It’s that time of year again, when choosing to sit in front of the TV while binging heavily on cheap cava and patriotism becomes not just some misdirected student pastime, but the only logical way to spend a spend a Saturday night in.
The Eurovision Song Contest returns to our screens to celebrate its 60th year on Saturday - that’s six decades of more than 43 countries participating and a total of over 1,400 songs. But how many of those indecipherable power ballads and strobe-lit dance classics can you remember?
As if by magic, there’s a good chance most of the songs will have disappeared from memory by around 4pm the next day, and not just as a result of too much boozing.
But what of the few Eurovision classics that deserve to stick around, for better or worse? Here are ten of the best Eurovision songs that didn’t scoop the prize over the years… but really should have.
"We Are the Winners" - LT United
Watching this Lithuanian entry, one gets the impression the band were told to write a song on the bus down there. “What do we want the song to say?” one of them asks. “Well, we want it to say we are the winners of Eurovision!” the singer with the questionable goatee replies, and a genius song concept is born. This came in 6th place despite being booed for its duration.
"Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)" - Domenico Modugno
Everyone knows this song - and yet not many realise it made its debut on Eurovision. A hit for the 1958 Italian entry, Volare came third with 13 points and has been immortalised on pasta adverts accompanying cartoon Italian stereotypes ever since.
"Just a Little Bit" - Gina G
Gina G and her scarily enthusiastic backing dancers deserve some kind of award, if not for winning Eurovision then for her outstanding contribution to the late Nineties school disco scene. "Just a Little Bit" came lost out to Turkish entry "Beşinci Mevsim" by Şebnem Paker. Who? Exactly.
"Better the Devil you Know" - Sonia
Another British entry, but an undeniable hit for (temporary) pop sensation Sonia. Not to be mistaken for Kylie’s song (or Steps for that matter), Sonia sure could belt it out on that 1993 Irish stage, but sadly came second to the host country’s own entry.
"Dancing Lasha Tumbai" - Verka Serduchka
This 2007 entry ft. Ukraine’s answer to Boy George on speed is nothing if not catchy. But there was so much more to the performance than its fetching silver spacesuits. Singer Serduchka said the song name translated as “whipped cream” in Mongolian, but serious lyric-chewers concluded that the words were chosen due to their phonetic resemblance to the phrase "Russia goodbye", allegedly in reference to the Orange Revolution.
"Are You Sure?" - The Allisons
Remember the days when Eurovision was a kindly singing contest with a selection of enjoyably tame pop songs? Probably not, but it’s safe to say they just don’t make them like this anymore. British pop duo The Allisons came second in 1961 with their Beatles-like style, but never made it to the same level of fame.
"La Chica Que Yo Quiero (Made in Spain)" - La Década Prodigiosa
This Spanish entry deserves attention not only for its hilarious stage performance but for its cryptic lyrics. Translated into English, La Decada Prodigiosa sing: “Made in Spain, tattooed on your skin/ One hundred thousand watts of sun each day”. It’s certainly not the healthiest message but the Benidorm legend still lives true. The band came in 11th place in 1988 and they’re still going today.
"Il Faut Du Temps" - Sandrine François
Is that Celine Dion in the Eurovision Song Contest? Oh no, it’s Sandrine Francois doing an admirable impression. This French entry from 2002 was in fact produced by Celine Dion’s people but only won her 5th place.
"Moustache" - Twin Twin
It’s a tragedy this French entry didn’t earn them much fame, but this array of beautiful French men singing a catchy song about moustaches perfectly encapsulated last year’s hipster trend. No doubt it’s a regular feature on some eastern European bar’s playlist.
"Congratulations" - Cliff Richard
Cliff may not have won with this 1968 masterpiece but his performance will never be forgotten. "Congratulations" was heavily tipped to win the contest but Germany threw a spanner in the works by offering points to Spanish entry “La La La”, which won by just one point. Commiserations, Britain.
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