Top 11 Eurovision 2015 Finalist Performances

The points have been added up and a new Eurovision winner has been crowned! Our MuseLed favourite (as evidenced by our Melodifestivalen coverage), Måns Zelmerlöw, has won the Eurovision trophy, shot to number 1 in numerous countries, and gained the 3rd highest point-total as a Eurovision winner to date!

Semi-final 1's greatest injustice was our dear Uzari and Maimuna of Belarus being left behind in a mere 12th place. Admittedly, they would have been better off re-creating the drama and energy of the music video by bringing the hour glass, wind machines, pyro, and smoke to the live performance. As such, we couldn't be completely surprised by their lack of qualifying to the finals, though we were no less disappointed, especially when the droopy, downtrodden "Wars for Nothing" and shockingly pitchy "I'm Alive" managed to make it through.

As for semi-final 2, which was disproportionately better than semi-final 1, there were more than 10 performances worthy of advancing to the finals so there was bound to be some upset. The greatest injustice was to Mélanie René, who came last in the semi-final with only 4 points in total (by comparison, Finland's PKN received 13 points). Vocally solid, visually strong in regards to wardrobe and staging, and with one of the more energetic power-ballads of this year, she definitely deserved better. Young Molly Sterling also gave a commendable performance and it's a pity that she couldn't have been one of the border-line qualifiers (as opposed to the vocally and melodically weak Monika/"In the Name of Love" or the incessantly repetitive and cheese-ridden "This Time"). The Czech Republic received their best placing to date, coming in 13th, and both Marta and Václav gave tremendous live vocal performances. We're hoping those two will pull a Valentina Monetta and come back next year with bigger and better songs (preferably something more up-tempo and energetic!)

But now that the confetti has settled, let's take a look at those finalists who shone brightest on stage in front of millions of viewers on the night of the grand finals!

11. Knez - "Adio" (Montenegro)

We can't stress enough the importance of being different amongst a jam-packed line-up. Despite the fact that this was another ballad, the melody was one of that "Balkan Ballad" flavour that appeals to many and it was also one of the few songs to not be performed in English! While many other ballads consisted of pretty women with their recycled wind-machines, Knez stayed entirely on tune, his backing vocalists also sounded excellent, and best of all, the song didn't wait till the last 30 seconds to do an entirely predictable kick-up. Instead, viewers were treated to an infectious and delightful little jig at the 2-minute mark that had us sitting up and shouting, "Teach us how to Adio, Knez!"

10. Bojana Stamenov - "Beauty Never Lies" (Serbia)

Many a non-ESC-fan viewer tunes in to Eurovision in order to see a camp spectacle that's high-energy and unlikely to be seen anywhere else in mainstream music. "Beauty Never Lies" brought just that, complete with a wardrobe change on the part of the back-up dancers and a dance-beat brought in at the 2-minute mark. But what made this number translate especially well was Bojana's powerhouse vocals and the genuine emotionality she brought to the message of the song. It was composed just for her and you could feel that she meant every word of what she was singing.

9. Elnur Hüseynov - "Hour of the Wolf" (Azerbaijan)

Elnur has spoken on record about how for him, the message of his song was about animal rights and wanting to save the wolves. How adorable is that?! No one can doubt his vocal ability, particularly when he leaps into those vocal gymnastics. Though we were a bit confused by the use of the back-up dancers and what exactly their interpretive routine was meant to be portraying, the woodsy background, strong song, and slightest touch of 'what?', had us feeling tickled by the charm of this number.

8. Il Volo - "Grande Amore" (Italy)

Though a bit old-fashioned, who can deny the Armani popera majesty of Il Volo's "Grande Amore"? It's nice to see a younger generation bringing a more classic style of music to the public and for it to be embraced so tremendously. The staging was relatively simple but decent enough and Il Volo can now revel in the fact that with the highest number of televotes received, they have a tremendous opportunity to carry on bringing their music back to the European market.

7. Maraaya - "Here for You" (Slovenia)

Oh Maraaya, you'll always have a special place in our hearts for this infectiously catchy pop-number. Perhaps one of the things we'd have liked more for the number is that the space on the stage be used more and the backing percussion be turned up louder but with the mad-air-violinist, Raay's infectious smile, and Marjetka's vocals delivering character, (also the wind machine! Drink!), it was still an excellent number.

