Wiwibloggs continues our series looking at the countries currently competing in the Eurovision Song Contest and why we love them — for all the right (and sometimes wrong) reasons. Today it’s the turn of everyone’s favourite post-Soviet, Romanian-speaking, wine producing, trumpet blaring republic: Moldova.
Moldova may be the poorest country in Europe, but they certainly ain’t lacking in Eurovision gold! Throughout the years the country has seen a real mix of results – although one thing they’ve never failed to do is offer up something different and give us an entry to remember. So without any further ado, here are 10 reasons why we love Moldova at the Eurovision Song Contest.
1. Cray cray staging
One thing Moldova will never let you down in is putting on an unforgettable stage show that breaks all laws of traditional music performance. Over the years we’ve seen teddy bears, unicycles, gravity-defying dresses, clothing removals, wig removals, slutty policewomen, astronauts, brides and identical triplets…and we still probably haven’t even covered half of it. They really pull out all the stops, and for that we applaud you Moldova!
2. The original babushka
Russia’s Buranovskiye Babushki may hold the title for the most famous grandmas at Eurovision, but it was in fact Zdob și Zdub who pioneered the idea for Moldova’s debut in the contest in 2005. Their entry, “Boonika bate doba” – translating to “Grandma beats the drum” – featured a heart melting, golden-toothed grandma, smirking away in her rocking chair and beating her beloved drum.
3. They promote local songwriting talent
Moldova like keeping it in the republica y’all! Just three of Moldova’s fourteen entries have been produced outside the country – a fact that, sadly, can’t be said for many other countries at Eurovision nowadays. However, it is worth mentioning that these foreign-produced songs were all very recent; in 2015, 2016 and 2018. Please make sure you don’t ever sell your soul to the Swedes!
4. They supply groups galore
Whilst once upon a time, bands were what ruled Eurovision, their popularity has continued to fade over the years, with solo singers holding a large majority nowadays. However, six of Moldova’s fourteen Eurovision entries (that’s 43%) have been performed by groups – an achievement that is only matched by Romania, Finland and Switzerland (excluding duos) since Moldova’s debut.
5. They’ve given us some iconic lyrics
Moldova always blesses us with lyrical mastery. There’s no better way to explain this one than giving some of this wiwiblogger’s personal favourites:
- “She’s a slapping Miss Blackman, gimme some more” (2005)
- “Just like from advertise you came down from the skies on a plane which belongs to your daddy” (2012)
- “Flashes, ray ban glasses, I move with ease in my convertible breeze” (2011)
- “The green leaf of a pea plant, more” (2009)
- “She’s a little bit loco, a little bit cocoa. A little bit tall, yo, a little bit small, yo.” (2006)
- “Who’s the Beatles? Where from is Peter Pan? Who’s the gypsy Jimi Hendrix? She don’t care, that Mrs. L.” (2005)
6. They stick to their roots
In a contest often criticised for becoming more and more westernised, Moldova is a country you can almost always count on to bring the ethnic flavour. Even when the country refrains from singing in its native Romanian, you can still expect the sound of sensual traditional trumpets and the jovial sight of wacky folkloric dances and colourful national costumes.
7. Epic Sax Guy
Moldova brought Eurovision to the eyes of non-Europeans, after Sunstroke Project’s Sergey Stepanov – AKA Epic Sax Guy – went viral with his 30-second saxophone solo in their 2010 entry “Run Away”. The original clip has now racked up over 50 million views, as well as being remixed in numerous ways, such as ‘Gandalf Sax Guy’ and even a (slightly repetitive) 10-hour version.
8. They bring the fun factor
One could say that Moldova is a very uncompetitive country at Eurovision – they appear to be far less bothered about giving us a serious performance that’s in with a shot at winning, and much more interested in bringing smiles to our faces. In fact, only twice has Moldova has only sent us ballads: in 2008 and 2013. And as touching as ballads can be, who doesn’t love some good old fashioned fun?
9. O melodie pentru Europa
Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the national final season is Moldova’s O melodie pentru Europa. We’ve been graced with titles as promising as “Universal Cow”, “We’ll Gonna Rock”, “The Mole Girl” and “Freaky Thong” – and some stage performances that leave you with your mouth gaping wide open. And we are never short of drama, such as the alleged rigged win of Eduard Romanyuta in 2015, or the three-way tie in 2006 resulting in a second national final being held: with two of the original winners withdrawing. And then there’s Sasha Bognibov…
10. They are on the up
In 2014 Moldova finished slap-bang-last in their semi, marking the start of a dark era in Moldova’s Eurovision history. However, after a hat-trick of non-qualifications, Moldova came back fighting with the return of Epic Sax Guy and friends and placed third – the country’s best result ever. DoReDoS continued this trend this year, securing Moldova another top 10 finish. Has Eurovision got itself a new powerhouse?
In 2007, Moldova initially planned to withdraw from the contest due to lack of funding. However, after pressure from mass-media they made a last-minute application — under the condition that artists funded all of their own expenses (apart from the participation fee). In spite of their monetary issues, TRM did offer that if the selected artist made the top 10, then they would cover the full costs of their Eurovision journey. And what place did Natalia Barbu finish? Tenth…by 3 points. What a bittersweet night for TRM!
What do you think? Why do you love Moldova at Eurovision? Let us know in the comments box below!