Series: Eurovision Song Contest

Europe's most dubious cultural legacy.

Drag acts and bad acts,
and Terry Wogan's wig!
Mad acts and sad acts,
It was Johnny Logan's gig!
Irlande Douze Pointe, Ireland's entry to the 2008 contest. "Sung" by Dustin the Turkey, a puppet.

Nul points!

For anyone who is in interested in seeing just how weird and eccentric the European continent can be, this is the show to look at first.

The European Broadcasting Union operates a network known as Eurovision, which is primarily used to distribute coverage of special events (such as sporting events, the Pope's Easter Mass, etc.) throughout its member broadcasters. It produces very few programmes in its own right, but this is far and away the best known. So much so, in fact, that many folks would be quite surprised to learn that "Eurovision" could refer to anything but the Song Contest.

The contest has run since 1956 and was quite well-respected in its early years, with established artists such as Cliff Richard and Serge Gainsbourg taking part and others such as Dana and Sandie Shaw launching successful careers off the back of the show. The original idea was to foster post-WWII European unity and showcase the varied musical talent that Europe had to offer. What's interesting to note that this contest is open not just to EU countries, nor just European countries, but to all countries which are active broadcasting members of the EBU, which also includes Israel, Turkey, Tunisianote , Azerbaijan and some other Middle-Eastern, technically-Asian, and North-African countriesnote . With the contest taking a credibility dive in the 1970s, the last band to successfully launch an international career from the show were ABBA, who won in 1974 with "Waterloo", though several acts have remained popular in their own countries after entering the show.

These days, Eurovision is split into two main camps. The first is the Eastern and Central European countries, who generally take it fairly seriously, seeing it as an important marker of new-found independence. The winner hosts the next show, which can do wonders for the tourist industry in obscure cities (though the contest itself can be ruinously expensive to host). Entries from Eastern and Central Europe are generally rock-ballads with some sort of ethnic tinge to them. The second major group is the Western countries that made up the "traditional" entrants to Eurovision before Communism fell in the early 1990s. They tend to view the contest as all rather silly, camp fun, and enter either novelty acts, drag queens or camp pop (or sometimes both together) — then grouse about political voting when they don't win.

The format of the show has changed over the years, but remains broadly the same: First a series of songs is performed, then voting takes place to determine a winner. The votes from each country are "telephoned" (now shown by live feed) in to the studio one at a time, providing dramatic tension. The traditional way to start this is to say "Hello, [host city], this is [capital of particular country] calling".

Songs must be original, no more than 3 minutes long and contain some lyrics (no Instrumentals). Between 1974 and 1998, songs had to be sung in one of the official languages of the country entering. However, this rule was removed after a long string of wins by Ireland, who were felt to have an unfair advantage by being one of only three countries able to sing in English (which was rapidly becoming the lingua franca of Europe).

Before 1997, all voting was done by panels of expert judges. However, following accusations of "political" and "bloc" voting, public phone votes were introduced. Some have argued that this has only made it worse (particularly as emigrants can vote for their home country — La Pologne, douze points!); the United Kingdom's nul points in 2003 was alleged to be because of their recent invasion of Iraq (although the real reason was probably Jemini's horrifying off key singing), and by 2007, the bloc-voting had become so prevalent among ex-Soviet and ex-Yugoslav countries that Malta fixed their votes in protest. The situation in 2007, followed by a similar (but less prevalent) repeat in 2008, prompted the EBU to change the voting rules to a hybrid system reflecting jury votes and public votes, which contributed to leveling the contest for Western countries from 2009 onwards.

The 2008 contest was won by Russia, in a contest that was accused to contain a large amount of political voting (most of the other former Soviet states giving Russia 12 points), the British entry coming last (jointly with Germany and Poland, not coincidentally two other countries that rarely benefit from political voting) and several entries in the weird category. The Irish entry was a puppet Turkey Vulture that is actually an extremely famous (children's) television character in Ireland, who had released six albums and recorded with Bono and Bob Geldof. He won the national "Eurosong 2008" contest by public voting, much to the dismay of people who wanted to bring a serious contestant to Belgrade. He failed to get through the semi-finals, being booed before even starting their performance. There are many who believe that he wasn't even the most embarrassing entry they ever sent. Meanwhile, Latvia had piratesnote , Azerbaijan had thong-clad succubi, and France had noted electronica artist Sebastien Tellier perform alongside female backing singers that performed with fake beards. See below for Bosnia Herzegovina and Spain's entries.

The 2009 contest was won by Norway by a country mile, beating Lordi's previous record of 292 points by nearly a hundred (although still not the record in percentage terms - 387 out of a possible 492 isn't as good as 164 out of a possible 204, as achieved in 1976) A fresh change from the usual status quo of Western countries being near the bottom end of the table, changes in the voting system allowed songs to be judged more on their merit rather than the country of origin, and boy, did they. The UK got their best score in twelve years, 173 points, finishing fifth (the fact that the song was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, who also played the piano, arguably helped). Compare that to their previous appearances, having not finished in the top half since 2003. The finalists were mostly singers, with Norway winning by virtue of a violin.

The 2010 contest was won by Germany (their first win since 1982note ) and was the first "Big Four" winner since the United Kingdom thirteen years previously. Their song, "Satellite" by Lenanote , was already a hit single across the continent in the weeks leading to the contest, and its popularity sustained it through to the Final night. The UK came bottom and the Spanish got to do their song again after someone invaded the stage.

The 2011 contest was won by Azerbaijan after a rather narrow vote where they were firmly placed second or third for the first half and where the top four were switching around up until the last vote — at one point, even the UK was on top for all of sixty seconds. The finale had gotten an unusually strong selection this year with up to five or six favouritesnote  - but Azerbaijan was barely a blip on the radarnote . The performances in the finale included a unicycle, sand art, exploding glass and a pair of hyperactive Irish twins whose hair became a running joke when the votes were to be cast.

Sweden, by and large the fan favorite, took the title for the fifth time in 2012 with 372 points and a 113 point lead over Russia, not quite beating Norway's 2009 record. However, Sweden set its own record by receiving the douze points from 18 countries, the highest number in the contest's history. Loreen's performance was notable for eschewing the usual elaborate stage show and bright lighting and going for darker lighting, an understated outfit, and more restrained choreography that invoked martial arts. Many other countries also went for more understated shows; Ukraine and France stood out as having the most elaborate stage shows in the final. 2012 was also notable for the top 3 countries (Sweden, Russia, and Serbia) earning their positions largely without the aid of bloc voting; Sweden and Russia both got points from 40 of 42 countries, and Serbia got points from 30 of 42. Albania achieved their best-ever result, 5th place with 146 points as well as 2nd in the 1st semifinal; Norway saved the United Kingdom from last place, making for Norway's 11th last place result in the entire history of the contest.

Repeating history, Denmark (who won the contest the last time it was hosted in Sweden) won the 2013 contest with Emmelie de Forest's song "Only Teardrops"; the song was a favourite going into the final, and faced neck and neck competition with Ukraine and Azerbaijan for most of the voting phase (who, as it turns out, was exposed by Lithuanian media attempting to buy people's votes). To make matters worse, Denmark's entry was later accused of plagiarism, but the decisions still stand regardless of the controversy. Other notable entries included the United Kingdom dusting off Bonnie Tyler (of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" fame) and finishing badly as usual (but not in last, thankfully), Germany's Cascada performing [virtually] last year's winning song, and Romania's Cezar, an operatic dubstep vampire. With Sweden hosting, there were a record number of ABBA references.

2014's contest in Denmark was one of the more politically-tinted ones, taking place only weeks after Russia annexed part of Ukraine, and almost a year after it instituted laws restricting the promotion of homosexuality. As a result, the crowd was more vocal than usual, loudly booing Russia's teenaged twin singers while the results were announced. Early indications that Sweden would win again were overturned when Ensemble Darkhorse Conchita Wurst, a gay bearded drag queen representing Austria, charmed the entire continent and won. The Netherlands came in 2nd place, and Sweden 3rd. Russia came seventh, but only got points from 13 countries as opposed to 27 in 2013 and finished below Ukraine. The UK finished somewhere in the middle of the table with a forgettable song, while France finished last, with their song about wanting to have moustaches performed by a group composed of a Weird Al lookalike, a guy dressed and painted like an African tribesman and three other guys. They did not have any moustaches per se.