6. Elina Born and Stig Rästa - "Goodbye to Yesterday" (Estonia)

Delivering a cinematic staging to more throughly deliver the song's narrative, "Goodbye to Yesterday" was right to earn a spot in the top 10. Both Elina and Stig were terrific actors as well, which was showcased even more so by the spot-on camera work. Stig's slightly disinterested demeanour coupled with Elina's steely-to-emotional looks made for a powerful performance. (Also Elina was hot hot hot! Behold a 1960's-era goddess on that stage!)

5. Nina Sublatti - "Warrior" (Georgia)

We wanted to rank this even higher but considering there were a couple slightly-pitchy moments (we're assuming she had trouble hearing the backing track with all those epic, pounding drums), we had to put this 5th. Putting that aside, this was truly the feminist anthem of the whole contest and Nina Sublatti rallied us all to battle against the patriarchy with her fierce wardrobe, intense staging, and relentless intensity. Smoke, flashing lights, and a raging storm with lighting and wings in her backdrop? Nina Sublatti delivered quality drama and theatricality like no other!

4. Loïc Nottet - "Rhythm Inside" (Belgium)

We're so pleased that so many of our top-ranked songs before the competition aired ended up delivering such quality performances live! Loïc's live vocals were just as good as the studio version and he brought his artistic-weirdo ways to Eurovision and we absolutely loved it! With the message of the song being that it was okay to be different, Loïc stayed true to his artistry as his staging, choreography, and crazy-eyed mouth covering made believers out of many as he ended up finishing fourth in the whole contest!

3. Nadav Guedj - "Golden Boy" (Israel)

Though Israel has had a rough go in Eurovision for the last few years, Nadav and his infectious cultural-fusion dance-pop and high energy won over fans and juries to give Israel it's best results since 2008. Unsurprisingly, the staging included flashing golden lights and Nadav's wardrobe included bright gold trainers. There was such enthusiasm to the performance and uncontrived joy that it was no wonder that this number placed in the top 10. Here's hoping for all the best for Nadav and his career. Release more quality tracks like this and keep the party going!

2. Guy Sebastian - "Tonight Again" (Australia)

Brace yourself for vocal slayage because Guy Sebastian is in the house! This may have been Australia's one-off participation in Eurovision but Guy Sebastian and his phenomenal team of backing vocalists put nearly everyone else in the whole contest to shame! On top of the magnificent vocals, there was funky choreography framed by some street lights, and more soul in a single number than the oh-so-vanilla Eurovision has had in 60 years of contests. Thank you Guy Sebastian (and back-up singers) for taking the stage and showing Europe just what it means to be a show-stopper!

1. Måns Zelmerlöw - "Heroes" (Sweden)

What can we even say about this perfection that we haven't said already? The third time truly was the charm for Måns Zelmerlöw after being robbed twice of the opportunity to compete in Eurovision. But were it not for those other missed connections, we might not have ever been graced with the pop-perfection that is "Heroes." As Måns told us back during Melodifestivalen, the story behind the song and staging is that everyone can be a hero to the children and inspire them to make a better world, and the animated stick-figure is a representation of his younger self when he was bullied, lost all his friends, only for the power of friendship to turn things around and bring everyone together once again. With the plucky Spaghetti-Western guitar, sweeping hook, killer chorus, never-miss-a-note vocals (except when you're too choked up by the fact that you just won Eurovision), and spot-on choreography interwoven with a 21st-century animation show, this is the number that is propelling Eurovision into the future, and Måns Zelmerlöw into a whole other level of stardom. Now that we've effectively waffled yet again about this magnificent number, we'll take a moment to plug the fact that Måns' new studio album, "Perfectly Damaged," will be released on June 5 and is available for pre-ordering. Congratulations Måns, and all of team #MZHeroes, on this truly deserved victory.

Honourable mention: Conchita Wurst - "Unstoppable" / "Firestorm" (Austria)

Despite the fact that host-country Austria walked away from the competition with a whopping zero points, Conchita Wurst was an utter star from the first semi-final all the way through the finals of this year's Eurovision. (Seriously, can we keep her on as the green-room correspondent next year in Sweden?) Queen Conchita took to the stage after the 27 finalists had performed to treat us all with a fabulous rendition of her latest single, "You are Unstoppable," and Euro-dance bop, "Firestorm."

Until next year, that about wraps up our coverage of Eurovision 2015. Stay tuned for further MuseLed (pop) music reviews and coverage!


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