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…

Jonathan – “Rise Like A Phoenix” by Conchita Wurst (Austria 2014)

Since first watching Eurovision in 2005, there have been numerous songs that have slowly helped turn me into the fanatic I am today. But the one that accelerated my descent into the fandom came in 2014. This was the first year I realised all entries are usually released two months in advance of the contest, after I accidentally stumbled across a list of them while looking up the date of that year’s show. There was one that stood out to me in particular. I was captivated by this bearded lady who was serving elegance and beauty whilst bathing in a tub of rose petals and singing a James Bond-style power ballad.

As my love for Conchita Wurst and “Rise Like A Phoenix” grew, I wanted to see if Austria had any chance of winning. Thus, I started to look up the betting odds – through this I came across my first wiwibloggs article. On the night of the grand final, Conchita became the first Eurovision artist I ever voted for, and I was lucky enough to see my first ever pre-contest favourite also go on to take home the trophy. Conchita Wurst was the spark that ignited my passion for a competition where it didn’t matter if you were slightly different or deemed to be the underdog, you were accepted and could succeed nonetheless.

The following March, I made sure to check out the entries for the 2015 contest in advance as well (and tried to find “that website with the pink logo”). I subsequently immersed myself into the fan community and started following Eurovision year-round.

Oliver – “Leave Me Alone” by Hanna Pakarinen (Finland 2007)

Flashback to 2007. An awkward and pasty ten-year-old Oliver found himself falling into a rabbit hole of all things goth and emo. My albums of choice were Evanescence’s Fallen, Avril Lavigne’s Under My Skin and My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade. Meanwhile, I took advantage of any and every opportunity to wear my bright purple skinny jeans and black and white checkerboard fingerless gloves. Sounds hideous, I know. But I loved it. And just as I was finding my tweenage groove, Finland found its groove at Eurovision.

A year after Lordi’s iconic win, all eyes were on Finland to see what the wildcard would pull out next. They went for hard rock again. And what a follow up it was. With the bewitching track “Leave Me Alone”, Hanna Pakarinen brought the edgy tones of mid-noughties rock to the Eurovision stage. As soon as the iconic electric guitar riff kicked in, this performance enthralled me completely. Hanna’s jet black dress, huge messy hair and haunting presence amongst the clouds of smoke… the gothic imagery ticked every box on my emo aesthetic checklist. It was everything I wanted to be. The Finnish people — and myself, from the comfort of my parents’ living room — sent Hanna off with rapturous applause.

Needless to say, I was devastated when Hanna didn’t take the win. She finished the night in 17th place with a grand total of 53 points. Nevertheless, “Leave Me Alone” retains a special place in my heart. It’s one of the first Eurovision songs I ever voted for and to this day it’s a track I often revisit when I’m aching for a hit of nostalgia.

Luis – “Dime” by Beth (Spain 2003)

Much like almost every Spanish fan born in the 90s my first contact with Eurovision was in 2002, when Rosa won Operación Triunfo and the expectations were extremely high. I did watch Rosa’s performance, but as I was only seven, I did not stay up until the end of the contest.

The following year in 2003 was the first time I watched the contest until the end. While Turkey and Russia’s entries that year are among my all-time favourites, it was Spain’s “Dime” that got me interested in Eurovision. There was a lot of hype about it, the song was extremely current at the time and Beth delivered an energetic performance that granted Spain a decent result. I went to sleep super happy, thinking Eurovision was a great contest where Spain would always do well. Turns out I only got the first part right.

Pablo – “Be My Valentine! (Anti-Crisis Girl)” by Svetlana Loboda (Ukraine 2009)

Who would ever think lollygagging around the internet would make me discover the existence of Europe’s largest music contest? While vintage Spanish entries made their way into the Latin American zeitgeist (Mocedades’ “Eres Tu” being a Catholic Church favourite), this kid from Venezuela was made aware of the actual contest around the summer of 2009.

One page of the fairly big webcomic Scandinavia and the World detailed Norway’s win at Eurovision 2009, so I forayed into this event I thought was a once-and-done thing! Rybak was okay, and so was Iceland. But once my curiosity took me down and I landed on this great, hell machine-taming, drum-playing monster performance of one Svetlana Loboda, I was done. Sold. Convinced. Hooked. The music’s the kind of edgy big sound pop that caters to me, and the stage show was the right kind of chaotic but flawlessly executed performance that had me affixed through the three minutes. Instant fan of this woman.

Results were irrelevant, I came out thinking this newfangled “Eurovision” thing was actually kinda cool; plenty of new music that was different from the tiring mainstream songs back in my home country. Three years later, I managed to catch the contest live, made many friends in the process, and now I can’t imagine my life without the contest. Wouldn’t have been the same without miss LOBODA, who still puts out amazing tunes to this day.

Lauren – “Suus” by Rona Nishliu (Albania 2012)

In 2012, some of my colleagues were in their 20s, some in their 30s, but I was just in fourth grade. I vividly recall coming back home from school one day, probably May or June 2012, and hearing a song play on MTV in the local grocery store. It was so good I just had to know what it was and listen to it on repeat once I got home. And so, I waited for the end of the song, and it popped up on the screen – Loreen – “Euphoria”.

