Top 10: Best prop-orientated performances at ESC

Wow what a top 10 to follow up from!  Welcome back to the ‘Top 10’ series and in this top 10, I’m going to go through the ten best performances that had a particularly interesting prop accompanying the song. There have been so many props on stage in recent years that our top 10 is actually from 2004 to this year (yes we’ve had to restrict it to that far back)! So who has the best prop in Eurovision history? Let’s find out!

Could the Babuski have the best prop on stage? ... and the best cookies?
Could the Babuski have the best prop on stage? … and the best cookies?

So like I said at the top of the article, there have been so many props that have been used during the ESC in recent years, that our top 10 is comprised entirely of performances from 2004 onwards. These performance range from the fantabulous Svetlana Loboda back in 2009 to the ‘ehh….’ of Laka in 2008. But these songs are only in the top 10 for those nice little props they had on stage with them and how they incorporated them into the performances. So, I’d say it’s time we got started!

10 – Buranovskiye Babushki – “Party for Everybody” (Russia 2012)

So yes, the picture did throw you off a little, but it is true that they had the best cookies! The rotating oven is probably the most memorable prop that’s been used in recent times, but as you go down and read through the rest of the top 10, the oven was just simply not good enough to be our #1! The way our favourite grannies used the oven was just really cute and to be honest, I would have loved it if they stayed sitting on the oven while it rotated around, even though those fun “let’s stay rooted to the ground and shake our hands about” dance moves were also just as nice. Also, because Natalya is one of the cutest girls in Eurovision history, she and indeed, the Babushki themselves, deserve a spot in our top 10!

9 – Alyona Lanskaya – “Solayoh” (Belarus 2013)

Those dancers, nom nom! But the men aren’t the reason we’re stopping at this “magical planet of happiness and a lack of night” as Alyona once said in an interview. We’re here for that big giant disco ball that she emerged from in her performances in Malmö. It’s not usual to see people coming out of the main prop of their performance, but throw in a fringe dress and a reasonably good looking woman and you’ve got “Solayoh” down to a T! Those drums that the dancers were playing… do they count as a prop? They we’re just as used as the disco ball! Anyway, that prop is great for the song, but not the best one as you’ll see! Good try though Alyona!

8 – Magdi Rusza – “Unsubstantial Blues” (Hungary 2007)

Ah the bus stop, the best place to sing about, as the title suggests, ‘unsubstantial blues’! Magdi’s performance was rather basic with her just walking around the stage and sitting on her bags. Couldn’t she have thrown in a pole dance routine or at least something that would make the song more… interesting? At least the sign got its fair share of action and camera shots, but Magdi did forget about it at times! Forgetting about something that’s pretty much the entire staging of a performance is pretty bad, but at least the commentators noticed it and told us that it existed and that was a way of remembering the song? In summary, forgotten sign equals number 8 position on our top!

7 – Mika Newton – “Angel” (Ukraine 2011)

Have you ever heard of Ksenia Simonova? You probably haven’t but you’ve definitely seen her and her work! Ksenia is a sand artist and she provided, probably, the only background to be produced live in the history of Eurovision; the background to Mika Newton in Germany back in 2011. Even though she is a person, we’ve counted her because she gave us the best background to be made live in Eurovision! The pictures she drew were a little vague at times, but at least she grabbed our attention with the song and I should know, I was in the audience to see it! The background is best one in 2011 and she deserves this spot, even though there could have been another person looking to steal the 2011 spot (Eric Saade, don’t go breaking glass now!).

6 – Jedward – “Waterline” (Ireland 2012)

So Ireland sent a song with a water themed title, the only reasonable thing to do would be to get in a fountain! Jedward definitely used the prop in their performance, but mixing it in with twins with way too much energy in their hands would never end well, and they ended up getting their Transformer costumes all wet! In all fairness though, the performance was actually good and the way the incorporated the fountain into the performance was very good as it wasn’t just stuck to the back of the stage and not getting noticed. Nice try Jedward, but your ‘Caspian water’ isn’t getting any higher than #6!

