Do you remember the first year when we had two semifinals? The time when four mature brides knitted in the background of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s entry, the year when a shirtless Russian man with a skater and a violinist won, and the edition when former champion Charlotte Perrelli had to be saved by the jury to get to the final. Ah, Belgrade 2008 – we missed you!
Now the official Eurovision YouTube account has uploaded the 2008 performances (only the ones from the grand final, though) for us to relive in HD. It’ll surely make you just a little sad — it’s already been eight years since Ani Lorak killed it in Belgrade. Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable performances.
Ukraine: Ani Lorak – “Shady lady”
Ukrainian pop star Ani Lorak shimmied her way across the Belgrade stage, aided by four very energetic dancers and a reflective light box. “Shady Lady” came second, beaten by only 42 points, but it lives on as a Euroclub hit.
Albania: Olta Boka – “Zemrën e lamë peng”
Kalomira is now a mother, Elnur Huseynov has metamorphosed from ‘creepy guy singing opera dressed as an angel’ to awesome pop singer, and 75 Cents from Croatia sadly passed away some years ago. Still, 2008 seems so close to today. For example, Albania’s slick camera work still kicks lots of 2016 acts in the ass.
France: Sébastien Tellier – “Divine”
Just in case Sébastien Tellier wasn’t avant-garde enough on his own, he ensured that his backing singers were as bearded as he was, he rolled onto the stage in a golf cart, and incorporated voice-changing helium gas into his performance.
Norway: Maria – “Hold on, be strong”
Norway’s classy “Hold on, be strong” still keeps that atemporal appeal that took it to fifth place back in 2008. Maria might have unsuccessfully tried to come back two or three times over the past few years, but improving this performance is not an easy task at all.
Spain: Rodolfo Chikilicuatre – “Baila el chiki-chiki”
There were some things that we’d think twice about today, to be honest. 2008 marked a peak in the freak-acts craze with Bosnia & Herzegovina, Spain, Latvia and Ireland all getting crazy. Yes, Dustin the Turkey or Rodolfo Chikilicuatre were mythical, but maybe today broadcasters would reconsider their choice today.
Armenia: Sirusho – “Qele, qele”
Armenia had an amazingly performed song, a slick dance routine and one of the catchiest tunes of the night. However, while Sirusho was on point, her dancers’ outfits don’t seem that right today. Wearing your trousers down your ass looks a bit chavvy today, as much as it was cool in 2008. Tribal tattoos were considered modern then too: that year is not a good fashion reference, y’all.
Denmark: Simon Matthew – “All night long”
Vintage clothing, the ’60s feel and the repetitive chorus of “All Night Long” worked for Denmark in 2008. However, let’s say it was the only time that worked. The country tried to go for that formula again in 2015 and well… what to say about that? Also, why does their song from eight years ago sound more current than any of their last two entries?
Greece: Kalomira – “My secret combination”
We have to mourn some of the old glories. Some countries have lost their touch so much that they are now not even close to their 2008 version. They were the crème de la crème and now, they struggle to find something memorable. Yes Greece, I’m looking right at you.
Portugal: Vânia Fernandes – “Senhora do mar”
And Portugal? Vânia nailed it in 2008, and RTP managed to keep the momentum going in 2009 and 2010. But ever since? Portugal has become like a student who was finally getting decent marks, but suddenly stopped attending classes, left home jumping from the window at night and then joined a sect. We need a resurreição in 2017, and we’re very glad to see they might be on that way.
Turkey: Mör ve Ötesi – “Deli”
Also, back in 2008, Turkey showed us that they were much more than belly dancing and folk-pop. Few countries do rock at Eurovision like the Turks, but after a certain little blunder, they left, and sadly there’s no foreseeable comeback *sad face*
Iceland: Euroband – “This is My Life”
Latvia: Pirates of the Sea – “Wolves of the Sea”
Azerbaijan: Elnur & Samir – “Day after Day”
Swedish songwriters might be criticised for their lack of originality, but at least they have prevented Azerbaijan for repeating such a hot mess as their 2008 entry. This one, you might like it or not, but come on, it was a bit over the top.
Poland: Isis Gee – “For life”
Poland also gets it much more today. The string quartet has stuck around, but seriously, Michal Szpak has in just one ringlet all the appeal that poor Isis Gee couldn’t find.
Russia: Dima Bilan – “Believe”
On top of them all, 2008 brought Russia their long-awaited first victory. Dima Bilan had tried in 2006 and finished second, but two years later he took Europe by storm with his “Believe”, his opened shirt, his extra-blond skater and his violinist. Many thought Russia’s second triumph was coming this year, however Sergey Lazarev (who took part in that year’s Russian national final, by the way) couldn’t do it. Will history repeat and will Sergey win in 2018? Who knows…
We could talk about 2008 for hours, but we want to know your opinion: who was your favourite back then? Vote in our poll!
What is your favourite song from Eurovision 2008?
Are you happy to relive 2008 in HD? How much did you like the year? Was it better than 2009? Share your thoughts below!