See also the Wikipedia article.

In 2007, the Eurovision Dance Contest started, essentially featuring a lot of people from the Strictly Come Dancing franchise. Few of the freestyle dances had the supposed national connection and about a dozen involved the removal of clothing. The first winner was Finland, with Poland winning the 2008 contest.

Eurovision tropes

  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: The definitive recurring element in entries, the last chorus of a song often cranks up a key or two. Why? Because they can. This is often combined with any of the following:
  • Switch Into English: Even if you start singing in your native Bulgarian or Hebrew, switching into English for the final chorus (or for every chorus) will guarantee international appeal. Also known as Gratuitous English. Compare International Pop Song English.
    • Averted for most of Eurovision's history (from 1958 to 1972 and from 1977 to 1998) because each song had to be sung in the country's language. The winners would often, however, reprise their songs with a Switch Into English. This trope was played most spectacularly by Nicole's Ein bißchen Frieden for Germany in 1982 when she sang in German, French, English, and Dutch, eliciting an applause at each switch.
    • Israel's entries have a weird on-off kind of thing for this. Boaz Mauda's entry, "HaEsh B'Einaiyich" was half-Hebrew, half-English and placed 9th. Shiri Maimon's entry did that, too and it nearly won. David D'Or's "L'haamin", though, didn't even make the finals. Izabo's "Time" also has a language switch, switching from English to Hebrew in the chorus rather than the verse.
    • The "native-language-only" policy was cancelled in 1998 because of a massive streak of winners that were either in English (Ireland winning in 1992, '93, '94 and '96, plus a United Kingdom victory in 1997, with Ireland finishing second) or had as little text as remotely possible (Norway in 1995 and Israel in 1998). Since then, the only winner not sung in English was 2007's "Molitva" from Serbia.
    • Played disappointingly straight in 2011, where the grand majority of songs were partially or completely in English. 2011 was also notable for being the first time that nobody sang in French (save for one sentence in the chorus of Evelina Saenko's entry for Lithuania, "C'est ma vie", the rest of which was in English.). This is even stranger considering not only was it the Lithuanian entry that used bits of French, but to top it off she's actually ethnically Polish.
  • Stock Rhymes: It comes with the Gratuitous English. Many lyricists who speak English as a second language (or not even at all) choose stock rhyming words (or don't even bother with rhyming at all!). The worst offending couplet is fire/desire, with some songs completing the trifecta with fire/desire/higher (Romania 2010, Greece 2005)
  • Intentional Costume Malfunction: Ever since Bucks Fizz won the contest in 1981 with a dance routine involving the girls whipping off their skirts to reveal shorter skirts underneath, the on-stage striptease has become a standard ingredient (4 out of 25 finalists in 2008, plus Serbia's show opener).
    • tATu threatened to go all the way in 2003. They didn't ultimately, sang badly and Turkey won. This was the year where the UK ended up with no points whatsoever.
    • While not a striptease per se, Germany tried to get the male vote in 2009 by including burlesque model Dita von Teese. The baffling part of all this was that two-thirds of the way into the performance, they stop to announce her ("Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Dita Von Teese!"), even though she was already on the stage and had been stripping throughout the song. And after that she just poses a bit. Ultimately, it didn't work, and they finished twentieth out of twenty-five.
    • In 1985, the Swedish host Lill Lindfors lost her skirt when it snagged on some scenery. This was quickly revealed as intentional when she unfastened part of her top to make a dress. This routine had been kept secret and was a surprise even to most of the crew (a man was placed in the mixing room to make sure the camera stayed on Lill). It led to the addition of a rule that the aired show cannot contain elements that haven't been a part of rehearsals beforehand.note 
  • Elaborate Stage Show: This has essentially become more important than the song itself.
    • In fact, aversions of this will nearly always hit a soft spot among certain fans of the contest, who have seen it all when it comes to Elaborate Stage Shows. France 2009, Belgium 2010 and (not to the same extent) Italy 2011 are the most recent examples.
    • 2012 largely averted this: most of the entries (including Sweden, the winner) opted for more reserved clothing and limited and simple choreography, if they used it at all.
  • Predictable Voting: Especially since the 90's, there has been a tendency for nations to give their highest points to their neighboring countries. It is a matter of debate whether it is primarily explained by conscious political alliances or by a tendency for culturally close countries to have similar musical tastes. Here are a few such examples:
    • A common Eurovision joke is that There are only three things certain in life: Death, Taxes, and Greece and Cyprus exchanging maximum votes at Eurovision - provided they are allowed to vote for each other.
    • The Scandinavian and Easter European blocks all vote for their fellow block countries. The Eastern European phenomenon has given rise to a popular joke: "The West may have won the Cold War, but the East won Eurovision."
    • While folks can’t vote for the country they presently live in, that doesn’t stop emigrants from voting for the countries they originated from, especially in regards to Eastern Europeans that moved to Western European nations whose natives have seemed to have stopped taking the contest seriously. For instance, because of the large diaspora of Turkish immigrants, Germany and the Netherlands have had a tendency to be giving their 12 points to Turkey, while Ireland has been giving high marks to the Baltics and Poland, due to the high dispora of immigrants from those regions.
    • Sure, there's issues between most countries in the Balkan region and amongst the former Soviet countries since their respective breakups, but the one time they can count on one another is when they need Eurovision votes.
    • Ireland usually gets a high vote from the UK, helped by the many Irish in Britain and the fact that Northern Ireland is part of the UK. In return Irish almost always give a few points to the UK, though generally fewer than the other way around. The only notable exception being when Ireland entered Jedward for the second time, at which point they gave the UK twelve, and got 6 in return.
      • The 2013 Eurovision also averted this trope. Ireland gave the UK 7 points, while they gave Ireland 1 point. The Irish were not even slightly happy.
    • Malta normally gives twelve to the UK, and in 2007 admitted they fixed their results as a protest against bloc voting.
    • Spain and Portugal usually interchange high votes and, since Andorra's first appearance, both countries receive the highest votes from this little principate. France also got high points from Andorra, but didn't give any in return.
    • This problem seems to have finally been ended with the 50/50 split of votes (a professional jury counts for 50% and the popular vote counts for 50%) in 2010.
      • You still can check if you know the border countries of the one giving the votes by saying who gets the maximum votes.
      • In fact Spanish long-time commentator José Luís Uribarri became famous for announcing the votes from each country before the jury actually told the results (and he gets them right most of the time). People enjoy it especially when he fails. This is one of the main reasons Spaniards don't take the contest seriously anymore.
    • Another pair of countries that exchange maximum votes predictably has arisen in recent years: Turkey and Azerbaijan. Similar to Greece and Cyprus, this is in large part due to the cultural connection between the two.
    • Israel, when they do vote, give the UK and Turkey points. Moldova and the Ukraine are your next bets; in fact, you could say everywhere but Germany.
    • On the flip side of this, there are also countries who won't give each other the time of day, much less points at Eurovision. The classical example is Greece/Turkey; another that has arisen in recent years is Armenia/Azerbaijan (although, rather surprisingly given the history of the two countries, Turkey and Armenia are not averse to giving each other a few points)
      • Considering their reputation as not voting for each other, Greece and Turkey have given surprisingly many points to each other over the years. Turkey and Cyprus on the other hand, have only given points to each other in 2 occasions, in 2003 and in 2004.
  • Questionable Choreography
  • Tourist Office Inserts: Between each song (to give the TV audience something to look at while the set is being changed), the next act are shown in a silent vignette enjoying the delights of the host country.
    • Serbia did something slightly different in 2008, with performers in the colours of the next performing country's flag.
    • In 2010 a clip from the next act's home country was shown instead.
    • In 2011, the vignettes showed people from the next performing country who live in Germany enjoying famous German sights.
    • 2012 featured on things around Azerbaijan, ending with the LED lighting on the outside of the Baku Crystal Hall lighting up with a pattern of the performing country's flag.
    • 2013 featured clips of the artists in their home country, in preparation for their trip to Sweden.
    • 2014 featured clips of the artists using different media (such as paint, jigsaw puzzle pieces or even flowers) to make up their country's flag, before taking a photograph of the result.
  • Interval Act: while the panels were deliberating or the phone votes are coming in, an interval act is arranged. This used to be very dull until in 1994 the Irish hosts gave the world "Riverdance" and launched Michael Flatley's career. Following that, each subsequent host has tried to up the ante and hopefully launch another international hit. None have yet succeeded.
  • Ralph Siegel: aka Mr. Eurovision. He has written a whopping nineteen songs that participated in the Contest, ranging from Nicole's 1982 German winner "Ein bisschen Frieden" to Montenegro's 2009 song "Just get out of my life", which failed to qualify for the finals.
  • Terry Wogan: For viewers in the UK (and many in Ireland and some other European countries, where British TV channels are commonly available), an integral part of the experience was the dry, acerbic commentary by veteran radio presenter Sir Terry Wogan who openly mocked the hosts, the costumes, the songs, the Tourist Office Inserts, the Interval Act. He generally seemed to spend the contest getting progressively more squiffy on Bailey's, so tends to become more and more entertaining as the evening draws on. The worse the contest, the quicker it happens. He was once banned from Denmark for referring to their hosts as "Doctor Death and the Tooth Fairy". Commentated the show in 1978 and from 1980 to 2008, where he left due to being unhappy with the political voting and the UK's lack of effort. He has since been replaced by Graham Norton, another sardonic Irishman.
  • Bad Hosts: It must be tradition for the hosts to fill the competition with bad, bad jokes, poor acting and worthless delivery. Not helped that they are speaking in English, not their first tongue (unless Ireland have won ... again).
    • First played horribly straight in the semifinals of 2009, and then completely averted in the final. It was a good year.
  • Over-enthusiastic other hosts: Finland's "Eurovision's biggest fan" took the proverbial biscuit. Serbia had some ridiculous woman in a square in Belgrade (this was during other countries' ad breaks) and some woman who looked like Avril Lavigne in "The Green Room".
    • For the record, the said "biggest fan" was a comedy actress whose thing is to play a hyper naďve,simple-minded blonde with pieces of sharp sarcasm.
    • During the voting in 2006, the Netherlands' spokesperson Paul de Leeuw seemed to ignore the live element of the show, unsubtly hitting on the male host and giving out his mobile number on live TV before proceeding to name the country awarded 12 points. Terry Wogan called him an "eejit" in his commentary. invoked
  • Wind Machines. Lots of them.