5 – Laka – “Pokušaj” (Bosnia & Herzegovina 2008)

The rather enormous amount of props used in Laka’s performance actually didn’t go to waste this time! Even though it looked like there was loads of stuff going on, it was choreographed very cleverly and it definitely brought the fun factor to Belgrade (even though in that particular year, the joke entry was very prominent). So to list the props, in Laka’s performance were:

  • a laundry basket in which Laka hid until it was his cue to sing
  • a clothes line where Mirela, and later Laka, hung up the washing which spelt ‘LOVE’ (Aw, Cute!)
  • four brides who are smelling bouquets (which Mirela takes and throws them into the audience) and proceed to knit

Packed with props? I think not! Well done Laka!

4 – Ani Lorak – “Shady Lady” (Ukraine 2008)

Ani, our cutest girl, has done it again! That box with her dancers was definitely not the prettiest prop that’s been in Eurovision, but it was one of the most significant ones in 2008. Like Sweden is the uber-mother of the key-change, Ukraine is the queen of using props in their performances. Verka, Ani, Mika, Gaitana, Zlata, they’ve all got brilliant staging! Ani’s box was really good in the sense that it provided for around half of the performance and it’s lights were the main reason why Ani gave us those sexy poses in the gap between the second chorus and the climax of the song. Well done box! *side note* those dancers, om nom! */side note*

3 – Svetlana Loboda – “Be My Valentine (Anti-Crisis Girl)” (Ukraine 2009)

Do you see that in the paragraph for Ani, I missed Svetlana? Well that’s because Svetlana was our #3 and I didn’t really want to give anything away; something that Svetlana obviously wasn’t doing. In 2009, it would be fair to say that Ukraine had the best staging in Moscow, with her so-called ‘hell machines’, that were made in Hong Kong (although we cannot verify this) and which basically looked like three cog wheels stuck together with magnets. These definitely brought some attention to the performance, with Svetlana swinging around the central one and then proceeding to play the drums, which also were pretty significant for the Ukrainian flags. Damn Svetlana, you’re patriotic! (Once again, those soldiers… that is all!)

2 – Lena Philipsson – “It Hurts” (Sweden 2004)

If we included microphone stands as props, we would have so many performances to pick from, but we’ve had to make an exception for Lena Philipsson, whose dance moves with her microphone stand proved to be the most cringe-worthy of all time. First of all, someone who’s 38 years old (she’s now 47) should not be doing moves like that; it’s VERY unappealing! Secondly, it did look like she was enjoying putting the pole between her legs (NOTHING SEXUAL!) and shaking her hips while singing. It’s such a weird performance, but for the sole reason of that microphone stand, Lena’s in our top 10…. for the wrong reasons.

So those 9 performances all had a great props that were used, but for our #1, the prop was used for the entire performance:

1 – Paula Seiling and Ovi – “Playing With Fire” (Romania 2010)

That two-sided piano has to be the best prop the world has ever seen! The piano provided the battleground of both Paula and Ovi and the background singers just pushed aside to the side of the stage, all the while doing weird arm movements (my personal favourite is the one they do when Paula and Ovi sing “Don’t stop!“, they look so awkward!). The piano also shows you which keys to play, so I’m not surprised Paula and Ovi could actually play it. If only the piano turned into ice and smashed into pieces when Paula reached the high note like in the music video. But you can’t make a piano that works out of ice, so that wouldn’t work…. damn it!

So the double-sided piano of Romania is the best prop to be used in a performance, but what’s the best prop-orientated performance for you?

Your  views:

Is the top 10 accurate to your own?
Is the top 10 accurate to your own?

Anders Bach-Vilhelmsen from Denmark: I liked Ani Lorak’s box of dancers!

Svetlana Andriyenko from Ukraine: Of course, the best prop is Kseniya Simonova, the amazing sand artist from Ukraine. Her art is beautiful and she make the performance in Düsseldorf very special!

Svana Lístí Agnarsdóttir from Iceland: For me, Silvia Night is the best one. She covered the entire stage with her props! That deserves something!

From reading the fans opinions, everyone has the same opinion as each other, but that shows that they all agree with the top 10 (apart from Svana…), but do you agree with it? Who would you add to or take from the top? Let us know what you think by commenting below!

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4 thoughts on “Top 10: Best prop-orientated performances at ESC”

    1. Haha James and I had to put it into the ‘maybe pile’ and the spots were all filled up by then! It’s our honourary 11th place though :’)

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