Today is November 18th, and the Proclamation Day of the Republic of Latvia or Latvian Independence Day. Today is the 101st anniversary of the declaration of Latvian independence following the end of World War 1. It is a day of celebration in Latvia so, to celebrate, I’ll be presenting my top five most iconic Latvian entries.
Latvia started its participation in the contest off strongly, placing 3rd in 2000 and winning the contest in 2002. They have placed in the top ten four times, with the other two times coming in 2005 and 2015. Since debuting in 2000, Latvia has been present at every contest without any breaks. Their presence in grand finals; however, has been rare since the 2008 contest in Belgrade. Latvia has made the final twice since then, in 2015 and 2016; but have given us some very memorable entries, nonetheless.
Latvia currently uses the Supernova national final to select its entries, a revamped national final brought about after the 2014 contest to attract high-quality songs and snap their non-qualification streak. Success came immediately in 2015 and 2016 but it has yet to be replicated. Hopefully, this year is their year!
Latvia’s songs over the last two decades have been varied, and noteworthy, from singing in their native Latvian, to singing in Italian, Russian, and in English; and from bombastic EDM to some gentle folk. Let’s now begin our look back at their five most iconic Eurovision entries.
5. 2019 – Carousel – That Night (15th in SF2 – 50 points)
Latvia were a bit unlucky this year because their semi-final was stacked with iconic quality. Supernova gave us some “iconic” entries of its own, but Carousel stood out with their amazingly shot performance that looked more like a music video than a live performance. The feel of the national final performance didn’t quite cross over to the stage in Tel Aviv but the song makes this list as a peaceful entry that showcased a kind of quiet beauty that Eurovision finds little time for.
(The Supernova performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6j61TWsjcJY)
4. 2002 – Marie N – I Wanna (1st – 176 points)
“Get ahead, get a hat.” - Terry Wogan. Yes, but then get rid of it, and your suit, and do one of the most iconic costume changes there has been in the contest, even to this day. The song isn’t exactly ground-breaking lyrically, but it’s a fun jazz-pop song to dance along to. Commercially, the song didn’t do very well, but it won Eurovision which is all that matters. This song gave Latvia its first win, and Marie’s performance is full justification for that.
3. 2016 – Justs – Heartbeat (15th – 132 points)
Latvia’s second qualification to the final in the ‘10s came with this song, and it was richly deserved. Heartbeat, the second consecutive creation of Aminata to be sent to Eurovision, is a strongly produced pop song that I still enjoy playing to this day. Justs’ vocal power brought the song together, and his style carried the song’s mood well. Interestingly, the song scored 132 points in both the semi and the final. I would argue it deserved a little better than 15th.
2. 2000 - Brainstorm – My Star (3rd – 136 points)
This is a very interesting performance to watch. The expressions of the singer are never predictable, nor is the movement of his legs. The eccentricity of the performance, combined with the song’s catchy chorus, helped Latvia record a well-deserved 3rd place on their debut. Brainstorm have gone on to be a successful band in Latvia, known in Latvia as Prāta Vētra, releasing 13 albums. This is probably my personal favourite song of the five.
1. 2015 – Aminata – Love Injected (6th – 186 points)
This is undoubtedly Latvia’s most iconic entry. Injecting some life into Latvia’s Eurovision efforts, the winner of the first Supernova became their first qualifier since 2008. Aminata wrote the entry herself and with her powerhouse vocals, excellent staging concept, and compelling performance placed 2nd in the semi final and powered to 6th in the grand final. This song is well remembered by fans of the contest and will have its place in history as one of Latvia’s very best entries.
There we have it, my five most iconic Latvian entries. Did I leave any other iconic Latvian entries out? Which songs would you replace? Let us know at @aussievisionnet on Twitter, Insta and Facebook
Happy Proclamation Day, Latvia and until next time… paldies un uz redzēšanos!