12 Days of Eurovision: Day 7

After Germany triumphed at Eurovision 2010, it was time to head to Düsseldorf, where the 56th Eurovision Song Contest was held. The contest featured a massive 43 countries, with Austria, Hungary, Italy and San Marino all returning to the contest. The show was held in the Esprit Arena, and hosted by the dynamic trio of Anke Engelke, Judith Rakers and Stefan Raab. Now, it’s time for the results…

Best staging

Sweden lifted their game in 2011 with Eric Saade and the staging of his song Popular. It’s what we now come to expect from Sweden, really thought out and adds to the performance without being an actual distraction to the song. It was a bit strange to feature a pokeball looking thing on the backing screen, but other than that, having the glass boxes and the energetic backing dancers does this song a favour. Then of course having the glass break while Eric is in the box is just that extra gimmick that makes this song memorable, and it’s things like these that voters have stuck in their minds, and when the recap comes along they remember the song, and potentially vote for it.

Best Costume

Switzerland wins this category for the stunner of a dress that Anna Rossinelli performs in on stage. The dress is a short, maroon dress which kind of puffs out in all the right places, and cinches in at all the right places. The colour is absolutely stunning on her, and suits her hair colour. When I watched this as a teeny bopper, I was amazed by this dress and wanted it so bad to wear to my school formal (prom) because I was just in awe of how good it looks, and it still sticks in my memory today.

Worst Costume

Now onto the other side of the spectrum, where Turkey, a usually quite successful nation took a tumble down in 2011, and failed to qualify for the final. I can completely attribute this to the costumes and staging they chose, which was pretty average, especially after MaNga’s success the previous year. Just like the bright purple and green combo from 2008, Turkey creates a new colour combo which just doesn’t hit the spot. It’s a mixture of black and light green, with some gold details. This could have been so much more impressive if they had the staging and costuming right, but that’s hindsight for you!

Best Live Vocals

There were a number of acts which stood out to me in 2011 for best vocals, but unfortunately I have to choose only one – except that I can’t actually just choose one! So, the three that most stand out to me are Austria, Slovenia and Ukraine – Girl Power!

I’ll start off with Austria, who is represented by Nadine Beiler, an absolute vocal powerhouse. She begins her song The Secret is Love without music, so all you’ve got is her voice, and from that moment you know that the rest of the song is going to be something special. She has some pretty difficult notes in there and she performs them with a quiet confidence.

Next up is Ukraine’s Mika Newton, who upon original listen back in 2011, I wasn’t overly impressed. When she ended up in 4th place in the final, I had to give the song a listen a few more times and I realised the fuss about it. Sure, the sand artist certainly helped in the gimmick factor, but we can’t look past how impressive her voice is throughout the entire song. Through the choruses it’s just out of this world, and the final note of the song just tops the cake.

Last on my list of star vocalists is Slovenia’s Maja Keuc, who blows me away every time I watch her performance of No One. Her vocals, and her sassiness on stage is reminiscent of Christina Aguilera, and that can only be a good thing. Europe agreed, as she qualified to the final in 3rd spot. Watching this performance back now, and I’m honestly captivated by how powerful her stage presence is, and how vocally spectacular she is for the entire three minutes. Incredible performance.

Most Underrated

I genuinely remember watching the first semi-final back in 2011 and watching Albania and thinking, ‘wow, this is the best performance I think I’ve ever seen’ – a sentiment which hasn’t totally lasted, simply because I’ve seen a lot of Eurovision performances over the years as I’m sure you all have, but even to this day I think Albania was severely underrated. The performance in terms of the stage show was really energetic, the costuming was stunning – I mean, her hair?! I am in awe of that hair! But most importantly, Aurela’s voice is phenomenal. It has so much power behind it, so when this didn’t make it to the final I was quite disappointed!

The other underrated song for me was Latvia, who was represented by Musiqq and the song Angel in Disguise. It was like the updated version of Walters and Kazha from 2005, but better… but less successful in Eurovision. I don’t really think this performance put a foot wrong. There’s nothing I don’t like about it, and I even still watching it now enjoy the song. Definitely deserved more than 17th place in the semi-final.

Best All-Rounder

Still to this day, I’m bitter about Italy coming second, and losing to, in my opinion, one of the most undeserving winners in Eurovision history. Raphael Gualazzi represented Italy, who was participating for the first time since 1997. This song is perfection. It has a great mix of Italian and English, sung perfectly by Raphael, who is also a wiz on the piano. The staging for the song is simple, and sophisticated which is a word that really well describes the whole package Italy offered. There’s a reason why the juries loved this song, and it definitely deserved to win.

Best Gimmicks

Both Croatia and Estonia dabbled in the art of magic for their Eurovision performances. Firstly, starting off with Croatia, who had a pretty average song to start with, but I’m not here to talk about the song, I’m here to talk about the magic. You know it’s a performance going to be full of cheesy magic when you see the seedy looking DJ/magician in the background who awkwardly dances over to perform his magic tricks. The camera spins and WOW she’s in another dress! That was pretty magical!!!!! You’d be a fool to think that was the only costume change, so you keep watching for the next magical moment, and here he comes again – it must be time… No camera spins this time, just fireworks to distract the eyes, but it’s enough time for her to change into another outfit.

Estonia also features a magic trick in her performance, which I must admit, I was pretty tricked by. Croatia uses typical devices to give the Daria time to do her costume changes, but Estonia has no camera movement and no fireworks to distract you – it’s instantaneous magic. Her handkerchief instantly changes into a stick, and it took watching it at 0.25 speed to actually see how she did it (props to the people on Twitter for explaining the trick to me!).

Most Cringe worthy Moment

Everyone was so excited to see the boyband Blue representing the UK at Eurovision, but their performance was a bit of a flop. There was one moment during their performance which just had to be the 2011 cringe moment, although, it’s all pretty cringe. The moment I’m talking about is during the pre-choruses, when one of the members sings ‘when you’re gone’, especially the first time when the voice isn’t quite warmed up. Watching this performance again though, this entire three minutes is one big cringe, I just can’t.

Best Hairstyle

It would be criminal not to feature Jedward here, who have some pretty crazy hair. It’s almost high enough to reach the top of the arena! Well, ok, not really but it is exceptionally high! I wonder what hair products they use to achieve that look, but it works for their energetic personalities. I reckon with the amount of jumping they do on stage probably shoots their hair up into those hairstyles. Who knows.

Bonus Category: Best Returning Artist

There was a big group to choose from, with Zdob şi Zdub returning for Moldova, former Eurovision winner Dana International representing Israel, and Lena, the participant who brought the contest back to Germany, amongst others. Out of all the returning acts, my favourite would probably have to be Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dino Merlin is just such a likeable person, and that’s a feeling I get solely though this performance. It’s just such a playful and easy going song

Fun Facts about Eurovision 2010

  • Berlin’s bid to host the contest saw the possibility for Eurovision to be hosted in an inflatable tent which would have been built on Tempelhof’s hangar area, but lost to the eventual host city, Düsseldorf

  • This was the first time since the juries were reintroduced in 2009 that the winner didn’t come first in the jury vote

  • The Bosnian participant, Dino Merlin is one of the most prominent Bosnian singer-songwriters, and actually wrote the lyrics and composed the music for the National Anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was used between 1992 and 1998

Quick-fire Top 5:

In no particular order,

  • Serbia

  • Bosnia & Herzegovina

  • Bulgaria

  • Italy

  • Slovenia

Top 3 Guilty Pleasure Songs

  • Latvia

  • Belarus

  • Netherlands