The 2011 Eurovision That Almost Was — Part II

Unhappy with any of the songs in the second semi-final?  Here’s what nearly came to pass.  We continue our look at the second place finishers in the national final season.

Semi-final Two:

Bosnia & Herzegovina.  Internal selection, not applicable.

Austria. Trackshittaz ft. Lukas Plöchl, “Oida Taunz.” How’s this for “what might have been” — goofy Austrian hip hop instead of Nadine Beiler with her big voice. Trackshittaz put out a high energy number with catchy choreography and stage props. When it came to the final 3, Trackshittaz managed 36% of the public vote, compared with 46% for Nadine and “The Secret is Love.” Between two good entries, we can’t fault the Austrians for making the more mainstream choice. We do love this one, though.

Netherlands. 3JS, “De stroom.” There wasn’t much question that 3JS would be singing “Never Alone” at ESC.  They saved the best for last and it received 63% of the vote.  The next closest finisher, De Stroom, was a feel-good soft rock number that received only 26% of the vote.  It was amiable enough, but lacked “Never Alone’s” anthemic quality.

Belgium. Sarina, “Rien En Apparence.” French pop. Sarina played the piano well, but her vocal was sometimes shaky and unfortunately she had the stage presence of a grapefruit. Easy pickings for Witloof Bay. Sarina finished 2nd with the public and 3rd with the jury.

Slovakia. Internal selection, not applicable.

Ukraine. Zlata Ognevich, “The Kukushka.” A throwback to Vanity 6. From the stapled together costumes to the cuckoo clock backing vocals, this was a mess of a package. It would have needed an awful lot of work. Zlata had the bad luck to go first in the Ukrainian national finals but still finished 2nd in the SMS and Jury vote. Ironically, in the Internet vote, where draw didn’t matter, she finished 6th. In the selection controversy that followed with Mika Newton and “Angels,” Zlata was the classier of the competitors offered a second chance, thanking the organizers and withdrawing due to a “scheduling conflict.” Perhaps she knew she had a dud.

Moldova. Natalia Barbu, “Let’s Jazz.” Moldova did not have a consensus winner this year — Zdob si Zdub finished second from both the jury and the public. They barely edged out former Eurovision competitor Natalia Barbu, who was the jurors’ choice but only managed a mid-table finish in the public vote. Natalia went 2nd in a field of 25 contestants (Zdob si Zdub, in contrast, went 24th) with a cleverly staged Chicago-the-Musical-inspired bank heist. Interestingly, the overwhelming winner of the Moldovan public vote, Karizma, “When Life is Grey,” was completely spiked by the jury. On this one I’m with the jury. Natalia’s song, while pastiche, was entertaining without crossing the line to eccentric. And Karizma was awful.

Sweden. Danny Saucedo, “In the Club.” All along, Melodifestivalen was shaping up to be a two-horse race between Danny with “In the Club” and Eric Saade with “Popular.” Danny was a good performer and had a fanbase, but he didn’t have a song from Frederik Kempe or Eric’s placement in the final (Danny went first, Eric went last). My issue was that Danny’s song was too repetitive–I didn’t want him to tell me 27 times (I counted) he was “In The Club, The Club.” Danny finished just behind Eric in the jury vote, but Eric was strongly favored by the Swedish public.

Cyprus. Internal song selection, not applicable.

Bulgaria. Milena Slavova, “Fire In My Hair.” Frankenstein makeup, guitars shooting fireworks, fire baton twirling, and sumo wrestlers. But forget about all of that. What I think Milena really needed to make this song work was one more gimmick. Poli Genova and “Na Inat” look pretty damn good after this one. OMFG.

FYR Macedonia. Martin Srbinovski, “Ram Tam Tam.” With 20 entries, it seemed unlikely that the Macedonians could come to consensus on a song, but somehow Vlatko Ilievski managed to finish 1st in both the public and jury vote with “Rusinka.” The field dropped off dramatically after that. Martin Srbinovski managed second place overall by scoring 3rd with the juries and 6th with the public. On balance, I think I prefer “Ram Tam Tam” because Martin manages to scream out a melody (unlike Vlatko), and I do appreciate the inclusion of bagpipes in a hard rock number.

Israel. Idit Halevi, “It’s My Time.” Idit served up a traditional Eurovision ballad that displayed some decent songwriting but was severely hampered by a stale arrangement and a traditional staging (ballroom gown, pianos, candles, etc). Preselection favorite Dana International received 270 points for “Ding Dong,” Init finished with 235 points.

Slovenia. April, “Ladadidej.” In the Slovenian national final, we rather liked “Ladadidej,” even though April was little more than a Lady Gaga knockoff. However, Maja Keuc and “Vanilija” smoked April in the superfinal, receiving 2 ½ times as many votes.

Romania. Distinto, Ianna & Anthony Icuagu, “Open Your Eyes.” An over-the-top pop-opera outing from 5 “classically trained” (meh?) vocalists. It would have been fun to see this one pitted against the likes of Amaury Vassilli (my guess is Amaury would have made mincemeat of them.) They won the public vote but only finished 6th with the jury. In contrast, Hotel FM and “Change” won the jury vote and came in 2nd place with the public.

ESTONIA!!!!! Outloudz, “I Wanna Meet Bob Dylan.” In a packed field, Outloudz stood out with their introspective and thoughtful lyric, even though this song was not really my thing. However, after seeing Jon Cryer-lookalike Stig Rästa‘s look of heartbreak when Getter Jaani was announced the winner, I did feel a little bad for him. In the superfinal, Getter received 62% of the vote, Outloudz received 38%.

Belarus. Internal selection, not applicable.

Latvia. Lauris Reiniks, “Banjo Laura” The forced happiness, the fist pumping, the bouncy choreography…“Banjo Laura” emerged as one of our camp favorites from the 2011 season. In the general round, “Banjo Laura” was actually ahead of “Angel in Disguise” thanks to the public televote. In the superfinal, however, the public rallied around Musiqq (12,539 votes versus 8,495 for Lauris). Ah well, it sure would have been a hoot to see Lauris following Belarus.

Denmark. Anne Noa, “Sleepless.” Of all the preselection songs here, I think the Danes had the biggest missed opportunity. Anne Noa’s look and sound was Taylor Swift adapted for a European audience, and I thought she was fresh and accessible. Instead, the Danes went for A Friend in Tomorrow, who was blessed with a late draw and offered an anthemic song that plays particularly well on a late draw.

Ireland. Nikki Kavanagh, “Falling.” This was a very close one. Going into Eurosong, the Irish were genuinely divided on whether Jedward at ESC would be a good thing or a bad thing. The most plausible alternative, Nikki Kavanagh, was regarded as a good singer, but detractors felt “Falling” too closely resembled Safura’s “Drip Drop.” On the night the Eurosong judges criticized her staging. In the end, Nikki Kavanagh was favored by the jury, but Jedward eked it out on the public vote. Jedward won with 98 cumulative points, barely edging out Nikki’s 96 points.

The 2011 Eurovision That Almost Was — Part I

Before the semifinals begin, we’d like to do one last set of columns on the national finals. We were originally planning to write up favorite songs we won’t be seeing, but we’ve already called out a lot of our favorites in the national song posts.  Instead we decided to highlight the second place finishers, in order of the draw.  As it turns out, several of our favorites were runners up, and some of these songs we like better than the song that was selected.

I’m sure that all the artists, songwriters and producers behind these songs look at their efforts and wonder “what if.”  For this moment, let’s join them.

Semi-final One:

Poland.  Anna Gogola, “Ktoś taki jak ty.” Poland had an undisputed winner this year.  Anna Gogola was a distant runner-up, receiving only 23% of the televote, compared with the 45% received by Magdalena Tul for “Jestem.” However, Anna did receive twice as many televotes as the third place finisher.  The song had an odd staging and musical arrangement, but it had a good hook.

