The Haus of Baptiste: The Definitive Ranking of Sacha-Jean Baptiste’s Eurovision Stagings
Countries from all over Europe (and Australia!) come to one woman for their staging at the Eurovision Song Contest, and that woman is none other than Sacha-Jean Baptiste!
Sacha-Jean Baptiste is a Swedish choreographer, dancer, and show producer. She has been creative director for Sweden’s national selection show Melodifestivalen in 2018 and 2019, and has staged many Eurovision entries. She has also created stage performances for superstars such as Zara Larsson and has worked on the Swedish TV shows ‘Sommarkrysset’ and ‘Idol’ (Swedish Idol).
Having been the mastermind behind 16 different stagings at Eurovision so far (21 after the 2021 contest), it’s fair to say that Sacha-Jean Baptiste knows her way around a stage. But which stagings were her best work and which missed the mark? It’s time to find out with the definitive ranking of all of the Haus of Baptiste’s stagings!
16. Georgia 2017: Keep the Faith - Tamara Gachechiladze (11th place, 1st semi final)
‘Keep the Faith’ remains Sacha-Jean Baptiste’s only non-qualification to date out of her 16 Eurovision stagings thus far. This means that her stagings currently qualify to the final 93.75% of the time, which is an equal qualification rate to Sweden’s entries at Eurovision. An impressive feat - only two countries to date have a better qualification rate than her (Ukraine and Australia both sit at 100% qualification rates since they both began participating in the Contest).
15. Cyprus 2016: ‘Alter Ego’ - Minus One (21st place, 96 points)
The staging for ‘Alter Ego’ captures Cypriot rock band Minus One’s energy perfectly. The band are placed in cages with smoke covering the stage floor and strobe lights flashing above them. These are all tropes reminiscent of rock acts from Melfest, imbuing the performance with a camp quality and a glam rock edge. In the process, these staging techniques help to make a rock act like Minus One more accessible to a wider audience who may not ordinarily gravitate towards rock music.
14. Australia 2018: ‘We Got Love’ - Jessica Mauboy (20th place, 99 points)
Sacha gave Jessica Mauboy a platform to showcase her Aboriginal culture on the Eurovision stage through traditional dance, but sadly, their efforts were not rewarded by the European public. Poor Jessica Mauboy came dangerously close to winning the 2018 Barbara Dex award and came 20th in the final with just 9 televote points...oof!
13. Georgia 2016: ‘Midnight Gold’ - Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz (20th place, 104 points)
This trippy stage show with kaleidoscope effects and flashing lights fits the psychedelic mood of ‘Midnight Gold’ to a tee. The effects, which mirrored and duplicated the performers’ images through the cameras, took a lot of rehearsal time to perfect. The last minute of this staging is the reason that Eurovision comes with a strobe lighting warning!
12. Armenia 2017: ‘Fly With Me’ - Artsvik (18th place, 79 points)
This staging combines the use of creative camera angles with hypnotising hand-choreography and voguing that needs to be seen to be believed! These details are also combined with classic Sacha Jean-Baptiste staging elements such as smoke machines, strutting, pyro and flashing strobe lights to create one of the ultimate Haus of Baptiste stagings of all time!
11. Russia 2011: ‘Get You’ - Alexey Vorobyov (16th place, 77 points)
Sacha-Jean Baptiste’s first ever Eurovision staging was not for her homeland of Sweden but actually for Russia! Slick and synchronised boy-band-esque dance moves combine with light-up shoes and even light-up jackets spelling Alex’s name in what is a fantastic first step in a long line of memorable Eurovision moments showcased in 3 minutes.
10. Bulgaria 2018: ‘Bones’ - Equinox (14th place, 166 points)
Bulgaria and Equinox were one of the betting odds favourites coming into the 2018 Contest, but this dark, moody and minimalist staging missed the mark, landing the “common framework” in 14th place in the final.
9. Cyprus 2019: ‘Replay’ - Tamta (13th place, 109 points)
Male backing dancers were selected instead of female ones and fire was traded for water (in the form of wet hair) to avoid too many comparisons to the song’s predecessor ‘Fuego’. But we all remember where we were when the rehearsal video of those exploding pyro rockets dropped 2 years ago! Sacha played to Tamta’s strengths as a performer with dynamic choreography.
