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(F): from Fabrizio to FYROM

KEY: Winner Runner-up Third-place Top 5 Debut Entry Host Entry Last Place Nul Points

FABRIZIO (performer) Maltese entry, Copenhagen 2001: 9th place (48 pts), Athens 2006: 24th/last place (1pt)

He sounds like something an excitable Serie A commentator would extrapolate down a microphone in the aftermath of a particularly spectacular goal, but Fabrizio Faniello is in fact a Maltese poppy bopster who took it upon himself to represent his country at Eurovision 2001 with Another Bag of Sh*te. Sorry, that should be Another Summer Night.

Not only did Fab take it upon himself to represent Malta, he also thought it necessary to visit just about every bloody other competing country in that year's contest to let them know how spectacularly bland his song actually was.

This worked well in Denmark - who gave Malta the douze on the night - but not so well in the UK. Faniello's visit to Radio 2 led Terry Wogan to believe the Malteser was in fact there on some sort of cultural exchange work experience scheme, and so sent him down to the basement with a bucket of hot soapy water to give his car a good scrubbing before allowing him to know the security code to get into the gent's loos. (See also: 'I DO').

FALTER IM WIND (song) Austrian entry, Edinburgh 1972: 5th place (100 pts)
What viewers of the 1972 Eurovision were not aware was this is Love Shine A Light a quarter of a century early.

Admittedly, there are no soaring guitar solos and gospelly backing singers, but just try putting them on one after the other and you'll see what we mean.

Austrian folky funksters The Milestones certainly gave the Beeb a headache by needing so many instruments on stage for their performance of Falter Im Wind, but it was well worth the effort as this is one of the truly great not-very-Eurovisiony Eurovision songs. Do dig it out from somewhere/someone if you've never heard it.

Of course, an appearance at the pop candy floss factory wasn't the wisest move for this quite credible group. In order to compensate for this, they spent the remainder of their careers in the musical branch of the Austrian agit-prop movement penning such classics as Julie Andrews Wore No Knickers in Salzburg and Udo Jurgens Shagged My Mother for the underground market, which they performed wearing false beards.

FAME (fame-ly-four-minus-two) Swedish entry, Riga 2003: 5th place (107 pts)
They're gonna learn how to fly. Fifth!.

Such an obvious lack of chemistry between a pair of singers has never been more obvious since Sonny and Cher got an 'F' for science.

Taking the Swedish template for a Eurovision song and blu-tacking different chord sequences to it can still help you break 100 points though, even if you do have to look as though the male half of the act had a labotomy in the wings immediately prior to the performance.

Still, calling it Give Me a Personality would have been just plain cruel and any woman with the power to turn winter into summer is surely a force to be reckoned with.

FAMILY FOUR (group) Swedish entry, Dublin 1971: =6th place (85 pts), Edinburgh 1972: 13th place (75 pts)

Family Four are, of course, the most successful group ever to emerge from Sweden. This two-boy/two-girl line-up came to the rest of Europe's attention after appearing at the Eurovision Song Contest in both 1971 and 1972. They wrote simple, yet effective songs with irresistible hooks and the fact that the group's members were all related in some way proved irresistible to the public.

What is amusing however, is that the group had to ask Sweden's largest fish-canning company for the right to use the name 'Family Four'. The name was already used for the famous economy pack of raw herring which will do a family of four for one meal. They were only given permission if they promised not to bring the name into disrepute.
Note: 'Family Four' is an acronym for the group's Christian names. They were originally called 'Fergus, Arthur, Montague, Iolanthe, Lucy, Yvonne, Fiona, Ozwald, Ulrika and Roderick', but it would never fit on their album sleeves.

FANNY (chanteuse) French entry, Dublin 1997: 7th place (95 pts)
Pffffffffffff!! She's called Fanny!

However, we shall now attempt to be sensible. In 1997, France sent a young chanteuse who'd been singing since an early age, so she must have been gagging to give her tonsils a rest once she's finished the unremarkable (for the French) Sentiments Songes.

Her time in the Point's green room must have been the first time she'd stopped singing for years, so she wasn't too bothered about not winning.