Norway. BlackSheeps, “Dance Tonight.” Going into the MGP semi-finals we figured the BlackSheeps, previous Junior Nordic Melodi Grand Prix winners, would be in the mix.  Their ’80s-inspired rock song isn’t really my thing, but lead singer 17-year-old Agnete showed a lot of composure and presence on stage for someone of her age.  As it turned out, the BlackSheeps were just shy of Stella Mwangi on the jury vote, but “Haba Haba” pulled way ahead on the public vote, receiving nearly twice as many televotes.

Albania. Alban Skënderaj & Miriam Cani, “Ende ka shpresë.”  Albania’s runner up was an emotional, Balkan-style male/female duet, which as it turns out we didn’t get in the contest this year.  Alban and Miriam are young, extremely attractive, and good singers. They were the clear second place finisher, but it wasn’t a blowout.  Aurela Gace received 82 points, Alban and Miriam got 66 points, and the third place finisher trailed behind with 48 points.

Armenia.  Emmy, “Ayo.” “Ayo” was the other credible song choice for Armenians, but it finished behind “Boom Boom” in both the jury and public vote.  I prefer “Boom Boom” myself, however, since being selected the song has not had the warm reception Armenian entries have typically enjoyed in years past.  If Armenia underperforms this year, many will be wondering “what if we had picked Ayo instead.”

Turkey.  Internal selection, not applicable.

Serbia. Aleksandra Kovač, “Idemo dalje.”  We watched this one live.  The other songs weren’t really a threat to Nina and “Magical.”

Russia.  Internal selection, not applicable.

Switzerland.  Bernarda Brunovic, “Confidence.” Bernarda had the sympathy vote behind her – she’s blind and had written and sung a song about “confidence.”  Though a positive message is timeless, the staging was dated, and I was put off by her vocal histrionics.  Anna Rossinelli’s “In Love for a While” was the clear Swiss winner with 23% of the vote, and with 13% of the vote Bernarda Brunovic led the rest of pack.

Georgia.  Second place unknown, Georgia did not release the results of the vote.

Finland.  Saara Aalto. “Blessed with Love.” Christian pop from a Getter Jaani look-alike/Minnie Ripperton sound-alike. I thought nothing could be more annoying than Paradise Oskar–I was wrong. Saara’s vocal line would have gotten annoying very fast. When it came to the final 3, Paradise Oskar received 47% of the televote and Saara finished just behind with 41% of the televote. Slim pickings for the Finns this year.

Malta.  Richard Edwards, “Finally.” Richard Edwards did significantly better than Glen Vella with the jurors. However, he managed only 3rd place in the televote.  Not an entirely surprising outcome–with this modern country ballad, Richard Edwards is better suited to Nashville than Malta.  I don’t think “Finally” would have served Malta any better than “One Life,” but at least it would have been a different sound for ESC voters.

San Marino. Internal selection, not applicable.

Croatia. Jacques Houdek, “Lahor.” The Croatian final asked voters to select between 2 artists and 3 songs (6 entries in all).  Croatia’s second place finisher was the song that eventually became the Croat entry (with the same staging), but from the other artist.  Jacques Houdek is a talented singer, but the song simply didn’t suit him as well as Daria Kinzer.  Jacques received 5,090 votes in the superfinal, compared with Daria’s 9,000.

Iceland. Magni Ásgeirsson, “Ég trúi á betra líf.”   Iceland this year was asked to pick between several talented singers with mediocre songs — a situation where a dark horse spoiler can come into play.  The second place finisher in Iceland was not Yohanna, but former Rock Star Supernova contestant Magni Asgeirsson.  His power ballad wasn’t particularly powerful, but Magni was a charismatic performer, and he went second-to-last in the Icelandic national finals.

Hungary. Internal selection, not applicable.

Portugal.  Nuno Norte, “São os Barcos de Lisboa.” This one couldn’t have been closer.  Homens da Luta won the public televote, but finished mid-pack with the jury.  Nuno Norte won the jury vote, and finished mid-pack with the public.  Nuno wound up trailing Homens da Luta by only one point.  On balance, we think the Portuguese public got this one right. Norte’s song comes and goes without making an impression, and at least Homens da Luta gives us some theater.

