Words by: Thiamando Pavilidis Art by: Madison Marshall
Every year, the countries of Europe (plus a few nearby, most recently Australia), unite to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Sadly for us diehards, this year’s contest, much like every other good thing in the world recently, was cancelled.
That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the 2020 entries! Here’s a few of my personal favourites that are worth checking out!
[OMITTED] RUSSIA: Little Big — UNO
If you know Little Big from their viral 2018 rave hit ‘Skibidi’, then you’d know that this year’s entry is a step away from the usual dramatic ballads Russia brings. ‘UNO’ is a strange combination of tango and rave music, with lyrics in both English and Spanish. While the song itself is a bit of a fun mess, the performance is what bumps it up to my top five. The two lead singers and three backup singers — clad in latex and mesh flares, of course — bounce off each other lyrically whilst maintaining blank, expressionless faces the whole time. Then there’s the dancing, including some kind of leg flapping and minimalistic hand motions. This isn’t even the best part — the performance is stolen by the dancing gentleman to the left of the stage in a pastel blue jumpsuit and headband, doing the absolute most. Whilst not my favourite entry, Russia certainly gave a very memorable performance this year. 7.5/10.
AUSTRALIA: Montaigne — Don’t Break Me
Initially upon hearing about Montaigne joining our national selection competition, I was concerned she’d be too Triple J-esque for Europe. Boy, was I surprised by the sheer emotion Montaigne brought with ‘Don’t Break Me’, both lyrically and physically.
I was lucky enough to attend Eurovision: Australia Decides and see this performance live on stage. You’ll notice Montaigne maintains eye contact with the camera the entire time. While in the crowd, I found this didn’t translate well live — there was a cameraman blocking my view half the time. However, upon seeing the video online of the same performance, I realised exactly how dynamic the staging was, especially with elaborate choreography from both a blue-haired Montaigne and her dancers. Overall, a powerful song with a powerful performance that would’ve made Australia proud. 8/10.
LITHUANIA: The Roop — On Fire
This was to be one of the first times Lithuania was a favourite to win, and rightly so. Indie pop/rock isn’t a genre usually featured in Eurovision, but band The Roop managed to do it, and do it well. The song itself is a fun combination of synth and guitars with some fun vocals from frontman Vaidotas Valiukevičius, but the real appeal of this entry is the performance. Valiukevičius begins by writhing around on stage, wearing a white turtleneck and dramatically loose black pants.
The first thing my brother said after viewing this was, “how sad, I’ll never be able to see this for the first time again.” This is because at about halfway, two backup dancers appear on stage with Valiukevičius and engage in what might be the most ridiculous choreography involving a lot of huge arm movements and jazz hands over the head. At some point, the dancers also find magnifying glasses and play around with them. It’s complete madness, but in the best way. 8.5/10
UKRAINE: Go_A — Solovey (Nightingale)
This year I found out my new favourite genre of music was electro-folk, thanks to Go_A. You’ll note that this is the only song on this list to be performed in the country’s native language, and that singer Kateryna Pavlenko’s vocals are a traditional style we may not be used to. Poland used the same vocal technique last year and it sounded like a kindergarten concert, but with ‘Solovey’ I find the combination of modern and traditional quite haunting. Then there’s the staging. Everything you’d expect from Eurovision. You’ve got the dramatic drums, the mysterious flute, and the pyrotechnics… Of course, there’s Pavlenko’s dress — a structural red masterpiece with a tight black leather undershirt that wouldn’t look out of place on a Jean Paul Gaultier runway. Also, in the last twenty seconds, there’s a guy with flames coming out of his guitar. Need I say more? 9/10.