Eurovision 2021: The Ultimate Lowdown

Beth Kennedy

Eurovision 2021 finale takes place on May 22nd. As much as we might be thinking “Why isn’t U K Hun from RuPaul’s Drag Race our Eurovision entry for 2021 given their lyrics would fit right in....

Bing, bang, bong
Sing, sang, song
Ding, dang, dong
UK, hun?

There are plenty of weird, wacky and wonderful Eurovision songs from across the decades to sink your teeth into. We’re here to break down the very best and weirdest Eurovision performances throughout the years, as well as share some hot tips on some of the best Eurovision 2021 songs so far!

Best of the weird and wonderful Eurovision performances

We could easily list all the greats for this blog, such as ABBA, Celine Dion and Cliff Richard, who all went on to be huge superstars. But that wouldn’t be any fun! Here are some of the weirdest and most Eurovision Eurovision Song Contest performances ever:

Spain, 2008: Bail el chikki chikki - Rodolfo Chikilicuatre 

A Spanish Elvis lookalike playing a toy guitar surrounded by hyperactive women in short dresses while dancing Bollywood-style? That could only be Spain’s Baila El Chiki Chiki performed by comedic character Rodolfo Chikilicuatre. It may be cheesy, but it’s undeniably catchy. It’s only a matter of time before this is parodied by a drag king and a group of drag queens - it may have already happened! All together now...“UNO! A brikindans!”

 

Ukraine, 2007: Verka Serduchka - Dancing Lasha Tumbai

Arguably a Eurovision icon, Verka Serduchka’s Dancing Lasha Tumbai is easily one of the campest Eurovision performances you will ever see. There was plenty of backlash from some Ukrainians, as they thought Verka was sending too gay of a message. How can anything be too gay for Eurovision?! Despite this, Verka came 2nd in the 2007 contest! Anyway, it’s hard to put this masterpiece into words. It is LGBTQI+ art in motion. Enjoy!

 

Russia, 2012: Buranovskiye Babushki - Party For Everybody

Literally a song about a group of cute grandmas who can’t wait for their children and grandchildren to come over for a family party. The grannies must have hands of steel - they take that tray right out of the oven without an oven glove or tea towel in sight! This entry even made it onto BBC Radio 1.

 

UK, 2007: Scooch - Flying the Flag

There must have been something very camp in the water in this particular year, as the UK went into full gay overdrive. It’s hard to know where to start with this one: there’s a barrage of flight-related sexual innuendos, cringe-inducing dance routines, the off-key singing, the kitsch air hostess costumes and the garish colours. It’s god-awful but at the same time it’s brilliant. If Steps and Vengaboys worked for British Airways, we’re sure this would be an accurate representation of a standard working day.

 

Norway, 1985: La Det Swinge - Bobbysocks

Charming and incredibly 80s-tastic, La Det Swing is one of those beloved Eurovision songs that will never not be a joy to listen to. Before you know it, you’ll be doing the air punch along with the song, along with the sassy strutting.

 

Israel 2019: Netta - Toy

If you get past the Bjӧrk-style noises and the “bucka bucka mmm bucka bucka mmm bye” bit (let’s admit it - that part is very Eurovision) you’ll hear that the lyrics for Netta’s Toy are actually very empowering. This won the 2018 contest, despite political/social tensions between Israel and Palestine. Verka Serduchka also covered Toy in Eurovision 2019’s Switch Song. Despite the style of this song, Netta is, in fact, a serious artist - just take a look at her heart-breaker of a song Cuckoo!

 

Moldova, 2011: So Lucky - Zdob si Zdub

The best place to start with this performance is Graham Norton's commentary: "There are flashing lights in this performance, but that's not the most disturbing part, as you'll see." He is not wrong. This is a fever dream of epic proportions. Where else would you find a gnome singing a ska-type anthem about how lucky he is to be with his girlfriend who, coincidentally, rides in on a unicycle while pretending to play a toilet plunger/bugle?

 

Iceland, 2019: Hatrið Mun Sigra - Hatari

What do you get if you put Shirley from Eastenders in S&M gear while a man dressed as Edward Scissorhands performs industrial digital hardcore techno punk? Answer: Hatari. While most of the other songs from Eurovision 2019 preached love and tolerance, Hatari went the other way. Hatrið Mun Sigra is one of the darkest songs in the contest. But you can’t deny that Hatari are cool. They’re very popular in Reykjavik's alternative arts scene! The man above the big metal globe thing swings a prop hammer throughout the entire performance - that alone is impressive. Hatari was very popular with their home country - some parents bought their children “Hatari” inspired outfits for Halloween (it’s not as bad as it sounds)!