This event contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Every now and then, but the clearest example is Ruslana, the winner in 2004.
  • Affectionate Parody:
    • Swedish Eurodance performer Markoolio wrote a parody of typical Eurovision music, "Värsta Schlagern".note . And of course, it lampshades all the clichés. The third verse? Translated into English it goes: "Now it gets difficult to figure out/ something new to say, but so what?/ This is just padding/ which people will soon forget about." He actually tried to enter it into the Swedish selection competition Melodifestivalen with a different singer. but it was turned down for obvious reasons.
    • Markoolio got into Melodifestivalen as a wild card in 2009 with another song, "Kärlekssĺng frĺn mig"; a ballad whose live performance parodied elements of Dima Bilan's two appearances at Eurovision. It featured a Funny Background Event involving a man emerging from the piano, who then failed at ice skating, almost got hit by a violinist, and then got set on fire by the pyrotechnics.
  • All Issues Are Political Issues: Usually averted. On paper, Eurovision's meant to be an apolitical, borderless celebration of diversity and harmony; in fact, explicitly political entries are intentionally banned. In practice, there have been times when the contest becomes politically charged, reflecting current events.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Serbia's entries in 2007 and 2010, Ukraine in 2007, and the Queen of Europe — Conchita Wurst — in 2014.
  • Audience Participation: 2010 Eurovision's Flash Mob.
  • Bald of Awesome:
    • Steve Bender from West Germany entry in 1979, "Dschinghis Khan".
    • The dancing bald guy in Lithuania's entry in 2006.
  • Balkanize Me: Perhaps due to the voting blocs spawned by the breakups of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, as well as the lack of effort of the United Kingdom in the 21st century as a united nation, there have been calls for the UK to split themselves up into separate nations much like they do in most sports, and make their own voting block with Ireland, which could happen pending if Scotland declares independence. Wales in particular even have gone as far as creating a national contest show long in advance dating back to 1969 in preparation if the split up were to happen. Of course if it did happen, it would pose several problems:
    • Since much of the UK's economic power comes from England, they would be the only nation that could possibly keep their "Big 5" status, meaning that Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland would most likely have to compete in the semifinals much like Ireland does. Then of course, there's the financial issues that would come with hosting if one of these nations were to win, especially since they wouldn't have the full financial support of the UK anymore.
    • There's The Irish Question of whether Northern Ireland should join up with Ireland or compete separately as they do in soccer.
    • Finally the voting block these nations would have could easily backfire as not only that they have to compete against one another, there could be vendettas between these nations as along with the issue of nationality, the fact they had to resort to doing this because of the lack of effort back when they participated as a united nation. That said, the spawned rivalries could lead to these nations sending a better quality of entrants as a result, pending they start taking the contest seriously again.
  • Belly Dancer: Turkey often combines this with a Regional Riff.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • Reports indicate that for 2013, Azerbaijan did just that, literally. It appears to have backfired, since they only managed to get 2nd place.
    • Not exactly "bribing your way to victory" in the traditional sense, but if you are a "Big 5" country note  who are the highest financial contributors to the EBU, or are hosting the contest (and have to spend a boatload of money to make the contest possible), you get to automatically qualify for the final, regardless of previous results. These countries haven't really used this to their advantage in the final however, with Germany in 2010 being the only time someone from the "Big 5" has won, with these countries being known for having a tendency for not taking the contest seriously, and in the case of the host, fear of having to pay to host the contest again. Not to mention, even when these nations do send credible songs, some argue that the bye is more of a disadvantage, as said artists have to wait until the final for their songs to be performed, thus having less exposure compared to the semi-finalists as a result.
  • Butt Monkey: Since around 2003 the UK has held this status, regularly finishing in the bottom five and more often than not coming dead last. Initially this was largely due to other countries protesting against their involvement in the invasion of Iraq, but this led to a vicious cycle in which talented singers refused to participate due to the likelihood of a bad Eurovision performance destroying their career note , leading to the country being forced to send legitimately terrible acts to the contest, with a predictable lack of success each time.
    • Lampshaded in the 2014 semi-finals when in a tongue-in-cheek interval act, Australia were told to move to Europe to participate in the contest, prompting them to lift the country out with helicopters and dumping themselves on top of the UK.
    • Could also apply to The Netherlands, who holds the record for failing to qualify for the final in 8 consecutive years. This was even exploited in 2013, when the Dutch had high hopes for their act performed by A-list star Anouk to break this string. Their announcement of reaching the final was saved to the last. The Netherlands did recover well from this negative streak by reaching 9th place in 2013 and even 2nd in 2014, their best placing since their last win in 1975.
    • The Polish audience was so accustomed to failing yet another contestnote , it was a massive surprise for everyone (even for Donatan and Cleo, the year's Polish representatives, themselves!) that in 2014 we actually scored enough points to get to the finals. And "We are Slavic" didn't even come dead last in the finals - actually, the 14th place was one of the best places in the whole history of Polish performances on Eurovision.
    • Countries like Finland were accustomed to finishing lastnote  or on the right side of the scoreboard, that when Lordi won Eurovision, it came as a cause of celebration. Even today, no Finnish entry has come close to matching their success.
    • Andorra and the Czech Republic have only participated 6 times and 3 times respectively, but have never gathered enough points to qualify for the final. Neither country has returned to the contest since 2009.
  • Camp: Several dozens of acts. Likely at least a dozen of them every year.
  • Catch Phrase: Douze points! Twelve points goes to... (SIC) Royaume Uni dix points!
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The individual members of Iceland's 2014 entry, Pollapönk. Whether in tracksuits, suit and tie, dresses, or bathrobes, they would wear the same colors. They even painted their [finger]nails for you!
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Lordi, a silly curiosity act, positively annihilated the competition as the votes came in in 2006, getting top-level votes (usually 8-12 points) from almost every country. At the time, their points total of 292 was a Eurovision record. It has since been broken twice over, by Norway in 2009 with 387 points (169 more than second-placed Iceland) and Sweden in 2012 with 372 points (113 more than second-placed Russia).
    • In 1994, the winner Ireland was the first country to break the 200-point barrier with 226 points and a healthy lead of 60 points over the runner-up Poland. Three years later in 1997, Katrina and the Waves, representing the United Kingdom, beat their record with 227 points, a 70 point lead over the Irish runner-ups, and racked up 10 sets of douze points. To date, three winners have had larger winning margins, the aforementioned Norway in 2009 with a 169 point lead and Sweden in 2012 with a 113 point lead, as well as Germany in 2010 with a 76 point lead.
  • Curse: While nations performing later in the contest tends to have a better chance of winning, as most viewers remember the song more when it’s time to vote, a nation having to perform 2nd in the final running order is known to be a kiss of death to one's chances of winning the contest. Not only that nobody has won performing there, it has produced the most last place finishes and many pre-contest favorites have found themselves bombing in the scorecard from having to perform 2nd. Notable victims to the curse include Vicky Leandros (1967), Olivia Newton-John (1974), Matia Bazaar (1979), Gili & Galit (1989) and Gina G (1996).
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • The BBC seems to be developing a tradition of having a snarky presenter from the Republic of Ireland do its Eurovision commentary. BBC commentary was provided until 2008 by Terry Wogan, who spent the entire broadcasts drinking Bailey's and snarking about how terrible the acts were, how terrible the hosts were, and how shamelessly political the voting became. Wogan has since been replaced by Graham Norton, who proudly continued the tradition of snark in 2009 and 2010 (including snarking over his own interview during half-time).
