Group C represents a bit of a Francophone throwback as Luxembourg and Monaco both stake claims for their inclusion in the Last 16 of the Eurovision championships. Both nations have had fair amounts of success at the contest despite their size and will be keen to throw their heritage into the mix in order to assert their dominance (especially top seeds Luxembourg). They will need to be wary though, Denmark have won the contest as recently as 2013 and were the top-ranked seed in the second pot. Serbia may not have had decades of Eurovision history like their competitors but they have achieved a lot in a short space of time and will be keen to make use of their status as the only Balkan nation to not require qualifying for the tournament. Your votes will decide our two qualifiers. Will you go for Eurovision classicism and heritage or will you go for the more recent bops that you know and love?
Luxembourg (1965 & 1983)
We start in 1965 in Naples with a woman named France Gall and her ‘Poupée de cire, poupée de son’ (‘Wax doll, Rag doll’). This wasn’t the first time that Luxembourg managed to triumph at the Eurovision Song Contest but it is definitely the most famous and the victory would be massive for the careers of both France Gall and writer Serge Gainsbourg. To zoom out for a moment on Luxembourg at the contest, they have competed 38 times, have won it 5 times but have done so with foreign artists. Of the 38 competing acts, only 9 were Luxembourgish. Whilst this may seem like a strange set of numbers, I can deduce two things, one – what an amazing proportion of entries to victories and two – what a fantastic blueprint for micronations to have more success at Eurovision moving forward. It’s not just the old years that they’re having success with either. In 1983 Corinne Hermès won the contest in Munich singing ‘Si la vie est cadeau’ beating out Eurovision classics from Israel and Sweden. Luxembourg were not just a fixture at Eurovision, they punched above their weight consistently to challenge the summit of the scoreboard. Sure, their identity at Eurovision may be France 2.0 but doesn’t it say a lot that with half the total number of participations, Luxembourg still have the same number of victories as their French neighbours. The data alone surely defines them as being worthy of a vote.
Denmark (2000 & 2013)
Despite their glittering history at the contest, I actually think that Denmark are very underrated in the context of how they are seen at the contest. Sure, they are unlucky to exist in the shadow of their Swedish neighbours but even in comparison to fellow Scandinavians Norway, they aren’t appreciated as much for their contribution to the contest. Step forward two stories of Danes who crossed the Øresund Bridge and brought the contest back to Copenhagen the following year. Very little was expected of the Olsen Brothers in 2000 when they stepped onto the stage at the Globen to perform ‘Fly on the Wings of Love’ but they led the voting in Stockholm from start to finish and the song has gone on to become a true Eurovision classic. 13 years later and Emmelie De Forest only had to travel as far as Malmö to romp home to a very expected victory with ‘Only Teardrops’. What’s the Danish identity? To be honest, it’s shifted around quite a bit since their first victory with ‘Dansevise’ in 1963 and the Hot Eyes era of the ‘80s. Since the language rule changed however, it’s clear to me that a Danish entry is packed full of heart, has sweet lyrics and remains confidently itself without feeling arrogant or aggressive. It’s Sweden without the pressure of consistency, Norway with more passion and Germany with more quality and Eurovision knowhow. If that’s exactly what speaks to you, then it’s time to get out the vote.
Monaco (1971 & 1978)
Whilst it might seem silly to call Monaco’s attitude to Eurovision as being that of a poor man’s France, the decisions made around Monaco’s Eurovision entries suggest it may be a more accurate statement than first thought. Sure, Monaco is a powerful principality with many extremely wealthy and powerful residents but has that really translated down into the music? After all, they did send a 12 year old boy to Madrid in 1969. Yes, Séverine did win the contest for Monaco with her song ‘Un banc, un arbre, une rue’ in Dublin in 1971 and Caline & Olivier Toussaint placed in a very respectable 4th in Paris in 1978 with the aptly titled ‘Les jardins de Monaco’ but has Monaco’s contribution to Eurovision ever felt particularly special? Personally, I think they gave up on modern Eurovision too soon and that there was some real potential in songs like Lise Darly’s 2005 entry ‘Tout de moi’ but I suppose we will never know for sure with no hope present that Monaco will attempt to return to the contest. But if the Monagesque attitude to Eurovision hits the money for you then make sure that you vote!
Serbia (2007 & 2012)
Serbia represent the classic Balkan nation. Their entries are not only of a high standard but represent a sound and aesthetic that transports you directly to that part of the world. That was what Marija Šerifović managed to do so successfully in 2007 in Helsinki when her song ‘Molitva’ sung in beautiful Serbian transcended the language barrier to touch people across Europe. Five years later, Željko Joksimović travelled to Baku and successfully placed 3rd with the classic Balkan ballad ‘Nije ljubav stvar’. The Balkan nations have not had the most success at Eurovision and none of them have been able to concoct a consistent formula for performing well at the contest but what is certain is that Serbia have come closest. On the three occasions that Serbia have missed out on a Grand Final, they have done so by the narrowest of margins. When they have qualified for the Grand Final, not only have they given the contest many great moments but they have proudly represented the musical culture of a part of Europe that is certainly underrepresented but is nonetheless very special and deserves to be celebrated. Would the last 16 of the Eurovision Championships feel complete without the only Balkan winner to date present? If the answer is no, make sure that they get your vote!
Please vote no later than 23.59 BST July 13th and look out for July 14th when we will release the vote for Group D, a Northern European affair to be fought out between France ( On Bastille day too!), Belgium, Finland & Iceland.
This article was written by Fin Ross Russell (Internationalist Eurovision Blog)