Welcome to another edition of the Wiwi Roundtable. In this monthly feature, a group of four wiwibloggers once again get together in conversation about a past Eurovision Song Contest. You can find all the past editions of the Roundtable here. This month, we’re rewinding to the 2007 contest, with Chris Halpin (UK), Angus Quinn (UK), Sami Luukela (Finland) and Sopon (USA).

Chris: The 2007 Eurovision Song Contest is a difficult beast to tackle. Helsinki hosted Finland’s first-ever ESC after Lordi’s victory in Athens, with the country well and truly stepping up to the plate as best it could. This edition welcomed the largest ever field of competing countries, a then-record breaking 42. And whilst it may have been the “biggest” ESC of all time, it’s not remembered as one of the best.

Instead fans have criticised everything about it, from format to quality. A flawed qualification system meant that the sole semi final was actually bigger in terms of competing countries than the final. Not only that, but only 10 songs could qualify out of the 28 competing in said semi final: fourteen countries automatically qualified based on the Big Four and 2006’s results. Many fans saw their favourites eliminated early on and controversy built up when not a single Western European country qualified from the semi final. The quality of the field in general has been questioned: after Lordi’s victory, countries seemed to flock to sending acts with a rock, shock or simply “camp” factor. Those who didn’t seemed to send interchangeable ballads. Very few songs stood out, which at the time led to a highly unpredictable final where nobody seemed to know who would win. Retrospectively, the top two seem to have been the “obvious” winners, yet both remain subject to debate over their worthiness.

Marija Serifovic’s victory was, to date, the last time that the winning song has been performed in a language other than English: but was a Serbian ballad a “worthy winner”? Should it have been Verka Serduchka…or would “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” have turned the contest into a laughing stock, void of legitimacy, as many have claimed since? So, gentlemen, I turn it over to you, first on the question of the actual result: did you see these two acts as the best of the bunch?

Sopon: While they were certainly memorable acts, I wouldn’t say those two were the absolute best of the entire contest. Serebro had, in my opinion, one of the best songs. Finland’s Hanna is also very high in my ranking for that year. Such a shame she was so under-ranked. And Bulgaria certainly deserves a mention for one of the better acts. Although Elitsa has no talent singing live, the studio versions of their songs make them interesting while not being over-the-top camp, and that deserves a mention.

Was “Molitva” a worthy winner? I can believe so. Although in quality, there were some other songs that were better, “Molitva” brought in elements of both the old (pre-1999) and new (1999-present) Eurovision. A more low-key number relying more on vocals won, and it was in the country’s native language as well, reflecting vintage Eurovision. But the stage presentation presented subtle gimmicks, like the pantsuit-wearing women and the faux-lesbian “choreography”, and this shows what is, although present in the old Eurovision, more prominent in the new Eurovision.

Angus: For me, Eurovision 2007 was just a horrendous year all around. Unlike 2005 and 2006 it doesn’t feel like there’s progress toward the contest of the 00s here. It gets bogged down in the gimmicks and embarrassing comedy that has left the contest’s reputation in tatters. That being said I agree with Sam that Finland should have done much better than it did. I also count the Spanish and Belarusian songs as pretty enjoyable and more serious entries among a really jokey pack.

As for ‘Molitva’ it’s the kind of thing that the juries would go nuts for today but it doesn’t do much for me. It’s just a fairly middle of the road ballad and, contrary to the staging thing, it’s a pretty melodramatic affair. Verka winning would definitely have been worse though and would have shattered what little credibility the contest was still clinging on to in the mid-10s. Serbia probably deserved the win but that’s only because there was such a lack of competition on the night.

Sami: First of all, I must say I’m very proud of Finland when it comes to hosting the contest. The show was great, the hosts were very good and I liked the interval acts too. The contest itself wasn’t that high-quality, as there’s only a few songs I still listen to.

I think I’m the only one who thinks Molitva is one of the worst winners ever. I find it quite boring, even though I usually love Balkan ballads. Sure, Marija is a charismatic performer, but I’m not the biggest fan of her voice. Verka, on the other hand, is one of my favourites, but I’m glad it didn’t win. The song is great and Verka is a great character, but her win would have had a bad effect on the contest.

My favourite finished in the top 5 – Turkey. After sending a total mess in 2006, they came back with a great and danceable track, performed by one of the best artists from Turkey. I think Belarus had its best chance to win to date and I would have been happy to see “Work Your Magic” win.

Chris: It seems, when it comes to “Molitva” at least, that we’re a good representation of the fan community’s feelings! Personally, at the time I was all about Verka and hated “Molitva” as a winner. In retrospect, I’ve come to view it as a sublime winner and it certainly would place it in my top list of winning songs.

