Top 30: Music videos of ESC songs [Part 1]

Hey guys and welcome back to ESC Views! It’s been a while since Jamestop 30, so I think it’s time we should do another one, do you think? Great! Well, in this top, we’re going to countdown the thirty best music videos that have been released to accompany the *amayzin* songs they were made for. For this countdown, we had to pick thirty out of over one thousand videos to choose from, but which of the videos have we put on the countdown from 30-21? Well keep reading to find out who made the cut!

"Sanomi" finished 2nd in ESC 2003... but where will its music video end up in our top 30?
“Sanomi” finished 2nd in ESC 2003… but where will its music video end up in our top 30?

Over the course of fifty-nine years, Eurovision has seen nearly 1,200+ songs, each of which have had their own music video. Obviously, as time has gone on and technology has improved, the music videos have become more and more – how shall I put it – extravagant. So in this countdown, most of the music videos featured are from the past few years, but we do love the golden oldie videos, so we’ve included some of the videos from the earlier days of Eurovision. Got it? Great, let’s get started!

30 – Joan Franka – “You and Me” (Netherlands 2012)

A cute little video, Joan Franka starts our top 30 with the video to her cute country song “You and Me”. We had already seen bits and pieces of the video when it was used as the partial background to her performance in the national final, but film a few shot of Joan playing her guitar and add a new part with the children grown up and you’ve got a new music video for her to use after she wins. I have to admit, it is a cute accompaniment to the song and it does show a storyline that does show childhood sweethearts etc, as Joan describes in the lyrics. If she had used the video as the background to her performance in Baku.. maybe she’d do the exact same as she did without it, but either way, the video works for the story of the song and it’s a great way to kick off this mega-countdown!

29 – Hari Mata Hari – “Lejla” (Bosnia & Herzegovina 2006)

Well Bosnia really blew the budget in 2006, didn’t they? The music video for ‘Lejla’ is basically like the postcards for the 2012 Contest in Azerbaijan – a tourist video for Bosnia, but it does work well for the Balkan-esque song. The video does include a good deal of shots of Hari Mata Hari singing the song, but as you’ll see, they are in the minority in the video. Also, those weird yellow thread-like lines flowing throughout the video.. em.. what? They do look like the threads used in the Björk video “Cocoon” – although in the Björk video, they do come out of another place.. anyway, it’s basically a tourist video for the country with the song as the soundtrack, but it did show us some nice shots of Bosnia and the song suits it.. so yeah, it’s on the top!

28 – Morena – “Vodka” (Malta 2008)

‘Vodka’ had probably one of the grandest music videos in the past ten years or so; the whole thing did look like it was a scene from an action movie featuring the female version of Tom Cruise – although that is basically what’s talked about in the lyrics. The budget for the video must have been really big if it included *SPOILER ALERT* cars being blown up, underwater shots and a private plane to pick her up after said underwater shots. It’s obvious that the video is visualising what the lyrics are saying, and you can tell that it is action packed; both the song and the video. Since its release, the video has been hilariously parodied by a group of Maltese comedians and shown to Morena on live TV.. she liked it! And if she likes it, both the parody version and the actual video itself deserve a spot.. but just not the number 1. But at least, she’s got a spot on our top 30, with all that action,m she bloody well deserves it!

27 – Vlado & Isolda – “Ciao, amore” (Yugoslavia 1984)

Obviously, because this was back in the eighties, the quality of the music video was horrible, but the reason why the video is in the top 30 is… well, why don’t you have a look for yourself? They two were naked on the beach and then they were naked again for most of the end of the video.. and I think there was a point when Vlado almost died (well, it looked like he was, and Isolda did look like she was checking his pulse)! May I also point out that around 2:03 in the video, something really weird happens when Vlado emerges from the water.. it leaves a lot to the imagination, doesn’t it? Even for the eighties, this was pretty weird, but the sheer fact it was so weird and controversial is what makes it so great.. sure, it only got 18th place of 19 on the night, but that music video will be forever remembered for the naked duo.

