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”
Iceland was also waaaaay hotter too in 2008. Europop and ballads are their thing, y’all. Sadly, Disney princesses and Chinese shadows-folk didn’t do the trick for them.
Latvia: Pirates of the Sea – “Wolves of the Sea”
On the other hand, luckily, some countries have much improved from 2008. Latvia has moved from cheap pirates who sang “hey, hey, ho” to the glorious hands of Aminata Savadogo. That’s how you do it.
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?[polldaddy poll=9524361]
Are you happy to relive 2008 in HD? How much did you like the year? Was it better than 2009? Share your thoughts below!
Olympic figure skating champion Evgeny Plushenko was not a “ridiculous dancer” of course since he made more than a half of the win that year as I presume… though the song was so-so.
Ukraine could win that year but didn’t.
@Maru from Sergeyland Lol
What did I just read? 😮
Kudos to you for being objective! 🙂
My TOP 5 from that year
than Israel, Serbia….
If we had 50 % televote 50 % juries like from 2009 to 2015 result would be
1.Ukraine they collect similar points from juries and televote
2.Serbia thank to juries
3.Greece thanks to televote
4.Norway thanks to juries
5.Portugal thanks to juries
With new system from 2016 result would be
1.Ukraine similar points from juries and televote
2.Armenia thanks to televote
3.Greece thanks to televote
4.Russia thanks to televote
5.Norway thanks to juries
@elina “Dima of course!!! the most talented artist in this Eurovision )))”
Bravo!!! Good joke! 😀 I think Ani should have won in 2008!
Wow, my comment gets moderated, because I like Israel best? Or is it for because of being me?
Israel was the best, the rest was awful. I can’t stand the winner nor the runner-ups.
Can you upload HD version of legendary Swiss song Era Stupendo by Paolo Meneguzzi. K Thanks
It’s only the finalists.
Ukraine was robbed! Perfect song, vocals and staging! The best of 2008. Iceland, Sweden and Greece follow.
Russia shouldn’t have won. “Believe” is a good song but Dima’s English accent is horrible and that dancer looked so ridiculous!
Interesting that Vlad’s first comment got ignored, because he’s right. That’s not HD. It’s just an upscale of the standard definition broadcast – and not a particularly good one.
Where are all the countries’ acts? Not all of them are there (including my absolute favorite)
Why aren’t they uploading the semi finalists from 08 and 09? There are some great ones like Czech Republic #havesomefun and Bulgaria. Iceland is such a banger, I’m still listening to it 🙂
For me the best song contest ever. Armenia, Greece, Sweden, Norway, Israel and Portugal just killed it. Even today I was listening to some of these songs before I saw this article.
The Fire in your Eyes was a masterpiece!
A good year with some great songs. My favorites were Albania, Turkey, Finland, Bosnia and France, and I really liked the song that represented my country (IL) too.
The winning song however was not my cup of tea, the song was cheesy and banal, Dima was irritating and the performance was messy. Russia has sent many songs worthy of victory over the years, ‘Believe’ was not a worthy winner IMHO.
I don’t care what anyone says. The pirates were awesome.
Although Alestorm’s metal cover is better.
Also let’s compliment the Serbians a bit. Jovana is my favorite hosts ever, so cheerful and with an adorable voice. They organized a great show, they didn’t need any gimmicks to succeed and they showed the world how beautiful their underrated country is.
This year was as kitsch as it gets
This year was amazingly strong. I absolutely LOVE Switzerland and San Marino and I really adore Andorra and Bulgaria when it comes to the non-qualifiers, and the finalists Turkey, Albania, Ukraine, Russia, Denmark and Norway <3 I like more entries, though 🙂
Trust me, you are not the only one who thinks Russia “bought” their 2008 victory. Back then, I heard a lot of people complain that the contest was rigged and Ani Lorak was robbed of her victory. Others said that the great staging and the violin made that mediocre song sound like a masterpiece and people all over Europe actually voted for them, so Russia won fair and square. Personally, I think that there were much better songs than “Believe” that deserved the victory. My favorites were Norway, Serbia and the-criminally underrated- Portugal.
