#7 – Sopho – Visionary Dream (Georgia 2007)
From one underappreciated entry to…a slightly less underappreciated entry. While many countries take a few years to ‘warm up’ and ‘get’ how the contest works and where they fit in the world of Eurovision, Georgia got it in one attempt. I deem Visionary Dream to be the gold standard of how to debut at Eurovision, a feat only Kazakhstan at Junior have reached since. What makes this so exceptional? Georgia came into the contest knowing exactly what they wanted to present and how to do it. The song, though in English, is a celebration of the rich and dynamic culture of Georgia. As Europe welcomed Georgia to the contest, Georgia welcomed us to what was going to be a long and exciting run of entries thereafter.
#6 – Doris Dragovic – Marija Magdelena (Croatia 1999)
Now, I tried desperately to include a broader range of entries beyond the last 20 years…and failed miserably. Much of this is down to the fact that I have struggled to sit through many of the pre-90s contests. During my revisiting of the 1990s Eurovision categlogue this summer, this song stood out from the era. Doris oozes charisma, passion and diva…ness throughout the peformance, rightfully claiming Croatia’s best result to date. Of course, the epic tearaway wasn’t the only stunt Doris pulled that night; the entry is now shrouded in controversy due to the use of pre-recorded backing vocals. Naturally, this element of controversy only makes me adore this more.
#5 – Zlata Ognevich – Gravity (Ukraine 2013)
Speaking of goddesses, I had to show some appreciation for Zlata Ognevich. While I tend to prefer the more dramatic and brooding entries, I can’t deny the lightness and charm of Gravity. Zlata stands in one spot (after being placed on a pedistal by a giant…for some reason) and manages to captivate you effortlessly for three minutes. This performance also features perhaps the most note-perfect vocal we’ve heard at the contest in recent years. She glides through an impressive range without even breaking a sweat. It’s very difficult to create a ‘whimsical’ stage show without being tacky, at yet, Zlata being such a formidable performer gives the song more credibility than it has any right having.