    Graham: (about Greece recieving a lot of points in 2012) The Greek finance minister has just died.
    • The Swedish commentator of 2007-2008, Kristian Luuk, would throw sarcastic remarks at pretty much everything, some of which were pretty irrelevant to the entries and the voting, doubled with a hoot he often used, even during Andorra's performance. Predictably, he got warnings from the broadcast channel to stop his behavior immediately, but he ignored them.
    Luuk: (about one of the spokesmen) Look at that guy's fat chin!
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Conflicts between Azerbaijan and Armenia took centre-stage at the 2009 contest due to continuing conflicts over the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic: during the semi-finals, a statue ("We Are Our Mountains") located in the republic appeared in the Armenian postcard. After Azerbaijan promptly complained, since it recognizes the republic as its property, the status was edited out for the final... where the Armenian vote presenter promptly pulled a Take That by having the aforementioned statue be her backdrop, and taped a picture of it to her clipboard. Following the finals, Azerbaijan's Ministry of National Security proceeded to interrogate the 43 people who voted for Armenia, considering them to be a "a potential security threat". The EBU ultimately fined Azerbaijan over its misconduct, alongside allegations that they tried to censor the Armenian entry during the final.
    • Predictably, when Azerbaijan won in 2011, Armenia pulled out for 2012.
    • It is also interesting that for such a gay-friendly event, it was held in a country with draconian anti-homosexual laws inherited from the old Soviet Union, where being gay earned a stay in The Gulag. British TV commentator Graham Norton, an out gay man, defended his role against criticism from gay rights groups by saying he was "unaware" of Azerbaijan's institutional homophobia and draconian laws.
  • Does Not Like Shoes / Unkempt Beauty: Both Sweden's Loreen and Denmark's Emilie de Forrest, the winners of 2012 and 2013 respectively, sported the barefoot-and-messy-hair look.
  • Dreadful Musician
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first Contest in 1956 was mostly broadcast for TV and radio, though mostly for radio as television was an expensive luxury back in the mid-50's and had 7 countries (there were more planned, but they didn't get the paperwork done in time) providing two songs each, presumably to pad it out. There was one winner - Switzerland, who didn't win again until Céline Dion gave them a hand - and everyone else came "second", with the point allocation being secret. Also, one song was just some guy whistling to a band. invoked
  • Europop: Although it's more of an example of how weird Europop can get.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles - Lithuania's 2010 entry that features sparkle shorts.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning
  • Failure Hero: The country that has participated the longest without any win is Portugal, which made its debut in 1964 and has never finished in the top five.
  • Fanservice: Even in the least successful songs, performances with strip teasing and wardrobe malfunctions tend to be quite well remembered.
  • Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics: The 1968 winning song used to have lyrics, but they were censored. The chorus ended up being: "la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la."
  • Funny Background Event: This.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The band behind Switzerland's 2013 entry, Heilsarmee (Salvation Army, since its performers are members of said charity) were forced to change their name because of the "no politics" rule. They re-named themselves Takasa, which pretty much stands for "The artists (formally) known as Salvation Army"
  • Girl Next Door: Lena Meyer-Landrut, the winner of Eurovision 2010, may or may not be trying to invoke this with her style of dress (if not her songs). It works for some.
  • Golden Snitch: Has been known to happen in the national selections, notably the Ukrainian entry in 2005. Having played out the preselection over the course of 15 knockout rounds, the broadcaster bizarrely added Razom nas bahato, an anthem of the previous year's Orange Revolution, as a "wildcard" entry in the final. It won the vote (and promptly had to be rewritten to remove the political content, in accordance with Eurovision rules).
    • The Maltese national final for 2013 had televoting giving one to twelve points, and six juries... each of which gave up to twelve points, so the power of televote was drastically reduced.
  • Gratuitous English: Many acts.
    • The French entries have always been in French, except for the 1996 entry (in Breton) and the 2011 entry (in Corsican, which was also one of the languages of the 1993 entry), although the 2008 entry, "Divine" by Sébastien Tellier, was sung in French and English. And the 2007 entry from France was in Franglais, a creole-like mix of the two languages (which was strange and disorientating to French and British viewers alike).
    • The Spaniards have not sung in English. Yet. (With just one exception in 1968 - in which Spain won the contest - when, during the reprise of "La, La, La", Massiel sang the second chorus in English.)
    • The Portuguese lasted longer than the French in staying in their native tongue. Their entry in 2003, "Deixa-me sonhar (só mais uma vez)", was the first of four entries to be sung partially in English; every other Portuguese entry has only been presented in Portuguese.
  • I Can't Believe A Continent Like You Would Notice Me: To put in perspective how seriously the "Big 5" takes the contest in the 21st century, portions of the German press were extremely pleasantly surprised at their 2010 win. The newspaper Die Welt carried a headline which basically said "Europe likes us. When did that happen?"
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes
  • Long Runners
  • The Mean Brit: Terry Wogan. Even though he is Irish, he did commentate for Britain.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • In 2000 the Dutch live broadcast was stopped halfway through. A fireworks storage had gone up in flames, so those watching the dopey-happy show were treated to a special bulletin of an entire city block having been incinerated. The rest of the European watching public learned about this from the Dutch spokeswoman - that fireworks explosion was the reason that the Dutch had to give the points by jury that year.
    • In 2012, Albania was allowed to delay their broadcast of the first semifinal (in which they were performing) and only use jury votes due to a serious bus accident which had occurred the day before and led the government to declare a day of mourning on the date of the semifinal.
  • The Movie: The Junior Eurovision did get a documentary about it, "Sounds Like Teen Spirit: A Popumentary"
  • Nice Hat: Did you see the HUGE hats that the 2011 Moldovan performers wore?!
  • Overly Long Gag: Mr. Lordi returned to present Finland's votes on the 2012 edition. And then this happened.
  • Panty Shot: If the show includes a recap of memorable moments from past contests, expect at least a few of these. Mostly when someone tripped or suffered a Wardrobe Malfunction.
  • Poe's Law: Dustin the Turkey, singing a deliberately terrible dance song about how terrible Eurovision has gotten and how Ireland have gone from being the group-to-beat to being also-rans. It might have gone over a little better if the lyrics had been a little more coherent and had Dustin had a less annoying voice. Most people thought it was simply a shit song.
  • Really Seventeen Years Old: Belgium in 1986 sent Sandra Kim, at the tender age of 13.5 years old. She pretended to be 14.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: France's 2007 entry, Amour ŕ la Francaise by Les Fatal Picards.
  • Refuge in Audacity
  • Regional Riff: Frequently. Spain and Turkey are among the most prolific (ab/)users of the trope.
  • Rule of Three: 2011 had three judges. The result? Three consecutive reminders that you cannot vote for your own country.
  • Rummage Sale Rejects
  • The Scapegoat:
    • People from the UK tend to blame the poor scores their songs generally receive on politics. This can at times take on an edge of Hypocritical Humour, since the UK is also notable for not taking the contest particularly seriously, as can often be reflected in the entries they submit. Claims of neighborly voting among Eastern European countries are also rendered null when they give and receive points from Ireland.
    • The Swedes are even worse. Every year has sparked an outcry against political or bugged voting and since we started to slip from getting to the top five every year to finally being eliminated in the semi-finals, a demand to boycott or shut down the entire competition has become something of a tradition. We're talking about the biggest newspapers here, not just individual grumbling. Beats the UK in Hypocritical Humor as well, since they have a tendency to make points rain on their fellow Scandinavian countries. Fortunately for the Swedes, they would clinch a victory in 2012.
