Eurovision is a bunch of contemptible shit, but, like anything, there are always diamond corn kernels in the poo if you are willing to endure, with sheer numbers if nothing else. Here are some delights. Winners are excluded so nil points for Lordi’s ‘Hard Rock Halleluiah’, Lena’s ‘Satellite’, Abba’s ‘Waterloo’ or Sandie Shaw’s ‘Puppet on a String’. There are also no slow ballads on this list, because I don’t have the patience to sit through them.
Dschinghis Khan - Dschinghis Khan (West Germany, 1979)
This troupe took Abba’s winning formula of dancey historical levity and gave it their own twist, reducing the quality of the song in favour of putting a sexy disco Ghengis front and centre. He twirls and dances, a studio 54 Khal Drogo, letting everyone know he’s easily the grooviest rapacious barbarian.
Texas Lightning – No No Never (Germany, 2006)
A cheerfully unfashionable country and western bop that could have come from a Dixie Chicks album. They smile, but it’s not played for laughs and the genuine toe-tapping quality of the tune doomed it in the ears of confused Europeans.
Dustin the Turkey – Irlande Douze Points (Ireland, 2008)
It may have been Father Ted’s idea, but hats off to Ireland for going with unwinnable nonsense to escape hosting the event. Dustin is a drunken fowl who shouts daft jokes over a discobeat cacophony. His splendid trolling got him nowhere unfortunately.
It’s ‘My Lovely Turkey’.
Domenico Modugno – Volare (Italy, 1958)
Best known for Dean Martin’s jet-set cover (among 500-odd other versions), this song got scuppered by the sound feed going down in the live programme. How it didn’t win is beyond anyone who has heard it.
The Ark – The Worrying Kind (Sweden, 2007)
Sweden’s legitimate facility for producing indie pop with vim (The Wannadies, Cardigans, Hives) knocked out another that failed to win over European cloth-ears. It is straight-up glam rock with the melody heavily borrowed from Love Grows by Edison Lighthouse and what could be wrong with that? Extra points for his functionally useless glitter chainmail.
Jemini – Cry Baby (UK, 2003)
Obviously, it’s fucking dreadful, but it’s dreadful on a bold level that few attempt. Aside from the backing singers’ bodies and maybe the Spanish guitar bit, it’s a happy wallow in the dregs of calculated pop music. Poor Butlin’s bimbo sings like the karaoke slag she is, all to top off a beautiful performance…
Gina G – Just a LittleBit (UK, 1996)
…On the other hand, inane disco pop, when done right, can be marvelous. My only apologies for including this is the virulent catchiness of the tune. ‘Ooh-ah, just a little bit, ooh-ah, a little bit more’ – see, you’re singing it now.
Paul Oscar - Minn Hinsti Dans (Iceland, 1997)
It’s clear to all right-thinking folk that there’s not enough sleazy gay S&M in the Eurovision, so well done to this fellow for submitting such a number. I especially like his cruel choice of having a sofa too small for all of the girls so they must fight to sit near him and rub his plastic coated thighs.
Nina Zilli - L'Amore e Femmina (Italy, 2012)
It’s this year’s entry, so at the time of writing it hasn’t lost yet, but it will. It’s far too good. Italy have gone with a beautiful girl doing (more or less) an Amy Winehouse song. It should be an ace idea, I’ve listened to it more than once out of choice, it’s sufficiently groovy, and she really is lush, but those Russian old bags will likely beat her.
Sébastien Tellier – Divine (France, 2008)
Infamous for being ‘too good for Eurovision’ (correct) and coming nowhere in the final, this Beach Boys/Pulp bounce is the second most popular Eurovision song on Last.fm (behind Lena’s ‘Satellite’) which tells its own story. It’s a record for hipsters. But what a fucking record it is.
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