It all started with a man in a striped tuxedo vest and bright blue trousers, wielding a saxophone like it was about to blow the roof off the packed-out arena. When the Moldovan musician Sergey Stepanov started playing that iconic hook, the Epic Sax Guy (as this legend later became known) thrusted his way into the Eurovision history books. Since then little Moldova has entered everything from fairies on unicycles to power ballads that actually lift you up. We just can’t get enough of these eccentric Eurovision maniacs.
There’s more to Moldova than the Epic Sax Guy, but he’s a good place to start. YouTube has an even greater selection of their finest moments, which you can enjoy any time you’re in need of a glittery pick-me-up. But in case you’re on a packed train and don’t want to frighten your fellow passengers, we’ve done the hard work for you…
2011: Zdob şi Zdub
Take yourself back to 2011, and the contest has come to Düsseldorf. Zdob şi Zdub, Moldova’s first ever entrants when they joined the contest in 2005, are once again taking centre stage for their country. The men and women in the tall, pointy hats shout the song’s refrain – “SO LUCKY!” – before the guitars pump up and the gaudy background illuminates the stage. Theirs is a performance filled with colourful (albeit slightly threatening) whimsy. To this day, nobody has ever worked out why they were dressed as punk garden gnomes.
2012: Pasha Parfeny
Along came Pasha Parfeny in 2012, with his folk-sounding track and trippy backing dancers. Dressed as a charming, rural musician (or lăutar in Romanian), the song had an unusual obsession with trumpets and spoke of beautiful women coming down on helicopters which “belonged to [their] daddy”. We just couldn’t get enough of his psychedelic costumes and quirky dance routines.
2013: Aliona Moon
So in 2013, one of Pasha’s backing singers, Aliona Moon, would get her chance in the spotlight. Her song ‘O Mie’ was a departure from Moldova’s usual upbeat style, but true to form it was gimmicks galore. She had a long white dress that doubled as a projector, fake fire, and a platform that literally raised Aliona up to towering new heights.
2017: Sunstroke Project
After a bit of a lull, Epic Sax Guy burst back onto the stage in 2017 in glorious form, this time with a better suit and more screen time. Sunstroke Project brought the party with ‘Hey Mamma’, and backing singers dressed as brides (complete with microphone bouquets) danced to the song’s catchy riff. Moldova was announcing to Eurovision fans that it was back with a bang, and voters simply adored their oh-so-Eurovision performance. The country came third that year, their highest ever position.
This year, DoReDos rejuvenated the folksy flavour of the past and combined it with a colour scheme entirely made up of primary colours, some super circusy staging, plus totally cringeworthy acting. Twitter went wild for such shameless cheese. The group became the living incarnation of the Jealous Boyfriend meme, and Moldova once again cracked the top ten.
We’re really excited to see what the small European nation will bring next to the Eurovision stage. You go, Moldova!
What’s your favourite act from Moldova? Which acts made your jaw drop? Let us know down below!