    • Same thing in Poland. Every single year our reason for not getting to the finals was that "Nobody likes us in Europe". After which, hundreds of declaration that we won't sent a contestant next year can be heard. But we do send them anyway. Averted somehow in 2014 - this time we are blaming our score on the judges who gave us a lot less points that the viewers (if only the viewers points counted, Poland would have a 5th place instead of 14th!) and on Conchita Wurst who stole our spotlight with the help of her Badass Beard, Pimped-Out Dress and a way better song than "We are Slavic". One political party even announced that (if they will be elected of course) they have a plan to change the Eurovision voting system so we won't be cheated out by judges ever again. Well, they said exactly the same words before 2009, when only viewers votes were taken into account and Polish songs were always getting low (or very low) scores. And again, it was because of "politics".
  • Scenery Porn: There is a lot of gratuitous tourism adverts for the host country.
    • Azerbaijan combined this with Food Porn in one of the pre-performance vignettes in 2012.
  • Serious Business: For the Swedish Media at least.
  • Shout-Out: A presenter noted in 2011 that the voting process was "the same procedure as every year." The reference probably flew over the heads of the British though.
  • Silly Love Songs - Extremely numerous!
    • This trope reached its apotheosis in 2014 with host country Denmark's entry Cliche Love Song (also a CMOF for Denmark).
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis - Greece and Cyprus versus Turkey for example.
    • A country that doesn't make it to the finals will usually feel better about it if their rival doesn't make it either.
    • Notably, Armenia pulled out of the contest in 2012 because it was being held in Azerbaijan, its arch-rival (partly in protest of ceasefire violations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, partly because of the strong possibility that whatever performer it sent to Azerbaijan would be in great danger).
  • Sixth Ranger: In less than 20 years the number of countries that have participated has more than doubled. Of the 26 countries that have joined in the last 20 years, the vast majority hadn't taken part before because they hadn't existed beyond being parts of Yugoslavia or the Soviet Union.
    • The earliest instance of a semifinal occurred in 1993, in the form of a special entitled "Kvalifikacija za Millstreet" ("Qualification for Millstreet). Held after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, it featured seven countries new to Eurovision: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia. Sadly, none of the 3 countries that went to the 1993 contest (Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia) placed in the top 10, though Bosnia got 12 points from Turkey. The whole semi can be viewed here.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Russia's Alexey Vorobyov accused Sweden's Eric Saade of being a cheap rip-off of him. Despite not being famous in Sweden(he wouldn't have heard about him), having Swedish dancers, an Swedish choreographer, and a Swedish songwriter..
  • Spin-Off: There have been two major spin-offs of the competition.
    • Firstly, there's the Eurovision Dance Contest, which was essentially a pan-European version of Dancing with the Stars (especially in the 2008 edition, which switched to celebrity/professional pairings, much like said show). It did not fair well at all; only two editions occurred (2007 and 2008, both hosted by the BBC in London and Glasgow, Scotland). A 2009 edition in Azerbaijan was planned, but the entire idea got canned due to a "serious lack of interest." Thankfully, Azerbaijan did get to host the real thing.
    • And then, there's the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Going meta, it originated as a junior spin-off of Denmark's Dansk Melodi Grand Prix competition, which then gained a spin-off of its own known as MGP Nordic (held between Denmark, Norway and Sweden in 2002). The success of this then expanded the idea into a pan-European version, much like its adult counterpart. However, MGP Nordic did return from 2006 to 2009 when the Nordic countries jointly pulled out due to allegations that the JESC was treating contestants unethically. Each country who participates starts with 12 points already instead of 0 in the voting, just to keep the kids happy. In 2011, these free twelves were delivered by a teenaged presenter in Australia (Yes, they watch it there too!). invoked
    • In 2005, German comedian, musician and Eurovision veteran Stefan Raab started the "Bundesvision (Federal Vision) Song Contest" featuring contestants representing the 16 German states. So far, all five winners were already very big in Germany - three rock and two reggae acts, actually.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Since the nation whose entrant wins has to host it the next year at its own expense, an undertaking that might oblige less prosperous countries to sell their national monuments on eBay, it's probable that many of the participants aren't playing to win. In fact the winner doesn't have to host it the next year, though turning it down would involve a certain loss of face. Apparently for some nations, looking like complete fools is the lesser of two evils.
    • In 1972 Monaco was unable to host due to lack of resources, so the contest was held in the UK instead.
    • Since Sweden withdrew from the 1976 competition in fear of winning and having to host the Contest again, the rules changed so all participants have to pay an entry fee which goes to the hosting country.
    • Norwegian state broadcaster NRK had to sell its broadcast rights to The World Cup in order to finance the 2010 edition of the event in Oslo.
    • Parodied in an episode of the defining Irish comedy show, Father Ted, where Ireland deliberately had Ted and Dougal represent Ireland in the Eurovision with their terrible song "My Lovely Horse", in order to save on the costs of having to host it again (the episode itself having been aired during the 90's, when Ireland won the contest more frequently).
  • Stripperiffic: Many acts. Of both genders.
  • Turn Coat: The contest has no rules or restrictions on the nationalities of a performing country’s performers or songwriters, so it’s not rare to see someone abandoning its native country to be represented in the contest. A few examples incude:
    • The most notable example, Céline Dion, represented Switzerland in 1988 and won (over the UK by a single point) despite being Canadian in origin.
    • While 1997 winners Katrina and the Waves were formed in Cambridge, England, Katrina was born and raised in Kansas. While some Britons might have been unamused that Katrina is American in origin, considering the UK's history of 2nd place finishes and uneventful results since, they'll take what they can get.
    • Adding to the fact of Eurovision's popularity in Australia, while they themselves can't be represented in Eurovision, they have nevertheless sent their own stars to the contest, with Olivia Newton John and Gina G representing the UK in 1972 and 1996 respectively.
    • Elena Paparizou, who won it for Greece in 2005, is of Greek ethnicity, however she was born and raised in Sweden. Indeed, she even tried to represent Sweden in 2014, but she came in 4th in the national qualifiers.
    • 2009 winner Alexander Rybak was born in Belarus, but moved to Norway at the age of 4. He has gained and maintained popularity in Eastern Europe regardless in addition to Scandinavia, which was exemplified when even the infamous Eastern European voting blocs were all shown giving high votes to Norway.
    • While 2011's winners, Ell and Nikki, are Azerbaijani natives (though Nikki presently lives in London), both the backup singers and the songwriters are either British or Swedish in origin. The backup singers in particular even tried to represent Sweden earlier in that year's Eurovision before joining up with Azerbaijan when things didn't work out.
    • Rona Nishliu, Albania’s representative in 2012, is Kosovar in origin, but Kosovo’s international recognition issues presently prevents the nation from participating in such international events, so it is not uncommon and justifiable for Kosovarians in general to be represented by Albania in international events.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Alexander Rybak, the winner of 2009, so much that sometimes it seems he doesn't own any other clothes.
  • Watch It Stoned: For some viewers, drinking games are a big part of their Eurovision viewing experience.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Seriously, Lena is the most Cockney-sounding German ever. This could be Justified as her English teacher had a hard Cockney accent that stuck.
    • This Trope comes up a lot in the contest when non-native English speakers try very hard to mask their accents.
  • Widget Series: The commentary in the UK and Ireland is very British.
  • Witty Banter: Particularly painful when the ones doing it are expressing themselves in a tongue which is not their native one and are not gifted at acting. One notable example of this was when Ukraine hosted it, and the most internationally famous locals they could dredge up were the Klitschko brothers (a pair of very good boxers)
    • Once, there were rhyming couplets.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: With many countries wishing to have their songs in English, it's an inevitability that songs whose writers and artists aren't very fluent in English will show up.