Lithuania.  Linas Adomaitis, “Floating To You.” Linas finished 2nd with the jury and 3rd with the public. This quirky Maroon 5 knockoff, while cute, wasn’t really a threat to Evelina Sašenko, who was the only competent singer in the dreadful Lithuanian final.

Azerbaijan. Internal song selection, not applicable.

Greece. Second place unknown, Greece did not release the results of the vote.

Eurovision 2010 Superlatives

2010 was not a good year for the Lemur household, but at least the Eurovision Song Contest was really fun. I mean, except for the part when the United Kingdom performed.

  • Best 100-yard dash in three-inch heels while singing: Azerbaijan (Safura – “Drip Drop”)
  • Most professional reaction to a gate-crasher: Spain (Daniel Diges – “Algo Pequeñito”)
  • Best song cut from Titanic: Norway (Didrik Solli-Tangen – “My Heart Is Yours”)
  • Best meme: Moldova (SunStroke Project and Olia Tira- “Run Away”)
  • Second best singer-songwriter entry: Cyprus (Jon Lilygreen and The Islanders – “Life Looks Better in Spring”)
  • Best Google-translated lyrics: Bosnia and Herzegovina (Vukašin Brajić – “Thunder and Lightning”)
  • Best singer-songwriter entry: Belgium (Tom Dice – “Me and My Guitar”)
  • Best homage to This Is Spinal Tap: Serbia (Milan Stanković – “Ovo je Balkan” )
  • Least impressive “Featuring” credit: Belarus (3+2 featuring Robert Wells – “Butterflies”)
  • Best periodic reminder of how tough it is to win a second Eurovision title: Ireland (Niamh Kavanagh – “It’s for You”)
  • Act most likely to smell of barbecued lamb: Greece (Giorgos Alkaios and Friends – “OPA”)
  • The “At least it wasn’t nul point” award: United Kingdom (Josh Dubovie – “That Sounds Good to Me”)
  • The “Just let poor Sofia Nizharadze sing already” award: Georgia (Sofia Nizharadze – “Shine”)
  • Best Eurovision Song Contest entry that manufactured sparks: Turkey (maNga – “We Could Be the Same”)
  • Best back-up singers: Albania (Juliana Pasha – “It’s All About You”)
  • Best bounce: Iceland (Hera Björk – “Je ne sais quoi”)
  • Best angel of death: Ukraine (Alyosha – “Sweet People”)
  • Annual award for most successful theft of France’s thunder: the former Soviet Union countries, none of whom gave France any points (Jessy Matador – “Allez Ola Olé”)
  • Best musical representation of the premise for the TV show The Avengers: Romania (Paula Seling and Ovi –  “Playing with Fire”)
  • Best send-up of the Russian soul: Russia (Peter Nalitch and Friends – “Lost and Forgotten”)
  • Least magnificent apricot tree: Armenia (Eva Rivas – “Apricot Stone”)
  • Best approximation of an English accent: Germany (Lena – “Satellite”)
  • Song most likely to be served with lobster Thermidor and a Pink Lady: Portugal (Filipa Azevedo – “Há dias assim”)
  • Most palindromic song title: Israel (Harel Skaat – “Milim”)
  • Nico & Vlad award for singers who don’t appear to actually get along with each other: Denmark (Chanée and N’evergreen – “In a Moment Like This”)
  • Greatest Eurogasm: Denmark
  • Worst consequence of Jimmy Jump’s cameo appearance earlier in the show: Spain’s second chance
  • Most likely to get there, popular: Germany

Originally published 2 October 2015

Eurovision 2009 Superlatives

We have warm memories of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest.  It’s a high water mark for the Contest, chock full of great songs and amazing performances (and also whatever the hell it was that Belgium and Czech Republic sent). Plus, it was also the first time we hosted a Eurovision party. We’ve been getting our friends hooked on it ever since.

We did a Superlatives post for the 2009 Semifinal, but for some reason we never followed up with one for the Final. Let’s rectify that now.

