After Måneskin’s victory in Rotterdam earlier this year, we were reminded of all the iconic rock performances on the Eurovision stage over the years. While rock isn’t necessarily the most popular genre at Eurovision, there have been plenty of memorable performances of different rock genres, serving guitars and attitude. So here, in no particular order, are eight iconic rock performances at Eurovision.
Hard rock: Lordi – “Hard Rock Hallelujah” (Finland 2006)
Result: 1st in grand final (292 points)
The monstrous Finnish rockers Lordi brought some hard rock served with a hint of schlager. “Hard Rock Hallelujah” was accompanied by an unforgettable stage show, with the band in monster costumes and Mr Lordi spreading his wings. The song was a huge hit, giving Finland its first — and so far only — Eurovision win.
Soft rock: The Humans – “Goodbye” (Romania 2018)
Result: 11th in semi-final (107 points)
Not every rock song is heavy. Romania’s The Humans went their own way with the soft rock anthem “Goodbye”. Helmed by Cristina Caramarcu’s powerhouse vocals, the group delivered a solid soft-rock performance. While the unsettling staging may have put a few viewers off, the song was ranked ninth in the jury vote and narrowly missed out on qualifying, placing 11th in its semi-final.
Glam rock: Wig Wam – “In My Dreams” (Norway 2005)
Result: 9th in the grand final (125 points)
Lipstick, eyeliner, Lycra, feathers, flares and chest hair —Norway’s glam rock group Wig Wam brought their A-game to the Kyiv stage. Led by the charismatic frontman Glam (aka Åge Sten Nilsen), the group delivered their attitude-laden “In My Dreams”. The performance gave Norway a top-ten finish.
Power metal: Teräsbetoni – “Missä miehet ratsastaa” (Finland 2008)
Result: 22nd in grand final (35 points)
Finnish power metal group Teräsbetoni showed they were as strong as reinforced concrete with their 2008 song “Missä miehet ratsastaa”. The song was the country’s first Finnish language song since the national language rule ended in the late ’90s — proving that the dramatic tones of Finnish are a perfect match for the theatrics of metal. The song took Finland to the grand final where they finished 22nd.
Metalcore: Max Jason Mai – “Don’t Close Your Eyes” (Slovakia 2012)
Result: 18th in semi-final (22 points)
“Don’t Close Your Eyes” was Slovakia’s last Eurovision entry to date. Max Jason Mai brought rock swagger to the stage with his metalcore performance. He performed the heck out of the song but it didn’t resonate with televoters or juries. The song finished last in its semi.
Britpop: Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz – “Midnight Gold” (Georgia 2016)
Result: 20th in grand final (104 points)
Surprisingly, it was a Georgian group who finally brought the Britpop sound to Eurovision. Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz had previously been based in London and nailed the indie rock sound that swept the UK in the ’90s. Their song “Midnight Gold” was a bold, psychedelic rock experience with wild staging. The performance got Georgia into the grand final and even nabbed 12 points from the UK jury.
Nu metal: Blind Channel – “Dark Side” (Finland 2021)
Result: 6th in grand final (301 points)
When Blind Channel won Finland’s UMK with a landslide result, it was clear they would be one to watch in Rotterdam. Their song “Dark Side” brought a fresh take on the nu-metal genre, their double vocalists delivering a performance with a one-two punch. Despite facing tough competition with Italy’s rock entry, Blind Channel secured a sixth-place finish for Finland.
Honourable mention: Ovidiu Anton – “Moment of Silence” (Romania 2016)
Ovidiu Anton was had won Romania’s national final and was due to head to Eurovision 2016. Sadly, due to a financial issue between the Romanian broadcaster and the EBU, Romania’s place in Stockholm was cancelled and Ovidiu never had the opportunity to compete. But his song “Moment of Silence” remains as a powerful piece of pop-rock.
Thanks to wiwiblogger Lauren for her expert advice on rock genres.
Coming soon… part two, with more iconic Eurovision rock performances.
What do you think? What are your favourite rock performances at Eurovision? Would you like to see more rock acts on the Eurovision stage? Tell us your thoughts below!
The Worrying Kind – The Ark (Sweden 2007)
Leave Me Alone – Hanna Pakarinen (Finland 2007)
Deli – Mor Ve Ötesi (Turkey 2008)
We Could Be The Same – maNga (Turkey 2010)
You should do one for NF as well as there are plenty, that didn‘t make it.
Nightwish (Finland 2000)
Thunderstone and Lovex (Finland 2007)
H.E.A.T. (Sweden 2009)
Keep of Kalessin (Norway 2010)
Dead by April (Sweden 2012)
Gothminister and Gromth feat. Emil Solli-Tangen (Norway 2013)
Ammunition (Norway 2017)
Fatal Error (Hungary 2019)
Jorn (Norway 2021)
Dimma (Iceland 2021)
Still missing a whole lot (these are those who came in my mind).
Also Lillasyster (Sweden 2021)
I’m a rock sucker so I’m excited whenever there’s a rock entry in Eurovision. But they always tend to be underrated. My favs rock entries ever are: Albania 2018 (rock ballad) Finland 2007 Denmark 2011 (pop-rock) Finland 2014 (pop-rock) Switzerland 2012 (pop-rock). Very underrated, shoud’ve qualified for sure… Turkey 2010 Belarus 2016 Slovakia 2012. This one was criminally underrated even if Max’ vocals weren’t on point at all. France 2007 (don’t know which specific subgenre this could be). Missundertood and underappreciated. Andorra 2007 (punk-rock). Would have given Andorra its first qualification with the current system. Hungary 2012 (electronic rock) Switzerland… Read more »
not mentioning Finland 2007 (the best one) is a crime
also honorable mention for Kabáti, whole definition of the Czech rock (most famous band)
Always felt Bonnie Tyler could do a cracking studio version of The Humans’ “Goodbye”
Eurovision going Eurockvision
My little Numetal loving heart was in my throat waiting for Blind Channel to be announced through to the final! Love them!
Just amazing! Excellent pieces of different nuances of rock! Finland has plenty (including also that amazing interval act) and Turkey as well. Also Minus One as well, one of my favorites from Cyprus.
Interesting video of rock entries in Eurovision https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wouIRmxxycQ
Young Georgian Lolitaz deserved better than 20th.
I didn’t care about Georgia in 2016. until the semifinal. I was pretty shocked and happy they qualified, the performance made me vote for them in the final 🙂
I would love to hear more rock music in ESC 🙂
Lordi: Iconic. Period
The Humans: Still makes me shed a tear
Wig Wam: Plagiarism at it finest but still amazing
Max Jason Mai: No no no
Nika & Lolitaz: Guilty pleasure
Blind Channel: Yes yes yes
Ovidiu Anton: Eh
Could we see Ruslana with ethnic rock in pt2?
I still listen to “One More Day” by Eldrine (Georgia, 2011).
Alternative title: “It’s the arockalypse! Iconic Finnish performances at Eurovision (part 1)”