As part of our series looking at the best entries of the 2010-2019 decade, we turn our attention to staging....
Staging covers choreography, props, lighting, LEDs and camera angles and it can make or break a song.
Many fan favourites have crashed and burned due to poor or non-sensical staging (and outfits). While other songs not in favour with fans can rocket to top 10 positions based on a great visual presentation of the entry.
So who has had the best staging this decade? I turned to my fellow Aussievision contributors for a vote and here was our top 10:
=10. Party For Everybody - Buranovskiye Babushki (Russia 2012)
Ok yes I know, Australians do love camp novelty, and here is the evidence. But what staging should do is elevate an audio song into something you can appreciate more visually, and with this, the six babushki on stage, with disco lights and a spinning oven IS more pleasing than the song itself.
10. Heroes - Måns Zelmerlöw (Sweden 2015)
The winner of the 2015 contest brought us an electronic interaction that we'd never seen before at Eurovision. It was truly groundbreaking. Couple that with his ability to own a stage on his own and it was both a visual and audio feast. (Let's just ignore that beaky super close up though).
9. Euphoria - Loreen (Sweden 2012)
Another Swedish winning Eurovision song but a very different approach on staging. Where Måns was over the top, Loreen was dark and lonesome. Her unique dance moves (including crab dance) and perfectly executed camera shots were the base of this performance. It moves to more light before a crescendo of a snowstorm where Loreen performs with another dancer. It matched the song perfectly and goes down as perhaps the most iconic song in recent Eurovision history.
8. La Forza - Elina Nechayeva (Estonia 2018)
In 2018 there were famously no LEDs used on stage, so what did Estonia do? Project on a giant dress while a perfectly beautiful woman sang opera effortlessly. The dress almost didn't happen but the budget came through at the last minute to provide the entry with a memorable staging performance with eye catching projections. Elina herself captured the camera and the votes of many, finishing in 8th place overall.
7. I Can't Go On - Robin Bengtsson (Sweden 2017)
Talking of perfectly beautiful people.... Robin's performance is an iconic one regardless of how you feel about the song. Starting offstage, he and his Madonna 'Vogue' inspired dancers walk on to perform a choreographed routine 'OK Go' style on a bunch of treadmills with a cracking backgrop of 80s blue and pink LED lighting. This will be shown in Eurovision grabs and montages for decades.
6. Rhythm Inside - Loïc Nottet (Belgium 2015)
A Belgian man making strange faces, lying on the floor, while interpretative slow moving choreographed backing singers perform against a stark white background. It shouldn't work but it was BLOODY BRILLIANT. I am no fan of the song to be honest, however this performance schooled many on how to elevate your entry.
5. Love Injected - Aminata (Latvia 2015)
The dress. The camera work. The lighting. The voice. The LEDs. The ARMOGRAPHY. It all worked perfectly and Aminata took Latvia to their highest result in 10 years finishing 6th.
4. Fuego - Eleni Foureira (Cyprus 2018)
The first 10 seconds of Eleni strutting on stage ALONE deserves a space in our Top 10. Producing a solid vocal with intense choreography and hairography was no mean feat. Each moment of the song was coupled with the right lighting, the right move or the right effect. Chuck in flames and a ravenous crowd and it was perfect and exhausting staging for us all, including Eleni... *heaving breathing*
3. Zero Gravity - Kate Miller-Heidke (Australia 2019)
Where do you even start? Australian fans had more ups and downs with 'Zero Gravity' than Kate Miller-Heidke getting on and off her pole. Fans loved the song, then were critical of the style and Australia Decides staging, there were worries if it would even qualify but ultimately it elevated to go down in Eurovision history.
Kate not only performed (with her backing dances) up a five metre swaying pole, but the entry was backed up with incredible LED use showing her in space floating above the world. Hiding the pole and then revealing later was also a great move to bring viewers into the performance. Her televote was 7th overall, Australia's highest since Dami's 4th in 2016, and the performance also won the prestigious Marcel Bezençon Artistic Award.
2. My Lucky Day - DoReDos (Moldova 2018)
You had to be a true lover of brass infused Eastern 'circus' music to be a fan of this song going into the contest (guilty as charged!), but after they performed this at the contest they won over countless fans. It was a 'Carry On Chisinau' staging with the story of a love triangle set to cheeky shots and slapstick comedy. But behind that was an incredibly complicated choreography involving six artists, multiple opening doors and precision timing. An ingenious way to get around the LED issue of 2018, and they finished in a deserving 10th place there and are our runner-ups of the decade.
1. You Are The Only One - Sergey Lazarev (Russia 2016)
I saw this for the first time with Mike (Aussievision) at a bar in Helsinki. The Finnish fans had been remarkably quiet all evening (including during their act) but when this song was performed there were 'ooohs' and 'aaahhss' coming from the crowd. Sergey Lazarev is massively popular in Russia and the East and he brought that star power to the performance.
His iconic climbing the wall and singing 'upside down' while appearing to move with the screen was just jaw dropping. He easily won the televote but was let down by a harsh jury. Perhaps he can take some solace in being voted by Aussievision contributors as the best staging of the decade... (let's just ignore when he hangs on the the edge of the screen weirdly).
Do you agree with our top 10? I have to say there were a few acts that deserve an honourable mention including Skeletons (Azerbaijan 2017), 1944 (Ukraine 2016), Hey Mama (Moldova 2017), Hold Me (Azerbaijan 2013), Lipstick (2011) and O Mie (Moldova 2013).
We can't wait to see what the 2020s bring us!