A Look Back at the Most Shocking Eurovision Moments

An aerial view of Helsinki, overlooking the city.

Confetti cannons at the ready, it’s almost time for this year’s Eurovision song contest. Once again, countries from across Europe and further afield (more on that later) will gather to battle it out to see who gets bragging rights for the next 12 months. The Eurovision always brings the glitz, the glam and the downright bizarre - and we can’t wait to see what this year’s edition has in store! Over the last six decades, the competition has given us some amazing music and plenty of memorably shocking moments. We’ve compiled some of the best below.

Finland Brings the Metal

Sometimes, an act comes along that really tests the mettle of the Eurovision audiences. When Finnish band Lordi took to the stage in 2006 with the anthemic ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ they did just that. With their monstrous costumes and barrage of hard rock guitars, this was about as far away from Johnny Logan as it gets. It’s almost as if Finland - who had never won the contest and were starting to get a bit fed up - were trolling us all. Surely not. Whatever the plan, it worked. Lordi became the first metal band to win the contest and earned some mega fans in Europe to boot.

Russia Brings Their Granny

Another old favourite, who can forget the Russian grannies Buranovskiye Babushki? The six elderly pop princesses, who hailed from the tiny village of Buranovo, were hot favourites to win in 2012. And they charmed the press and audience alike with their inclusive number, ‘Party for Everyone’. Unfortunately, they failed to secure a win but ended up with a respectable second place.

The Riverdance Revolution

Riverdance renewed interest in Irish dancing

Shocking, in a sort of, ‘I can’t believe we pulled that out of the bag’ way. The show-stopping half-time interval act that was Riverdance floored us all and raised the bar for every Eurovision interval to come. As Terry Wogan commentated during the standing ovation, it was a performance to send “the small hairs rising on the back of every Irishman’s neck.” This thrilling act went on to take the world by storm and is still filling theatres to this day. A Eurovision moment to be proud of, although it does also take the blame for inflicting Michael Flatley on the world.

Bit of a Turkey

As an island, we were always going to be at a disadvantage when the telephone vote was introduced. Having failed several times to qualify in the newly introduced semi-final stage of the competition, in 2008 we decided that maybe a bit of novelty was the best way to go. And no better man (or bird) to bring the novelty than our own Dustin the Turkey. The spectacle of the mouthy feather ball wheeling around the stage shouting ‘Irelande Douze Pointe’ to a baffled audience was certainly one of the Eurovision’s stranger moments. But, unlike Lordi, the joke was lost on the audience and we didn’t even make it through to the qualifiers.

Australia Join the Contest

Young boy cheers for Australia in the Eurovision

Israel? Sure. Armenia? Maybe. But Australia? The 2015 announcement that the land down under would take part in next year’s Eurovision was definitely one of the most shocking in the competition’s history. But surprisingly, it turns out Aussies have always loved the Eurovision and have been broadcasting it for over thirty years. And they went down so well last year that they’ve been invited back again. If they win, don’t worry you won’t have to pack for a long-haul flight to Sydney - a European country will be selected to host.

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