Croatia Albina Rehearsal Eurovision 2021

We’re all familiar with iconic staging at Eurovision. From Eleni’s Foureira’s rhinestoned catsuit and vigorous flamed performance, which took her to second place back in 2018, to Go_A’s cyberpunk folk ritual breaking the top 5 in 2021, recent years have shown staging is more important than ever to solidify a good result.

But amidst the chaos, there are a few forgotten gems — performances that were some of the best staged, but have been forgotten over time and barely spoken about by fans. Let’s take a stage dive into five underrated picks!

Memorable staging at Eurovision: Five underrated performances

Carl Espen — “Silent Storm” (Norway 2014)

A performance laced with Eurovision clichés, this emotional ballad has everything we should hate in a performance: violins, spotlight, wind machine, smoke, man on a piano. But this is exactly why this performance was so perfect. The signature Scandinavian polish was used to great effect to create a stunning package for viewers. Paired with the gorgeous diamond-inspired stage design and clever “stormy sea” style LED, we go on a clear journey — one that landed Espen a well deserved top 10 finish in the grand final.

Albina — “Tick-Tock” (Croatia 2021)

Arguably one of the most memorable stage shows of the 2021 contest held in the Netherlands, this futuristic light show was nothing short of spectacular. Talk about an upgrade! This entry was far from a fan favourite after Albina’s victory at Dora, but the team invested golden time and plenty of Euros into this performance. It paid off. The staging echoes the laser beam wall of Benjamin Ingrosso’s “Dance You Off” performance from 2018, mixed with some Melodifestivalen magic. The camera angles are consistent and dynamic, gripping the viewer and maintaining interest. And who could forget the moment we get five Albinas as she cross-multiplies mid-song? Despite all of this the song ended up in a disappointing 11th place in the first semi-final. Nevertheless, it made a lasting impression in the minds of fans across the continent.

Petr Elfimov — “Eyes That Never Lie” (Belarus 2009)

Before the likes of Elina Nechayeva, Aliona Moon and Sabina Babayeva, Belarus was an early adopter of the projected dress trend. This performance had it all. Petr stands centre stage in angelic white, juxtaposing the acid green backdrop, accompanied by a spirit-like figure with billowing fabric and projected flames. The viewer feels as if they are soaring around the stage in this enchanting ensemble. The most notable aspect of the entire performance is the perfect steadicam shot that circles Petr during the final chorus. It enhances the sheer power of his vocals, fundamental in the delivery of such a complex rock anthem.

Ivi Adamou — “La La Love” (Cyprus 2012)

Like a goddess of the library, she danced her way to 16th place in Baku. Wearing a champagne dress and cream accessories, Ivi Adamou took us to a Mediterranean fantasy land during her performance of “La La Love”. With such a Eurotastic pop song, the Cypriot team knew they needed a stage show to match, and what better way than to wheel a table made from books on stage for Ivi to stomp all over and be lifted to the gods by four stunning backing dancers? The backdrop included an assortment of shells and architectural imagery which worked perfectly with the theme. Paired with strong lighting effects during an energetic dance break, there is good reason why this entry is so loved within the fandom. 

Laura Tesoro — “What’s The Pressure” (Belgium 2016)

Laura Tesoro was clearly the dark horse of 2016. “What’s The Pressure” generated little buzz prior to rehearsals, but upon touchdown in Stockholm, fans changed their tune. Laura and her entourage worked the stage wearing silver and white costumes with LEDs resembling the lights of Las Vegas. This performance built on Belgium’s new wave of momentum, following Loic Nottet’s success a year earlier. Starting with synchronised handkerchief waves and a choreographed walk down the runway, we see Laura take centre stage and hit every camera angle with ease, ending on the satellite stage where we as audience members feel even more connected to her. This is a great example of how the ‘concert’ feel can enhance the overall effect of the staging. It gave Belgium a pleasantly surprising tenth place finish in the final.

What do you think? Which other Eurovision stage shows are under-appreciated? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
2 months ago

Carl Espen was my #1 from the second I saw his music video; and I didn’t even pick him to win the Melodi Grand Prix!

BlueBoy
BlueBoy
2 months ago

One of the best staging on ESC and one of biggest robberies – year 2013, “Igranka”, performed by Who See & Nina Žiži?, being not allowed to final, after position 4 (!!!) at televoting in first semi-final … outrage and totally unacceptable !

Jimmy
Jimmy
2 months ago

One song staging that I always thought was unique and deserve more credit was “Help You Fly” by IVAN for Belarus 2016. The song wasn’t anything great however you can tell there was a lot of thought gone into the special effects and the digital wolves at the beginning of the performance was come on amazing!!

