Eurovision artists arrive at the contest hoping that their three-minute performance will change their lives. They dream of album sales and packed arenas, of international stardom and a life filled with A-list friends and paparazzi. Sadly this is the exception and not the rule. But there are acts who, because of their unique blend of talent and their acceptance that not everyone can be a Madonna, find success and happiness as cruise ship singers. This isn’t a bad thing: Just ask Iceland’s Eurovision 2012 contestant Great Salome who is currently touring Florida and the Bahamas with Disney Cruises.

For one lucky contestant, that journey from stage to sea begins now. After counting a toal of 2,350 votes, we are pleased to announce that Belgium’s Axel Hirsoux has won the 2014 Pirates of the Sea Cruise Ship Award. 

In the opening line of his Eurovision entry “Mother”, Axel cried that he was coming home. Then a back-up dancer—meant to be his deceased mother—started dancing in the background. Europe’s televoting audience thought it was a bit creepy. But cruises often attract an older crowd, who may be better able to look past the distraction and tap into Axel’s rich vocals and raw emotion. If he can perform some happier material, we’re sure the crowds would love to listen to Axel while stacking their plates at the all-you-can-eat buffet.

2014 Pirates of the Sea Cruise Ship Award

1. Axel Hirsoux: 576 votes, 24.51%

2. Elaiza: 504 votes, 21.45%

3. Can-Linn ft. Kasey Smith: 355 votes, 15.11%

4. Firelight: 342 votes, 14.55%

5. Vilija Mataciunante: 341 votes, 14.51%

6. Tijana: 232 votes, 9.87%

Axel follows in the footsteps of last year’s winner Hannah Mancini from Slovenia.

This award honours Latvia’s 2008 contestants Pirates of the Sea, who came to Eurovision dressed as sea-faring bandits. They didn’t have the strongest voices or the best stylists, but their up-tempo number “Wolves of the Sea” still placed 12th in the grand final. We salute their can-do spirit and the fact that being successful doesn’t always mean winning. Sometimes it means grabbing your flotation devices and singing your heart out on a boat.

This award is just one of a dozen awards we have launched as part of the second annual Valentina Monetta Awards. Our 12 categories—from best dressed to most most wronged at ESC—identify the contestants who left the biggest impression on Eurovision fans, regardless of whether they won the contest or not.

Photo: Eurovision.tv (EBU)

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Yudhistira Mahasena
Guest

I still don’t get why Axel was almost into tears at the end of his performance. Think about it, Stromae might be representing Belgium next year…

Deven O'Kearney
Guest
Deven O'Kearney

Timo, if his mum didn’t care very much, Why did he dedicate his song to her? Why did he not dedicate it to his dad or his brother or something?

Timo
Guest
Timo

His mom isn’t deceased. As far as I’m aware she just didn’t care much.

Deven O'Kearney
Guest
Deven O'Kearney

I thought Axel’s mother went with him to Copenhagen. If she actually is deceased, I can understand why he did a Rona Nishliu and broke down in tears at the end of the performance. 🙁

Alex
Guest
Alex

Was the mother really meant to be deceased? The choreography was so strange, I had no idea what was going on there.