YouTube video featuring misheard lyrics from some of the entries at this year’s contest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bCSCmjKHz8 😀

Astrikur
Guest
Astrikur

The clear winner in this category is: Belarus 2004, Aleksandra & Konstantin – My Galileo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bINn55fuScE

William Lee Adams
Admin

I seriously need Katie to do one of these a month. There are too many good ones out there 🙂

royraniel
Guest
royraniel

LOOOOOOOOOOOL
HAHAHAHA THE MOST FUNNIEST POST EVER!!!!!!!

R
Guest
R

Poor Safura. Her song and studio recording were great but her performance was just a blunder.