The 10 Most Embarrassing Eurovision Performances Ever

Last week we looked at some of the better songs to have come out of the Eurovision Song Contest. These songs, however, are few and far between, and for every gem there is a vast pile of mediocrity that is better left forgotten. In its 60 year history, there have been some excruciatingly embarrassing entries – even for Eurovision’s already very low standards.

In the cesspit of shitty Eurovision songs, here are 10 that truly scrape the bottom of the barrel.

10. Silvia Night – ‘Congratulations’  (Iceland, 2006)

Sending comedy character Silvia Night to Eurovision probably wasn’t Iceland’s smartest idea. Having already caused controversy in host city Athens by pretending to act like a diva, her performance opened to booing from the audience, as she strutted around stage, singing that she would win because she was better than everybody else. Back home in Reykjavik everyone was probably laughing hysterically, but the rest of the viewing population was left stunned. Unsurprisingly, Silvia didn’t qualify for the final.

9. Gipsy.cz – ‘Aven Romale’  (Czech Republic, 2009)

For their third every entry into Eurovision, the Czech Republic sent a man dressed in a red superhero suit with a cape. Seriously. He ran around the stage like an eccentric, ‘singing’ some kind of gypsy-hip-hop mashup, and at one stage nearly got his eye poked by a violin bow. He scored zero points in the semi-final and was the last entry the Czech Republic would send for another six years.

8. Josh Dubovie – ‘That Sounds Good To Me’  (United Kingdom, 2010)

In 2009 the United Kingdom, tired of its string of last places finishes in the 21st century, went all out, sending a ballad composed by Andrew Llyod Webber. It was well-received and finished a respectable 5th place. For some reason, however, the following year the UK decided to revert to their tried and tested losing style sending a daggy song that sounded like it was written in the 1980s. Josh Dubovie was not a strong enough singer to make the audience forget how bad the song was. The result: Another last place finish for the UK.

7. No Angels – ‘Disappear’ – (Germany, 2008)

At one time, No Angels were Germany’s most successful girl band. They won the German version of Popstars and had a string of hit singles in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. Purported as a ‘comeback’, their re-union Eurovision performance was bland and full of missed notes. It finished equal last and the band was never heard of again.

6. Dustin the Turkey – ‘Irelande Douze Pointe’  (Ireland, 2008)

The 2008 contest was notable for having several novelty acts – but all of those pale in comparison to Ireland, who decided to send a puppet to the contest. Dustin the Turkey was wheeled onto the stage in a trolley and sung a song mocking the Eurovision Song Contest. But the lyrics weren’t funny, and instead came across as a nation bitter over their recent poor results in the contest. Dustin failed to qualify for the final, marking the low point of the once great Eurovision nation.

5. The Shin and Mariki – ‘Three Minutes to Earth’  (Georgia, 2014)

This is what Eurovision is all about: Completely different cultures crashing together into a musical collision in the name of peace and love.

But seriously, what the hell is this? This ‘avant-garde’ Georgian entrant finished dead last in the semi-final of 2014.

4. Scooch – ‘Flying the Flag (For You)’  (United Kingdom, 2007)

‘Flying the Flag’ is perhaps the most cringe-worthy performance to have ever competed at Eurovision, featuring sexy airplane stewardesses and sexual innuendos. At the end of the evening, Scooch finished 23rd out of 24, having received 7 points from neighbours Ireland and 12 points from Malta. Malta later admitted, though, that it only gave the UK 12 points as a protest for the political voting of the contest. Even though the song is terrible, at least Scooch kind of know it… which is more than can be said for these next, self-unaware performers.

3. Jemini – ‘Cry Baby’  (United Kingdom, 2003)

This list could easily be made up of only UK entries, such is the level of utter trite they send to the contest each year. But of all their terrible entries, 2003’s pop duo Jemini are the most infamous. Their performance was off-key, and they later claimed they couldn’t hear the backing track properly due a technical fault. It’s possible that the UK’s involvement in the Iraq War that year lessened their chances with the European public. But, protest or not, the duo scored nil points. This monumental failure prompted a great deal of backlash in the British media and they were immediately dropped by their record label, never releasing their debut album.

2. PingPong – ‘Sameach’ – (Israel, 2000)

This abysmal number from 2000 sees Euro-pop quartet ‘PingPong’ bounce around the stage urging everyone to ‘be happy’. Despite being against the rules of the contest, they waved Israeli and Syrian flags at the end of their performance. It was supposedly a gesture of peace but was not well received by the press. At the close of voting, the song had received just 7 points, finishing 22nd out of 24 (apparently there were two even worse songs that year?).

1. Piero Esteriore & The MusicStars – ‘Celebrate’ – (Switzerland, 2004)

Switzerland holds the illustrious record of being the first country to score zero points in a semi final. 32 countries voted in that semi-final and not one thought this song was worthy of a single point. This soul-destroyingly bad song sounds like it was written by a children’s band, featuring such idiotic lyrics as ‘clap your hands, celebrate, have a wonderful time’. Performer Piero was so out of breath by the end of his performance that the last part of the song was just panting and wheezing. It has to be seen to be believed. Oh, and be on the look out for Piero hitting himself in the face with his microphone…

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10 Songs That Were Too Good For Eurovision

Europe’s annual kitsch offering that is the Eurovision Song Contest is just around the corner and already the politics of the contest are flaring, with Ukraine officially banning the Russian entrant from competing. What better way to prepare ourselves for the latest installment of this controversial extravaganza than to revisit some of the more memorable moments from the contest’s history?

