gem

Camp has always been a part of Eurovision. Fans frequently have a taste for over-the-top performances, buckets of glitter and hot messes in general. And the 2000s brought many gems of that kind.

Throughout the years, many countries have fed us with kitsch staging and performances that inspired the lyrics of “Love Love Peace Peace”. Today we review some of those wonders. You may have forgotten of some of these delights, but isn’t the offseason a perfect moment to remember them?

Belarus 2005: Angelica Agurbash – “Love me tonight”

Ah, Belarus. Many years before this year’s dancer shot a rose through Alekseev’s hand, Minsk provided us with this wet dream of an oligarch. Angelica Agurbash had two dress reveals and all of the country’s 2005 gold production on her and her dancers’ outfits.

Baroque style didn’t only colour the costumes, as the song contained lavish lyrics like, “I seek your eyes to thrill me” and “I’ve got no hesitation, it’s my infatuation”. This queen and her spasmodic court sadly fell short of points to qualify. However, until Dmitry Koldun worked his magic, that was Belarus’ best result at Eurovision. Go figure.

Switzerland 2004: Piero Esteriore & the Music Stars – “Celebrate”

It’s always worth remembering that this won a national final with 12 acts. Never in the history of Eurovision was a song more worthy of zero points. Revisiting the Swiss act in 2004 is an act of martyrdom, except if you only watch for that glorious moment when the microphone gets sick of being yelled at and hits him in the face. Also, it’s a reminder of how no fashion trend from 2004 should ever come back.

“Celebrate” deals with two significant topics: celebrating, oh, celebrating because the world is a beautiful place — which may not always be true for everyone — and the idea of clapping your hands in order to have a wonderful time. However, if you followed all of Piero’s instructions and kept on clapping your hands as many times as he says, they would still be bleeding today, 14 years later.

Malta 2007: Olivia Lewis – “Vertigo”

Coco Chanel once said “Before leaving the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off”. Then Olivia Lewis came by and said, “You’re leaving that at home? I’ll take it for my Eurovision performance”. Malta embraced rococo in 2007 and packed their staging with everything they could find. Shirtless men with glitter on their faces that looked more like sweat? Yup. A gong? Yes, please. Golden fans? All of them! Tablecloths for the dancers to wave vigorously? Oh, yas!

No wonder the public left this gem 25th out of 28. Most of Olivia’s gimmicks had appeared earlier in the show: Moldova already brought a shirtless guy waving a cloth, Portugal had used the fans more graciously, Bulgaria put big percussion on stage, Albania had given lots of unwanted drama nine acts earlier and Montenegro’s backing vocalists also wore long baroque dresses. A literal case of “seen it all before.”

Portugal 2006: Nonstop – “Coisas de nada”

Here’s a bachelorette party that went on the rampage and ended up representing Portugal at Eurovision. These four ladies grabbed everything they could find in RTP’s wardrobe department and took to the stage in Athens promising to make us dance and smile. Isn’t this the ultimate cruise ship act?

“Coisas de nada” stands for ‘meaningless things’. The lyrics are not related to their costumes, but they could be. 2006 wasn’t a particularly great year for fashion, but Nonstop took things to the next level and they made Carola’s show, who came right after, look simple and tasteful in comparison. Note that Carola’s performance included white flags, lots of glitter and a lot of fan action.

Israel 2000: PingPong – “Sa’ me’ akh”

This was the first act of the decade, the century and the millennium. Hard to swallow, huh? Israel clearly didn’t want to host in 2001 after taking the job in 1999 and well… they made sure there was no way they could win. Hopefully this isn’t a prelude of what will happen in 2020.

The elephant in the room is that a lot of alcohol and several drugs were involved in this performance… unless Israel’s television motto for the year was “You too can take part at Eurovision!” Now seriously, it would be an absolute fantasy meeting these guys now and ask them about this. Is there any Israeli journalist with a lot of free time in the room?

