OPINION: There's no argument that despite all the poppy, bombastic and downright cheesy goodness that many attribute Eurovision with, there's always been room for a bit of the heavy stuff as well.
In fact, picking a rock or metal act has been a winning formula for some countries and led them to Eurovision glory.
Look no further than one of the competition's G.O.A.T's - the butt-kicking monsters Lordi from Finland who blitzed the rest of Europe in 2006, and Måneskin who triumphed in their maroon glam gear for Italy in 2021.
But along with those two bands saluting, there's also been other quality acts which have broken down the competition's stereotypes, won their way in to viewers' hearts and brought plenty of distortion and flames to the Eurovision stage over the years.
Here's my take on five of the most rockin' Eurovision entries that didn't win, but still made headbangers proud.
Blind Channel - 'Dark Side' (Finland, 2021)
6th place in Grand Final
After winning their national selection in a landslide, there was a big hype on these guys as they brought their Linkin Park-esque sound to Rotterdam.
It was clear in 2021 that pandemic-weary viewers were up for something loud that packed a punch, and Blind Channel delivered in spades.
They arrived with a bang with flames flying from 10 seconds in, and didn't let up the pace for the full three minutes, polishing it off with some death metal screams at the end. In fact, I thought they were better than fellow rockers Måneskin, who ended up winning the whole thing.
Blind Channel gave Finland their best overall finish in years (6th), and they were a big hit with viewers too, who placed them fourth in the televote with a whopping 218 points, only behind Ukraine, and favourites France and Italy.
AWS - 'Viszlát Nyár' (Goodbye Summer) (Hungary, 2018)
21st place in Grand Final
These guys also brought plenty of flames and delivered a knockout performance on stage, but criminally finished well down the order.
Not to be confused with the work-from-home system you probably got used to during the pandemic, metalcore act AWS were Hungary's reps in 2018.
They got their lions share of the pyrotechnics budget, and who could forget one of the guitarists doing a mini stage dive during the breakdown, as lead singer Örs Siklósi (R.I.P.) ran around the stage perimeter screaming his lungs out.
It would be fair to say they created the closest thing to a mosh pit in Eurovision history.
Teräsbetoni - 'Missä Miehet Ratsastaa' (Where Do The Men Ride?) (Finland, 2008)
22nd place in Grand Final
Can somebody explain to me how thunderous riffs, chants of 'Hoo! Ha!' and plenty of leather and headbanging came fifth last?
Sure, we might not have understood what they were saying, and their band name might mean 'Reinforced Concrete' in English, but Teräsbetoni brought power metal with style in the 2008 Contest in Serbia.
Perhaps after Lordi's win two years earlier, fans thought it was a bit same-old same-old from Finland.
Wig Wam - 'In My Dreams' (Norway, 2005)
9th place in Grand Final
Glam metal got its moment to shine in 2005 when Norway entered Wig Wam.
Aside from doing all the cliches and nailing their outfits to a T, 'In My Dreams' was a brilliantly produced track. Lead singer Glam (yes, that's the stage name he went for) commanded the stage, and was well supported by guitarist Teeny, bassist Flash and drummer Sporty, along with the backing vocal chicks who came along for the ride.
Good luck getting that killer chorus out of your head (C'mon, C'mon, C'mon!).
Hatari - 'Hatrið mun sigra' (Hate Will Prevail) (Iceland, 2019)
10th place in Grand Final
Alright, they're not exactly amped-up rock, but Hatari bought a different kind of heavy with their dark synthy beats, industrial sounds and oh-so-gothic vocals in Tel Aviv in 2019.
Decked out in BDSM gear, not only did they deliver Iceland its first Grand Final qualification in five years, they also gave the country its first top 10 finish in a decade.
And after THAT controversial stunt supporting Palestine when their votes came through, it's fair to say the band left a mark in lots of fans' minds.
And, an honourable mention to:
Voyager - 'Dreamer' (Australia Decides 2022)
2nd place at 'Eurovision - Australia Decides'
I'll get it straight off my chest - the jury system robbed these guys from repping Australia in Turin this year, and I daresay a lot of the Australia Decides viewers would agree with me.
Some prog metal songs can be really... REALLY long with all sorts of twists and turns, but Voyager managed to bottle it all up and bring it to the masses in a three-minute banger with 'Dreamer'. Throw in plenty of white lights and a killer live performance, and they were the clear winners of the public vote, earning a maximum of 60 points.
While it will be hard to top 'Dreamer', fingers crossed Voyager give Australia Decides another go in the future, they deserve the opportunity to show Europe what they've got.
So there you have it - some of the best heavy entries we've seen at Eurovision in recent years. While we can probably rely on the Scandi nations to give us a few more amped-up offerings in the years to come, fingers crossed we see more countries go down this path and give us something to rock out to in the early hours of Sunday morning at least once a year.
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