 

Australia, 2019: Zero Gravity - Kate Miller-Heidke

If you like sparkly space queens attached to bendy poles while floating around in a galaxy, then you are in for a treat with Australia's 2019 entry. The country may not be in Europe but this song is widely credited as their proper Eurovision debut due to how amazing, beautiful and camp the entire performance is

 

Turkey, 2012: Love Me Back - Can Bonomo

Men breakdancing in capes, a very cute camp sailor and nautical romance metaphors were Turkey’s forté in 2012. Just wait for the boat made entirely of men - especially the one on the right...it might just be one of the funniest Eurovision moments.

 

Germany, 1979: Dschinghis Khan - Dschinghis Khan

“There lived a certain man, in Russia long ago…” Oops wrong song! Dschinghis Khan is a super-camp disco song about Genghis Khan. Boney M’s Rasputin was released just one year before this...we sense there was a bit of a trend going on in the late seventies. On reflection, maybe Moldova’s 2011 entry So Lucky wasn’t as fever dreamy as Germany’s 1979 entry. 

 

Eurovision 2021: Ones to watch…

Most of the countries have released their entries into the wild. Here are some of the stand-out performances of Eurovision 2021 so far...

Russia: Manizha, Russian Woman

We all know Russia leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to LGBTQI+ issues. That’s why Russian Woman is such a surprising entry. Predictably, Manizha’s success comes at a price. She has received a fair amount of hate from people from her own countries (we won’t put a link to it here - it really is shocking stuff.). Regardless, Manizha’s song is powerful, relentless and super feminist (we love it!). This truly is a performance that sticks it’s middle finger up to misogyny.

 

Germany: I Don’t Feel Hate - Jendrick

Speaking of hate, Germany’s sugar-sweet pop song is literally called I Don’t Feel Hate. It’s a positive song about not caring about the haters. Some might say it’s a bit too saccharine and reportedly quite a few Germans aren’t really into it (let’s face it - they rarely like their own song...much like the UK!), but it’s proving to be a huge hit with other countries!

 

Denmark: Øve Os På Hinanden - Fyr & Flamme

Inspired by 80s synth and electro pop, Fyr & Flamme bring a proudly nostalgic song to this year’s contest. The song itself is about forgiving each other when we make mistakes. The duo bring so much energy to their performance - their adorable joyfulness really rubs off on us. Also just as good, if not even better, is Kamaeleon by the same band. That 80s synth riff at the start is very hard not to dance to.

 

Ukraine: Shum - Go_A

We’ve included this because it mixes traditional Ukranian folk with a clean, modern sound - a combination that tends to do well in Eurovision. There’s a real warrior woman feel to the entire performance, as well as a slightly dystopian Mad Max feel. The song itself is based on a compilation of real folk songs usually performed during the country’s “Shum” ritual. The end note is particularly powerful!

Fun fact: Go_A did an epic cover of Verka’s Dancing Lasha Tumbai. We like to call it the “lesbian” version!

 

France: Voila - Barbara Pravi

And now for something completely different! Barbara Pravi’s Voila is one of the slower-paced Eurovision songs this year. It is nothing short of stunning! Although, we can imagine someone will invent a drinking game where you have to drink every time Barbara sings the word “Voilà.” Or maybe that isn’t the best idea!

 

Italy: Dark Side - Blind Channel

Fans of 00s nu metal will most likely go wild for this song. Think Linkin Park, Lacuna Coil and Limp Bizkit all rolled into one and add in a sprinkle of  secretly amusing lyrics (“I'm in a cave of man-made misery” anyone?) and you get the brilliance of Blind Channel. If ever there was a convincing way to join the “dark side” - this is it!

 

Albania: Karma - Anxhela Peristeri

Eurovision wouldn’t be the same without an emotional ballad by a beautiful goddess in her mother tongue. Anxhela Peristeri smashes it this year with her song Karma. The song is true to Albania featuring a gorgeous take on the traditional Kaba music of the country, mixed in with Middle Eastern influences.

 

Here’s all the songs mentioned in this article in one handy playlist!

 

 

 

What are your all-time favourite Eurovision songs? Do you have any favourites for this year? Let us know on our Facebook and Twitter channels!

 

 

 

 

 


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