As some of you may remember, I compiled a list of the top ten male vocalists of ESC a little while ago. Now it’s time for the ladies to shine. The divas of Eurovision are indeed gorgeous (some more than others), but we prefer to remember them for their voices. Here’s my list of the Wonder Women of ESC. Please note: Celine Dion is not included, because that would be stating the obvious.
Yohanna – Iceland 2009: I was baffled, skeptical and a little annoyed when Yohanna won the national finals in Iceland. I thought nothing of the song or of her. A former child star singing some tragic love song? Zzzzzzz. She was not even old enough to buy alcohol, let alone understand trauma of the heart. What the hell is this? Bloody Disney channel? Come back when you have your wisdom teeth! But then she kicked it up a notch, and to my pleasant surprise, turned out to be a full-fledged diva! When she shined on that stage in Moscow and sang her way to the second place, I gladly bought myself a hat, just to eat it. She nailed it and even has a Wiwi Award named after her. Well done, Yohanna! But I’ll never know what the pom-poms on her dress were meant to represent……anybody? And WTF is that dolphin jumping in the background of her LED screen?
Sandrine Francois – France 2002: The French have sent truckloads of divas to the big stage, but Sandrine is one of my all time favorites. Like Yohanna, she was barely on my radar until she raised her voice in Tallin. And what a voice! Delicate, yet strong. And the high notes? Perfect in my opinion. I thought that France could easily take home the trophy, because Sandrine was without a doubt one of the strongest contestants that year. She didn’t win the big prize, but she did win my admiration and hopefully that of others as well.
Sofia Nizharadze – Georgia 2010: Sofia had an ambitious act in Oslo. She was dancing barefoot, being thrown around the stage, and had four other dancers backing her up. Given all that you’d expect that Sofia would end up breathless and not be able to perform this massive power ballad. WRONG. She owned the song from the first note, and just kept getting better and better throughout her performance. She made it look like it ain’t no thang to be a human ping-pong ball while also singing. Her singing….wow…..I once tried to sing along whilst driving and almost popped a vein in my head! Sofia is a goddess. Pure and simple.
Vania Fernandes – Portugal 2008: If Portugal ever deserved to win, it was with Vania’s performance of “Senhora do mar”. My apologies to Dima Bilan and Russia, but this was the best ballad of 2008 and by far the most powerful performance. Vania was all in from the start, with her big voice and big attitude on stage. She took the phrase “feel what you sing” to a whole new level. She sang from the bottom of her heart and lungs and made me believe every single word she was singing. And I don’t even speak Portuguese. Not that it matters, because Vania made it perfectly clear that you don’t have to know the language to enjoy the song. She was simply wronged . That voice and that song should have made it all the way to the top.
Juliana Pasha – Albania 2010: I had some trouble choosing between Juliana and Rona Nishliu, but after a careful consideration, I decided to stick with my girl Juliana. Rona is indeed amazing, but for me her voice and performance requires a certain mood (for example, I’m not gonna mop the floors whilst listening to Suus), but Juliana is always suitable. Her voice is so black, so cool, so massive. And “Its all about you” is one of my all time favorites. Juliana completely blew me away. When she raised her voice I was hooked for life. And she had an epic violin guy! And a group of amazons in the back. Perfect, just perfect. You go girl!
Kasia Kowalska – Poland 1996: Oh….my….God! That was my first response when Kasia performed “Chce znac swój grzech” (pardon my Polish) in Oslo. What a voice! Where did they find her? And why didn’t she rank higher?! Still today, this number and Kasia herself give me goosebumps every time. Simply incredible. Being a teenager back in 1996, and having trouble identifying myself (we’ve all been there, right?) I just adored her and her spunky attitude. But as time went by, this song has become my favorite Polish entry ever. And Kasia has had a safe spot on this list of mine for years, and is not going anywhere.
Joy Fleming – Germany 1975: Ooh yeah, we’re taking a looong trip down memory lane here, but can you blame me? Joy brought the attitude to Eurovision, with her heartfelt performance of “Ein lied kann eine Bruche sein”. Back in 1975, ESC was still a bit conservative, and people didn’t actually know how to respond when Joy, with her background in music being jazz and blues, came on stage, sang from the bottom of her heart, and wasn’t afraid to bust a move along with it..a lot of moves. The juries around Europe most likely almost choked on their tea and biscuits, whilst looking at her act and rewarded her with 17th place. But Joy has since then become somewhat of a cult icon in the Eurovision world, and this performance is a thing to remember. It was girl power all the way!
Anna Vissi – Greece 2006: When I watched the official music video for “Everything” I wasn’t impressed. Thought it was tacky and stupid. Which, of course, tainted my opinion on Anna and this amazing number. And pay attention kids, this is a valuable lesson….thou shall not judge beforehand! Anna’s live performance left me breathless and speechless. What a woman! She sold me every single word, every single tone and every single move, from the first breath to the very last. This is how it’s done! And this is, in my opinion, the best host entry in the history of Eurovision.
Pastora Soler – Spain 2012: I will never stop expressing my love for Pastora and her magnificent performance in Baku. That girl knows what’s up! “Quedate conmigo” is a goosebump ride all the way through. Everything synchronized..the lighting, the backing vocals, the dress. Pastora just rocked. I don’t have enough words to describe this. Just watch and listen. Perfection.
Marija Serifovic – Serbia 2007: Yes, Marija is my number one girl. This is my favorite winning performance so far in ESC. Marija didn’t stand out at first because of her humble appearance and down-to-earth manner, but she is my all time favorite diva. Just think about it. She walks out on stage wearing a suit instead of a skanky dress, looks in the camera, opens her mouth and takes the continent by storm. This was a slam dunk, and Marija is an ESC goddess. I rest my case.
Kristin Kristjans contributed this report from Iceland. You can keep up with the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team from wiwibloggs.com on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page.