For parodies of the contest, see Inept Talent Show Contestant.

References in other media:

  • In a 1970 episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus a sketch involving policemen morphs into the Europolice Song Contest, which is won for Monaco by Inspector Zatapathique with "Bing Tiddle Tiddle Bong", which mocked then-current entries like Massiel's "La La La" (1968) and Lulu's "Boom-Bang-a-Bang" (1969). In Monty Python's Big Red Book (1971), this was expanded into a four-page features - including notes - about the song, which here was credited to "Les Deux Hommes Célčbres". The top entries after Monaco were given thusly: 2. "Si si boing bang" (Italy); 3. "Nein Bong über tiddle" (Germany); 4. (equal) "Bang bang bang bang" (England), "Ay ay ay ay" (Ireland); "Och och och och" (Scotland), and "Oy oy oy oy" (Israel); 5. "Post coitum omnia animal tristes est" (France); 6. "Ding ding a dong" (Sweden). A mere four years later, in 1975, the group Teach-In won the real Eurovision Song Contest for the Netherlands with "Ding-a-Dong" (original Dutch title: "Ding Dinge Dong").
  • Father Ted has an episode where Ireland, desperate to lose so they don't have to host the contest again, select the title character's song 'My Lovely Horse' - a really horrible song - as their country's entry. For once, the Springtime for Hitler plan worked: it bombed.
  • Scandinavia and the World does annual comics on Eurovision:
    • For the 2009 contest, Denmark beats up Sweden for not giving him points, and Norway beats up everyone else because he won.
    • Between contests, there was a comic of a party held between the Nordic states where Finland (dressed up as Mr. Lordi) tries to stab everyone.
    • At the post-Eurovision 2010 party, Germany crushes everyone with a satellite (a reference to the title of the winning song).
    • The 2011 comic has King Europe declare Azerbaijan the winner... except no-one present even knows who Azerbaijan is (Norway knows, but is sitting watching the contest at home as he failed to qualify for the final).
    • In 2012, Sweden gloats over his victory after first kicking Mother Russia off the stage.
    • For the 2013 contest, Denmark throws a rock to shatter Azerbaijan's perspex box, while Sister Denmark gleefully says, "Lookit all them losers!" as she revels in her victory.
    • In the 2014 contest, Denmark, as the host, was a creep to all the contestants and commentators, giving them surprises and gave Sister England a childhood memory of hers as a gift (apparently, it's a Take That to Danes almost always having roles of villains in media according to Word of God). At the end he presents Austria as winner, as he tells the audience to worship her or he will come after you. Note that he keeps on smiling creepily in every panel of the comic strip.
  • The BBC's The Culture Show once got Neil Hannon to lightly take the piss out of the contest by breaking down the formula for a successful entry and then write his own mock-entry, "Trafalgar" — which was pretty good, actually. For the record, the key four elements he identified as being important were: (1) A good beat; (2) Frequent key changes; (3) Generally incomprehensible gibberish or random selections of words for lyrics; and finally, in light of Ireland's frequent victories in the contest, (4) A generous helping of Celtic-inspired schmaltz.
    Neil Hannon: By the nineties, we were so successful that rivals were unashamedly nicking our patented Irish mysticism... It is now rendered mysterious, like a mountain stream flowing across an ancient Irish bog.
    • This was not Hannon's first attempt at a Eurovision song. He wrote the music for the aforementioned Father Ted episode, not just the "catchy" version of "My Lovely Horse", but also their arch-rival's overblown point-magnet. He appears in the background of said act's choir (in the centre of the back row) and also sings the nonsense "Norwegian" lyrics of the 1976 original. His band, The Divine Comedy, later released it as a B-Side.
  • In the days before the internet most Americans knowledge of Eurovision was Benny Hill's parodies of it.
  • There are a lot of Axis Powers Hetalia fanfics focusing on ESC 2010 on fanfiction.net.
  • It's Only TV But I Like It, one of The BBC's less well known comedy Panel Games, had a round where the panel was shown three countries' Eurovision entries from the past and had to guess which one got 'nul points'. The round was titled "Let's All Laugh At Foreigners".
  • The Red Dwarf novel Better Than Life has the planets' governments voting on which planet will become Garbage World, using a system clearly based on the Eurovision Song Contest. Earth gets nul points.
  • The High Life, the episode "Dug" has the two air stewards entering with a song called "Piff Paff Poff" and the lyrics "Piff paff poff/I want to have it off". Unsurprisingly, they lose.
    Sebastian: Nul points. Nul points.
    Steve: Sebastian, you're no still going on about that, are you?
    Sebastian: Even Lynsey de Paul and Mike Moran in 1977 with "Rock Bottom" did better than that, and they were shite!
  • The Big Finish Doctor Who episode "Bang-Bang-a-Boom!", starring the Seventh Doctor and companion Mel, is a Eurovision Song Contest-themed Star Trek pastiche In the Style of... a panto whodunnit. No, really.
  • The Now Show had a song by Pippa Evans, the day before the 2014 contest, which combined classic Eurovision tropes with shameless sucking up and explaining that the UK didn't really hate being in Europe, honest.
  • Much less sucking up in Mitch Benn's "A Song for Europe" (not broadcast on The Now Show, possibly because of BBC rules regarding a Cluster F-Bomb that slags off every national stereotype in Europe, Britain included.)
  • In Derek Jarman's Jubilee, future England's current Eurovision entry is Amyl Nitrate singing a highly militaristic rendition of "Rule Britannia" that includes samples from one of Adolf Hitler's speeches. This is meant to demonstrate just how much of a Crapsack World future England is.

Notable Offbeat Eurovision Entries:

  • The first "gimmicky" entry goes all the way back to the second contest in 1957. The Danish entry, "Skibet Skal Sejle I Nat" ended with performers Birthe Wilke and Gustav Winckler engaging in a Big Damn Kiss which lasted 11 seconds and caused an outcry in some countries.
  • The most famous export of Eurovision is Abba - who according to That Other Wiki were peculiarly credited as "The Abba" in preview specials - with "Waterloo" in 1974.
  • "E Depois do Adeus", the Portuguese entry for 1974, was famously used as a secret signal for the start of the Carnation Revolution, a coup d'etat that overthrew Portugal's fascist regime in 1974. The song tied for last with Norway, Germany and Switzerland at the contest. Nowadays, it can be heard on a television program by the RTP television channel, also called Depois do Adeus.
    • Portugal's next entry, "Madrugada" by Duarte Mendes, was notably a celebration of the revolution. According to the book The Eurovision Song Contest - The Official History by John Kennedy O'Connor, the performer was going to appear in army uniform and carry a gun onstage(!), but had to be talked out of doing so.
  • In 1977, for reasons unknown to history, Austria selected Schmetterlinge, a left-leaning folk-rock band who hated Eurovision and all it stood for, as their entrants. Their song was "Boom Boom Boomerang," an acerbic parody of the sort of inane "Schlager" entries with nonsense lyrics that were popular at the time. The more coherent lyrics of the song suggested that such songs were only written to increase record company profit margins. The performance was rather unforgettable, too.
    • The jurors of 1977 must have been rather perplexed by 1977 at the beginning. Austria were fourth in performance order and their crazed performance came right after the Netherlands Heddy Lester, singing her tune while wearing the most outlandish pink satin dress, which appeared to be made from Venetian blinds and wedding cake frosting.
  • Norway in 1978 received zero points with "Mil etter mil" by Jahn Teigen, who sabotaged his own entry with affected vocals and stage antics because he disliked the song's brassy arrangement. His squawk at 1:30 sounds like a climaxing Muppet. Despite its utter failure at the contest, "Mil etter mil" wound up dominating Norway's charts and Teigen released it in an album titled This Year's Loser.
  • Dschinghis Khan, "Dschinghis Khan". 1979 West German entry (with Jerusalem as the host city). Imagine a German lovechild of ABBA and the Village People. That pretty much describes them. They went on to become a supergroup. See the video here. Their other hits include:
    • "Moskau." The unofficial song of the 1980 Olympics at Moscow. This subject of Memetic Mutation thanks to YTMND and one very, very unique dance - based on traditional Russian folk dancing, believe it or not. Please enjoy.
    • "Rocking Son of Dschinghis Khan." The dance and lyrics of this song must be seen and heard to believed. Watch this here.
    • Dschinghis Khan song changed Jewish weddings forever when an Israeli songwriter added Hebrew lyrics and the song become known as "Yidden." It has since became a standard for Jewish weddings.
    • Interestingly enough, some thought the song to be inappropriate. Think about it: Germans singing about Jenghis Khan in Jerusalem... And somehow, they got away with it.
  • Sophie & Magaly, "Le Papa Pingouin". Luxembourg's 1980 entry. It's a song in French about a penguin with wanderlust and features a grown man and backup signers in penguin suits.
  • Telex's "Euro-Vision", Belgium's 1980 entry. Telex - a quirky synthpop band known for not taking themselves seriously - they obviously didn't take the contest seriously either: "We had hoped to finish last, but Portugal decided otherwise." They finished 3rd last. Not that that prevents them from having towels around their necks and singer Michel Moers from throwing confetti on himself. Moers also snaps a tourist photo of the audience at the end. It's probably the first song in the final where Eurovision itself is the subject. And definitely the first song to be performed on synthesizers.
  • In 1985, The Bobbysocks gave Norway its first victory with "Let it Swing", a rocking tune with throwbacks to both 80's and 50's music, that is one of Norway's most recognizable songs, even to this day. It's also one of many songs (at least in the Nordic countries) during that era to be performed in this style; Sweden and Denmark had similar entries.
  • The 1989 contest got a bit of flak because the Israeli and French entrants were 12 and 11 respectively. This led to an age restriction being implemented starting with the 1990 contest in Zagreb, and indirectly led to the creation of the Junior Eurovision in 2003.
  • 1990 is the year that started another, broader trend in ESC. The French and Spanish entries were straightforward pop songs with heavy hints of calypso and flamenco respectively. Joelle Ursull's "White and Black Blues" and Azucar Moreno's "Bandido" placed 2nd and 5th respectively and both became big hits. While there were a few ethnically-flavored entries in the previous 35 years, it wasn't until these songs came out that they became popular, and to this day national music elements are quite common in the contest.
    • A third ethnic entry, "Gözlerinin Hapsindeyim" by Kayahan, represented Turkey that year as well. Unlike France and Spain, it didn't fare too well, and finished 17th.
    • France followed up "White and Black" with "Le dernier qui a parle", which was considered one of the favorites to win the 1991 contest. However, by the time the last jury voted, they were tied with Sweden - the first tie since the four-way win in 1969. This resulted in a "count back". It turned out that both received the same amount of 12-point scores, but Sweden got 5 10-point scores as opposed to France's two, giving Sweden its 3rd victory. This was the closest France came to winning since 1977.
  • Norway in 1995 won with "Nocturne" by Secret Garden, a slow Celtic-flavored piece with only thirty seconds of song. The rest is a lengthy, gorgeous violin intermezzo that has little in common with Eurovision's usual pop ballads and dances.
    • In a similar spirit, Croatia's entry "Nostalija".
    • That same year, the UK sent the contest's first ever rap song. This being Europe in The Nineties, it's fairly cheesy and just barely cracked the top 10.
  • Dana International, so far the first and only openly transsexual person to enter the competition, triumphed in 1998 amid strong competition from the UK, Malta, Netherlands and Croatia. In fact, up until the last moments, Malta was expected to get the last douze and win with a margin of 4 points, but the douze instead went to Croatia. Video here.
  • The 1998 German entry was performed by a keet named Guildo Horn. His spectacular performance climaxed with him climbing the scaffolding on the side of stage. Though initially criticized for lack of seriousness by the press, he became hugely popular in the weeks leading up to the contest, and placed 7th.
  • Germany in 1999 sent "Journey to Jerusalem", a rousing anthem with lines in German, Turkish, English and Hebrew (this was the first contest held after the "native language only" policy was dropped), and placed 3rd.
  • In 2000, Nightwish entered the contest with "Sleepwalker" (which is fairly atypical of their style, but worth a mention regardless). They won the public vote, but the jury eventually decided on Nina Ĺström.
  • Two years after Guido, that song's composer represented Germany in 2000 with the song "Wadde Hadde Dudde Da". The mere fact that it finished 5th is either proof of Stefan Raab's absolute awesomeness or the joke value of the entire show. To make it short: he competed with what was virtually a Voice Clip Song about a woman asking her dog in baby speech "what have you there" with full-on Narm Charm and made it work.
  • "Sanomi", Belgium's 2003 entry, was the first Eurovision song to be sung in a fictional language.
  • "Boonika Bate Doba"/"Grandma Beats The Drum" from 2005. With grandmother on stage.
  • Germany 2006, with the heavily old-country influenced "No No Never" by Texas Lightning.
  • In 2006, Lithuania entered "We Are The Winners", a cheesy football chant which basically just consisted of 6 middle-aged Lithuanian men (most of whom were not even musicians, but newsreaders and TV presenters) bellowing "We are the winners of Eurovision!" into a megaphone. Although it was only the fourth Eurovision entry ever to be booed while performing, it managed to come 6th with 162 points, and the president of Lithuania is reported to be a fan, inviting the band to his offices for a private performance.
  • Lordi, "Hard Rock Hallelujah" in 2006. Imagine a Finnish version of GWAR. And they won... with the highest point total ever at the time. Plus, that got Finland's first win at Eurovision.
    • Extra notable because the band never actually took off their costumes, or at least, not where anyone could see. They were even seen lounging by the pool in full monster regalia.
    • Part of Lordi's success could be attributed to Moral Guardians mounting a campaign to get them banned from entering the contest. It backfired spectacularly.
  • Iceland's 2006 entry, "Congratulations". The performer (a fictional character, no less) was, for lack of a better word, a troll, and the whole act was one big joke at the expense of the competition. The song is hella catchy, though.
  • Germany's entry in 2007, "Frauen Regier'n Die Welt". A swing song featuring a big band, real instruments, and Roger Cicero, a singer with a genuinely good voice. It even had a Switch Into English!! Naturally, due to it not being cheesy Europop, it went down like a lead balloon, finishing a lowly 19th.
    • Remember that the previous year they sent Texas Lightning (see above), so for a while it seemed like the German public had suddenly developed an odd obsession with American music styles.
  • The 2007 Serbian entry, "Molitva". Ignoring the factor of political voting, it won the competition despite featuring a homely lead singer, no revealing costumes, no dancers, no pyrotechnics and no gimmicks of any variety.