Greece 2002: Michalis Rakintzis – “S.A.G.A.P.O”

Michalis asks us to “give the password” every time we need his love. Which is, of course, the first thing you’d want after seeing this performance. I’m sure those costumes are still at Saku Suurhall because no one has dared to clean them yet. The smell of sweat inside after a whole night must have been savage. Who in the Greek delegation thought that having the performers in costumes that made them visibly sweat was a good idea?

Before Greece became the land of shaking hips and Europop bangers, ERT had some very tough years. “S.A.G.A.P.O” is proof of that. Insanely repetitive, it felt as if Michalis wanted us to join a weird sect instead of allowing us into his robotic heart.

Bulgaria 2009: Krassimir Avramov – “Illusion”

Since their comeback, Bulgaria has emerged as a powerhouse of pop. However, there were dark years for BNT, and 2009 was the peak of that. As the lyrics say, “Wrong, it feels so wrong”. The “illusion” became a screamfest madness in which Krassimir disappeared and his backing vocalists took over the performance. All that paired with two dancers on stilts that were almost revealing too much throughout the song.

Is there any doubt why this song stayed in semi-finals? It’s a car crash the size of a cathedral. Theoretically, Krassimir is the singer, but then the three women start wailing and yelling louder and louder and actually acting like the stars, while poor Krassimir seems terrified to be on stage. And don’t even get me started on the wardrobe choices.

 Norway 2007: Guri Schanke – “Ven a bailar conmigo”

Norway’s entry in 2007 is not that much of a disaster, but a recap of all the things your older relatives do that make you cringe. This is your aunty who started taking salsa lessons, and takes herself too seriously. It could also be the singer of a party band who’s had more to drink than she should have before going on stage and wants to make everybody dance at any price.

Much like Malta 2007, Norway was also beaten to the punch with their stage props. Because if your song is called “Ven a bailar conmigo” and two songs earlier Portugal sang “Dança comigo”, you may be very doomed. Also, two dress reveals. Angelica Agurbash already proved in 2005 that’s not a good idea. And for one, let’s not comment on the creepy dancers. Those facial expressions are anything but inviting.

F.Y.R. Macedonia 2000: XXL – “100% te ljubam”

I love this 100%. Broadcasters should be obliged to show this performance to their entrants every year to give them a self-confidence boost: you may not be the best singer, but you’ll never be as bad as these ladies. Is it possible that there’s not a single second in three minutes where they sing in tune? It is possible. And that must be cherished.

If Guri Schanke was your salsa aunty, here are your high-school mates trying to act cool at a late ’90s prom. Nothing to say about their coordination — that was totes on point — but the rest of it… heh. Also, I’ve always been intrigued about why a girl band made of four perfectly fit people are called XXL. Please explain.

Germany 2008: No Angels – “Disappear”

To conclude this list, here’s a trainwreck of colossal dimensions. The pre-contest favourites take the stage in Belgrade and… well. They slayed. Our eardrums, more precisely, they slayed our eardrums. They said they “want you here”, but oh gurl, nobody wanted you on the stage. What could have been a decent pop entry became a manual of what not to do at Eurovision.

“Disappear” was a continuum of missed camera cues, over-dramatic and over-aggressive dance moves, bum notes and one of the singers making up the lyrics at one point. Also, can we just point out the cape removal? Cristina Caramarcu is proud of them.

That was it. Ten gems of the 2000s just to remind you how Eurovision has changed through the years. It’s like a motivational phrase, but with Eurovision songs.

No matter if you feel like Krassimir Avramov, you can always become a beautiful Poli Genova or Kristian Kostov. Stay strong, withdraw for two years and hire Joanna Levieva-Sawyer and Sasha Jean Baptiste to help you get back up.

Who else would you have added to this list? Did we miss any other gem? Do you secretly love one of these? Tell us in the comment section below!

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noone
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noone

You forgot Narodnozabavni rok from Slovenia 2010 or Platin with Stay Forever in 2004, for me personally the worst song of all time. It just shows that Slovenia is underrated and forgotten even in the negative Worst of list. :-/

Arizona
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Arizona

00’s decade hurt ESC so badly and all of the old and dated clichés come from there. Thankfully 10s came strong and ESC rose like a phoenix.

Briekimchi
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Briekimchi

No Angels is not even my last place that year. That monstrosity from Belgium does it for me.