  • Best Alicia Keys impression: Lithuania (Sasha Son – “Love”)
  • Most genuine plea for peace, love, and understanding: Israel (Noa and Mira Awad – “There Must Be Another Way”)
  • “Move and let me show you how it’s done” award: France (Patricia Kaas – “Et s’il fallait le faire”)
  • Singer who is clearly the most happy to be there: Sweden (Malena Ernman – “La voix”)
  • Weirdly oiliest performance: Croatia (Igor Cukrov – “Lijepa Tena”)
  • Most joyful acid trip: Portugal (Flor-de-Lis – “Todas as ruas do amor”)
  • “And then there’s a dolphin” award for most random background image: Iceland (Yohanna – “Is It True?”)
  • Least necessary shirt: Greece (Sakis Rouvas – “This Is Our Night”)
  • Best Armenians with frickin’ laser beams: Armenia (Inga and Anush – “Jan Jan” )
  • Staging that best captures how we feel watching the performance (see, because it gets old fast): Russia (Anastasiya Prikhodko – “Mamo”)
  • Most eyerolls: Azerbaijan – seven (AySel – “Always”)
  • Best mash-up of American, Russian and French Revolution iconography: Bosnia and Herzegovina (Regina “Bistra voda”)
  • Least utilized guy with a staff: Moldova (Nelly Ciobanu – “Hora din Moldova”)
  • Most intergalactic: Malta (Chiara – “What If We”)
  • Most planetary: Estonia (Urban Symphony – “Rändajad”)
  • The Eric Saade Award for most palpable sense of relief at the end of the song: Denmark (Niels Brinck – “Believe Again”)
  • Best reason to completely reevaluate what you want from the Eurovision Song Contest: Germany (Alex Swings Oscar Sings! – “Miss Kiss Kiss Bang”)
  • Tina Karol Award for best Shakira impression: Turkey (Hadise – “Düm Tek Tek”)
  • Kejsi Tola Award for best Disco Gumby: Albania (Kejsi Tola – “Carry Me in Your Dreams”)
  • Most foregone conclusion: Norway (Alexander Rybak – “Fairytale”)
  • The Svetlana Loboda Award for least subtle sexual innuendo: Ukraine (Svetlana Loboda –  “Be My Valentine”)
  • The Other Svetlana Loboda Award for “more is more” staging: Ukraine
  • Best performance by wood nymphs on a hen do: Romania (Elena – “The Balkan Girls”)
  • Best audition for Sugababes: United Kingdom (Jade Ewen – “It’s My Time”)
  • Most schlagerrifc urban blight: Finland (Waldo’s People – “Lose Control”)
  • Best cover of the 2005 Macedonian entry: Spain (Soraya Arnelas – “La noche es para mí”)
  • Most likely to get there, popular: Norway

Originally published 30 September 2015

Eurovision 2008 Superlatives

The 2008 Eurovision Song Contest seems to have been the last gasp of the properly jokey entries, at least in the Final. Some may lament how serious Eurovision has gotten, but we say, watch “Wolves of the Sea” and tell us that is something that’s missing from the Song Contest.