But, pfffffffffffffff!! She's still called Fanny!

FANTASIAA (song) Finnish entry, Munich 1983: =11th place (41 pts)
The Finnish have such an unfairly woeful record at Eurovision they really will try anything to impress the juries. In 1983, they made entrant Ami Aspelund wear her grandmother's chintzy lampshade as a skirt.

And in another cruel twist, Fantasiaa is actually a very good Eurovision-style song which just the right amount of staccato piano and crowd-pleasing oomphh to guarantee an enthusiastic reaction in the hall which, somehow, never translates to the scoreboard.

Aspelund later admitted she knew of the song's fate before she even took to the stage and had the original title suitably adjusted to reflect her expectations of victory. She is planning on having another crack in 2004 with a song entitled Hopen in Hellen.

FEELING ALIVE (song) Cypriot entry, Riga 2003: 20th place (15 pts)
If Stelios had felt a live wire before coming out to sing, he'd be a tad more memorable.

Still white suit, Mediterranean strumming, pretty backing singers, postcard shot on the football pitch outside the hall, yadda-yadda...

Why don't you skip this one and read about Femminem instead?

FEMMINEM (lovely girls) Bosnia-Herzegovinan entry, Kiev 2005: 14th place (79 pts)
Why, oh *Why* didn't they use lace-trimmed chainsaws?

After Deen took the Bozzers down the techno path to 2005 qualification, it was up to this triumvirate of totty to follow the more traditional Euro-sounding route to success with a ditty all about Eurovision's 50th birthday (in the year it was 49).

There are wondrous things to consider about possibly the cleverest-named group ever to set foot on the Eurostage. The first is why the backing group appear to be singing their song for them. The second is why they sing the line 'Fifty candles on the pordy-cate' and the third is why they didn't take the Eminem motif even further by covering their faces with hockey masks for the entire performance.

FERNANDO EN PHILIPPO (song) Dutch entry, Luxembourg 1966: 15th place (2 pts)
Thirty-two years before the Beeb despatched Imaani to Birmingham, the Dutch had their own version in the shape of Milly Scott.

The jolly singer 'di-doh-doh-doe'-d down the steps into onto the Luxembourg '66 stage to perform the calypso style Fernando en Philippo. And just in case you hadn't guessed which two Santiago residents the song referred to, Milly very helpfully pointed to them in the appropriate bits of the song.

The whole thing is smashing fun, and very of its time, but poor Milly finished almost at the bottom of the pile as Udo's piano song took the trophy. She could see it coming though, and as viewers watched her disappear back up the stairs again at the song's finish, they may not have realised she was actually on her way to Luxembourg's only off licence for some consolatory booze and fags.

FERRY (performer) Austrian entry, Cannes 1959: =9th place (4 pts)
Ferry Graf was Austria's 1959 entrant with the song Der K und K Kalypso Aus Wein.

He was very careful never to sing this while travelling through Mississipi.

FEUER (song) German entry, Paris 1978: 6th place (84 pts)
The German entry of 1978 and, clearly, a tribute to performer Ireen Sheer's favourite bit of a hotel.

FIGHT (song) Moldovan entry, Helsinki 2007: 10th place (109 pts)
Natalia Barbu is Moldova's most prim and proper resident and will never be seen in public without garments which cover every inch of her flesh, including her face.

Her only exception to this rule is if she happens to be representing her proud nation at the Eurovision Song Contest, in which case she gets everything out for the lads and thinks nothing of thrusting various bits of said everything at the camera.

Once the Contest was over, Natalia returned to her job at Chisinau Public Library, where she continues to index its highly valuable thimble collection.

FINLAND (nation) First entry: Cannes 1961. 1 0 0
The wild card in the Scandinavian Euro-pack, before 2006, Finland never came within a reindeer's whisker of the winner's enclosure, suffering from the long-observed syndrome of 'submitting songs that are too good' (see 1977, 1987 and 1998 for further evidence). Although, they did send a man in a red suit with an anthem about nuclear disarmament in 1982, so perhaps we shouldn't be too analytical.

