We are sending “Xtra happy birthday” wishes to four countries today…even though we only have three Eurostars to celebrate. But how is that even possible?! Well, it’s not at all that complicated, really; one of our birthday girls didn’t represent her home country. Duh!
Gina G, 47
Let’s start with the reason for the “three artists, four countries” thing. Gina is from Australia, but in the 1996 Eurovision in Oslo she represented The United Kingdom. Despite only finishing in 8th place, her song “Ooh Aah…Just a Little Bit” became one of the biggest hits in the history of the contest. It charted (top 10) in several countries, including in UK, USA and Australia. To this day a lot of people still believe “Ooh Aah…Just a Little Bit” won Eurovision. It was even nominated for a Grammy in the Best Dance Record category. In 2005 Gina G attempted to represent the UK at Eurovision again, with the song “Flashback“, but was beaten by Javine’s “Touch My Fire”.
Maris Mihelsons, 42
Maris is the keybooardist and one of the founding members of Latvian success band Brainstorm. Together they represented Latvia at the 2000 Eurovision in Stockholm with their amazing “My Star”. Even though they should obviously have won, they finished in third place, behind Denmark and Russia.
Maria Haukaas Mittet, 38
Maria Haukaas Mittet represented Norway at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade. There she performed the fan favorite “Hold On Be Strong”, finishing in a very respectable fifth place. The year after she performed the duet “Killing Me Tenderly” with Anna Sahlene (Estonia 2002, Runaway) in Swedens Melodifestivalen. They finished second to last in their semifinal, thus not making it to the final. In 2010 she took part in Melodi Grand Prix again, with the song “Make My Day“. This time she wasn’t as successful as in 2008. She made it to the national final, but didn’t place among the top four that made it to the gold final.
All of us here at escXtra hope that Gina, Maris and Maria have Xtra super happy birthdays today!