  • Best unintentional musical representation of the premise for The War of the Roses: Romania (Nico and Vlad – “Pe-o margine de lume”)
  • Andy Abraham award for entry least deserving of its fate: United Kingdom (Andy Abraham – “Even If”)
  • Act most in need of back-up singers: Albania (Olta Boka – “Zemrën e lamë peng”)
  • Dervish Award for tone-deaf vocals: Germany (No Angels – “Disappear”)
  • Best casting choice for Elaine in the Armenian remake of Seinfeld: Armenia (Sirusho – “Qélé, Qélé” )
  • Most Dadaist Eurovision entry ever: Bosnia and Herzegovina (Laka – “Pokušaj”)
  • Best use of silver lamé to accentuate chiseled biceps: Israel (Boaz Ma’uda – “The Fire in Your Eyes”)
  • Best reminder that Finland won with Lordi: Finland (Teräsbetoni – “Missä miehet ratsastaa”)
  • This award goes out to a gang-bangin’ player who ain’t with us no more: 75 Cents, Croatia (Kraljevi Ulice and 75 cents – “Romanca”)
  • Best tan: Poland (Isis Gee – “For Life”)
  • Most anthemic anthem: Iceland (Euroband – “This Is My Life”)
  • Must not make “Deli” Turkey joke award: Turkey (Mor ve Ötesi – “Deli”)
  • Award for telling that hurricane who’s boss: Portugal (Vânia Fernandes – “Senhora do mar (Negras águas)”)
  • Best reason to walk the plank: Latvia (Pirates of the Sea – “Wolves of the Sea”)
  • Best drag impersonation of Charlotte Perrelli: Sweden (Charlotte Perrelli – “Hero”)
  • Pushiest demand to celebrate good times: Denmark (Simon Mathew – “All Night Long”)
  • Best costume change: Georgia (Diana Gurtskaya – “Peace Will Come”)
  • Best song that didn’t win Eurovision: Ukraine (Ani Lorak – “Shady Lady”)
  • Annual award for most successful theft of France’s thunder: The cameraman (Sébastien Tellier – “Divine”)
  • Best recap of a Dan Brown novel: Azerbaijan (Elnur and Samir “Day After Day”)
  • Perkiest call for abstinence: Greece (Kalomira – “Secret Combination”)
  • Best dance tutorial: Spain (Rodolfo Chikilicuatre – “Baila el Chiki-chiki”)
  • Best attempt to not win Eurovision while not embarrassing themselves in the process: Serbia (Jelena Tomašević – “Oro” )
  • The platinum medal for best strategic Plushy deployment: Russia (Dima Bilan – “Believe”)
  • Worst lyric ever, not just in Eurovision history but in the history of all music: “Love can be hard sometimes/Yes, it can catch you off guard like bad crimes”, Norway (Maria Haukaas Storeng – “Hold On Be Strong”)
  • Most likely to get there, popular: Russia

Originally published 28 September 2015

Eurovision 2007 Superlatives

I have vivid memories of live-blogging the 2007 Semifinal in a library carrel. Yet even with a small video screen open in one window of my tiny laptop so I could post on Blogger in another window, I could still tell those mannequins onstage during “Vampires Are Alive” looked completely stupid. On with the awards.

  • Best lullaby: Bosnia and Herzegovina (Marija Šestić – “Rijeka bez imena”)
  • Most engaging way to learn the English pronunciation of vowels: Spain (D’NASH – “I Love You Mi Vida”)
  • Least likely to fool Penn & Teller: Belarus (Dmitry Koldun – “Work Your Magic”)
  • The Dervish Award for tone-deaf vocals: Ireland (Dervish – “They Can’t Stop the Spring”)
  • Best goth tribute to Greta Garbo: Finland (Hanna Pakarinen – “Leave Me Alone”)
  • The “Did She Say ‘Douche’?” Award for non-English lyrics that turn us into 12 year olds: Macedonia (Karolina – “Mojot svet”)
  • Most exuberant plea to talk to the hand: Slovenia (Alenka Gotar – “Cvet z juga”)
  • Best prequel to Thelma and Louise: Hungary (Magdi Rúzsa – “Unsubstantial Blues”)
  • Best song on the soundtrack of a Red Shoe Diaries episode: Lithuania (4Fun – “Love or Leave”)
  • Smallest arsenal of dance moves: Greece (Sarbel – “Yassou Maria”)
  • Best debut (because Jesus Christ, just look at what Azerbaijan sends in 2008): Georgia (Sopho – “Visionary Dream”)
  • Best attempt to hypnotize the audience into voting for them: Sweden (The Ark – “The Worrying Kind”)
  • Annual award for most successful theft of France’s thunder: Les Fatals Picards for coming off as kind of douchey when they lifted a bit of Verka Serduchka’s staging and sampled the opening riff of “Work Your Magic”
  • Best PBS pledge drive by hobos: Latvia ( – “Questa notte”)
  • Most sultry Wednesday Addams impersonators: Russia (Serebro – “Song #1”)
  • Best display of shameless self-promotion: Germany (Roger Cicero – “Frauen regier’n die Welt”)
  • Best one-two punch in Eurovision history: Serbia followed up Ukraine (Marija Šerifović – “Molitva” and Verka Serduchka – “Dancing Lasha Tumbai”)
  • The LT United Award for most self-aware entry: United Kingdom (Scooch – “Flying the Flag (For You)”)
  • Best 30 second idea stretched out to the worst three minute song: Romania (Todomondo – “Liubi, Liubi, I Love You”)
  • Best musical representation of the premise for The Perfect Storm: Bulgaria (Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankoulov – “Water”)
  • Worst advice to give to a şekerim holding a can of Diet Coke: Turkey (Kenan Doğulu – “Shake It Up Şekerim”)
  • Best song between the Turkish and Moldovan entries at the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest: Armenia (Hayko – “Anytime You Need”)
  • Best audition for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Moldova (Natalia Barbu – “Fight”)
  • Most likely to get there, popular: Serbia

