It has been yet another year of delightful costumes, odd gimmicks and political voting (and booing). As an avid Eurovision follower, here’s my list of my of top 10 Eurovision favourites from 2014! Please note that my assessment of these songs is not really based on talent or the quality of the song, but just how “Eurovision” they are.
Top 10 Eurovision 2014 favourites
10. Romania, “Miracle”
Superficially speaking, this entry seems to tick a lot of boxes for a Eurovision winner. A duet performed by singers who form a couple who can somewhat convincingly sing to each other about love, an uplifting and dramatic song with a couple of random gimmicks thrown in here and there, rounded off with an epic high note. Unfortunately for Romania, the act as a whole just didn’t seem to shine in comparison to many of the others, and as I personally put it: it would have been a “miracle” if they won. However, you can simply enjoy this one for the 80’s magic show-esque teleportation effects and piano circle of doom.
9. Iceland, “No Prejudice”
If you caught the teletubbies thirty years down the line, forced them to grow beards and made them form a band, this would probably be the result. The song as a whole seems like it should be catchy and reasonably enjoyable, but the chorus seems to be a massive let down and sounds like the kind of song that wouldn’t go amiss in a kiddy program trying to teach tolerance in the friendliest way possible. The highlight of this one is the random disco interval, and particularly the guy in yellow’s effort at forming the ‘E’ in ‘LOVE’ (at the end of the song). At the very least he deserved to get to the final for that kind of random contortionist effort.
8. Poland, “We are Slavic”
I’m just going to say the first thing that comes to mind when people are watching this isn’t something like, “those girls must be really talented”. What the rest of Europe learned from this song was that being female and Slavic apparently entails laundry, suggestively churning butter, and the most obvious one, large boobs. Obviously some people found this performance to be very enjoyable, but I found the singer’s voice to be a little bit on the shrieking banshee side.
7. Greece, “Rise Up”
This was an entertaining entry from Greece, following in similar steps to their 2013 entry ‘Alcohol is Free‘ for starting off very serious and then bursting into fantastic silliness. The group features a singer who is actually originally from London and a trampolinist in the background – because why not? The bouncing trumpets and presence of a trampoline just makes me think that this should be played at a ten year old’s birthday party.
6. Belarus, “Cheesecake”
After Latvia didn’t make it through the semi-finals with their song ‘Cake to Bake‘, I was glad to see another song holding up cake-related song representation. Obviously Teo here is channeling Robin Thicke, who is also mysteriously accompanied by a fail-noise horn that intermittently makes itself known in the song. Originally ‘Cheesecake’ featured a reference to Google Maps, but due to Eurovision rules stating that you’re not allowed any product placements, it was sadly removed. The message of the song remains the same though – Teo is no-one’s sweet cheesecake.
5. Azerbaijan, “Start a Fire”
Surprisingly I found this entry quite moving. It’s very unusual for me to like a sad Eurovision song this much, but outside of the contest I would actually enjoy listening to it. Of course with this entry we tick the boxes for a fabulous red dress, an emotional song and a random unrelated performer in the background. In this case, we have a trapeze artist doing some flips because it apparently looks interesting. Personally, I think Azerbaijan should have tried to tried to assert its self-proclaimed identity as ‘The Land of Fire’ and should have competed in the extra part of Eurovision Song Contest – the contest of having the biggest and baddest pyrotechnics.
4. The Netherlands, “Calm Before the Storm”
An odd entry for Eurovision, but one that proved to be very popular indeed. We do still tick a couple of Eurovision boxes – mixed gender duet which also happens to be something like a love song – whilst bringing something that differs greatly from the expected dance track stereotype. In my opinion this is a big improvement from last year’s entry from The Netherlands, ‘Birds‘, which I felt sounded quite sinister and creepy (think of a dirge about why birds can’t fly but written for a 90’s Batman film).
3. France, “Moustache”
Usually I’m not that interested in the entries from the “Big Five“. Perhaps it’s because they’re guaranteed entry to the finals that they sometimes don’t appear to put in as much effort to be as…unique, let’s say, as other acts. Then came 2014 for France, with an anthem for moustache desire. It’s a fun, catchy and altogether random song that unfortunately just didn’t seem to get the audience’s vote. One theory is that a lot of the likely candidates who would have voted for them ended up voting for Austria’s charming Conchita Wurst instead. At least for those of us who loved Twin Twin, we’re still singing about wanting a moustache (and possibly pasting on fake ones whilst doing so).
2. Switzerland, “Star Hunter”
Continuing in the movement of a few of this year’s Eurovision entries towards a more folky sound, Switzerland whistles its way in and tries to impress us with an intense violin solo. If I had to give a prize for most random lyrics, it would have definitely gone to Switzerland this year. It probably takes a certain amount of resilience to whistle that much in a song and continue with lyrics like, “I fear your judgement/I fear your judgement/I am so wet, I’m dirty”. Unfortunately for me, this song is so catchy I find myself singing it at work.
1. Austria, “Rise Like Phoenix”
Oh, Conchita Wurst. What can I say?
This year’s winner, now newly dubbed ‘Queen of Europe’, brought us fabulous dresses, beard fads and possibly a new Bond theme. To be completely honest, I did indeed have Austria picked out as the would be winner from watching the second round of the Semi-Finals, regardless of many others who had Sweden picked out as the favourite to win. In the media wake of Austria’s win, many people have pointed it out as simply a result of political voting. Be that as it may, ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’ is a wonderfully dramatic song with a chorus you can’t resist screaming out at the top of your lungs – something you’d fully expect from a winning Eurovision song, such as 2009’s ‘Fairytale‘. With a charming performer who definitely got everyone talking, I would say that Conchita Wurst with ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’ was the most memorable entry of 2014.