ESCaddict
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ESCaddict

Bulgaria 2009 has always been my pick for the most OTT performance in Eurovision. ? The song (which I love) is crazy with the fast tempo, pounding drums & falsetto, so it just fuels the madness on stage. If big hair, the flames, the wind machine, the clothes and the cape were not enough, throw in dancers on stilts, spinning around on stage. Wow! It does not get any better than this. ??????????

ESCaddict
Guest
ESCaddict

Please ignore the question marks, they were emojis.

Richard Isaac
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Richard Isaac

Check out an article on the Israeli entry at https://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/202227/throwback-pingpong-israels-disastrous-eurovision-2000-entry as well as the documentary at the end of that article (https://vimeo.com/166187354).

avner
Guest
avner

I actually love this Ping Pong entry. It is knowingly amateurish, there are 2 guys kissing and they are inexplicably waving Syrian flags. It was meant to be fresh, but it did not translate well as people lump them with plain-bad acts. It still makes me happy!

Gabriel
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Gabriel

Moldova 2016 should’ve been included on this list hehehe

Denis
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Denis

I thought Texas Lightning deserved a spot. It’s so bad it’s good.
Or Severina

Joe
Guest
Joe

Africa paprika!

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

I like both of those songs. In fact, I LOVE Severina.
Having said that, 2006 is possibly the worst Eurovision I ever watched. Maybe, I am just overrating them.

PP77
Guest
PP77

I agree with you, 2006 for me is one of worst year from 2000 to 2018. First stage was not good, then director have problem with camera (Belgium ), , many said that host country sang on playback, not good songs from that year, from 37 song, I only like few songs Sweden, Bosnia, Finland, Ukraine, Armenia ,Turkey , Norway from final, and from semi Belgium, Poland.

Arizona
Guest
Arizona

Who says Anna Vissi did playback??? IM SHOOCK

PP77
Guest
PP77

For me Malta 2007 good song, good singer and good stage, did n deserved to be in this article. Bulgaria 2007 , good song but aful live performance (in music video song , sound amazing ) and weird staging. Belarus 2005, good song, not good singer and kitch staging. With better singer and better staging deserved to qualiy in 2005. For me Portugal 2006 is one of worst song in history of Eurovision, and worst song for me from 1988 and Austria song Lisa Mona LIsa. Where is Estonia 2008, Spain 2008, Czech republic 2009 they deserved to be in… Read more »

smukra
Guest
smukra

I think the UK’s entry Cry Baby from 2003 should be on this list 🙂

Syad
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Syad

Zoli Adok’s Dance with Me deserves an honour on this list.

Briekimchi
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Briekimchi

The fact that it was sent by Hungary (usually a sender of decent to very good songs) makes it all the worse.
If I remember, they had a really hard time getting a selection that year. Zoli was like their 3rd or 4th choice to be selected internally.

Dave
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Dave

OMG, how can you miss commenting on the UTTERLY RANDOM fireworks of No Angels? (Which of course I adore because they make absolutely no sense).

pedro
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pedro

NonStop rocked that stage!!! Yes, the outfit choice was not very graceful, but after all these years, their performance still puts a smile in my face and not in the wrong way

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Sto posto te ljubam is one of the biggest bops ever produced. The spastic dancing, the blatant attempted Spice Girls impersonation, the pure teen pop vibe… loves it! S’agapo is like the worst song of all time. A gem? More like a rhinestone.

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

Israel 2000 – I actually like it. It’s a funny song.

Bulgaria 2009 – The studio version of the song is quite good. I was surprised Bulgaria didn’t qualify that year… until i went and listened to the live performance. Then i understood the result completely.

Norway 2007 – This turned out to be a cheap copy of Portugal. It reminds me of Greece and Turkey that same year, with the difference both Greece and Turkey songs were good. I was sad Portugal was 11th in the semifinal.

Duck
Guest
Duck

Everytime Valentina Moneta shows on Eurovision stage, she earn one spot in this list…

Pandaman
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Pandaman

“This was the first act of the decade, the century and the millennium.”