I’ll be the first to admit that there is a contemptible pile of shit to wade through in the annals of the Contest. But beyond all the sequins, wind machines and pyrotechnics, lie some hidden gems deserving of our attention. Here are 10 songs that were too good for Eurovision.

10. Rambo Amadeus – ‘Euro Neuro’  (Montenegro, 2012)

The biggest troll to ever participate in the competition, Rambo Amadeus – a self-proclaimed cult figure of the ex-Yugoslav music scene – decided to sing about the ongoing European Financial Crisis. The song is actually a very clever beat poem full of nonsensical rhymes about the E.U’s bureaucracy and bailouts. Europe didn’t respond in kind and Rambo failed to qualify for the final. But, as Rambo’s song states, he had ‘no ambition for high position in the competition’ anyway.

9. Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitas – ‘Midnight Gold’  (Georgia, 2016)

When the Finnish heavy metal monster band Lordi won the song contest with their song ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ in 2006 it looked like it could be the start of a more diverse and interesting contest. Unfortunately it wasn’t, and the subsequent years saw a string of solo pop singers winning the contest (Dima Bilan, Alexander Rybak, Lena and Måns Zelmerlöw to name a few).

An indie rock song, channeling the sounds of 90’s shoegaze is about as far removed from your stereotypical Eurovision song as it’s possible to get – and it’s exactly what the contest needed to shake it up. Sadly the song was just a little too different for the majority of voters and only finished in 23rd place.

8. Zdob și Zdub – ‘Boonika Bate Toba’  (Moldova, 2005)

Who would have thought that the unusual blend of punk, hip hop and traditional Moldovan folk could actually work? Zdob și Zdub certainly did, and their song is everything you could hope for in a Eurovision song. It is infectious and fun with high energy performances, silly costumes and a Moldovan granny playing a drum. It was well-received, finishing 6th that year, and the band would return again in 2011 with an even more over-the-top performance.

7. Sopho Khalvashi – ‘Visionary Dream’ – (Georgia, 2007)

An eclectic mix of techno, electronica and folk that sounds like it could belong on Bjork’s Debut, Georgia’s debut entry to the contest in 2007 finished in the middle of the pack (12th out of 24). It showed that Georgia would be an interesting contender in the years to come and they have continued to send unconventional songs to the contest ever since (including 2014’s  biggest misfire ‘Three Minutes to Earth’ that finished last in the Semi Finals).

6. ByeAlex – ‘Kedvesem (Zoohacker Remix)’  (Hungary, 2013)

Eurovision’s biggest hipster, dressed in a Monty Python t-shirt, thick framed glasses and a superfluous beanie performed a very catchy, atypical love ballad. Despite being sung entirely in Hungarian it managed to finish in 10th place. If only more countries would take note of this instead of feeling obliged to perform in English.

5. Raphael Gualazzi – ‘Madness of Love’  (Italy, 2011)

After an absence of fourteen years, Italy’s return was triumphant, finishing 2nd and reminding Europe what it had the contest had been missing. The song’s jazzy piano and trombone added a much needed touch of class to the contest. Italy have continued to send some strong songs to the contest in the years since and they are currently the favourites to win this year’s competition too.

4. Urban Symphony – ‘Rändajad’  (Estonia, 2009)

This four-piece female outfit combine modern electronic sounds with classical cellos and violins. The music is like a spell, hypnotizing you with beautiful Estonian-language vocals. Finishing in 6th place the song is Eurovision at its finest.

3. Regina – ‘Bistra Voda’  (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2009)

A common trend on this list have been songs sung in their native language. Unfortunately, English songs tend me be much more successful so every year we see countries entering the same old pop song we’ve heard a hundred times before. In 2009 rock band Regina tried to buck that trend, offering a sweeping Bosnian ballad, with orchestral backings and rolling military drum beats. Finishing only 9th, this is a criminally underrated Eurovision song.

2. Domenico Modugno – ‘Nel blu dipinto di blue (Volare)’ – (Italy, 1958)

Perhaps best known for Dean Martin’s cover, this song has sold over 22 million copies worldwide, making it one of Eurovision’s most successful songs of all time. Despite this, the song only finished in third place. No one remembers the song that won that year and how this song didn’t win is beyond the comprehension of anyone who has ever heard it.

1. Sébastien Tellier – ‘Divine’ – (France, 2008)

If anyone could ever be said to have been too good for Eurovision, it is without-a-doubt the cult hipster hero that is Sébastien Tellier. Already a well-established electronic artist, he was an unusual choice for the contest. Entering the stage driving a golf buggy and inhaling helium mid-song, Tellier was clearly there on his own terms. Scoring very few points and finishing in 19th position shows Eurovision wasn’t ready for the artistic genius of this French electro-pop Jesus.