Eurovision’s Greatest Hits takes place in London on 31 March. The one-off concert will see a host of past Eurovision stars take to the stage to mark 60 years of the contest. While the show itself will be purely celebratory, we’ve decided to add a little competition to proceedings by ranking and reviewing all 18 Eurovision entries sung by the 14 confirmed acts. For starters, the Wiwi Jury— our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — hopped aboard the Tardis and journeyed to Athens 2006, to reassess Russia’s Dima Bilan with “Never Let You Go”. After nine years, have we let go? Read on to find out…
Angus: I’m not sure what’s worse about “Never Let You Go”. The mullet, Dima’s diction, the fact he wore a vest, the bizarre staging… All I am certain of is that this is hideous.
Josh: I like “Never Let You Go” more than “Believe”, but it was always going to be hard to beat a group of Finnish monsters. Dima would’ve been so cute here if he got rid of that feral mullet, and the dancer popping up out of the piano was a nice surprise element that I still strongly associate with 2006. The show in Athens is one of my favourites, and Dima’s second place was well deserved.
William: This is vulgar–from the lyric “blood on my bone” to the white tank top that matches the white piano. Nine years later I struggle to decipher the lyrics, and I still wish that producers had taken some scissors to his mullet. That said, the melody is quite catchy and the ending well constructed. I understand why this did well, even if I detest it.
Liam: Back in 2006 Dima Bilan was a mullet sporting drastically thin guy. Fortunately for him his song made up for his appearance (which made him look like an 80s reject). “Never Let You Go” was amazing, especially when compared to “Believe”, his winning 2008 entry. I would have rather seen this win in 2006.
Sopon: I’ll admit this was actually my first time hearing the song. When I became a Eurovision fan and watched some of the previous winners, I nearly puked at Dima’s winning entry and wrote off the idea of ever listening to a song by him again. Now that I’ve been obligated to do so for this jury, I’ll loosen up a bit. “Never Let You Go” is really catchy and his accent is pretty good for a guy who could barely speak a word of English. Obviously it’s hard to beat a group of monsters with more pyro than a fourth of July celebration. But had Lordi not entered, Dima would have been a suitable winner.
Ramadan: Definitely Dima’s better song. It was one of my Eurovision favourites back in 2006, and still is! A fantastic song and live performance from Dima. A very nice contemporary song. Deserved its placing.
Anthony: Russia have been on a reasonably good run since the early 00s. One of their biggest stars, Dima Bilan, almost got them their first Eurovision title, even if he did look like he’d turned up late. A pop ballad with poetic lyrics, accompanied by ballerinas and a clever piano prop show-stopper, “Never Let You Go” is probably Russia’s best ever runner-up.
Mikhail: I’m just gonna say it: this is awful! I literally hate Dima’s diction, his movements, his facial expressions. It looks like he’s pretending to be a monkey! His outfit is also terrible, like he just came from the gym. He somehow managed to capture the audience. I still can’t understand it.
Sami: “Never Let You Go” is an absolutely perfect pop song and the performance is something different. Dima is a great artist and performs the song very well. It’s my favourite from 2006. And yes, I wish it had won instead of our monsters.
James: I vividly remember seeing this when I was 11 – my sister was very interested in how the piano appeared to be some sort of mutated creature with a human torso and arms. We were scarred. Seriously though, my musical tastes are particularly skewed – “Never Let You Go” is typical for its age, but it’s generic musical structure, orchestration and stage performance don’t really do anything for me. The attraction is in the youthfulness and popularity of Dima and the stage prop. Meh!
All 18 members of our jury rate each song. However, we only have room to share 10 written reviews. Here are the remaining eight scores.
The highest and lowest scores are removed before calculating the final score. We have dropped a low of 1 and a high of 10.