Once I got home and looked it up, I found out that it had recently won Eurovision, and thought “huh, maybe Eurovision isn’t that bad”. I quickly went through many songs from Eurovision 2012, but I remember exactly nothing from that journey other than the Albanian entry. “Suus” captured my attention so much, I learned all the lyrics to it (at age ten!) and begged my family to listen to it (much to their dismay). To me, that was the clear winner of Eurovision 2012, and I swore had it participated any other year it would’ve won (which I now realise is anything but true).

Thanks to Rona Nishliu’s operatic belter, an interest sparked in me for the Eurovision Song Contest. A few months later, my family sat down with me to watch Junior Eurovision 2012. Since then, I’ve been hooked.

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!

Read part one and part two of the series

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Badwoolfgirl
Badwoolfgirl
2 months ago

My Eurovision journey was a long one in the making. I guess the first Eurovision songs I’ve heard were probably Waterloo and the Voice, but I didn’t connect them to Eurovision because I didn’t know about it. Waterloo was just one of many songs I’ve heard by ABBA and the version of the Voice I was familiar with wasn’t the original version sung by Eimear Quinn but the famous Celtic Woman cover (which I mistakenly thought was one of their original songs). My first real brush with Eurovision was in 2012 where I visited my sister’s college friend’s home for… Read more »

Tibor
Tibor
2 months ago

A little older than the average wiwibloggs reader (or blogger), I had my ups and downs with the contest and didn’t always take it seriously when it came to its musical quality, although there always were exceptions (the earliest I can think of that I witnessed personally was Joëlle Ursull’s “White & Black Blues” in 1990). But the year that thoroughly changed my attitude towards Eurovision was 1997, when Paul Oscar took the stage dressed in latex, giving a heart-attack to the usual Eurovision public and being punished for it by the conservative juries. “Minn HInsti Dans” sounds a tad… Read more »

Colin
Colin
2 months ago
Reply to  Tibor

I just very recently went back to 1999 and 1998. 1998 is likely my favorite ESC year from then to 2010 or even 2012. I absolutely fell in love with several songs, including the British one. It would be a much stronger winning song. And, as you probably already know, I also consider the Estonian masterpiece Rändajad to be the strongest song from 2009. 🙂

Last edited 2 months ago by Colin
Tibor
Tibor
2 months ago
Reply to  Colin

In retrospect, 1998 wasn’t such a bad year. I’ll always argue that it had the wrong winner, although I recognize how important Dana International’s victory was from a social standpoint. On the other hand, we were a couple of points away from our first black Eurovision winner, and “Where are you?” was the much stronger song. 1999 is one of the contests I skipped and only watched recently for the first time on Youtube. I realize that that is in itself a reason why I can’t be entirely fair when it comes to assessing the musical quality. Be that as… Read more »

Colin
Colin
2 months ago
Reply to  Tibor

As someone who just recently discovered both contests, I would have to agree that 1998 was a much stronger year than 1999. I developed some quite unpopular (and some more common) opinions on these songs. In 1998, I liked about three quarters of songs, with absolutely falling in love with a few: Romania, Cyprus, UK, Estonia, Ireland, Sweden, Netherlands, and of course, re-igniting my love for Neka mi ne svane. 🙂 My unpopular opinion is that I don’t really love Diva as a song. I only appreciate its originality and its iconic stamp on the LGBT history in ESC. Still,… Read more »

Tibor
Tibor
2 months ago
Reply to  Colin

As usual, I wouldn’t go as far as three quarters of songs I like, it still is a 90s contest, but with “Where are you?”, the criminally underrated “Où aller?” and “Neka mi ne svane”, I have a top 3 I honestly still listen to sometimes, which is very rare for these old contests.
And with “Diva” part of the fans get very touchy, although the song is objectively speaking neither well written nor particularly well performed.

Colin
Colin
1 month ago
Reply to  Tibor

I am still only re-discovering the 90s, so I can only comment on 1999 and 1998, but I usually do like most 90s style ballads. I guess that two thirds would be a better assessment when it comes to actually listening to them, but even the last third isn’t terrible. There are some ”meh” songs in 1998, but nothing particularly grating.

A neat trivia is that Croatian and North Macedonian entries actually have the same name. Both ”Neka mi ne svane” and ”Ne zori, zoro” roughly translate as ”May the dawn never rise upon me”.

Last edited 1 month ago by Colin
Jesper Hjellnes
Jesper Hjellnes
2 months ago

These articles have been so fun to read. Love reading about how other Eurofans got into the contest <3

It started in 2010 for me. My country Norway hosted and I remember there were a lot of hype here after Rybak winning the year before. In a Moment Like This was the last song in the grand final, and I just loved everything with it. In the following months, I started to read about the contest’s history on Wikipedia, checked out previous entries and watched votings on Youtube.

The truth
The truth
2 months ago

Suus an operatic belter?Seems this fan does not know anything about opera (or maybe even singing). Rona, sorry to say was not singing but screaming.

Last edited 2 months ago by The truth
kir
kir
2 months ago
Reply to  The truth

Either way, Rona’s vocal technique was excellent in terms of transcending the language barrier and expressing the existential suffering and grief. The way she can handle this screaming was truely outworldish

Lauren
Editor
2 months ago
Reply to  The truth

You had me in the first half, not gonna lie.