After Serbia won the contest with Marija Šerifović, the contest said goodbye to Helsinki and was welcomed by Belgrade, the host for the 2008 edition of Eurovision. 2008 marked the first year that we would see three Eurovision shows, with the addition of one extra semi-final, making a total of two, plus the Grand Final, due to the growth of the contest. The presenters of the show were Jovana Janković and Željko Joksimović, and the theme of the show was ‘Confluence of Sound.’ Now, let’s get into business.
It might not be the most classic, predictable, or vanilla staging but Bosnia & Herzegovina has a stage performance which is polished but slightly random, perhaps even a bit whimsical, which I really love. With 2008 as the first contest I have ever completely watched, this is still one of the most memorable performances for me, so when I watch this back now, it brings back good memories. Laka and his female counterpart are energetic, and what’s even more hilarious is the backing brides knitting in the background. Why? I have no idea but I love it!
Our first winner of this category is Armenia, who is a fan favourite for the song and performance at Eurovision 2008, but we want to honour Sirusho for a different reason. Her outfit is an impressive tasselled gradient dress, which sticks with the neutral white, grey and black theme. This song is in need to tassels, which follow her movements to the catchy, upbeat pop song. Mixed with the big hair, this is a winner.
I also have to give an honourable mention to Denmark, who looks like pure class I the perfectly fitting shirt, pants and suspenders. I believe dapper is the correct word to use in this situation, as Simon Matthew doesn’t try to be over the top or Eurovision-esque, but instead chooses a hat that actually seems to look good. Well played Simon, well played.
Slovenia’s Rebeka Dremelj served up some interesting green and purple combinations which immediately puts her in the worst costume firing line. For the first part of the song, she’s hiding the monstrosity behind a silver coat, then does the typical Eurovision reveal, only what she revealed shouldn’t have ever been revealed. It’s not a subdued green and purple combination, but a bright colourful clash that just doesn’t work for me.
Best Live Vocals
For a change of pace, I’m giving the best live vocals category to Turkey, who sent one of their most popular rock bands Mor Ve Ötesi with the song Deli. Lead singer Harun confidently belts out the rock number with the deep voice that he has, which is flawless for the entire 3 minute song. Additional to that is the fact that the guitarists, who double as backing singers perfectly harmonise with Harun which gives this song that extra boost.
It’s the first song, performed in the first semi-final of 2008, and it’s the first song to come to mind when I think about most underrated. It’s Montenegro, represented by Stedan Filipović and the song Zauvijek Volim Te, which realistically, is a super catchy pop song which is performed by a confident voice. The stage performance isn’t the most memorable, but overall, this is still one of my favourites from 2008.
I remember watching this for the first time in 2008, and thinking, wow, I didn’t know it was possible to someone to have such an incredible voice! I’m talking about Israel, who you hear on stage before you see, and immediately his absolutely incredible voice captures you. Not only is his voice amazing, but the song matches the high quality of his voice. This is probably one of the most beautiful songs from Eurovision in recent years. If that wasn’t enough, the staging for this performance is sleek, and effective. It’s an A+ from Israel!
This is a strong tie between two gimmick filled performances. One from Ireland, and the other Estonia. Starting with Ireland, who thought it was a smart idea to send a puppet turkey singing about getting ‘douze points’ (12 points, the highest amount of points given in Eurovision). Spoiler alert, it wasn’t actually a great idea. The performance was so, SO over the top, and managed to feature a whole bunch of references to the history of Eurovision, along with some stereotypes. Overall, it didn’t do the trick, failing to qualify to the final.
Also on the other end of the classy performance spectrum is Estonia, who naturally decided to send a comedy act to Eurovision, because nothing says Singing contest like a bunch of three middle aged comedians. The song features lyrics in Serbian, German and Finnish, although apparently it didn’t make much grammatical sense. The performance is just so random to the average viewer, i.e., me, and I don’t even know the correct words to describe this calamity.
Most Cringe worthy Moment
Talk about cringe, how about that Spanish backing dancer? Still to this day, I wonder if the mishap in choreography was on purpose, or a complete and unfortunate accident which is forever burnt into my Eurovision brain. Have no idea what I’m talking about? Well, watch the performance below and keep your eye on the dancer in the pink dress from around halfway through the song. From the eyes of a viewer, she looks like she’s had one too many beverages, if you know what I mean, but it very much could be part of the comedy act that is Rodolfo Chikilicuatre.
Dima Bilan strikes again in the best hair department, however this time, it’s not really Dima who is sporting the shocking mullet x bowl cut situation, but rather his backing dancer skater. Dima shocked us with his hairstyle back in 2006, but we are pretty proud to see that in 2008, he chopped off the extra baggage at the back but the backing skater wasn’t so lucky. His bowl cut is textbook, and even flaps in the wind while he impressively skates on fake ice. Now, I can’t comment on just the skater and not mention the violinist, who commits the same hair crime. I sincerely hope Russia’s hair situation has improved since 2008!
Bonus Category: Best Silver Outfit
It turns out that silver was the flavour of the year when it came to Eurovision outfits, with a number of nations represented by silver. From Armenia and Serbia, to Ukraine and Israel, and of course we can’t forget Sweden! With plenty of choices, it was hard to choose but I had to go with Sweden and Ukraine, simply because they forgot to check with each other on the night and as a result essentially wore the same outfit. Sweden’s Charlotte Perrelli had Ukraine’s Ani Lorak’s dress but on steroids – it was unmistakably silver, and featured more tassels, whereas Ani Lorak only had tassels at the bottom. Both were equally as inappropriately (well, appropriate for Eurovision, I suppose) short in length, but we can thank the tassels for covering up any potential outfit disasters!
Fun Facts about Eurovision 2008
This was the first year that national finals were streamed live on the official Eurovision website with the broadcasters’ permission
The semi-finalists were sorted through the drawing of lots, which meant that nations who had a history of voting for each other were kept apart
The hosts of the show, Jovana Janković and Željko Joksimović actually began dating a few months after Eurovision, even though both were apparently seeing other people when Eurovision was on. Jovana was even engaged to another man! How scandalous! In January of 2012, the couple got married, and the following year announced they were expecting a child, who was delivered in April 2014.