8. Georgia 2015: ‘Warrior’ - Nina Sublatti (11th place, 51 points)
This staging was infamous for a smoke machine mishap at the Grand Final, resulting in Nina being completely obscured by the smoke in some shots, but that didn’t stop Sacha Jean-Baptiste and Nina Sublatti from getting one of Georgia’s best results of the decade! Who knows, perhaps that incident helped to define the word ‘oximated’!
7. Australia 2017: ‘Don’t Come Easy’ - Isaiah Firebrace (9th place, 173 points)
Isaiah Firebrace looked sleek with a long, dark grey trench coat and wind machine-ready hair, but it was the turntable that was the main element of Australia’s 2017 staging!
Could there be a connection between Sacha Jean-Baptiste’s stagings and poor results for Australia in the televote? Despite scoring well with the juries, this entry scored just 2 points from European televoters...ouch!
6. Lithuania 2016: ‘I’ve Been Waiting For This Night’ - Donny Montell (9th place, 200 points)
Sacha-Jean Baptiste helped to deliver Lithuania’s best result of the 2010s. This staging was incredibly polished, yet Donny Montell brought his own raw edge to the performance, giving it plenty of character. Donny’s boundless energy and that jump out of the smoke helps to provide a truly impactful show!
5. Armenia 2016: ‘LoveWave’ - Iveta Mukuchyan (7th place, 249 points)
Pyro, holograms, Iveta herself, strategic camera angles, and many, many jump cuts combine to deliver not just a stage show but an experience! ‘LoveWave’ remains one of the most technically advanced Eurovision performances ever, and proves that a singer does not always need to have too much movement to deliver a memorable stage show and choreography.
4. Sweden 2019: ‘Too Late For Love’ - John Lundvik (5th place, 334 points)
Despite being announced as the jury winner during the final of Eurovision 2019, leading to the image of that famous unamused John Lundvik reaction face, it was later discovered by Twitter user @euro_bruno that the results were incorrect, and that Tamara Todevska’s entry ‘Proud’ representing North Macedonia actually won the jury vote, with John Lundvik coming 2nd in the jury vote and 9th in the televote to come 5th overall. Bathed in gold light, John Lundvik and the Mamas took Eurovision viewers to church with their uplifting gospel pop entry ‘Too Late for Love’.
3. Switzerland 2019: ‘She Got Me’ - Luca Hanni (4th place, 364 points)
Luca Hanni took Europe dirty dancing in 2019 with ‘She Got Me’. While Luca’s athleisure look was a departure from his sleek suit from the song’s music video, it provided him with plenty of room to move and showcase his dancing skills in front of a background that matched the Swiss flag’s colours.
Also can we talk about the perfect timing of that jump?!
2. Cyprus 2018: ‘Fuego’ - Eleni Foureira (2nd place, 436 points)
This song and staging need no introduction. ‘Fuego’ is one of the most iconic stage shows of the 2010s in the Eurovision Song Contest and it’s partially thanks to the Haus of Baptiste that Cyprus’ best ever Eurovision result came in 2018. From Eleni Foureira’s slow-motion silhouetted strut at the start of the song, to the flawless hair-ography (seriously Eleni what’s your secret?!) and enough pyro to truly live up to the song’s title, this staging helped define the Contest for years to come. ‘Fuego’ actually won the televote in Semi Final 1, but was pipped to the post by contest winner ‘Toy’ in the final, coming 2nd in the televote and 5th in the jury vote to take the silver medal for the island nation.
1. Bulgaria 2017: ‘Beautiful Mess’ - Kristian Kostov (2nd place, 615 points)
This is definitively Sacha-Jean Baptiste’s best ever staging, and the results reflect it. Coming second in the televote, second in the jury vote, and second overall in the final, Sacha-Jean Baptiste helped Kristian Kostov deliver Bulgaria’s best Eurovision result of all time. Kristian Kostov won Semi Final 2 of 2017 convincingly, topping both the televote and the public vote in the Semi Final, but was beaten in both votes by Portugal in the final.
With a modern outfit, choreography reminiscent of a K-Pop idol, and plenty of on-screen visual effects for the viewers at home seamlessly complementing the LED backdrop, the stage show for ‘Beautiful Mess’ serves as proof that yes, Sacha-Jean Baptiste can stage a ballad!
No wins.... yet
Did you know that no single Sacha-Jean Baptiste staging has ever won the jury vote or the televote in the final, or the contest overall?
Sacha is working with Albania, Georgia and Sweden, as well as current betting odds favourites Malta and Switzerland this year.
Can the Haus of Baptiste break their hoodoo and top a scoreboard in the final in 2021? Stay tuned to find out!