All fans have that moment when they fall in love with the Eurovision Song Contest. Very often this is due to a particular song or artist that grabs your attention and makes you come back for more.
These moments can come from an unforgettable heartfelt ballad, or a powerful statement in a song. They can come from a clear winner collecting their trophy, or some mid-00’s novelty. Whatever it is that makes someone adore Eurovision, these moments can turn people from casual viewers to diehard fans.
Before you know it, you’re making a Top 41 and making memes for Twitter. Not to mention the Eurovision Scoreboard app, Mr Gerbear’s Eurovision Sorter, and voting obsessively in the Eurovision Top 250 come autumn. Oh, and then annually spending your entire New Year’s Eve listening to the countdown.
wiwibloggs has over 50 contributors, all of whom had their moment of falling in love with Eurovision. In this three-part series, a selection of them will be sharing their stories and revealing which song made them obsessed with the contest – and so much so that they ended up becoming a part of Team Wiwi. We have contributors from all over the globe, with a wide age range, so the choices could be anything! Let’s see what today’s collective have to say…
William – “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” by Verka Serduchka (Ukraine 2007)
When I was reluctantly dragged to a Eurovision party in 2007, I had no idea what to expect. As an American fresh off the boat in London, Eurovision sounded like American Idol but without the entertainment value of Simon Cowell (listen, it was another era). Then Verka Serduchka exploded on to the stage, changing my life forever. The Ukrainian drag queen was very much in on her own joke: she was deliberately over-the-top and non-sensical, singing gibberish and poking fun at the very stage on which she performed. She seemed to parody herself and in doing so reclaimed the word Eurotrash, turning it into a badge of honour — and one with the most discordant yet uplifting bridges, ever. Her head-to-toe tinfoil, which could no doubt fix all the world’s TV reception, remains a visual highlight of the contest to this day. “When will come such another?” asks Marc Antony in Julius Ceasar. Another Verka? That would be a miracle.
Lucy – “Pokušaj” by Laka (Bosnia & Herzegovina 2008)
OK, hear me out. The song that made me fall in love with this glorious contest? “Pokušaj” by Laka; Bosnia & Herzegovina’s entry at Belgrade 2008. It’s not the most sane performance there’s ever been at Eurovision, and it certainly wasn’t the first to bring something zany to the stage, but it gripped me.
I’d watched Eurovision for the first time in 1998 when it was not far from home in Birmingham, UK (shout-out to my fellow Midlanders). However, the performance involving a washing line, knitting brides and a Helena Bonham-Carter doppelganger was what made me get an account on the Eurovision website in 2008, whilst I hid what I was looking at in my sixth-form common room from my much cooler mates. I wish I could tell 17-year-old me that I would feel very cool at 28 screaming along to it with Eurovision friends at a Eurovision club night in London. And no, I do not speak Bosnian – I just about know what “ljubav” means thanks to the contest.
Robyn – “Lipstick” by Jedward (Ireland 2011)
Eurovision had been on my radar for years, but I had never quite connected with it until 2011. Following Jedward’s first Eurovision appearance, the Irish brothers were housemates on Celebrity Big Brother UK. And they didn’t stop talking about — and singing — their Eurovision song “Lipstick”. By the end of the series, I had drunk the Jedward Kool-Aid and dutifully caught up with Eurovision 2011.
Watching the show unfold on the giant Düsseldorf stage, it all started to make sense. All these acts from around Europe came to the one venue, all with their own style and sound. Jedward showed up with their bright, energetic performance, relying only on bold graphics, choreography and charisma to sail through to a top-ten finish. And the other acts! From Sweden’s glass-smashing to Italy’s jazz piano to Moldova’s…. Moldovaness. Even though I was watching the show months after it had screened, I was still captured by the spectacle and befuddled by some of the results. I had opinions, y’all! By the time Jedward returned to Eurovision 2012, I was fully immersed in the Eurovision fan culture, ready to experience it minute by minute.
Oranie – “Waterloo” by ABBA (Sweden 1974)
The entry which made me fall in love with Eurovision is ABBA, with the song “Waterloo” in 1974. Of course, I’m way too young to have seen it on TV with my own eyes at the time. But as a child, my first record was one with ABBA songs. I listened to it for years until one day I fell on it and broke it with my knees…one of the worst memories of my childhood. For many years I didn’t know ABBA had won Eurovision with “Waterloo”. I later discovered this when I was 7 years old, in 2003, during the grand final that year.
I always watched the contest with my family, so ABBA isn’t the reason why I started my journey as a die hard Eurofan but it definitely increased my love for this show. Moreover to me, this group is definitely a big part of the contest’s spirit, and one of the most memorable winners and songs. Maybe not everybody knows that ABBA won Eurovision, but everybody knows this song.
Julia – “Fairytale” by Alexander Rybak (Norway 2009)
Years ago, when I was younger, I watched Eurovision for the first time. Soon enough, I saw a young man with a fiddle playing a song suited to a classic fairytale and I was smitten. I fell in love with Eurovision thanks to Norway’s winning performance by Alexander Rybak. How could you not fall for his innocence, his cute smile and the simple message of the sweet, folksy song?
I am glad the song took the Eurovision crown that year, particularly for the fact it was an unusual genre and out of the box performance. Since then, the Eurovision stage has been my yearly fairytale of poptacular music!
What do you make of our wiwiblogger’s selections? Which was the first song that made you fall in love with Eurovision? We’d love to hear your Eurovision stories, so comment below and tell us!