Hello guys! It’s been a real long time since we last did a countdown, so why not start it up again by providing you with our top 10 countries from this year that had the best staging. So who came on top and who just missed out on winning ESC Views’ esteemed “Best Staging in 2014 Award”? Keep reading to find out!
For a song to appeal to the viewer at home at the Eurovision, the song is staged to show the emotions that the song presents and in doing so, enhances the listening experience for the viewer. The songs featured in this countdown managed to envelope us in the song and its emotions and as well as that, this is also judged on how it looked on stage, from a visual – not emotional – point of view. Let’s get started!
#10: Sebalter – “Hunter of Stars” (Switzerland)
We’re kicking off tonight’s top 10 with Sebalter and his performance of ‘Hunter of Stars’. The staging was very much influenced by pyrotechnics, even to the point where the beginning of the song is kicked off with them..and also including the mandatory use of a pyro curtain in the bridge! The background shows multiple little sparks running around in circles and spirals..now, I’m not sure what really inspired that particular backdrop, but with the enthusiasm that Sebalter gives when he does his violin solo walking down the catwalk, it shows how much fun he’s having performing that song. This particular enthusiasm continues when he’s banging that big drum of his and his involvement with the audience also brings the viewer at home into the arena to clap along..he didn’t want to go, neither did we. 😉
#9: Pollapönk – “No Prejudice” (Iceland)
The thing with Iceland’s staging this year is that is was colourful, which could have gone two ways. It might have gotten the viewer to think “Oh, this must be a really fun song!” or it would have gotten the viewer to think “Oh no, too many colours – it’s blinding me!”. In our opinion, it was most definitely the former. With their message of no prejudice (duh..), Pollapönk wanted to create a stage where everyone could have fun and be accepted. How did they do that? Use different shapes on the backdrop and have a 50s dancefloor on the floor. The use of colour was almost most likely a statement about LGBT people (if you haven’t seen our flag, where have you been?!) because we’re SOOO colourful! This definitely emphasised their message of equality and even if those weird backing singers just stood there..doing nothing (*ahem* Ryan Dolan *ahem*), they still got their message of ‘LOVE’ and peace into their staging..literally..how could Gudni (the guy in the yellow suit) stick his arm around that far? Contortionists – ew.
#8: Suzy – “Quero Ser Tua” (Portugal)
Portugal had a good deal of things right with their staging – it embraced the ‘pado’ that it had brought to the table when they picked Suzy and they had also the party effect that came so easily with the song. Customary Suzyshake aside – the staging hadn’t really changed from Festival da Canção, but when it’s a song like “Quero Ser Tua”, it’s always best to keep things as they were in the hopes that it will still manage to win the hearts of those who put you in Eurovision in the first place. The one thing however that I didn’t get was the backdrop..I get that it was in red and green – Portugal’s national colours, but what was IT, if you get what I mean? I do think that that, coupled with Suzy’s kinda-shaky vocals, was her downfall..if it was a fashion contest however, I think that she’d have definitely been in the top 3..guys loved that dress. But sadly, this Contest is about singing. It’s good that you tried Portugal, but it’s just not enough..sorry!
#7: Elaiza – “Is It Right” (Germany)
Unlike Suzy, which was very party-friendly and just all-round fun, Germany’s staging was sophisticated, elegant and classy. Sure, when you hear these three words and a song like “Is It Right”, they normally don’t go together, but come the 10th of May 2014, they most certainly do. Dressed in very casual/smart clothes, the girls sing the song with its lyrics getting shown on the backdrop, while big sploshes of paint are thrown onto the words – a little bit like Belgium 2013, but only more fancy. The staging was very simple and for that song, the simplicity is needed as it’s a song that doesn’t need any pyros or other special effects. Like in our review of their album, “Is It Right” – like the other songs – is a picture and using any pyrotechnics in it would just ruin the aura that it gives off. However, sticking with the one thing that they liked from Unser Song für Dänemark, they had to keep the confetti streamer. And may I just say, Ela’s SASSY finger wave in the “or even no” line, it’s just….I can’t even…the sass-ometer is beeping furiously. Well done Germany on that!
#6: Can-linn ft. Kasey Smith – “Heartbeat” (Ireland)
If you’ve seen much of my activity on Facebook, you’ll know that this normally doesn’t impress me. If not, I’ll tell you why – in the National Final, “Heartbeat” was presented to us a pop song. However, in Copenhagen, the song was presented as a Celtic song. This annoyed me a lot, because once again Ireland was trying to predict that Europe wanted something that was oozing with Celtic-ness. Oh how wrong were we. However, in terms of this particular countdown, I’m going to use this for the positive. I do get that the song has Celtic influences in it and for Eurovision, this was probably a good thing. The cage-y bit was probably the best usage of the stage, as it looks very golden and the shape of a heart and it’s clockwork also emphasises the whole ‘Heartbeat’ title of the song. The backdrop in the last chorus also looks very classy. Plus, as a bonus point, Kasey moved around a whole lot more than Ryan did last year, and she looked into the camera a lot more as well, so that would include the viewer a bit more. So on this level, it deserves to be #6 in our countdown.
