I’m calling it now, the Eurovision Song Contest should be an annual holiday. It’s got everything – talented musicians, over-the-top costumes, wacky performances and fierce competition. As the biggest and longest-running music competition in the world, it’s also responsible for catapulting global treasures like ABBA, Celine Dion and t.A.T.u. (All The Things She Said!!!) to fame.
It’s also one big, beautiful party. Racking up over 183 million viewers worldwide in 2021, it unites a whole chunk of the world to celebrate music from other cultures, with artists performing in all different languages. (As a side-note, I reckon Eurovision teaches us more about Europe than high school geography ever did. Sorry, Mr. Craden.)
This year’s 66th Eurovision Song Contest is right around the corner. Artists from 40 countries will compete in Turin, Italy, from May 11 – May 15. Given SBS has been the home of Eurovision in Australia for just under four decades, it will, once again, be the place to catch the multi-night bonanza.
To get into the spirit, we’re ranking some of the absolute bangers that have won because, more than anything, Eurovision has gifted us some killer tunes.
Here are five worth chucking onto your playlists again.
5. Duncan Laurence – “Arcade” (Israel, 2019)
Coming in hot in fifth place is Duncan Laurence’s heartbreak ballad “Arcade”. This ended up getting ‘uge on TikTok a whole two years after the song won in 2019. Thanks to – of all things – Harry Potter fans who soundtracked some Draco Malfoy toks with the song, it ended up going viral and climbing back up the charts. And honestly, it deserves it. This song is a ripper one to blast when you’re feeling all the feels and want to indulge in a cheeky cry.
4. Måneskin – “Zitti E Buoni” (Netherlands, 2021)
Four-part Italian group Måneskin won Eurovision last year after taking out the public vote by a landslide. I don’t know what people frothed more; the catchy rock song or the sexy leather-clad people singing said rock song. Either way, it worked out for them and they’ve seen significant success since.
3. Lena – “Satellite” (Germany, 2010)
Lena’s catchy pop song is still a total bop 12 years on. Simple and to the point, “Satellite” is peak 2010s energy. I mean, isn’t “I even did my hair for you” something you would have reblogged in cursive on Tumblr at the time? Thought so.
2. ABBA – “Waterloo” (England, 1974)
How can we not include the ultimate Eurovision icons in this list? Throw this tune on at any party and the whole room is up. Now that’s staying power.
Before she rose to Grease fame, poor Olivia Newtown-John also competed for Britain at Eurovision this year. But of course, ABBA took out the top spot while Liv came in fourth.
I mean, who could possibly beat ABBA…?
1. Daði og Gagnamagnið – “Think About Things” (2020)
Look, this could be a controversial pick. Eurovision was cancelled in 2020 so, technically, there was no official winner. But, Daði og Gagnamagnið was Iceland’s entry before the pandemic ruined everything. Their song “Think About Things” had been a hot favourite to take home the gong on the night and – in my unqualified opinion – would have won.
You cannot deny how much this retro, synth-heavy number slaps. It begs you to get up and dance. And, look at those green jumpsuits – it had all the right ingredients to win. The banger went viral, too – further proving how much of a tune it is. Justice for Daði og Gagnamagnið!
Eurovision is dripping with hits. Some years there are just so many goodies. If I was in charge I’d give ’em all participation trophies but, alas, that’s not how it works. This article wouldn’t be complete without throwing in a few tunes that, while not winning the overall comp for their year, defs won our damn hearts and deserve a revisit.
SunStroke Project and Olia Tira represented Moldova in 2010. They performed the high-energy pop tune “Run Away” which still slaps. At the time, a sax solo on stage, complete with thrusts and jazzy dance moves, stole the show and ripped through memes. To this day, the Epic Sax Guy is the physical representation of my last brain cell. And the song still rocks.
In 2017, Francesco Gabbani also came in sixth place for his song “Occidentali’s Karma”. Francesco’s dance-pop song was written as commentary about Western society’s obsession with Eastern spirituality. And he also danced on stage with a gorilla. We love Eurovision’s many layers.
And lastly, “City Lights” is a funky number that finished in fourth place in 2017, too. Performed by Belgian singer Blanche, the song is one that feels firmly made for twenty-somethings who want to stare out a train window.
We’ll be boogie-ing to these masterpieces until the next batch of talented tributes take the stage at this year’s 66th Eurovision Song Contest, which you can watch or stream free on SBS and SBS On Demand.
Whip out your calendar now, because you can settle in for Semi Final 1 on Friday 13 May at 8.30pm. Semi Final 2 will air the following night (Saturday 14 May) at 8:30pm and feature local Aussie legend, Sheldon Riley. Then, strap in for the Grand Final on Sunday 15 May at 7:30pm to see which bop takes out the top spot.Image: Getty Images