In the States, most people don’t have any idea what Eurovision is. But to Europe (and Australia this year), it’s the world’s largest singing competition. Imagine an Olympic-sized X-Factor covered in sequins. One of the greatest things about this competition is that it puts established artists from large countries on the same playing field as emerging artists from smaller countries. It’s a celebration of music and of the human spirit that transcends language barriers. This year, the talent was far from disappointing, but for our American readers who might have missed the live streams of the show online, we picked out five contestants you should know about.
Monika Linkytė and Vaidas Baumila
Lithuania kicked off the second semi-final with, perhaps, the happiest song of all of Eurovision, “This Time.” Their candy-colored presentation rivaled anything Katy Perry does on tour so it was hard not to feel great about this duo. There should be more happy songs in the world, and this one was perfect.
The public opinion of Russia has steadily worked against it at Eurovision, but Gagarina stood tall and absolutely crushed her song, “A Million Voices.” A big voice and an even bigger performance made hers one of the songs to remember.
Probably the coolest dude in the room was Loïc Nottet. His voice was crisp, the dancing was sleek and sexy, and his song, “The Rhythm Inside,” pulsed through the room. In his interview with last year’s Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst, Nottet said of his performance, “Everyone has the right to be different and to be special.” We couldn’t agree more. This dude from Belgium is special and we want to hear more.
The eventual winner was a front runner from the moment his performance began. The presentation was awesome, the way he created worlds and characters with the video screens was intelligently plotted, the song is perfect for arena sing-a-longs – Sweden had it in the bag and rightfully won the top honor.
Serbia’s powerhouse vocalist Stamenov not only commanded the stage with her voice, but brought a full-on disco party with her. What began as a mid-tempo anthem became a celebration of diversity and life. Her song, “Beauty Never Lies,” blew the roof off the place and showed that she’s an artist to watch.