In defence of… Euphoria
In anticipation of the ESC250 New Year's Eve 2019 countdown, I look at defending the reigning number one, the epic song, “Euphoria” by Loreen who represented Sweden in 2012.
“Euphoria” has topped the ESC250, a fan voted Eurovision poll organised by songfestival.be and ESC Radio, for seven years in a row now. And so far no Eurovision song has even come close to kicking it off the top spot.
I will say it here, right now, that Loreen’s “Euphoria” will once again take out the top spot and extend her reign for a mammoth eighth consecutive year to nicely wrap up the 2010’s decade. If I am wrong then feel free to hang me from Kate Miller-Heidke’s 7 metre pole, I am afraid of heights.
Over the years, but especially this year during the voting period for ESC250 I couldn’t escape the increased negativity in my twitter feed towards “Euphoria” and the calls to boycott it merely because it has won year in year out. You all know who you are. Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting change but there are many reasons why your fellow mutuals and the overall fandom still resonate with a song like “Euphoria”.
Now let me defend it.
“Euphoria” worked as a whole package at Eurovision, the song and performance just works well together. This is the reason why I think “Heroes” won in 2015, it just worked as a whole package, whether you love or hate the song.
The difference with “Euphoria” is that the song is just as epic on its own. But, when I listen to “Euphoria” I can’t help but not think about the Eurovision performance.
Now I will use the word ‘epic’ a lot but Loreen’s performance of “Euphoria” is epic on many levels.
You are drawn to Loreen as she dances or almost floats about, barefoot, on the large dark platform and with wind machines blasting just adding to the emotion of the performance. The drop of snow brings that element of nature which makes the performance primitive. It is iconic, timeless and most of all infectious.
The Swedes showed us that we can take Eurovision more seriously as a music competition.
The music itself IS very Swedish, but at the same time it’s also one of a kind. To me listening to it is a guilty pleasure, its like being handed a sundae with a lot of topping and sprinkles and it just tastes amazing. From the starting siren to Loreen’s emotive vocals you get a sense of urgency, like something big and epic is about to happen. And it does, Loreen takes you into a different realm where we get to escape with her.
I recall in 2012, when I travelled through Europe and “Euphoria” was my go to song on my iPod. Whether I listened to it when I walked through the bustling streets of Istanbul, riding on a bus through farming areas of rural Greece or even catching my ride back to my friends house in London after the late night pub curfew. As wanky as it sounds, the song’s timelessness resonated with me in every location I listened to it.
In the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, “Euphoria” entered as the hot favourite. It was selected as the top song by the OGAE Song Poll (an international organisation consisting of Eurovision fan clubs). The song also won two prestigious Marcel Bezençon Awards in the Artistic and Composer categories.
In the Grand Final Loreen’s “Euphoria” scored very well! She received points from every country apart from Italy, and scored a record 18 sets of 12 points (a record at the time) becoming the clear winner from both the televoters and jurors. It gave her a whopping 392 points the second highest total points at the time and Sweden’s fifth Eurovision Contest win.
You also can’t ignore its commercial success. “Euphoria” did impressively well, selling over 2 million copies worldwide. It charted across Europe, and reached number one in seventeen countries, making it the most successfully charting Eurovision song ever, it even charted better than “Waterloo”. It reached number 3 in the United Kingdom, making it the highest charting non-UK Eurovision song since Johnny Logan’s “Hold Me Now” which reached number 2 in 1987. In Australia it reached number 36 on the ARIA singles chart and number 4 on the ARIA dance chart and at the time it was the highest charting Eurovision song on the Australian singles chart since Gina G’s 1996 Eurovision banger "Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit” which reached number 8.
Loreen’s performance has also left a lasting legacy online, as now after close to 8 years “Euphoria” is still in the top 5 most watched Eurovision songs/performances on the official Eurovision Song Contest YouTube channel.
Top 5 Eurovision songs/performances total overall views on the official Eurovision Song Contest YouTube channel (total video views of music videos, live performances and rehearsals)
1. Netta - Toy - 2018 - 193.5 million views
2. Måns Zelmerlöw - Heroes - 2015 - 83.6 million views
3. Jessy Matador - Allez Ola Olé - 2010 - 81.5 million views
4. Conchita Wurst - Rise Like a Phoenix - 2014 - 81.3 million views
5. Loreen - Euphoria - 2012 - 77.4 million views
As shown above in the Top 5 total overall YouTube views “Euphoria” is still in the top 5 most viewed YouTube videos and the second oldest song to still be in the top 5 after Jessy Matador’s “Allez Ola Olé” (It has millions of views as the French broadcaster promoted Jessy’s song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup!). On the official Eurovision Song Contest YouTube channel the “Euphoria” Grand Final live performance is the fifth most watched video overall, and second most watched Grand Final live performance after Måns Zelmerlöw’s performance of “Heroes”.
The song itself has also become a popular cover, and possibly the best to rival the most covered Eurovision song of all time “Nel blu, dipinto di blu (Volare)” by Domenico Modugno. “Euphoria” has been covered by many over the years, most notably by Icelandic singers Sverrir Bergmann and Halldór Gunnar who covered “Euphoria” not long after her win in 2012 and they managed to reach number 5 on the Icelandic music charts.
It has also been covered by:
- American singer Gavin Mikhail on his 2012 album “Some Die Young”
-Swedish band Bengt Hennings on their 2012 album “Scenen är vår”
-Adolf Fredrik’s Music School, following their performance on Melfest 2013
-Swedish metal band Reinxeed on their compilation “Swedish Hitz Goes Metal Vol II
-Australian singer Greg Gould on his 2017 “Don’t Let Go” EP
-German Eurovision winner Nicole who sung a German version on her 2017 album 12 Punkte
Also it has been performed on many reality singing shows over the years.
Most notably by:
-Julia Plaksina on X Factor 3 2012-2013 in Ukraine
-Slovenia’s 2011 Eurovision entrant Maja Keuc, who did an amazing rendition of “Euphoria” on EMA 2015
-Thalia and Miriam who performed a version of the song in 2017 on the Spanish reality show Operación Triunfo
-Isabelle on The Voice Kids Germany 2019
-and most regrettably on X Factor: Celebrity in 2019 by Jenny Ryan.
For those that want to see “Euphoria” crash and burn be patient, over the years the points that “Euphoria” has been receiving is slowly getting chipped away, so rest assured that you will see a new Eurovision number one at the top of ESC250 in your lifetime.
If I am proven wrong and “Euphoria” loses its top spot placing a big question arises.
Who is the worthy winner to be crowed the best ESC250 song of 2019?
Can “Fuego” actually climb from second place to the top?
Will this years Eurovision televote winners KEiiNO’s “Spirit In The Sky” or Eurovision winner Duncan Laurence’s “Arcade” surprise us all?
Will the big fan favourite and strong music streamed “Soldi” from Mahmood smash it into the top spot?
At the end it all comes down to the fact that the countdown happens on New Years Eve to lead us all into the New Year, so which Eurovision song would you actually want to hear to celebrate 2020?
I really hope we leave the previous year behind and hit the reset button and celebrate the New Year with something euphoric! “Forever, ’til the end of time”! Well at least for one more year.
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