However, the staging in the NF should have been there instead of this.
#5: Conchita Wurst – “Rise Like A Phoenix” (Austria)
No countdown from this year would be complete without the winner, Conchita. From the very first moment we saw the staging of the song in the first rehearsal, all the Eurovision websites were showering the country for its staging and you can’t deny, it was indeed a very simple presentation of the winning song – most notably the fiery wings that the camerawork gives her – although I never knew that a phoenix’s wings could grow over the course of three minutes! Using the cage-y bit to rain gold *IL PLEUT DE L’OR* aswell, she managed to captivate the hearts of everyone in Europe with just keeping it simple – is anyone spotting a trend? Dry ice included, she managed to get everybody on board, but she’s not our #1 tonight, because we feel that there are better stagings from other countries…Es tut mir leid, Conchita!
#4: Sanna Nielsen – “Undo” (Sweden)
From one huge fan favourite who kept it simple to another. Sanna had kept it exactly the same as she had it in MelFest, which was possibly the best thing that she could have done. Why? Because those who watched MelFest fell in love with Sanna this year because of all the emotion she had put into her performance in her semi-final there. Plus, with the fact that she managed to FINALLY managed to get to Eurovision after seven tries, there was no way she was going to change anything – and fair play to her. There was a bit of – as we say in Ireland – a cock and bull story that Wiwibloggs reported that she had stolen her staging from Lena in 2011, but it’s obvious that they did not – seriously guys, there is no similarity. Using those huge lights, Sanna (seemingly) is alone on stage giving her heart to the viewer. This automatically makes her performance noteworthy and she deserves this place in our countdown..who didn’t fall in love with her?
#3: Donatan and Cleo – “My Slowianie – We Are Slavic” (Poland)
Hahaha nah nah, I’ll take this seriously. It’s no secret that the female anatomy was Poland’s ace in the sleeve this year and they most certainly used it in their show. From churning butter to washing clothes to just dancing, Cleo and Co. really did know how to show off their assets. And remember when I said that the sass-ometer was beeping for Ela’s finger wave in Germany, well it’s broken now thanks to those girls because they are all so sassay!!!! The girls used the entire stage in the performance and that involved the entire arena and made the audience a part of the presentation as well. They were also the only competing country that used the water that surrounded the stage..I wonder why? 😉 The background showed all the boob-y bits from the music as well as all the traditional Slavic patterns etc which only egg on the point that they were trying to make. Definitely enjoyed this staging…I wonder if that woman actually made any butter while she was “churning”! Well done Poland!
#2: Ruth Lorenzo – “Dancing In the Rain” (Spain)
Narrowly missing out on the #1 spot is everyone’s favourite Murcian, Ruth Lorenzo. With ‘Dancing In the Rain’, Spain had to try to harness the feelings in the song and this was done by making it actually rain on the stage (although I do think it was only CGI). Ruth slowly gets more wet as the song goes on, but she manages to still deliver 110% on the night. The staging was kept pure and simple and this is was needed as the song is indeed a pure and simple one. The bright white background in the last half of the song does remind me of Malerna Ernman’s staging in Moscow five years previously, but with Ruth she manages to envelope the viewer a lot more than Malerna did. The one thing I’d fault with the performance was Ruth’s dress..I do love it, but it’s not the best dress she could have worn because it shows her surprisingly large hips..but other than that – flawless staging!
And ESC Views’ Award for the Best Staging goes to…..
#1: The Common Linnets – “Calm After the Storm” (The Netherlands)
I think everyone is in agreement here that the Netherlands are the clear winners of this countdown. We all thought that before the Contest, Ilse and Waylon were in possible trouble of even qualifying but as soon as we saw their staging it was most definitely sealed as a qualifier. The staging is so dark and haunting and you can tell that the song is about being divided or broken-hearted, as you can easily tell with the roadmarks separating the two, then leading to a “cracked” floor. Everything gives off the impression that they’re fighting each other in a relationship kind of way. The amount of spinning that we were subjected to is also a reason why they get our #1, as we can see the emotions that they show each other as they stand and sing, facing each other singing into that CUSTOM MADE microphone…stand. Nonetheless, including that amazing guitar solo in the middle and the aura the staging they created, the Netherlands are the winners of our “Best Staging Award”! Congratulations! Which is yours?
Nick van Lith from the Netherlands: The only song that was lifted from a potential non-qualifier to a potential winner thanks to a staging that was incredible for the song was The Netherlands. It was intimate, camera work was excellent and the background was amazing. Important note: the way JB Meijers’ guitar solo was shown was a pure highlight for me.
Nikolay Kosev from Hungary: Poland of course. Reason : Boobs. No, seriously, they were the only ones who used the water.
Thom from the Netherlands: Austria, The Netherlands and Sweden. All very effective.
Verena Lorsche from Germany: Elaiza…because the stage was simple…and Sergej, for the same reason.
Well most people are thinking that our #1 would also be their #1, but we also have several other choices such as Poland, Germany and even Montenegro! So what’s your favourite staging? Did you think the Netherlands had the best staging or did you think another country should have won this award? Feel free to tell us what you think by commenting below!