1969 was a pinnacle year in our world’s history. The year marked a momentous and unprecedented four-way win at Eurovision between the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands and France.
Just months later, the space race led the United States’ Apollo 11 mission to make their mark and create something even more unprecedented – landing on the moon for the first time.
July 20, 2019 marks 50 years since the moon landing. And since that day, many Eurovision artists have sang about the big cheese in the sky – with some even walking on the moon on the Eurovision stage, while others gave us a stage-invading moon of their own. To celebrate this event, we’ve created a list of the eight most lunar, gravity-defining moments at Eurovision.
8. Nathan Trent – “Running on Air” (Austria 2017)
Kyiv’s most adorable performer Nathan Trent walked straight into the finals at Eurovision 2017, giving us an Michael Jackson-esque man on the moon performance with “Running on Air”.
His performance in Ukraine had Nathan wearing all-white while sitting inside of a massive crescent moon, constructed out of tiny mirrored panels. During the bridge of the song the stage went dark — allowing the moon to rise as it does at night. Nathan’s choreography included a simple hop off of the moon and few quick steps here and there, climbing back on the moon and hanging off of its crescent. It was cute and carefree.
7. Lena Meyer-Landrut – “Satellite” (Germany 2010)
She was the 19 year old girl who was plucked from obscurity and made an overnight success. Lena sang of an almost stalker-like love of her man by “orbiting like a satellite all the way around you”.
Like the Apollo 11 space shuttle, Lena acted as a satellite and stayed in her man’s orbit, strutting in a little black dress to take out the contest in 2010. It came as a surprise to many, if not Lena at most. But her story was a strong example of determination, seeing a powerhouse country like Germany rise to the top and prove themselves Eurovision-worthy.
6. Taxi – “The Moon” (Romania 2000)
Romania’s entry in the 2000 contest in Stockholm was Nashville-inspired group Taxi, who sang a song devoted to a love interest, with an analogy to the big circle in the sky.
With lyrics such as “I feel when the moon is playing on and on and on with my heart, simply ’cause your love is real”, Taxi’s lead singer adopted a very late-90s look and sound. With the lead singer’s look not too dissimilar to U2’s Bono, the performance was nasal, somewhat ethereal and slightly off key. But its saving grace was a pan-flutist who stole the show with her floral outfit, flute-riffing against an electric guitar player who took his own spot in the moonlight. The group eventually placed 17th in the grand final.
5. Slavko Kalezic – “Space” (Montenegro 2017)
He’s the now-staple to Eurovision seasons every year ever since appearing for Montenegro in 2017. And just like how a full moon can change human behaviour and bring out the crazy, Slavko brought it all.
Turning his iconic man-braid into the centre of his over-the-top and ultimately uplifting performance. The X Factor Adria star turned up and turned out, wearing a translucent, skintight black top that showed off his ample assets. During the song’s introduction he wore his blue-ish Venus skirt from the music video, before stripping it off to reveal spray-on diamond-studded leggings, reflecting like the moon does at night. It was WTF in the most amazing way, and was the purest definition of out-of-this-world. This spaceship, unlike the Apollo 11, was ready to blow.
4. Matia Bazar – “Raggio di luna” (Italy 1979)
Celebrating 10 years since the moon-landing in 1979, Italy brought their own lunar-inspired song with “Raggio di luna (Moon beam)”. Yet another love song in the contest, it drew the metaphor that something as a simple as a moon beam could make a relationship enjoyable.
Sadly – it appeared that the moon was in retrograde at Eurovision in 1979. Matia Bazar delivered an off-key performance that was nasal was very 70s in look and feel. Even though they were touted as pre-contest favourites, the Italian group placed fourth last in the grand final.
3. Who See – “Igranka” (Montenegro 2013)
Almost as famed as the duo-act of moon landers, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, Montenegro’s Who See and Wilkuh Sky brought both rapping and space suits to the stage in Malmo.
The duo brought their out of this world staging in 2013, rapping in plumes of smoke, all set against bright yellow lights. From time-to-time their hype girl/Houston correspondent Nina Zizic emerged from an underground platform—apparently dressed as a nebular bumble bee—to deliver her on-point vocals that gave us the chills. Despite not qualifying for the final, their performance has gone down in history as one giant leap for mankind.
2. Kate Miller-Heidke – “Zero Gravity” (Australia 2019)
Staring straight into the abyss of a dark space, the moon-landers often spoke about how difficult and arduous the four-day journey to the moon was – even when they had problems. At this year’s Eurovision, Australia’s Kate Miller-Heidke served face and was lost in space in her own (in all seriousness) out of this world performance, battling the forces of darkness in “Zero Gravity”.
Much like Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, Kate’s performance looked down on planet earth, with Kate and backing dancers floating weightless. Gradually she floated away, breaking free of the planet’s atmosphere and escaping into deepest space. It’s a performance that defined Eurovision staging history, and will forever remain in the history books as one of the most innovating stagings ever.
1. Aisel – “X My Heart” (Azerbaijan 2018)
She’s the Azeri superstar who changed Eurovision vernacular forever with four words – luna moon me up!
Aisel asked us to cross our hearts much in the same way the world crossed their fingers for the two men making the moon landing in 1969. Her performance on stage was ethereal and stunning, with lyrics having a double meaning.
The most memorable line of Aisel’s entry was the phrase “Luna moon me up”. In a song about perseverance and self-belief, it seems to carry the message “the universe is ready to take me higher”. But beyond that it’s also a clever play on words. In Azerbaijani, “Aisel” means “the path of the moon”. All too fitting in celebrating this momentous day.
Legendary stage director Fokas Evaggelinos, who designed Aisel’s staging at Eurovision in Lisbon, told wiwibloggs at the time that the song was about self-belief and challenging one’s self – much like the 1969 expedition did:
“The message that we want to communicate is that if each of us believes in ourselves, we can be led higher. Reaching this state, the intense experience of this path, creates the need of communicating the message of believing in ourselves. Lead more people to the top.”
Which space/moon related Eurovision song is your favourite? Which songs would you have added to the list? Let us know in the comments below!