Wiwibloggs continues our series looking at the countries currently competing in the Eurovision Song Contest and the reasons why we love them. Next up, we touch down in Riga and look at Latvia.

Latvia has been part of ESC since the year 2000 and they have shown us everything from absolute grace to unexplainable tragedy. Those 18 years are filled with songs in four languages, amazing beaver dance moves and guaranteed votes from Estonia and Lithuania. There are many reasons to love this country and here are ten reasons why we love Latvia at the Eurovision Song Contest.

1. They started brilliantly

Latvia put forward the best they had in their first try at ESC and they totally made it! “My Star” still shines strong in the Eurovision sky and Brainstorm made their way through the charts. Rumour has it that even Usain Bolt called to ask some lessons how to improve his start.

2. Yes, there are not many people who can host Eurovision in Latvia

We proved that the only ones who can host our first Eurovision are those who already presented Latvia in Eurovision. But they did amazingly well and Latvians are proud of Marie N and Renars Kaupers for this memorable evening.

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3. The one and only Riga Beaver!

Isn’t he the most known mascot of national selections? He is wild, entertaining and he loves to do some reggae freestyle on stage. Hundreds of fans watch Supernova just to see the beaver! Put Markus Riva in that costume and those twelves will be dropping.

Riga Beaver

4. With a “hi, hi, ho” and a “hi, hi, hey”!

Pirates. You can’t forget them or resist them. You call it silly and later you find yourself singing along to this song like an animal in your YouTube party. “Wolves of the Sea” is probably the most memorable performance Latvia has made.

5. They made us come to Riga!

Latvia has won the main contest once. Call it a striptease or Ricky Martin plagiarism or the weakest year ever — Latvians call it one of the greatest evenings of their lives (and thanks to Lithuania for 12 points in the final vote). Marie N shocked Eurovision fans and delivered possibly the biggest upset in the history of Eurovision.

6. Best cake recipe in the history of ESC!

If you have ever wondered why you should bake a cake, Latvians have an answer. It was not without controversy. After Aarzemnieki won the national final, taking away the expected win from local star Dons, Dziesma was replaced with Supernova. Yes, Latvia didn’t bake a single cake for years after this performance, but it still was worth it.

7. Stagedives? Sure!

PeR made the first stagedive in Eurovision history. In 2013 they sent PeR, a locally popular group with a real dedication to win Eurovision. But despite their enthusiastic performance, they dove straight into last place in their semi-final.

8. They found their way back to the finals

In 2015, things weren’t looking good for Latvia. It had been six years since they’d qualified for the grand final and in three of those years, they’d come last in their semi. Something had to change. The national final was revamped into Supernova and they came back with a powerful “Love Injection”. Aminata made her mark as one of the most powerful female voices in the history of Eurovision — something clear to see from her grand final performance.

9. They tried to do it in Italian! Mamma mia!

Bored of English? Russian language doesn’t work? No one understands Latvian? Let’s do this in Italian! With seven guys in top hats! Bonaparti.lv was a band of well known local singers that came together for Eurovision to show that Latvians have some gusto in their hearts. Fifth place in the semi is good enough for this.

10. Markus Riva!

Remember this. Latvia still has their secret weapon — Markus Riva. He’s competed five times in the Latvian national final — and a sixth time as a songwriter. And one day he’ll make it through the national final and you’d better be prepared for that. Eurovision icons the Olsen Brothers and Sanna Nielsen both took many attempts before winning their respective national finals — and just like them, Markus ain’t no quitter.

Markus Riva

What do you love about Latvia at the Eurovision Song Contest? Share your favourite moments below!

Read more Latvia Eurovision news here

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Elkou
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Elkou

Part time comedian is right.

Pollaski
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Pollaski

This article should have been one sentence.

“They’re not Lithuania”

Tahnee
Guest
Tahnee

JUSTS SIRMAIS! I had such a big crush on him. I even went to Latvia ’cause of him. And it was the best decision ever, what a great country with lovely people 🙂

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

I know of someone else who was inspired by Justs to go to Latvia – and they loved it too! I wish I could say he was behind my visit there, but I specifically remember walking around Riga’s old town thinking “Omg, wouldn’t it be amazing if I ran into Markus Riva?!?!” (I didn’t!)

ovelha
Guest
ovelha

Latvia. That country that qualifies with terrible pirates who do better than Senhora do Mar, Zemrën e lamë peng and Missä miehet ratsastaa; is 20th with Justs and fails to qualify with Triana Park and Laura Rizzotto, okay. Meh.

(their last four entries are amazing and Justs, Triana Park and Laura got all underrated)

AngieP
Guest
AngieP

Latvia started brilliantly and they soon managed to win and host Eurovision. How cool is that!
I love Latvia for the TOTALLY AMAZING – BRILLIANT – STUNNING performance is 2015! Songs like that make my love Eurovision every more.
Who can forget “Wolves of the sea”?
Latvia is also known for Markus Riva and his determination. I honestly think we’ll see him at the contest sooner or later.

EnjaESC
Guest
EnjaESC

One of my FAV countires at ESC. Last years’ entries are sweet dreams fuel <3 .

pp77
Guest
pp77

For me only good song from Latvia is song from 2000, 2007,20152016
Overrated for me in 2002, 2005 2008 ,2015 (in juries votes)
Underrated in 2016
Deserved to qualify for final in 2009

Sampedrano
Guest
Sampedrano

Justs is by far the best Latvian act ever.

Joe
Guest
Joe

OK, additional thought: on one hand, Markus Riva is just such a frequent presence on the NF circuit that it would at least be nice for him to finally get his moment in the sun (now that we know NF legends Alcazar are never gonna get that chance). On the other hand, his songs all stink and he’d keep the non-qualifying streak going, so no thanks.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Markus Riva is kinda meh.

