So close yet so far. It’s the inevitable consequence of a competition such as Eurovision, where someone has to win, and someone has to come second. Today we’re looking back over the years to discuss our Top 5 Eurovision acts who finished in 2nd place. Since we’ve had over 60 years of Eurovision, it would be almost impossible for us to pick just 5, so we’re setting some limitations, which is quite simply the contests from Kyiv to Kyiv, i.e. 2005 to 2017. Without further ado, here’s our Top 5 second place songs!
5. MaNga – We Could Be The Same
Just like most other Eurovision fans, we really do miss Turkey at Eurovision, and here’s a perfect example of why. They’re pretty great at the ethnic pop entries, but they’re also good at rock entries such as this tune by MaNga. Although we probably would have loved this song more if it was in Turkish a la Mor Ve Ötesi back in 2008, we also have to appreciate that this is a really catchy song that didn’t feel dated. The song was primarily rock oriented, but also incorporated a bit of rap style within the verses, which we’re all about. Although we love all of the above, the best part of this entry was the staging of the performance. We’re used to seeing such bright lights upon the performers, that when Turkey decided to create a really dark performance with just a few bright lights and fog billowing across the back of the stage, it stood out, in a good way of course. Plus, when you feature an angle grinder on stage, you’re sure to be rewarded by the televoters!
4. Verka Serduchka – Dancing Lasha Tumbai
This entry is the go-to for anyone trying to explain the ‘typical’ Eurovision entry, as it has all the bells and whistles of the kitsch entries we saw especially throughout the 2000’s. The song is both genius and nonsensical, and the same could be said about the stage performance. It’s a song that everyone in the audience can get up and dance to, but also have a laugh to as it’s just so ridiculous. It’s the ridiculous songs which hold some of the most interesting political undertones, but if you don’t already know about that, see if you can work it out by listening to the song lyrics once again! Although the song is just so iconic, the real star of the show is Verka and the stage performance. Aluminium foil stocks surely had to be limited with the amount they seemed to have used for their costumes, but it’s visually so memorable, so that matched with the crazy dancing, this was a song we weren’t surprised to see finish in 2nd place.
3. Ani Lorak – Shady Lady
Oh Ukraine, two years in a row we find you in second place! There are some similarities between this entry and Verka’s from the year previous, but also many differences. Both entries had memorable stage performances, and although Ani Lorak had less Aluminium foil, she still managed to feature a bit of glitz and glamour for her performance outfit. The main difference was a song that made lyrical sense and perhaps followed more conventional expectations of what a good pop song would sound like. There’s a place for acts such as Verka Serduchka at Eurovision, but at the end of the day, we’re in it for the bops – and this is certainly a bop. We’ll just go ahead and say what you’re all thinking, yes, this should have won instead of Russia. No shade. Pun intended.
2. Raphael Gualazzi – Madness of Love
This one is close to my heart, as this was the return of Italy to Eurovision after over a decade of not participating in the contest. What a way to return to the contest as well, with newcomer to the Italian music scene Raphael Gualazzi flying the flag with his jazz number Madness of Love. It was simple but beautiful. We love that they decided to keep the song in Italian but feature some accents in English, and the mixture between the two was well blended in comparison to some bilingual entries where the languages don’t mesh together but instead feel really harsh against one another. Admittedly we didn’t love the staging, mostly in terms of what was put on the backing screens, but realistically it got the job done and it kept the focus on Raphael. Here we are thinking that Ukraine in 2008 was robbed, when really this for me is the song most robbed of a win in recent history. We’re still bitter. So bitter.
1. Kristian Kostov – Beautiful Mess
This one is still so fresh in the mind, as it’s been less than a year since we saw the talented Bulgarian artist finish in second place. In any other year, this is absolutely a winning song. It was edgy and dark in all the right ways, and realistically, it was one of the best vocal performances of the year. As one of the youngest performers, it can be sometimes hard to expect vocals as mature as Kristian’s, but he sure proved to Europe and beyond that he is very much capable of belting out a tune such as this. The staging was so simple, like Turkey back in 2010, but these dark performances can be some of the most visually appealing as it can force you to really focus on the music rather than act as a distraction from the performance. I repeat, in any other year this would have taken the top spot, but unfortunately for Kristian and the Bulgarian team, there was a Salvador, and that Salvador captured our hearts so much so that Bulgaria had to settle for second place. Such is Eurovision.
You can find the other posts in this series below: