Every year at Eurovision we are privileged to get acquainted with 40 artists from around the continent. Over the course of two weeks, these artists do their best to grab the spotlight and shine. Yet inevitably some emerge as bigger stars than others. Some leave Eurovision and become household names. Others disappear into the ether.
And while there can only be one winner of Eurovision each year, that doesn’t mean other artists haven’t left an impression. In honour of the characters—both good and bad—who we have met in the past year, the team at wiwibloggs.com are proud to launch the Valentina Monetta Awards (VMAs). Our favourite Sammarinese redhead didn’t make the final, but she did win over thousands of Eurovision fans with her guts and commitment over consecutive years. These annual awards pay tribute to Valentina and her spirit.
Following Eurovision we shortlisted candidates for 12 awards based on our knowledge of the contestants and our interactions with them in Malmö. Our readers cast a total of 25,360 votes to determine the winners for 9 of the 12 categories. Members of the Wiwi Jury who were present in Malmö during Eurovision decided on the three remaining categories.
1) The Gina G Award for Most Likely to Succeed Commercially
Britain’s Gina G only finished eighth at Eurovision in 1996. But her song “Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit” went on to conquer the charts worldwide. This award honours the contestant who is most likely to make it big when Eurovision 2013 is long forgotten.
2) The Kate Ryan Award for Most Wronged at ESC 2013
Sometimes the results just don’t make sense. These contestants were either wronged by the jury, the televoters or both. We all remember the travesty that was Kate Ryan failing to make the Grand Final in 2006. In the case of Alyona Lanskaya, being wronged stretches back all the way to Eurovision 2012. This poll is for Eurovision experts. We needn’t explain anything else.
3) The Yohanna Award for Most Improved Performer
The road to Eurovision is long and bumpy, and it doesn’t always start out with a strong song—or the ability to sing said song. When Yohanna first won her Icelandic national selection, we thought she was gonna flop. Then she put on that blue dress, hired some back-up singers, and wowed us all the way to second place. The following contestants have all demonstrated improvements over the course of the past year (and, in the case of Valentina Monetta, over the past two). When casting your vote consider how far they’ve come—and where they finished.
4) The Sabina Babayeva Award for Best Dressed
This award recognises the contestant who most turned Eurovision into a runway. Sabina Babayeva wowed us at Eurovision 2012 with her technologically advanced stage dress, but also with the stunning creations she wore at press conferences, promotional events, and when hobnobbing with stars at EuroClub. From on-stage glamour to off-stage elegance, the following performers know that fashion has a place in every setting.
5) The Rona Nishliu Award for Best Live Vocals
Last year the city of Baku almost had to bring a lawsuit against Rona Nishliu: This dreadlocked diva risked public safety with her pitch-perfect high notes that could have shattered the Crystal Hall Arena! This year featured a number of talented vocalists, but only one can win the title.
6) The Verka Seduchka Award for Most Memorable Staging
This award honours the contestants who took the biggest risks on stage, creating memorable—if sometimes divisive—performances. Before casting your vote, consider the creativity and originality of each performance.
7) The Raphael Gualazzi Award for Biggest Surprise
Two years ago Wiwi and I almost shat ourselves as we watched the nations announce their points — we would never have thought scruffy jazz singer Raphael Gualazzi would have wowed the jury and televoters to a second place finish. This award is dedicated to the man or woman who taught us never to count anyone out in Eurovision-land. Who surprised you the most?
8) The Ivi Adamou Award for Worst Live Vocals
Ivi Adamou is one of Eurovision’s best digitally re-mastered artists of all time. This award singles out the contestant who could most use a bit of Auto Tune. Consult their live performances before voting and try not to focus on the backing.
9) The Pirates of the Sea Award for Most Likely to Become a Cruise Ship Singer
In 2008 a group took to the stage literally dressed as pirates at sea. The following five artists didn’t dress the part, but there’s a good chance they will be more appreciated at sea than on stage. This award honours the contestant who could have a successful run entertaining passengers stuck on large boats for weeks at a time.
10) The Amaury Vassili Award for Biggest Disappointment
Two years ago we were gossiping in the Press Centre about which French city would host Eurovision 2012. The betting agencies had put Amaury at incredibly low odds to win the whole thing…and then he finished 15th. This award honours the contestant whom we all thought would shine but instead flopped like no other. I mean, at least whoever wins this can say he/she won something, right?
11) The Daria Kinzer Award for Miss/Mr Congeniality (Wiwi Jury to decide)
The Eurovision Song Contest was founded to bring Europe together following the carnage of World War II. This award honours the contestant whose press conferences and off-stage appearances did the most to honour the Eurovision tradition of peace and camraderie. Daria Kinzer flopped out in ESC 2011, but she stayed throughout the week and partied her claw-nail toes off until the wee hours of the morning with her hardcore fans. Daria, we honour you with this one! You truly embodied the spirit of your song “Celebrate”.
The nominees were:
– Robin Stjernberg
– Hannah Mancini
– Moran Mazor
– Marco Mengoni
After intense debate, this honour went to Israel’s Moran Mazor. Get it girl!
12) The Hera Bjork Award for Least Bothered by the Results (Wiwi Jury to decide)
Eurovision is serious business, with 170 million people tuning in this year to watch Europe’s largest televised entertainment event. And yet every year some contestants tune all the pressure out and just show up and do their thing. Hera, we salute you for your relaxed and jovial spirit.
– Marco Mengoni
– Amandine Bourgeois
– Klapa s Mora