AMAAN STORM
AMAAN STORM
2 months ago

I agree with Albina & Carl Espen. Loved Albina’s staging because it matched the energy of the song and really elevated her. The song was one of my favourites.

But i have to mention ‘Blackbird’ by Norma John in 2017. Such a beautiful understated stage with so much atmosphere. It really elevated the song and brought something different to the event.

Ieva
Ieva
2 months ago

Silent Storm is a very strong song in itself, still gives me goosebumps.
I was so happy for Laura, she was such an amazing opener and her tenth place finish was indeed unexpected but so pleasant. Man, 2016 ESC was great.

Im so fab
Im so fab
2 months ago

I can’t believe someone mentioned Belarus 2009! The long shot and the song itself were magnificent.

If only Belarus kept on being a normal country…

stan
stan
2 months ago

Italy 1974 might be my all time favorite and seems to be completely forgotten…
It came second and it’s not even on Spotify :(.

ESC8
ESC8
2 months ago

Tbh the only entry that fits into this list is Croatia 2021, however as it was mentioned before it is not forgotten at all by the fans. Besides, it is a Eurovision phenomenon now, being the only entry so far that had been ranked inside the top 10 with both the jury voting and the televoting and did not managed to qualify in the end. Norway is not underrated, it was 8th overall, and tbh I personally never got all this hype about this entry back in its time. Belarus 2009 had an interesting staging, but not necessarily a good… Read more »

CasperDiCaprio
CasperDiCaprio
2 months ago

Honestly I dont like any off them

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
2 months ago

Anouk’s Birds.
Seriously, Portugal 2017 used so many of these concepts to record-breaking effect but it was a beautiful staging concept of its own….and nobody talks about it enough.

Denis
Denis
2 months ago

How is Silent Storm underrated if it reached top 10? I thought underrated meant not doing as well as expected despite being a great song ..

Luke B
Luke B
2 months ago

UK 2021.

I’m kidding, obviously. Although it is still talked about, just not very flatteringly!

Emilio
Emilio
2 months ago

Jeangu Macrooy – Neatherlands 2021

Escfan
2 months ago

Honestly, aside from Belarus 2009 (which I’m not familiar with as I only started watching in 2009), I love these entries. Idk if I’d say all of these are underappreciated but I do really like these songs, especially Norway 2014 and Croatia 2021. I’m stilled baffled at how Albina didn’t make the final with having such a professional, well presented entry, the song was really good too. Norway 2014 has to be one of my favourite ESC ballads, it feels so raw and authentic.

Henry
Henry
2 months ago

Azerbaijan 2017 Downey get enough credit for how out of the box (pun intended) it was

Hans P.
Hans P.
2 months ago

Esther Hart

Jonas
Jonas
2 months ago

Achille Lauro.

Emilio
Emilio
2 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

Second that, as well as Alvan & Ahez for this year.

HarpyDarper
HarpyDarper
2 months ago

Albina I thought was excellent, very slick and engaging. Can’t fault her or her team and baffled it missed out. And Bel 2016 is a good shout too, I remember when it was first unveiled and I saw it’s potential. It was great at the end of its semi final, picking up the energy after all the other songs and getting everyone dancing when you’d think they’d had enough. And it was perfect to open with too, start with an enthusiastic uptempo romp to set the tone for the evening. Effective use of the catwalk too, getting amongst your audience… Read more »

Jofty
Jofty
2 months ago
Reply to  HarpyDarper

Poor Albina probably regrets now that she did not fake a “relationship” with another contestant

Kalla
Kalla
2 months ago

Yesss to Ivi! La la love is still one of my favourite eurovision songs/moments to date. Never understood how it only came 16th!

Whisker
Whisker
2 months ago

What’s the criteria for this underrating and/or under-appreciating?

Jonas
Jonas
2 months ago
Reply to  Whisker

Whatever you want them to be. Low results, maybe. Something that’s been forgotten.

Whisker
Whisker
2 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

I read it as “it deserved more than it got”. I can say Belarus was underrated but that’s not the case for Belgium, Cyprus, and Norway. Random picks, anyway.