26 – Rona Nishliu – “Suus” (Albania 2012)

This music video.. I would deem it to be a bit of a hybrid: a little bit of an actual music video and also a bit like an artistic video. The simplicity of the video and the huge track that is ‘Suus’ make a weird combination, but they work together very well to create this artist masterpiece of a video. It’s a pretty confusing video when you first watch it and it still even confuses me from time to time, but to me, the box Rona is stuck in is a visual metaphor for her feelings and so she’s retreated into her feelings because she’s gotten hurt. As for the children, I have absolutely no idea about what they’re doing in the video, but it’s nice to see them defacing walls and mirrors by drawing a big, long white line with chalk across the room. To conclude, the music video is a visual beauty and the song is just amazing – so much so, that the song was ‘misheard’ by Youtube channel “ilwihid” to create this really funny version of the song – “Marlène“. Enjoy!

25 – Sopho Khalvashi – “Visionary Dream” (Georgia 2007)

Partly leading on from ‘Lejla’, the music video for ‘Visionary Dream’ is also basically a tourist video for the country. It lets us see more of Sopho, as well as sticking in all the cultural shots of traditional dancers, landscapes and the Georgian alphabet (maybe Bosnia should be taking notes?). The song does talk about all the joys of sharing one’s culture and the video does demonstrate that and this is also like ‘Suus’ – a little (and by “little”, I mean microscopic) bit of an art video. Georgia made an amayzin entrance to the Contest six years ago and with both the song and the video itself, they both made an impact on that Contest in Helsinki – if only the video was featured on stage. The cultural aspect of the video is why it’s on here, but Sopho has also featured both in our backdrop top and our USSR top too, so be sure to check those articles out too!

24 – Urban Trad – “Sanomi” (Belgium 2003)

You may be thinking: “What?! What the hell is this song doing on here?!” Well, even if the video wasn’t exactly the best, the song is the reason why it’s our #24; because when combined, they do create.. almost, a dark aura for the song. Sure, some of the shots aren’t exactly relevant, but the video did give us some hints as to we were later going to see on the stage in Riga, such as that dance routine (don’t tell me you haven’t tried it! I know well you have!) and those weird movements that the accordionist made. As well as that, there was dry ice as well to provide for those intimate shots, so the video wasn’t that bad and you have to admit, ‘Sanomi’ was a tune! If only Europe  gave them three more points, we could have been in Belgium for 2004.. but ‘Everyway That I Can’ seemed to please the viewers more, so I can’t complain.. at least they both beat Alf Poier, thankfully!

23 – Sandra Kim – “J’aime la vie” (Belgium 1986)

Sandra Kim.. where do I begin? “J’aime la vie”‘s video has become quite associated with Eurovision and you can see why! Complete with a Walkman and the stereotypical eighties dance outfit, she definitely made her mark on Eurovision with her video.. and her song.. and her age (I go more into detail in our controversial songs top)! She was only thirteen years old when she won the Contest, and in preparation for that, she created that video. Nowadays, to celebrate 25 years of her win, she redid the music video a few years ago and to be honest, not much has changed since then. All in all, the video is iconic because it was redone twenty-five years later, but even the original was just as memorable. It’s a cute video, and that’s all I have to say about that.

22 – Despina Olympiou – “An Me Thimase” (Cyprus 2013)

The second version produced for ‘An Me Thimase’, this video definitely had a bigger budget than the first one, which shows Despina in the studio actually recording the song with some SUBTLE promotion from Cytamobile and Vodafone. Here, we get to see our favourite, Olympiou standing up at random places during the video, walking through a field and even running around like a maniac in a forest too! It’s not exactly the best music video we could have chosen from over a thousand others, but because ‘An Me Thimase’ is such a beautiful song and Despina sings it so well; both in the studio and lip-syncing for the actual music, it gets to go on the countdown and the song has again been misheard by “ilwihid” to create one of the funniest misheard lyrics videos of all time – “I MADE TEA MYSEEEEEEEEEELF!!” Hope you enjoy that one just as good as “Marlène”.

21 – Elitsa & Stoyan – “Water” (Bulgaria 2007)

It’s fair to say that ‘Water’ is the best of the two music videos Elitsa & Stoyan sent to Eurovision, the other being – obviously – ‘Samo Shampioni’, but this video definitely has more of an intensive atmosphere and when you put the song to it, it becomes a celebration of water.. I think that’s what they were trying to get across, anyway! In the video, Elitsa becomes some black-winged angel and she flies through a seemingly endless mountain of clouds, all the while the duo performing with their astonished drum set they used in Helsinki. Elitsa then gets soaked in water and then controls the water like it’s some sort of element. This is a really wet music video and we get to enjoy the trance music while getting soaked in water and just watch Elitsa do her SEXY HAIR SWISH at the end of the video. It really is an action packed video and with the action packed song to match, it’s no surprise it’s created this amazing video. Well done Elitsa, your hair swish is what got you so high.. and the song too.. Sorry Stoyan!

So Elitsa and Stoyan complete the first part of our top 30, but to you, what’s your favourite music video of a Eurovision song?

Your views:

When it comes to Eurovision, what’s your favourite music video?

What do you think of our top 30 so far?
What do you think of our top 30 so far?

Anders Back-Vilhelmsen from Denmark: When it comes to the best videos I always return to Visionary Dream! I also love Song #1 and Echo (You and I) too.

Svana Lístí Agnarsdóttir from Iceland: ‘Birds’ has a fantastic video! Other music videos I’d put on are ‘Taken By A Stranger’ or ‘Peace Will Come’ – they all have great music videos too!

Bertu Ag from Malta: Gianluca’s “Tomorrow” is definitely my favourite because it’s simple and it’s cute!

So we’ve seen that the fans have music videos they all adore, but some are more poplar among fans than others. For example, some people love the video for ‘Water’, but other think it’s absolutely horrible! So all the fans have different choices about their favourite music video, but what’s yours? Is there a video you can’t get enough of or is there one that you wish never existed? Feel free to tell us what you think by commenting below and I may use a few of those view in Part 2 of the countdown tomorrow!

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Ilse DeLange and Waylon will sing for The Netherlands!

It’s less than a week since we received news that Sergej Cetkovic would be singing for Montenegro at next year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Denmark… and now here we are again, it’s confirmed artist time! Today, Dutch broadcaster AvroTros announced that popular singers Ilse DeLange and Waylon will both perform the 2014 Dutch entry, under the collective title of “The Common Linnets”. What do we think of this selection? Well, read on to find out!

Well... nobody saw this coming...
Well… nobody saw this coming…

Okay, so today, Rory has trusted me to write an article about something to do with The Netherlands. Anyone who knows me will know what a massive risk this is – for I’ll make no secret of the fact that the majority of Dutch entries since the turn of the millennium have been pretty dire in my book. Last year, when Anouk took up the baton and brought them back to the final for the first time since 2004, the majority of fans were beside themselves with joy. I, on the other hand, was inconsolably angry, resolutely sticking my middle finger up at Anouk’s punchably smug little face on my TV screen. Because, quite simply, “Birds” was – and still is, in my estimation – one of the most abhorrent songs to have ever made it as far as the ESC stage. I LOATHE it with more passion than Ruslana poured into her winning reprise of “Wild Dances”. And that’s a bucketload ‘o passion, folks. Add to that the fact that Anouk had the most disgustingly arrogant of attitudes towards the contest in general, there was never gonna be any way that I would buy into that entry.

Fast-forward six months, and we’re now dealing with the prospective Ducth entrants for 2014.