That’s not true. The decade, the century and the millennium started on the 1st of January 2001 :p

Juan Cena
Guest
Juan Cena

“Nobody likes a math geek.” – Fox Mulder

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

Roy Chicky Arad, the guy in the green jacket from Israel 2000, is in fact a journalist and he wrote about the whole experience in his blog, mostly about how clueless they were at the time and how it felt to be the most hated group of people in Israel>>

https://chicky00.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/%D7%A2%D7%A9%D7%95%D7%A8-%D7%9C%D7%AA%D7%A7%D7%A8%D7%99%D7%AA-%D7%A4%D7%99%D7%A0%D7%92-%D7%A4%D7%95%D7%A0%D7%92-%D7%91%D7%90%D7%99%D7%A8%D7%95%D7%95%D7%99%D7%96%D7%99%D7%95%D7%9F-%D7%94%D7%96%D7%95/

MyName
Guest
MyName

I prefer S.a.g.a.p.o. to all the run of the mill fast food ethnidanceschlagers from Greece. Way more original and interesting

Pablo Nava
Member

“Ai luv u uan hunderd persen yes ai du!”

Natalie
Guest
Natalie

Olivia Lewis was bad? ? My country can’t understand to this day why she didn’t do well!

“We sent a good singer. We gave her great-looking clothes. We made sure we didn’t leave the stage looking empty with lots of activity going on. What’s not to like? Eurovision hates us and it’s all about politics and we’ll never win and etc etc etc.”

???

Natalie
Guest
Natalie

Those ??? are rofl emojis.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

100% te ljubam, the ultimate non-bop.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Worth noting that No Angels are the only act on this list who did manage to pick up one set of top marks. Apparently, the fact that one of their singers is Bulgarian was reason enough for Bulgaria to hand them twelve of their fourteen overall points.

Props for not going for the absolute low-hanging fruit and talking about classic Eurovision punching bags like Cry Baby and Leto svet, although Ping Pong at this point are pretty much obligatory for these lists.

beccaboo1212
Guest

I had no idea! 😮

HarpyDarper
Guest
HarpyDarper

What a crappy list! In context of course, not slagging you off ! A few observations: -Nonstop really fustrate me here, as they were an established group with a decent back catalogue (check out Tudo Vai Mudar!) but they chose such a wretched song and horrible outfits! Unflattering and ugly when they are normally stylish and attractive. A pretty half hearted performance too. -PingPong were crap too, but their backing graphics look robbed from Microsoft Media Player on Windows XP -2007 was a perfect case for the need for two semi finals – SWI 2004 is like something from a… Read more »

TheBoyNextDoor
Guest
TheBoyNextDoor

Israel 2000 is my all time favorite! I had listened to that song non stop for months 😀

beccaboo1212
Guest

Me too! 🙂

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

The live performance was abysmal, but the studio version is really good! >>
https://youtu.be/xVE1VzsfmJk?t=28s
+ they were probably the first hipster on ESC

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

In a way, these are mostly just entries with a lighter side to them – just having fun and not taking the contest too seriously. That’s something we unfortunately lost to political “trolling” acts after 2008. Some of these entries I actually remember quite fondly. 🙂

GiavK
Guest
GiavK

Seriously the singer of greece’s entry in 2002 literally borrowed these atrocious costumes from the swat team of Greek police.This entry was by far our most controversial and is still a cult in our days.In general the early 2000s was a very trashy era in pop culture not only in Eurovision….

Eurovisionfan12
Guest
Eurovisionfan12

Actually I heard the national final performance of Bulgaria 2009 and it’s FAR better then the performance in Moscow, until now I still don’t know why the Bulgarian delegation hired 3 screaming women to sing with him

Sophie Adelaide
Guest
Sophie Adelaide

Oh dear, The 2000’s were the WORST DECADE EVER for EUROVISION!

James
Guest
James

“Is there any Israeli journalist with a lot of free time in the room?”

In fact, one of the male singers, Roy Chicky Arad, *is* an Israeli journalist (and quite an interesting one), so maybe this can be easily done. 🙂

Dan
Guest
Dan

Missed Monaco 2006