But that isn’t to say it was my favourite, and for that I’d have to join Sopon and Angus in praising Finland. “Leave Me Alone” is a great song — far better than “Hard Rock Hallelujah”, for example – and Hanna’s performance was very strong indeed. Perhaps the fact it was a rock song following a rock winner, or simply the fact that Finland were hosting, explain why she did so poorly in relation to much obviously weaker songs that finished ahead of her. I’m also a sucker for both “Work Your Magic” and Sweden’s “The Worrying Kind” – another song quite brilliantly performed by Ola Salo and the rest of The Ark, that also under performed (especially considering it broke all the Melodifestivalen records at the time in terms of votes cast).

Part Two will be coming later in the week. Let us know your thoughts on the Marija vs. Verka debate in the comments box below. You can also sound off on other songs in line for being the best winner from 2007!

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Miriam/Ela
Miriam/Ela
5 years ago

Marija absolutely deserved to win. Her victory proved that Eurovision STILL values the music and the songs. Molitva is a very well-written song and Marija gave a killer performance. If Verka won, I think it might have killed Eurovision. It’s still a disgrace to see her pegged as the “archetypical” Eurovision entry. She’s a drag comedian, not a serious singer. Sure, Andrey (the man behind Verka) has made some pretty awesome music, but you couldn’t tell that from watching Ukraine 2007. Seeing an entry that was 100% gimmick take the trophy would have ruined everything the song contest stands for,… Read more »

Nora
Nora
5 years ago

Molitva a “middle of the road ballad”? Only won because there was “such a lack of competition” that year? “Boring”? “Not a fan of her voice”? “One of the worst winners ever”?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Molitva is one of the BEST winners and songs this contest has EVER seen! Marija is a FANTASTIC singer and those backing vocals and harmony just take this song to the next level, as does the backing music behind the voices. It is not middle of the road, it is not boring, and it definitely won because it is PHENOMENAL, not because it was… Read more »

Judith
Judith
5 years ago

I think Molitva is the best ESC song of the 21st century so far.

George
5 years ago

@ Charles

Did anyone told you that you will not get paid for writing this comment-article?
And it is needless to tell you that none read it.

deli
deli
5 years ago

ESC needs ‘just another rock songs’.

Mario Espinola
Mario Espinola
5 years ago

Marija’s win wasn’t obvious, but completely deserved. The song stood out from a batch of really similar songs which cancelled out each other. Other strong efforts which I really enjoy to date are Belarus, Cyprus (-one of the most underrated songs in years-), Moldova, Greece, and to an extent, Sweden since it doesn’t sound overly-pretentious. I don’t get the hype with the Finnish song, just another rock song. Songs like Georgia, Slovenia, Albania… totally pretentious. I won’t really talk about the rest of the songs since they aren’t memorable at all to me. Marija’s song kept building up and it… Read more »

Emily
Emily
5 years ago

One song that definitely stuck in my mind was Water. It’s been stuck in my head for about 4 or 5 years now. Too bad Elitsa and Stoyan crashed in the semis whenever they tried again.

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
5 years ago

2007 was a really weird year. I think a lot of this had to do with the awkwardness of the semi-final. The process of narrowing down the competitors went through a few experimental phases in the ’00s before settling on the current system of two semis and the Big Five. 2007 just didn’t work as well as it should have. It was still a really entertaining show, but it could have been so much better.

Charles
Charles
5 years ago

After the decrepitude that 2004, 2005 and 2006 (not to mention everything after 1998) had left in me …wondering “where has the music gone? has this turned into a parody?” … 2007 was the year I ended up not bothering to watch the competition … it was also my birthday so I couldn’t have cared less for such a boring and depressive TV event that musicallywise did not say anything to me anymore … at that time at least. The growing and increasingly shameless geopolitical/diaspora-oriented voting gained such a momentum that together with the largely questionable song quality from almost… Read more »

HannahFansUK
5 years ago

It’s funny to look back now and see that Macedonia and Slovenia qualified from such a large semi-final. Both songs were great and it’s perhaps the strongest showing of former Yugoslav countries in many years.

The Slovenian hand torch has remained our favourite gimmick and this song is standout with great (if not to everyone’s taste…) vocals.

Presenter wise, really enjoyed Jaana and Mikko who were charismatic and energetic. And ok, Mikko is particularly easy on the eye…

Marcus (Day One)
Marcus (Day One)
5 years ago

I can’t believe they didn’t mention Georgia or Hungary.
Georgia was my favourite followed by Ukraine and then Hungary. 🙂

SpirK
SpirK
5 years ago

I also disagree with the authors. 2007 is probably one of the best years referring to high quality. Molitva was the best song this year in my book. It’s beautiful and dramatic. Ukraine was good and super catchy, but not worthy for a victory. Russia and Turkey were also a bit crappy for me. I really feel guilty when ranking e.g Germany’s great song 25th. But I don’t have a choice! Until number 30 I like all the songs! My top 10: 1. Serbia: Simply perfect 2. Moldova: Also very close to perfect 3. Finland: fantastic rock influenced song! 4.… Read more »

Steve
5 years ago

I remember watching this while on holiday in Spain with a terrible hangover. I’m not quite sure if Verka cured it or killed it.