Sadly, neither of Rory’s possible artists will be flying the Dutch flag in Denmark – *sob* – however, this announcement corroborates a number of rumours which have been flying round in the last few weeks, most of which were centred around country singer Ilse DeLange, with other mentioned names being Armin van Buuren and Waylon – the latter of whom has been inexplicably paperclipped onto this entry alongside Ilse. Since Rory already gave you guys a run-through of Ilse’s work to date, and her suitability to the contest, it falls to me to be more subjective, now that the announcement has been made official.

Note: if you read what I wrote about Sergej last week, as well as my thoughts on Glennis Grace, you may be able to surmise what I am about to say.

In a word, disappointing. First of all, “The Common Linnets” – what the hell is up with that? Everyone will know them as Ilse and Waylon, I see no need whatsoever to give them this collective term which in actual fact relates to a sub-species of finch. Black mark number one.

Next. Having already had a listen to Ilse’s back catalogue, she is very hit and miss for me, but on the whole, a passable style, and an engaging vocal style. I can deal with her. Waylon, on the other hand, I cannot deal with. Having checked his music out on YouTube, he comes across as a cheap Bruno Mars rip-off, attempting to channel the “cool” retro soul influences popularised by artists like Winehouse and Outkast, and falling at the first hurdle owing to the fact that his voice is remarkably weak. I most certainly hope that Ilse will be the focus of this duo, for if they give this Waylon guy anything too challenging, it is going to sound truly AWFUL.

I’d hate to sound too judgemental without justification, though. Here’s an example of their collaborative work so far; a live cover of Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now”:

I just have SUCH a bad feeling about the Netherlands in 2014 already. If they send something as countrified as this – complete with cowboy hats, Joan Franka head-dresses and fur coats because why not – they are going to undo all of the credibility they (unbelievably) won last year with “Birds”. Now was the time to push the boundaries – Anouk proved that they could do it, now they had to send something credible, something modern, something that reflected their wide and rich music scene in a completely different way than “Birds” did. And they’ve gone and regressed to what looks like it’s going to be another out-of-touch effort. *sigh*

Now, please please don’t jump down my throat for this. Were we a more renowned blog, I would be acquiring something of a reputation for scathingly opinionated judgements like this, before we’ve even heard a song. Remember, these are just my initial thoughts based on the previous musical output of the artists in question, and the precedent set by previous Dutch bids for the title – and for the record, Rory is a lot more optimistic on this one than me.

A song doesn’t need to be uptempo to win me over – case in point, I adore Lena’s “To The Moon”. A song doesn’t need to be schläger-tastic and synthy to make me fall in love with it – I am one of Nina Zilli’s biggest fans, and I doubt she’s touched a synth for the duration of her recording career. The thing I have a problem with here is that country music is NOT contemporary. There are country records that I love, but for a contest where the Netherlands is still trying to recover from nine years in the semis, and progress into the twenty-first century, I don’t believe this is the answer.

I am awaiting the song with apprehension, but am fully willing to amend my criticism of this pair in the wake of a credible entry. It’s over to you now, Ilse and Waylon. Impress me.

Your Views:

Ilse and Waylon as "The Common Linnets" - what do you think?
Ilse and Waylon as “The Common Linnets” – what do you think?

Svana Lístí Agnarsdóttir from Iceland: Ilse deLange is no suprise for me, but in collaboration with Waylon? Well, let’s wait until March when we hear the song, but for now, I’m not looking entirely hopeful

Thom Dutch from the Netherlands: I’m glad we’ll send two experienced artists that know how to sing and how to deliver. Their songs come from their heart and I’m really curious to hear what they’ll come up with. So far I’m positive and we’ll see what the song will bring us.

Svetlana Andriyenko from Ukraine: I am so happy that Ilse will sing in Copenhagen, I listen to her songs since she becomes rumour for the contest, and I enjoy her voice very much!