FOR A THOUSAND YEARS (song) Slovene entry, Jerusalem 1999: 11th place (50 pts)
Daarja Svager (I think that's how you spell it) is surely the most amorous woman to have ever donned a prissy yellow dress and sung at Eurovision.

Not content with just holding hands with her bloke in public, or maybe having a wee peck goodnight at the bus stop, she proudly admits she wants to 'touch him with her thighs' and 'caress you with my eyes'.

The song's title alludes to the mandatory sentence she would face if caught doing such shameless things on the streets of Llubjana. What next? Boys kissing during an Israeli entry? Bring back Pearl and Teddy, that's what *I* say...

FOR VAR JORD (song) Norwegian entry, Dublin 1988: 5th place (88 pts)
The UK jury liked the 1988 Norwegian entry so much they gave it 12 points. How kind of them.

Karoline Kreuger sang the song, but it was written by Anita Skorgan, who had been on the Eurovision stage so many times as a performer, the EBU had banned her from setting foot there ever again as she was starting to charge her backing singers rent.

This simple piano song saw a candleabra atop Karoline's joanna, as a juxtaposition with the hi-tech, dodgy perspective stage at Dublin '88. The candles were not made of wax though, but crack cocaine. Norwegian TV were still paying for the '86 contest and could only afford a single flight from Oslo to Dublin.

It was up to Karoline to venture out into undesirable Dublin streets after the show, where the street value of the candles would just about cover the fare home. It's true, Pat Kenny said.

FRA MOLS TIL SKAGEN (song) Danish entry, Dublin 1995: 5th place (92 pts)
Aah, a breath of fresh air in what Whoops considers to be the dullest Eurovision of the 90s.

This absurdly simple fifth-place finisher, sung by the laid back Aud Wilken, is about taking the train from Mols to Skagen - simple as that. Of course, Abba had taken the Waterloo line 21 years earlier, but inspiration for that came from the history book on the shelf.

Disturbingly, the semi-success Aud had with this song became something of an obsession with her. She has spent the last seven years traipsing the continent for a station called 'Here' and another called 'Eternity', just so she can write a song about it..

FRANCE (nation) First entry: Lugano 1956. 5 4 7
A country which has won the contest on five occasions, each time with some words put to a tune and sung by someone on a stage.

It is notable that each time France won, they did so by gaining more votes than any other participating country. No other country has ever achieved this distinction, with the exception of those that won in years when France didn't.

France got the most votes in 1969, but the Spanish hostess had had a bad omelette the night before and deliberately misheard the voting as an act of vengeance against French cuisine. It later transpired that France had gained ten votes from every jury (including the one seated in Paris).
Note: 'The luck of the French' is a phrase heard commonly across the continent, although it has fallen out of use since around 1991.

FRANCE (performer) Luxembourgeois entry, Naples 1965: 1st place (32 pts)
The god-daughter of Serge 'Ooh, J'taime' Gainsbourg, who very kindly scribed the '65 Luxembourgeoisie winner Poupee de Cire, Poupee de Son for her, France Gall later admitted to getting severe blisters in late 1965 as she walked all about the Grand Duchy looking for stockists of dolls that really were made of sound.

She eventually found one, in the Toy-cum-Fly Fishing emporium run by J R Hartley in Differdange.

FRANCES (performer) British entry, Dublin 1994: 10th place (63 pts)
Kidnapped from the West End stage for one night in 1994, Ms Ruffelle stuck coathangers in her hair and hit the Dublin audience with a superb anthem which deserved better than it got.

Public sympathy soon waned for the poorly treated songstress when it was revealed she wanted to buy a Man U G-String to impress her boyfriend, so the couple escaped the limelight by moving to a discreet cottage in a suburb of Segregation, where they could be freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee to write mad equations on their bedside blackboards.

FRANCINE (performer) Swiss entry, Tallinn 2002: 22nd place (15 pts)
The Swiss representative of 2002's resemblance to one Halle Berry is now well documented. However, what people may not know is that, in the event of winning, Francine Jordi had prepared a speech in homage to her face-sake's blubbery acceptance speech at the Academy Awards. It was discovered in Marie N's hatband and goes thus:

"This moment is about half as big again as I am. My victory is for all those who have gone before me (blubbers dramatically), Jane Bogaert, Barbara Berta, Kathy Leander and (especially dramatic tearful wince) Gunvor...
"I just want to say to all my sisters that you can acheive this as I have tonight. All you have to do is sing any old crap and then shag as many jury spokespeople as you can absolutely senseless the night before the show."