    • Although viewed in another light, many people inferred a tale of lesboromanticism from the performance.
  • Verka Serduchka "Dancing Lasha Tumbai", runner-up of the 2007 contest. Must be seen to be believed.
  • Britain resurrected camp pop collective Scooch for the 2007 contest (the one Terry Wogan famously didn't announce had been chosen as Britain's entry). The bridge of the song is a sexualised aircraft safety briefing. And it was one (male) group-member's exclusive task to stand at the side of the stage making smutty, airline-related innuendos such as "would you like to suck on something before landing?" and "salted nuts, sir?"
    • The commentator in the Finnish broadcast made a Freudian Slip which may or may not have been intentional:
    And next we have Britain performing their song "Flying the Fa"- I mean "Flag".
    • Croatia 2008's "Romanca" isn't eccentric Europop in English but a nostalgic ballad in Croatian. The old man's narration (not rap) is a bridge.
  • Belgium tried the fictional language again 5 years after the above-mentioned "Sanomi", but the song sadly didn't get to the final. What the entry "O Julissi" did accomplish was dressing the lead singer of Ishtar in a swirly dress that evoked Campino sweets.
  • The 2008 Bosnia & Herzegovina entry, Elvir Laković Laka - "Pokusaj". Knitting brides and lyrics that translate like "We wasted many years lying on our backs eating bananas."
  • The 2008 Spanish entry, "Baila el Chiki Chiki" is a parody of the reggaeton music genre, sung by an actor in an Elvis wig whose character started as a sketch in a comedy TV program, and with a toy guitar providing musical highlights. After not having won Eurovision since 1969, the Spaniards just can't take the contest seriously (it doesn't help they actually got their best place since 2004).
    • The chorus, "Perrea! Perrea!" translates, roughly, to "Be lazy! Be lazy!"
    • By the way, the dancer that falls over and in general messes up the choreography? Don't worry about her, it's all part of the show.
      • On the other side, the guy that jumped the stage in the 2010 contest was definitely not part of the show. When we don't send a joke entry on purpose, the joke jumps at us. The guy is called "Jimmy Jump" and apparently was already famous for jumping sports events around Europe.
  • Leto Svet, 2008. Estonian comedians parody the contest with a deliberately So Bad, It's Good entry, complete with Special Effects Failures and Word Salad Lyrics in three languages.invoked
  • Finland in 2008 with Teräsbetoni, a Power Metal band.
  • As already mentioned, Alexander Rybak's Fairytale from 2009. On the national charts it went on to cause a large portion of Norway to absolutely loathe it on account of over-exposure.
  • For ESC 2009 in Moscow, Georgia sent a song titled We Don't Wanna Put In. The entry was disqualified.
  • France's entry in 2009, Et s'il fallait le faire by leading chanson singer Patricia Kaas. Three minutes of one woman in a black dress singing, with barely any light or stage show (watch until the end for a bit of dancing, though) and no other people on stage. Only finished eighth, in what might have been a case of Too Good For Eurovision.
  • On a slightly different take of Take That from a former Soviet Republic, Lithuania's 2010 entry , "Eastern European Funk", once you get past the catchy tune and sparkle shorts uses lyrics that calls out Europe on its views of Eastern Europe.
  • Black Metal band Keep of Kalessin tried out to represent Norway in 2010 (though again the song they entered, "The Dragontower", was not typical of their style). They came in third place, and Didrik Solli-Tangen was selected to represent Norway.
  • Serbia in 2010: What's interesting to note are people's reactions to Marija Serfovic's (2007 entrant) gender (female), and three years later they sent an even more gender bamboozling entry by Milan Stankovic. Despite that incredibly effeminate appearance, yes, that's a man.
  • The Moldovan entry for the 2010 contest Run Away experienced Memetic Mutation with its hip thrusting saxophone player's choreography and gaining internet celebrity status as the Epic Sax Guy as a result.invoked
    • The 2011 contest, from the makers of Grandma Beats The Drum: a tale of dunce caps and unicycles, titled So Lucky.
  • The French entry in 2011, Sognu, a very beautiful Groban-esque piece sung by Amaury Vassili, a young opera singer. Finished in 15th place.
  • Italy's 2011 entry, Raphael Gualazzi's "Madness of Love", is in a similar musical style to the 2007 German entry (if quite a bit more uptempo). Counter to expectations, it finished second and actually won the jury vote.
  • For the 2012 edition, San Marino tried to send 37-year old Valentina Monetta with the song "Facebook Uh, Oh, Oh". However, they ran into two little problems: Firstly, everyone thought it was awful or reminded them too much of Rebecca Black. Then, they got in trouble for daring to mention a brand name. They did edit it to be in compliance though, resulting in "The Social Network Song (Oh-Oh, Uh, Uh, Oh)"
    • Many of those who think it's awful never realized that the song is very, very satirical.
    • She returned in 2013 with "Crisalide", a power ballad that was widely more apreciated. And she failed again to qualify.
    • She returned again in 2014 with "Maybe (Forse)" and managed to qualify for the Grand Final - third time's the charm it seems once again. She finished 24th.
  • Austria in 2012 has "Woki Mit Deim Popo", whose original performance in the national final (where they beat a certain lady by the name of Conchita Wurst) featured women in bodysuits with glow in the dark booty, and people commenting on YouTube producing disturbing mondegreens involving "poo-poo." Their performance got toned down for the first semi-final (but now also had LED lighting on the backup dancers and singers). Yet somehow, their song managed to leave the audience speechless, and they failed to advance.
  • Russia in 2012 sent Buranovskiye Babushki, six grandmothers from Udmurtia (near the Urals) in traditional dress, who pantomimed baking buns onstage and then sang "Party for Everybody". Amazingly, they came second.
  • The Russia entry in 2012 was not the only memorable one. Turkey's won't be easily forgotten, especially by those that love shipping characters.
  • Montenegro in 2012 with Euro Neuro, sung by Rambo Amadeus, a self-confessed 'media manipulator'. It didn't make it to the final. The performance features evil villain laughter, rhymes taken from a dictionary and it makes fun of the poor economical situation within the EU.
  • Romania in 2013, with the song It's My Life by Cezar, a performance which can only be described with the phrase "Vampire Dubstep Opera."
  • Finland's 2013 song "Marry Me" gave us the first girl/girl kiss on Eurovision. Sweden would later up the ante and give a male/male version in the interval performance.
  • Austria's 2014 performance of "Rise Like A Phoenix" by Conchita Wurst, a heartfelt Gender Bender act done in a completely gorgeous dress and a full beard. In a move that surprised no one, it ended up winning the competition that year.
  • Poland's 2014 entry ''My Slowianie - We Are Slavic'' got instantly famous for their hot Slavic girls hoping to achieve a Male Gaze from the audience out of their choreography accompanied with cameos from the official music video played on the screens behind. The song was not made for Eurovision in the first place and was making fun of Polish stereotypes who were portrayed as out-going and wearing Polish traditional dresses while performing Polish dancing. Some people must have gotten the joke, because it was qualified for the final. Unfortunately, their gimmicks didn't take them far and they ended up in 14th place that year. The split vote results revealed quite a difference between the public and the jury, with the low placing attributed to the latter. Countries like the UK and Ireland had the televote place it in first place while the jury placed it in last place, thus cancelling each other out and taking away any possible points given.
  • 2014 is also a year where there were no less than 3 country-type songs from the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Malta, although country is not new at the contest (the aforementioned German 2006 entry Texas Lightning is one such example). After the success of Anouk the previous year, ending an 8-year non-qualification streak, the Netherlands sent the duo The Common Linnets with the song "Calm After the Storm." Initially off the radar, it gained prominence after its semifinal performance (which it won), consisting of the two singers singing the song to each other strumming on their guitars with tight closeups, and had its odds slashed quite a lot. At the grand final they managed to come second place, the country's best placing since its last win in 1975. It was the only song from the year's contest to chart internationally on iTunes and even managed to win the Composer Award and the Artistic Award.
    • In that same year, Switzerland sent Sebalter, a former lawyer, with the song "Hunter of Stars," a folksy-er type song that features whistling, fiddling, drum-banging and some baffling lyrics in its performance. Malta sent the group Firelight, a band composed of four siblings and two of their friends, with the song "Coming Home," a tribute to economic migrants as well as those who lost their lives in the First World War (coinciding with the centennial of the War). The band asked Eurofans to send selfies which were featured in the background. Both of these songs were subject to critical dissonance - the former did really well among televoters but towards the bottom of the jury ranks, while the latter was adored by juries and finished second-to-last among televoters. Switzerland placed 13th, its best placing since 2005 after many years of failing to qualify from the semifinals and placing last in one contest. Malta, on the other hand, placed 23rd out of 26, receiving its worst placing since its 2006 last place.