It would seem that Ilse and Waylon are much more popular among the fans at large than they are with me. I hope I haven’t written them off too early, and if they come up with an absolutely fab entry in a few months’ time, then I am fully prepared to eat my words. Until then… good luck to them. To quote Svana, I’m not entirely hopeful…

More importantly though, what do YOU think? Feel free to leave your thoughts below, we can’t wait to hear them!

Would it work… if Ukraine was prop-free?

Hey guys and welcome back to another ‘Would It Work’ article! Today we’re having, almost, a continuation of our prop top, but here, we will go into detail about the queen of props – Ukraine. The country is known for its show at the Contest, but would Ukraine do as well as they normally do if they didn’t have a prop on the stage?

Anastasiya Petryk won Junior Eurovision without props.. what can Ukraine take from this?
Anastasiya Petryk won Junior Eurovision without props.. what can Ukraine take from this?

Like I said, Ukraine is the queen of props on stage, with Russia quickly following behind. Ever since Ukraine debuted in the Eurovision in 2003, there has never been a year where some form of prop hasn’t been used.. unless you don’t count the wind machine Alyosha used or the handcuffs that featured in GreenJolly’s performance, then Ukraine have used props in nine of their performances. Either way, they always put on a show for us in the Contest, as the video below shows – Ukraine is indeed the best for props and that’s probably why they do so well – apart from the actual song, of course!

So now that you’ve watched the video, you can tell that Ukraine has become the one to look out for when it comes to the performance, and Russia is quickly becoming another of the ones to watch for the staging, but all the props and big extravagant lighting and dancers can be a little too much, so it’s nice to have a bit of simplicity on the stage. This, luckily, came from Ukraine in 2012.. in the Junior Eurovision. Ten year old Anastasiya Petryk won the Junior Contest in Amsterdam with ‘Nebo’ and she performed with no props; just dry ice and a wind machine, but nothing like the Babushki’s rotating oven.

Anastasiya’s performance, although being prop-free, was still very captivating and her vocals on the night were definitely what helped her win the Contest. But this was in the Junior Eurovision, so would it work if Ukraine tried repeating what Anastasiya did in Amsterdam and send a performance without a prop? Well, the song has to be the right genre not to have a prop. ‘Nebo’ could have easily been piled on with props, but the song wouldn’t be suited to any of them as the song is so simple and it doesn’t need to have everything on stage; just the singer singing the song. If this was to be tried by Ukraine, or indeed Russia, next year in the adult Eurovision in Copenhagen, the song would have to have the same aura as ‘Nebo’ – a song that moves you so much that props aren’t necessary.. a little like Yohanna’s ‘Is It True?‘. It would be interesting to see how it would work out for them because it’s something that they’ve never tried properly before and if Europe had the same reaction to it as they did to ‘Nebo’, Ukraine would have another tactic to use in the future! I would recommend that they try it in the adult edition and see how well they do.. there’s always a first time for everything!

Your views:

Do you think it would work if Ukraine or Russia didn’t have a prop on stage with them?

Should the Ukrainians at least try not having a prop?
Should the Ukrainians at least try not having a prop?

Svana Lístí Agnarsdóttir from Iceland: I would love to see Ukraine trying it without a prop. They always send uptempo songs and I think it would be nice if they sent a ballad with no distractions.

Ilias Kozantinos from Cyprus: Ukraine are known for their staging and I think if they didn’t do a staging spectacular, they wouldn’t do very well. They should stick to what they know!

Frederick Ulriksson from Sweden: Shouldn’t we all try something once? They could get so used to what they’re doing that they won’t want to ever change it.. Let them at least try it, see what happens.

So it’s an almost unified plea for Ukraine to try having no props and seeing how well they do. It doesn’t surprise me that much, as some fans are starting to get impatient waiting for that ballad that we’re all supposed to love – although I guess you could say ‘Gravity‘ is a ballad.. kind of. Anyway, what do you think? Should Ukraine try performing without a prop or should they keep to what they know? Feel free to let us know what you think by commenting below!