Una
Una
2 months ago

Eurovision has had around 400 quite diverse performances in the last 10 editions alone and this article only has 5 examples going as far as 2009. My top 5 though since more recently: First: Estonia 2017 for Laura’s solid performance and Kooit’s grimaces. My one and only. *Legendary and iconic* and absolutely underrated. Beautiful and classic song. I love it. Second: Malta 2013 for Gianluca’s joyoys and honest demeanour. Simple staging, feel-good and non-pretentious song – it was wonderful. Third: San Marino 2019 for Serhat’s positive atitude and seemingly self-deprecation in spite of the shaky vocal. The backings were fab,… Read more »

Hello hi
Hello hi
2 months ago

Croatia 2021 had shocking stage presentation. Tacky and cheap

Esc addict
Esc addict
2 months ago
Reply to  Hello hi

Your opinion….but the eurofans have not fogotten Albina, and she is among the top crimes 2021 for me.

Vivian
Vivian
2 months ago
Reply to  Esc addict

It’s one of the top crimes of 2021 for me that she won Dora to begin with

Esc addict
Esc addict
2 months ago

I don’t agree, Laura Tesoro, Albina, and Ivi are not forgotten at all by the eurofans, we still talk about her and her performances, and Laura was in the top 10 so it’s not a failure at all, I don’t understand this article and these choices sorry.

Esc addict
Esc addict
2 months ago
Reply to  Esc addict

You rather should talk about the top crimes in Esc 2022, there are so much things to discuss.

Emilio
Emilio
2 months ago
Reply to  Esc addict

I wonder why they decided not to do it, so many crimes. Mine include: RAI’s camera work. Seriously, they sabotaged half of the performances, even the Italian one; Ronela not qualifying; Azerbaijan qualifying; The cheating in the semi-finals, and the questionable random way EBU handled the situation and assigned points in the final; Switzerland positioning ahead of Armenia, Czechia; France second to last; Moldova being second in the televote, ahead of Chanel, Sam and Cornelia. I am sorry, but no. Maneskin not performing the winning song. Like C’mon, you can promote your new single at the VMAs (loved Supermodel tho)… Read more »

ESC8
ESC8
2 months ago
Reply to  Emilio

One thing I didn’t like as well was that Maneskin did not hand in the trophy to the new winners. Duncan Laurence didn’t hand it in in 2021 because he was in quarantine because of covid 19, Maneskin did not have any such excuse, they had literally performed minutes before the announcement of the winners.

Jonas
Jonas
2 months ago
Reply to  ESC8

Yeah, but Damiano looked in a lot of pain for that… so I’ll take that as an excuse.

Whisker
Whisker
2 months ago
Reply to  Emilio

Ronela was very full of herself and very OTT and the lgbti-baiting hit her like a boomerang.
France second to last is a crime!
ESC 2022 is my least favourite edition so far.

Esc addict
Esc addict
2 months ago
Reply to  Emilio

We can’t be agree on everything you said but you get interesting points.

Lou
Lou
2 months ago
Reply to  Emilio

Moldova did better then spain , sweden and the uk in the televote because of the fact they got put in the running order in between two ballads , the audience was bored of slow and “sad” songs , moldovas song stuck to many people because of the fact it was an upbeat song next to two slow songs ,plus that song was pretty catchy

Thanos
Thanos
2 months ago

Agree about Norway 2014! The song and interpretation were stellar and the staging was classy and fitting. Belarus 2009 also deserves some credit, since they had that tremendous, long camera shot. Can’t say I am impressed by the three other stagings of the article.

Whisker
Whisker
2 months ago

NORTH MACEDONIA 2021 was truly underrated.

Jonas
Jonas
2 months ago
Reply to  Whisker

Vocals or song? The staging was Dotter’s.

Whisker
Whisker
2 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

Vocals and the wow factor of the performance.

Jonas
Jonas
2 months ago
Reply to  Whisker

All he needed was a song. Oh, well, maybe another year.

Hans P.
Hans P.
2 months ago
Reply to  Whisker

Vocals were excellent, the song was boooooooooooooooring

Whisker
Whisker
2 months ago
Reply to  Hans P.

A boring song but Vasil delivered #chefskiss

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
2 months ago
Reply to  Whisker

Had he the chance to compete with his 2020 song (“You”), he surely would have qualified.

Vivian
Vivian
2 months ago

While I think Croatia 2021 was a deserved NQ from the poor song alone, I personally am still mad about Israel 2013 not qualifying

esc_fl
esc_fl
2 months ago
Reply to  Vivian

I was about to mention Israel 2013, it’s my second place that year after Denmark.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
2 months ago
Reply to  esc_fl

One of my favourite Eurovision songs of all time, too.
(My third place that year behind Moldova and Ukraine).

Sam Ravanbakhsh
2 months ago

My all time is favourite is Stop by Omar Naber and Valtine lost by Erikur Hauksson.