Originally published 25 September 2015

Eurovision 2006 Superlatives

We started doing our Superlatives posts in earnest back in 2011 (although, randomly, we did a Semifinals superlatives post in 2009). As we look back at our 10 years of Eurovision blogging, we decided it would be fun to write up Superlatives posts for 2006-2010. Plus it gives us an excuse to watch the Eurovision Finals from 2006-2010 yet again.

  • Least persuasive call to give a little: Switzerland (six4one – “If We All Give a Little”)
  • Best Razr scooter product placement: Moldova (Arsenium feat. Natalia Gordienko – “Loca”)
  • Least inspirational gospel breakdown: Israel (Eddie Butler – “Together We Are One”)
  • Most tonal shifts… literally: Latvia (Vocal Group Cosmos – “I Hear Your Heart”)
  • Best display of spoils that Vikings looted from Ireland: Norway (Christine Guldbrandsen – “Alvedansen”)
  • Most compelling reason to put mustard on hot dogs: Spain (Las Ketchup – “Un Blodymary”)
  • Most emphatic response to the question “Do you schlager?”: Malta (Fabrizio Faniello – “I Do”)
  • Most in need of a Nudie suit: Germany (Texas Lightning – “No No Never”)
  • Most likely to force Chubby Checker to reevaluate his place in music history: Denmark (Sidsel Ben Semmane – “Twist of Love”)
  • Most practical ballerina storage solution: Russia (Dima Bilan – “Never Let You Go”)
  • Most blatant rip-off of the previous winning entry: Macedonia (Elena Risteska – “Ninanajna” )
  • Best manifestation of Plato’s Theory of Eurovision Song Forms: Romania (Mihai Trăistariu – “Tornerò”)
  • Most unexpected tribute to Norway’s 1976 Eurovision entry: Hari Mata Hari from Bosnia and Herzegovina (Hari Mata Hari – “Lejla”)
  • The LT United Award for most self-aware entry: Lithuania (LT United – “We Are the Winners”)
  • Best hip hop from the streets of Knightsbridge: United Kingdom (Daz Sampson – “Teenage Life”)
  • Most desperate ode to co-dependence: Greece (Anna Vissi – “Everything”)
  • Most… just the most: Finland (Lordi – “Hard Rock Hallelujah”)
  • Best Shakira impression: Ukraine (Tina Karol – “Show Me Your Love”)
  • Worst throwback to when it was just a Song Contest: France (Virginie Pouchain – “Il était temps”)
  • Jauntiest Balkan entry: Croatia (Severina – “Moja štikla”)
  • Song whose premise is most easily disproved: Ireland (Brian Kennedy – “Every Song Is a Cry for Love”)
  • Best mash-up of ABBA and Wicked: Sweden (Carola – “Invincible”)
  • Best throwback to Studio 54: Turkey (Sibel Tüzün – “Süper Star”)
  • Best re-purposing of office furniture: Armenia (André – “Without Your Love”)
  • Most likely to get there, popular: Finland

Originally published 23 September 2015