8 Weirdest Eurovision Performances
Eurovision is the king of camp, but which performances take the cake? We’ve ranked 8 of our favorites.
When Americans hear Eurovision we might think of ABBA, Måneskin, or maybe … Celine Dion? But if there’s one thing anyone who’s watched Eurovision in the last twenty-odd years can agree on, it’s that the performances have become truly over the top and often, frankly, totally bizarre.
From guitar shredding demons to dancing grandmas, we’ve compiled the top WTF moments from Eurovisions past. And if you want to see what ridiculousness Eurovision has in store this year, head over to Peacock from May 9 to the 13 to watch it live.
8. Pirates Of The Sea, “Wolves Of The Sea” (Latvia, 2008)
Ah, Eurovision. The one competition where you can go from heart-wrenching ballads to Latvians in cheaply-made pirate costumes singing an electro-pop song about being the “Wolves of the Sea” in the blink of an eye. This submission, although not the most impressive (it came in twelfth) is pure, kitschy fun—which is all that should really matter, right?
7. Sunstroke Project & Olia Tira, “Run Away” (Moldova, 2010)
Even if you’re not familiar with Eurovision, you have probably seen part of this performance at some point. In a song with light-up violins and spinning platforms, the world only cared about one thing: Epic Sax Guy. That’s the name that was given to the saxophone player of the Sunstroke Project by literally the entire world. (Seriously, just Google him.)
Not even the frontman of the group, Epic Sax Guy (real name Sergey Stepanov) completely stole the show and shot way beyond the confines of Eurovision fame into international meme territory. Sunstroke Project may have only come in 22nd that year (they returned to the show in 2017 and finished third), but regardless, a legend was born.
6. Cezar, “It’s My Life” (Romania, 2013)
Romania’s 2013 entry riffs off of being the homeland of Dracula, but with less blood-sucking and more dubstep opera. Standing in a sea of red powered by pale acrobatic dancers, Cezar (in a bejeweled Dracula-esque cape) belts about love in a ridiculously high register while electro beats pump in the background. Whatever your opinion on dubstep opera (or vampires) is, you have to admit it’s impressive.
5. Buranovskiye Babushki, “Party For Everybody” (Russia, 2013)
Don’t be fooled with how this performance starts: a bunch of old Russian grandmothers baking cookies on stage and singing sweetly. Nothing at Eurovision is ever so normal. Soon the beat drops, the lasers arrive, and the grannies are up and telling everyone to “Come on and dance!” It’s pure, heartwarming fun that earned them second place in the final. Take that, sneering judges.
4. DJ BoBo, “Vampires Are Alive” (Switzerland, 2007)
The second vampire-related entry on this list, coincidentally. But while Cezar looked like a vampire and sang about love, Switzerland’s DJ BoBo sang about vampires while looking like he was the star of The Matrix (streaming on Max if you want a refresher).
Besides the bizarre outfit choices, the decision to have the performers dance in front of a group of costumed mannequins who kinda look like they’re being held hostage was an odd one, to say the least. In the end, “Vampires Are Alive” didn’t get enough votes to qualify for the final. Can’t say we’re surprised (sorry BoBo).
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3. Lordi, “Hard Rock Hallelujah” (Finland, 2006)
Metalheads, rise up—Eurovision isn’t just for the ABBA-lovers. The winning song from 2006 proved once again that Euros know how to rock … and dress up. The song—think Def Leppard meets Rob Zombie meets Trans-Siberian Orchestra—was totally good enough to win on its own, but it’s the head-to-toe demon costumes that really send Lordi over the edge. Terrifying, yes. Epic, also yes.
2. LT United, “We Are the Winners” (Lithuania, 2006)
Inarguably the most brash entry on the list, Lithuania’s 2006 submission declared “We are the winners of Eurovision” in its opening lines. In contrast to the bold title, the performance itself is relatively understated (for Eurovision)—until the violin solo, that is.
We have so many questions for Lithuania: did they think this cheekiness would make them fan favorites? Was there some sort of reverse psychology in play? Or was it just a total troll move? Regardless, LT United definitely were not the winners (they came sixth place), but this performance still cemented their spot in Eurovision history.
1. Verka Serduchka, “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” (Ukraine 2007)
Although also not a winner, “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” may just be THE ultimate Eurovision performance. Nonsensical lyrics that blend four languages, a drag queen decked out in a silver sequined Dolce & Gabbana outfit with a star on her head and a bold “69” on her back, painful-to-watch backup dancers … what more could you ask for?! Although “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” was only awarded runner-up, we crown Verka Serduchka as the winner of our hearts.