We’ve all been there. Whether back at home following a party or near the end of a long night of boxset binging, we’ve found ourselves home alone during the early hours of the morning. If we want to keep ourselves awake until we’ve brushed our teeth, or we just want to keep the giggles going…it’s time to turn to Eurovison. Certain songs overwhelm our inhibitions and let us dance like we’re lip syncing for our lives. Thank God no one is watching. For those who are yet to experience this late night phenomenon, let these Eurovision anthems take you on a journey. It is the weekend after all…
Quero Ser Tua (Portugal 2014)
Enter Suzy, a ray of sunshine who blessed us with three minutes of flesh, pina colada and hips that don’t lie. From the moment she says wah-wah-way-wah-way, we want to throw our backs into it. This song is danceable, energetic and happy. Her act is about a lot more than hot nights on the dance floor. She tells the story of Portuguese explorers who, from the 15th century, took religion and culture abroad, but came back with the music of Brazil (samba) and Africa (tribal drumming).
Allez! Ola! Olé! (France 2010)
In case we were in any doubt, Jessy Matador insists that booty shaking is a vital part of happiness. Born Jessy Kimbangi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, France’s dance king mixes zouk, dancehall, reggae, and hiphop, building on American, African and Caribbean influences to make his unforgettable floor filler. He essentially takes Eurovision outside of Europe and that is really something. His infectious beat is like a hip-hop version of the “Macarena”. Who could resist a dance to this Eurovision classic?
Dancing Lasha Tumbai (Ukraine 2007)
Eurovision legend Verka Serduchka traveled to Helsinki in 2007 — and we’ve never looked at tin foil the same way again. Singing in English, German and gibberish, he worked it with his eccentric dancers, who also looked ready-to-bake. Even his dance moves are iconic: who hasn’t used a gif of his wave, or forgotten the spotty dog that we thought we’d left in sport lessons at school? If Verka’s “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” doesn’t get you on the dance floor, nothing will!
Making Your Mind Up (United Kingdom 1981)
The United Kingdom’s winning song from Bucks Fizz is iconic. Audiences from across the continent never fail to recognise those green and blue skirts, and of course the dance that went with them (or without them). To those of you who have the confidence to pull off one of those iconic miniskirts in town, we salute you. However, the rest of us will play it safe and simply dance along to the catchy track at home — wearing pyjamas.
Golden Boy (Israel 2015)
“Golden Boy” is not just a tourism promo for hip Tel Aviv. It’s also a song in at least three parts — and we love all of them. It’s fun, energetic and clever and can inject life into all of us, no matter what time it is! It’s cheeky without being a joke, and, owing to clever production and changing instrumentation, the gag doesn’t get old. Ultimately this song is about freedom and the right to live and to love. To quote Nadav – “now dance, dance, dance, dance”!
Shady Lady (Ukraine 2008)
Ukrainian pop star Ani Lorak said she would strike like thunder, and boy did she ever! Despite the song title, Ani Lorak wasn’t shady at all — she was shining. She shimmied her way across the Belgrade stage, aided by four very energetic dancers and a reflective light box. Almost 10 years on, and we’re still doing the same — only without the light box. She sang and danced with her boys with conviction and sensuality, and made us all love her. Her technologically advanced mirror and on-point dancers remain benchmarks for all Eurovision artists even today. We may not be able to dance quite like Lorak, but we’ll certainly enjoy giving it a go!
Ninanajna (FYR Macedonia 2006)
Elena Risteska’s hips certainly don’t lie, and neither does the scoreboard. Ninanajna is FYR Macedonia’s highest placing entry to date, achieving 12th place in the final. She calls on the dancing queens, Beyonce and Shakira, to ninanajna with her and who could refuse? Europe certainly didn’t. Whether you want to embrace the August summer heat, or get an arse like Kim Kardashian — the answer is always to ninanajna.
Zaleilah (Romania 2012)
The opening bars of “Zaleilah” will bring a smile to anyone’s face and fulfil Eurovision’s mission to be Europe’s Joy Factory. It is a blast of sunshine with the upbeat rhythm and enthralling sounds matching the song’s story line. It’s about a woman deeply in love with her “chocolate boy.” We don’t know if this refers to someone who is merely sweet, or to someone who is of African descent. But it doesn’t matter because “you touching me and kissing me makes me want to dance/ I’m so happy, I can shout out loud.” The English-language chorus is slightly mangled, but the intended meaning comes through. “When you love you say, everyday, everybody” should be read as “when you’re in love, say it everyday and tell everybody.” Who wouldn’t dance to a message like that?
Be my Valentine! (Ukraine 2009)
Ukraine certainly knows how to send a good dance track to Eurovision. We’d already boogied to Verka Serduchka and Ani Lorak, but then came Svetlana Loboda. She brought an oversized wheel and a red dress that didn’t really cover much. The result was a series of jokes about a stripper in a hamster wheel and a whole lot of sweaty Eurofans. Not because of the stripper, but because we can all have a good dance to Svetlana’s track. She asked Europe to “be her valentine”, so we’re shaking our booties all the way to Kiev and back!
Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit (United Kingdom 1996)
The United Kingdom’s high-energy, aerobics-friendly entry was tipped to do very well in 1996 (over 20 years ago… Dear me), but finished a disappointing eighth in the final. Even so, Gina G’s dance track became the fourth most successful Eurovision entry on the US charts, earned a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording and cracked the Top 10 in seven countries, becoming a commonly heard track in clubs and bars across Europe. After 21 years, it still gets us onto the dance floor!
What is your favourite song on the list? What other songs do you think should have made it? Let us know in the comments section down below.