By Tobias Handke
Last week, singer-songwriter Montaigne received the honour of representing Australia at this year’s Eurovision contest in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Which is great, but Eurovision is—for me, at least—all about the bizarre performances that many artists deliver in the hope of catching the judge’s eyes. Once a highly respected singing competition, these days Eurovision is more like American Idol meets X Factor meets huh? To celebrate this weird and wonderful competition, here’s a look at the strangest performances in Eurovision’s history.
Scooch – ‘Flying The Flag (For You)’ (England, 2007): Trust the Poms to end up on a list like this. ‘Flying The Flag (For You)’ is a terrible pop song, with lines like ‘Flying high in Amsterdam / Why don’t you catch us if you can.’ The band themselves are dressed as air hosts and hostesses and swirl around like planes. No surprise they finished second last and faded into obscurity.
Lordi – ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ (Finland, 2006): How Lordi were chosen to represent Finland is just one of many questions surrounding the shock-metal band’s entrance into Eurovision 2006. The fact they went on to win, making them the first rock band ever to claim that honour, is even more outstanding. Frontman, Mr Lordi, is the most impressive in the group, wearing a fedora in Finland colours and sprouting wings as fireworks fill the arena at the climax of the song. Hard rock hallelujah indeed.
Verka Serduchka – ‘Dancing Lasha Tumbai’ (Ukraine, 2007): This zany electro-pop-accordion song is another eccentric Eurovision offering. Clad head to toe in an eye-catching silver costume, Verka Serduchka belts out the unique ‘Dancing Lasha Tumbai’ in Ukrainian, German, Russian and English as she moves about the stage and plays it up for the audience. This one didn’t go down well back in the mother country, with the mainly conservative society of Ukraine not happy to be represented in such an odd way. Verka Serduchka proved the doubters wrong by finishing second and leaving fans with this memorable moment.
Cezar – ‘It’s My Life’ (Romania, 2013): Not to be confused with the classic Jon Bon Jovi song of the same name, ‘It’s My Life’ was Romania’s entry into the 2013 competition. With Romania being the birthplace of Dracula, contestant Cezar decided to pay tribute by appearing in a black cloak and showing plenty of chest hair. Things start off normal until Cezar’s ear-shattering falsetto kicks in and dancers dressed in red body suits dance around him as he slowly gets taller…
Dschinghis Khan – ‘Genghis Khan’ (Germany, 1979): Cashing in on the disco craze of the late 70s, Munich-based pop act Dschinghis Khan thought it would be a good idea to perform a song celebrating Genghis Khan, the Mongolian Emperor who raped and pillaged his way across the globe during the 13th century. A questionable subject, Dschinghis Khan’s performance includes a Khan lookalike dancing on stage as the songs lyrics detail the leader’s conquests. Despite the subject matter, this one is quite catchy and it’s easy to see why it finished fourth.
Pirates Of The Sea – ‘Wolves Of The Sea’ (Latvia, 2008): Just a year after the release of the third Pirates Of The Caribbean film, At World’s End, Latvia decided to get in on the act with the pirate-themed ‘Wolves Of The Sea.’ This swashbuckling attempt falls rather flat, with the chorus of ‘hi, hi, ho, and a hi, hi hey’ wearing thin quickly. The costumes aren’t bad, although Pirates Of The Sea do come across as extras from a high school performance of The Pirates Of Penzance, with Italian singer Roberto Meloni doing his best as a knockoff Johnny Depp.
LT United – ‘We Are The Winners’ (Lithuania, 2006): Imagine if the Backstreet Boys were a group of tired, middle-aged Lithuanian men. That sums up LT United in a nutshell. The six-man group dress in black business suits and sing a song about winning the Eurovision contest because they ‘are here to represent the truth.’ They didn’t win and ended up finishing sixth, but few will forget their performance, the highlight being when a balding member breaks out some dance moves that would put Elaine from Seinfeld to shame. They might not have won the comp but LT United are winners in my book.