Leon
Leon
5 years ago

I completely agree with comments here, Molitva was the worthy winner and in fact I think it’s one of the best winning acts of the past 10 years. As for the stage, I think the stage was nicer than Serbia’s and Sweden’s. The best entries of 2007 for me were 1) Serbia, 2) Belarus, 3) Ukraine, 4) Russia, 5) Greece.

nancyp
nancyp
5 years ago

moltiva was such the OBVIOUS winner in 2007. OBVVVVIIIIOOOOUUUSSS. none of the other songs could stand up to that. hungary, the only other song i could tolerate, was underrated in my mind

deli
deli
5 years ago

I also think it was a great year (as you see editors many with you disagree) especially after super crappy 2006. I love many things about ESC in Helsinki (stage – small but well remembere, hosts, interval act – APOCALYPTICA!!!! Marimekko-inspired theme and songs of course). There were some stuffs about which YLE didn’t have so much power to change, like that there were 28 songs in the semi. Regarding songs: one can think that Lordi brought those shocked entries to the contest again. Partly I have to agree but more important it is a variety of music style which… Read more »

QwaarJet
QwaarJet
5 years ago

Most of my ESC fan friends say this is one of the best of the modern era, and I would agree. The song quality was insanely good.

Chris, I have no idea where you get the idea that this edition of ESC was disliked so much.

As for Molitiva, are the time I think it won just about every fan poll. It’s a very popular winner.

Aufrechtgehn
5 years ago

I have to say I disagree with most of the Wiwibloggs team here. Being an oldschool Eurovision fan, I love the contest especially for its campness and enjoyed 2007 as one of the best years ever, because it had so many fabulously entertaining entries (like Flying the Flag, I love you mi Vida, Vertigo, and much more). I think Verka would have been a very worthy winner (I still love it to pieces), but I also love ‘Molitva’ and think it’s a deserved winner, both for the song and the presentation. I don’t quite get the love for ‘Leave me… Read more »

Raul
Raul
5 years ago

GEORGIA By far

Kristín Kristjánsdóttir
Kristín Kristjánsdóttir
5 years ago

I think “Molitva” is one of the most memorable winners in ESC…beautiful and charismatic 🙂 I wasn´t fond of Turkey and Russia, but thats just my opinion. However, I completely agree with you guys about Finland and Sweden. They should have ranked ALOT higher than they did. “Leave me alone” is eve ry womans “sickofthiscrap” anthems, and Hanna herself was nothing short of amazing. And Ola Salo and The Ark had a fun, upbeat number, that was vastly different from most of the other songs. But having so many competing countries in the semi finals,and many of the best songs… Read more »

Dar
Dar
5 years ago

I knew before I would open this article that david would be saying the stage was too small .. Everytime 2007 eurovision is in an article he always comments on the stage and saying 2007 was a poor production ..

JayEm
5 years ago

I love the song Leave Me Alone. It is one of my favourite ever eurovision songs and she is a great performer and gave amazing live vocals. I also like Visionary Dream but can see why others say it’s bad, because it is kinda all over the place…
I also like Ven A Bailar Conmigo as my most underrated, it’s a good dance song but falls apart a little at the end when she starts saying
“Let’s Dance!!!”

Also, I liked Turkey’s entry in 2006– just saying

Azeri
Azeri
5 years ago

i like Turkey this year))

Cherry
5 years ago

My favourites of 2007 are Fight, Leave Me Alone, Molitva and Work Your Magic

These are very different to my usual favourites (haha- Qele Qele (2008) and Show Me Your Love (2006)

David
David
5 years ago

The stage was too small and actually terrible looking!

David
David
5 years ago

One of the worst years in modern ESC times. Small and uninspiring stage, overall bad production of the show, and terrible results.

Archeops
Archeops
5 years ago

It’s good that Verka Serdyuchka didn’t win. Don’t like joke acts. Marija was the best.

D
D
5 years ago

2007 had one of my favourite Eurovision songs of all time – “Fight” by Natalia Barbu

Alex
Alex
5 years ago

Molitva was a deserving winner, yes. The only problem I have with the music is that it lacks a bit in subtlety, but Marija was still quite worthy of her victory. One thing about the Western European countries not qualifying is that I feel a lot of the songs (or live performances, as in the case of Switzerland) were weaker from Western Europe that year. However, Andorra and Iceland were two acts that I would’ve liked to have seen in the final. In the split semifinal system which was introduced the following year, they probably would’ve both qualified. Latvia, Serbia,… Read more »

Jamaraqueer
Jamaraqueer
5 years ago

Molitva = best song, Marija = best voice! No. Doubt.