@ Álex, from Spain – right!!! I love Czech Republic from that year!
The best year in history! My points from Italy:
12 – Greece
10 – Ukraine
8 – Israel
7 – Norway
6 – Armenia
5 – Georgia
4 – Poland
3 – Sweden
2 – Serbia
1 – Latvia
Why don’t they upload the non-qualyfiers’ videos? It’s SO!! UNFAIR!! They exist as well. Maybe they don’t have so many neighbours as Russia (that gets top tens with trash) to qualifiy easily but they still did the effort. I’m so upset right now.
2008 was an incredible year…the way I see it, the real winners were Ani Lorak, Sirusho and Kalomira. They each killed their numbers. My top 5 would be:
1 – Sweden
2 – Ukraine
3 – Georgia
4 – Norway
5 – Israel
6 – Serbia
7 – Portugal
8 – Armenia
9 – Greece
10 – Poland
Dima of course!!! the most talented artist in this Eurovision )))
Ukraine just so reminded me Russia ’16 – quite untenable song greatly saved by perfomance 🙂 They’ve got same choreo and songwriter to notice. And that time it was hard to manage my winner from 3 hot ladies (Arm/Greece/Ukr) while Bilan had better song for me in 2006. Would I pick up any of top 5 today? Never.
One of the best years with really fabulous songs and stage performances, with the ultimate winner not dominanting this category if you ask me. Here’s my top 15 (it’s criminal to only make a top 10 in this year) 1. Serbia : in my all time top 5, Jelko’s best effort in my book. 2. Portugal: their best entry to date, criminally underrated 3. Georgia: also their best entry to date, fantastic message. 4. Poland: don’t have to repeat the sentence. Fabulous voice, on of the most moving ballads. 5. Norway: really standed out in this field, truly unique and… Read more »
I really wonder about the result of 2008. Dima Bilan is undoubtedly a great stage presence, but “Believe” is a boring piece of uninspired dreck. One of my least favourite Russian entries ever, and this is the one they win with? At the time, I just shrugged and put it down to different tastes and the great staging. However a few years later when it became apparent when the notoriously corrupt and desperate Azerbaijan has cheated and bribed their way to victory with an equally insipid song – I began to wonder. With the Olympics revealing a state-sponsored doping scandal,… Read more »
Despite many good songs and diversity…some rubbish really. Esp. all the novelty songs! Latvia, Spain (Still better than “Quedate conmigo”!), Ireland, Estonia, And VERY bad entries from Andorra, Hungary and Romania….. I must say that there were so many OTT performances…..far too many overone stage acts. ESC is a concert, and the music is the only thing which really matters….But those times, I think far too much attention was put to the “glamourbit”, that all kinds of things should happen on stage. Quite a lot of cheesy stage gimnicks…..even for great and serious songs as France or Bosnia. Many of… Read more »
Charlotte Perrelli all the way. By far the best in 2008!
One of the WORST entries of last time too…Latvia – some really infantile rubbish! What an insult to serious music!
@Vlad.you have to change the setting but it is available in 1080 which is HD.
France, Finland, Bsonia and Bulgaria had the best songs…maybe Turkey 5th
Why is Denmark, Turkey or Spain on this list, but no Georgia, Croatia or
And a shout out to the entries from Macedonia and Netherlands – criminally robbed of a place in the final!
I hope eurovision.tv will upload the SF performances ASAP.
One of the strongest years! Ukraine, Armenia, Turkey, Georgia, Finland, Iceland… slay!
Portugal of course. One of the best ESC entries of all time.
You really do have a point about Albania’s act. The camera work was great and lifted the song. But, in this case, I think that they gave all the creative freedom to the camera director and guys and that’s why we got the end result like that. 🙂
This is not HD.