At this point, Francine had taken into account she may have been removed by contest security and did not finish that particular speech.

FRAUEN REGIER'N DE WELT (song) German entry, Helsinki 2007: 19th place (49 pts)
It isn't often you hear a swing number performed in Deutsch, but this was certainly one of the classier entries at Helsinki 2007.

Crooner Roger Cicero may have been likened to a butcher by UK commentator Terry Wogan, but the Irishman couldn't have been more mistaken.

Roger is in fact a candlestick maker, and spends many hours whittling away at his latest creations, to be despatched to the many women who rule the world. Roger is especially pleased with the pair of candlesticks he crafted for former UK premier Margaret Thatcher in the shape of Labour Party headquarters.

FRERE JACQUES (song) Luxembourgeois entry, London 1977: 16th place (17 pts)
One thing the BBC Concert Orchestra lacked in 1998 was the patented Hazlehurst wah-wah pedalling, present at both the Brighton and Wembley contests.

You can certainly hear it in Frere Jacques, another of those Luxembourgeosie entries to come so soon after the Duchy's 1972/3 double it was clearly entered not to win Eurovision.

Anne Marie B, the vocalist, had exercised some caution at using the same title as a French traditional song for fear of a plagiarism suit, but it was a far safer option than the composers' original choices: There's A Guy Works Down the Chipshop Swears He's Elvis or Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (Recognised Anthem of World Contact Day).

FRIDA (singer) French entry, Madrid 1969: =1st place (18 pts)
The voice of sixty-three angels, but unfortunately, the face of Joe Bugner, Frida was one of the 'Teatro Royal Four' who soared all the way to equal-first position in 1969 with Un Jour, Un Enfant. The song was actually a shrewd business ruse: advertising the hourly rates for the new child-minding agency she ran with the future '78 Luxembourg entrants. Unfortunately, the Boccara & Baccara Babysitting Service never really took off, because Frida forgot to include their phone number in the lyrics.

FRIZZLE SIZZLE (group) Dutch entry, Bergen 1986: 13th place (40 pts)
All barefoot and lined-up, Frizzle Sizzle held Dutch hopes high as they returned from a year off Eurovision duty for the 1986 Contest.

The song Alles Heeft Ritme was uptempo with a brass sound and saxophone riffs straight out of the theme tune to Pigeon Street.

Anglophonic ears will also pick up the following lines in Alles Heeft Ritme:

"You're compared to Shakespeare," and

"Let me sit in all the medicine."

Not that that's especially important, just thought I'd point it out.

FUR DEN FRIEDEN DER WELT (song) Austrian entry, Dublin 1994: 17th place (19 pts)
The Austrians very cunningly got off schnitzel-free with nicking the intro of Fur Alle, but nobody seemed to have noticed at the time, much as they didn't notice the extremely rude word which Petra Frey blatantly sings at the end of the second line.

Such behaviour was typical of Frey, who was let out of Austrian Borstal for the night especially to perform. Obviously not rehabilitated in the slightest, she did everything she could to spoil the other 1994 entrants' chances whilst backstage. This included setting Frances Ruffelle's electric curlers to 'thermo-nuclear', hiding Mekado's berets and pulling Roger Pontare's feathers out.

It was just unfortunate for the millions watching that her plan to replace Paul Harrington's guitar strings with razor wire was foiled at the last minute.

FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA (nation) First entry: Birmingham 1998. 0 0 0
It's still early Euro days for this nation, who have so far sent a man in a suit with backing singers dressed in sackcloth and a girl group who were flat in all the wrong departments. It is hoped that FYROM becomes a regular fixture on the ESC call-sheet however, as the act of reading the name of the nation on the caption from left to right during the reprise sequence will exercise neck muscles most Europeans never knew they had. They love us 100%, yes they do.

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