Latvian
Guest
Latvian

Markus Riva isn’t even beloved here. Nobody understood what madara sang.

Latvian
Guest
Latvian

Probka and cake to bake are terrible.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Four truths in a row. You’re on fire!

Latvian
Guest
Latvian

Haha, thanks

Joe
Guest
Joe

I’m 50/50 here: d’accord on Riva and Probka, I liked the tune of Esamiba enough to forgive the muttering and I thought Cake to Bake was kinda cute.

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

Latvians really couldn’t understand Madara?
I can’t tell as I don’t speak Latvian xD
Esam?ba is such a beautiful song though <3

Latvian
Guest
Latvian

Yep, just few words. On Twitter people told that it was because of her piercing

Kriss
Guest
Kriss

Weird, because I understood every word.

MusicIstheKey
Guest
MusicIstheKey

I think Markus Riva has mostly rather ordinary songs. Not my style

Smukais
Guest
Smukais

Plot twist: you’re not Latvian. I’m Latvian and i understood everything she sung.

Latvian
Guest
Latvian

Tas nemaina faktu, ka tas nebija t?ri. T?pat k? Melovin dziedot ang?u valod?.

Alex
Guest
Alex

I hope they learnt from this year and will come up with better songs next year. I really want Latvia to win and host again!

Joe
Guest
Joe

Latvia be crazy, and seeing how it plays out is always a pleasure. They’re really a throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks kind of country. Pirates? Sure! A cappella with a robot? Why not! Sign language? No rule saying you can’t! And that nuttiness led them to an early victory, so kudos to them.
Their best is the surprisingly touching My Star. I’m always surprised by how that song almost moves me to tears every time I hear it.

Daan
Guest
Daan

They better send MADARA asap! Or a song written by Aminata

Dame Tu Conchita
Guest
Dame Tu Conchita

It’s hard to imagine Markus Riva winning the national final because his voice is too deep. He may if his voice type becomes flexible and if he represents with a successful song.

Latvian
Guest
Latvian

Almost nobody loves him

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

I really really love I Wanna, it’s a very fun song with a great performance!
I’m sorry Ira, I love you, but 7th Wonder wasn’t that interesting for me 🙁 Marie N was the best from 2002 and is one of Latvia’s best entries
Aminata is no less a queen than Marie N for me <3 I need Aminata to come back and save Latvia

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

Their 2002 victory is completely deserved as it was the first performance in the sense we know now–dancing, action, charisma. It was truly something new back then when normally singers would stand and sing their song with a few occasional dancers moving around… Marie N brought something original.

MusicIstheKey
Guest
MusicIstheKey

I like the song, but the performance was too OTT

Joe
Guest
Joe

I will say, for that year, Marie N was hard to argue with as a winner. Malta was very good too, but in a year where very few countries brought their A-game (I’d put it with 86 and 08 as an overall pretty lousy year), she stood out the most.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

2002 and 2008 are my favorite years along with 1999 and 2009! So many strong pop songs in my opinion, and 2002’s top 5 remains unmatched with only amazing songs.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

They’re honestly iconic. They choose very distinctive songs that either do great or terribly and never go for something banal.

MusicIstheKey
Guest
MusicIstheKey

I often love Latvian entries. Usually great, distinctive, daring and memorable songs. My top 5: 1) My Star, 2) I Hear Your Heart, 3. Probka, 4) Love Injected 5) Line (?). I only dislike “Cake To Bake”, “Beautiful Song” and especially “Pirates Of the Sea”. Too unserious. I must also add they often have good national selections.

Geb
Guest
Geb

Latvia is among the most underrated countries in this competition. They really try hard but unfortunately there’s no appreciation! And to those who dare to call their 2001 victory “undeserved”, I can tell only this to them: You are jealous that your country still can’t do that in this day and age!

Eastman
Guest
Eastman

In the past decade Latvia has only qualified twice. They have also come last in their semi four times. But everyone loves Latvia because Aminata Savadogo delivered one amazing entry which has the power to erase their past and future flops. All hail the queen! (Seriously though, can Aminata come back with another tune?)

JackTheBoy
Guest
JackTheBoy

From Latvia I love their 2015 and 2016 entries. I also really liked “What For” from 2010, but the live performance was terrible. Latvia’s 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2018 entries were nice too.

After Estonia 2001 they have the second worst winning song in Eurovision history IMO.

Paul
Guest
Paul

What about Azerbaijan ??

JackTheBoy
Guest
JackTheBoy

Azerbaijan 2011 was a nice song. It was well staged, the only negative part was Nikki’s vocals. It’s indeed one of the weakest winning songs in the history of ESC, but there has been worse. F.e. Estonia 2001, Latvia 2002, Russia 2008. I’d even add Portugal’s victory as one of the worst too. Besides, 2001 wasn’t even a good year for Eurovision anyway. There were a lot of good songs performed really bad. I loved Hungary, Estonia, France. But the live performances were really weak. Kati Wolf had zero stage charisma, Getter Jaani couldn’t even sing half of the song… Read more »

JackTheBoy
Guest
JackTheBoy

* 2011 wasn’t a good year

Marc
Guest
Marc

Portugal one of the worst winners? Lol

JackTheBoy
Guest
JackTheBoy

Yeah. It’s just my opinion, but I’m sure a lot of people agree with me on this matter. It was dull. But it stood out with its simplicity and.. weirdness.

Kris
Guest
Kris

I agree with Jack on that

Loin dici
Guest
Loin dici

Well, ain’t 2017 songs duller than expected?

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Sure, “I Wanna” was no worthy winning song, but the stage show was very charming, credit where credit is due. And it resulted in a top-notch show in 2003, Marie N was a good host, they even had one of the best stages, in my opinion. Turkey should re-watch that show.