Before the article, a disclaimer – the below editorial is tongue-in-cheek and written from the personal opinion of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views of ESC United as an outlet, its contributors or anyone associated with Eurovision.
As we wind down the calendar year and prepare for the release of ESC Radio’s ESC 250 list, I’ve been thinking a lot about what my personal 250 list would look like. Despite only being a fan for 5 years, I’ve listened to nearly all of the Eurovision entries at least once, currently work on a podcast where we review past contests and current happenings, and of course work for ESCUnited. All this to say, I’ve done a lot of my homework on the 1,500+ songs that make up the Eurovision playbook. Every few days I will release a new chunk on my list, leading up to the grand reveal of ESC Radio’s ESC 250 on December 31st, 2019.
So enough talking, let’s dive back in shall we?
#144 – Bucks Fizz – Making Your Mind Up (United Kingdom, 1981)
Such a great pop winner from the early 80s, where music was an eclectic beast. This included quite a few crazy moments, from the skirt rip, the hand jive reference, and then the couples choreography, which makes it really stand out. A quality entry and deserved winner.
#143 – Imaani – Where Are You? (United Kingdom, 1998)
Ah, another great song from the United Kingdom, and if you ask me this was better than “Diva”. It was much more predictive of where music was heading closer to the early 2000s, and it’s a song that everyone knows. If only this had a better track, it likely would have won!
#142 – Izhar Cohen and the Alpha Beta – Abanibi (Israel, 1978)
Speaking of winners, next up is Israel’s first ever win in the contest. What this song lacks in choreography, it makes up for in big hair, white clothing, and a catchy tune. This song makes me think that I can speak Hebrew, even though that’s not a thing. I also appreciate the bongo bridge, and then it ends on an actual bang!
#141 – Lidia Isac – Falling Stars (Moldova, 2016)
Okay yes, this was a rather lackluster staging for the contest compared to the other songs in 2016, but this song slaps in the studio version. It’s a perfect dance track for the club, a party, driving home for the holidays, whatever you need. Plus it comes with a silver headed astronaut! But really, this song is one of the most radio friendly of the 2016 non-qualifiers, and that’s why I put it up here.
#140 – Ruth Lorenzo – Dancing in the Rain (Spain, 2014)
Icon, legend, and the last time Spain came top 10 in the contest. This entry is a visual masterpiece, from the LED rain on the floor and wall, the wet hair, and the camerawork. It’s enough for me to overlook her terrible dress. However, I’m judging the song, not fashion. Ruth’s vocal performance for this song was other worldly, and when that key change hits be still my heart. I do still wish that this entry had more Spanish moments in it.
#139 – Kristina – Horehronie (Slovakia, 201o)
What a robbery this was, like what the heck Europe? This was arguably one of the best songs in the whole line-up, and you left it in the semi-final? Shame. This song serves up woodland princess, cultural representation, and had an impressive amount of choreography. It’s also the last song they sent in Slovak, which is another shame. Long live Kristina.
#138 – Birthe Kjær – Vi Maler Byen Rød (Denmark, 1989)
Boy, this song is played ALL the time on ESC Radio, and that’s because it’s such a fun and exciting song. Despite being in the contest 30 years ago, this song has longevity and is still just as great as it was in 1989. This song also pulled the first and only conductor “tap in”, with Henrik swapping out with the actual conductor to join Birthe on stage as a backing vocalist. It was a senseless move to pull, but it made this entry memorable. I’ve likely listened to this about 400 times this year, which is why it’s this high up on the list.
#137 – Ruslana – Wild Dances (Ukraine, 2004)
When looking at the winners from the first half of the 2000s, “Wild Dances” is hands down the best one of the 5 (and before you ask, Lordi is not included). This song really brought life back into the contest after a very blah 3 years of entries. She also really changed the game in terms of choreography on stage, and this was the first entry to win the contest since the rule change that wasn’t entirely in English
#136 – Aliona Moon – O Mie (Moldova, 2013)
Ah, the princess of space is up next on our list (if you don’t understand that please watch the National Final performance here). I’m so glad they decided to switch this song from English to Romanian, because it gives it so much more depth. Plus this was the first version of the higher than life projection dress. Finally her calmly saying “Thank you very much.” at the end is so adorable.
#135 – maNga – We Could Be The Same (Turkey, 2010)
Such an interesting song for Turkey to send to the contest, as it’s one of the only songs to lack that Turkish feel, but my goodness it’s the best they’ve ever sent. And they even brought the silver Power Ranger to help them out on stage! It was a great entry for a pretty sad year of the contest, and had it not been for Lena, they would have easily won.
#134 – Xandee – 1 Life (Belgium, 2004)
Okay, but seriously this song is my jam while I’m in the office. How it placed 22nd in the grand final is still a bit of a mystery to me though. This song is a banger, complete with an exciting beat, and exhilarating choreography on stage. Sure, it’s a bit repetitious, but that doesn’t take away from how much of a masterpiece it is!
#133 – Lena – Satellite (Germany, 2010)
This definitely isn’t my favorite song from 2010, but I can’t push it down the list for that reason. “Satellite” has really outlived it’s time at the beginning of the decade, and is still the best placement for any of the “Big 5” countries since they were formed in 2004. Also Lena was a fun winner, she didn’t expect it at all, and when she did her winner’s speech she went “Do I have to perform?!?” Classic Lena.
#132 – Voltaj – De La Capat (Romania, 2015)
My goodness, this song does not get the love that it deserves. It’s so subtle but every time I hear it I get chills down my spine. I remember the meaning of this song, it’s references to the economic struggles of Europeans at the time and most importantly a child who gets left behind because his parents have to work afar to support the family. This was such an important song for the contest, and it needs to be talked about more.
#131 – Tanja – Amazing (Estonia, 2014)
When I first made this list Tanja was in my top 20, and then I realized I would be attacked for that choice. So I moved her down to a more realistic position. But this was such an Amazing song for that year, and it is the best non-qualifying song from 2014. From intensive choreography, live vocals, and her iconic orange hair Tanja killed this performance. Unfortunately there were just better songs in the semi-finals and she lost to them.
#130 – Anastasia Prikhodko – Mamo (Russia, 2009)
Why no one talks about this song more baffles me. This staging was one-of-a-kind, and showed two things. First, there’s a right way to do the face of the singer on an LED screen, because this version shows the anguish and sadness that the song emulates. The second, is it showed the beauty of aging as we watched Anastasia age right in front of our eyes. Quality entry, quality staging, quality everything.
Well that’s it for this installment of the Eurovision 250 list. Tune back in soon as I reveal songs #115-129 on my list!
What do #YOU think of my picks? Is there something you disagree with? Let us know in the comments, social media, or our forum!