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(H): from Haldor to Hungary

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

HALDOR (singer) Norwegian entry, Copenhagen 2001: =22nd/last place (3 pts)
NRK rather cruelly thought that employing the scariest man in Norway to perform their entry for them in 2001 would make all the televoters hide in the kitchen until all the songs had been on, ensuring that the land of cloudberry and anorak finish at least fourth.

Haldor's song - On My Own - is a touching song prophecising how all of Norway will feel when their three nearest neighbours toddle off to Tallinn in 2002 to take part in the ESC, whilst they must stay at home.

Mind you, anyone who thinks going out on stage in a grey vest and a girly blouse-thing deserves to get relegated. Pssch! Three points too many if you ask me....

HALO HALO (song) Yugoslav entry, Harrogate 1982: 14th place (21 pts)
Yugoslavia's 1982 tribute to a pair of angels was ironically performed by three women who had clearly been dressed by the devil, with voice training from Cilla Black.

Only the gods will know why Sweden gave Aska the full twelve, and whatever possessed the one in the middle to wear those pants, but there are worse things to be remembered for I suppose.

Can't quite think of any at the moment though.
Whoops, Dragovic will get back to you.

HAJDE DA LUDUJEMO (song) Yugoslav entry, Zagreb 1990: 7th place (81 pts)
In an ideal world, Yugoslavia would have delayed their first win for a year, allowing Live Report the ESC victory they so much deserved, and then took the title in 1990 with this much, much better song instead.

The world isn't ideal though (gee, shucks). Tacji, the blondie bombshell who belted this wee number out for half the watching world, was wise not to repeat the hairstyle of Riva's lead singer, but it was recreated by Cameron Diaz in those infamous 'hair gel' scenes in There's Something About Mary.

HALLELUJAH (song) Israeli entry, Jerusalem 1979: 1st place (125 pts)
Only the 7th Israeli entrants since 1973 to have discovered how good they were at singing whilst on National Service, Milk and Honey kept the Euro trophy out of Europe for a further year with this song, which seems like it's been around since the time of Job.

It was written with Sunday School teachers who think they know 'where the kids are at' in mind by a pair of songwriters who held shares in Tel Aviv's foremost Golden Braces Suppliers.

The thirst for Golden Braces never arose, so the Suppliers moved to Sweden, where they turned their hand to cobbling instead (see DIGGI-LOO, DIGGI-LEY) and their hammers could be heard a-dinging from dawn til' night.

HANI (song) Turkish entry, Harrogate 1982: 15th place (20 pts)
Firk me, it's Turkey!

Actually, it's someone called Neco, and he does have extremely well-kept teeth, doesn't he?
Kojo followed him onstage, and he did have extremely Shane McGowan-y teeth, didn't he?

We digress. The Turkish entry of 1982 delivered a very un-Turkish poppy number which was guaranteed to go down the pan the minute Nicole took to her stool.

Hani means 'when', and was inspired by the time someone was pouring Neco a coffee and wasn't sure how much he wanted in the cup. Go on, prove otherwise.

HANO (song) Bosnia-Herzegovinan entry, Copenhagen 2001: 14th place (29 pts)
Nino Prses-e-ses' favourite group is Kula Shaker, his favourite comedian is David Baddiel and his head is always freezing cold. These three facts play such an important part in his life, he decided to combine them in his 2001 entry for Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The end result was Hano, which made a pleasing change from a lot of the schlock on offer in one of Eurovision's weakest years ever, but it could have been a lot worse. The runner-up in that year's Sarajevo heat namechecked Liquid Gold as their all-time favourite band, were huge fans of Bernard Manning and always had to wear support stockings after a nasty tennis injury.

HAPPY MAN (song) Irish entry, Jerusalem 1979: 5th place (80 pts)
If you thought 'Cathal' was a girl's name until you too saw the very bearded 1979 Irish entrant for the first time, then you now know you weren't alone. An early prototype for Bob Mortimer's half of 'Mulligan & O'Hare', Cathal Dunne sung this quite likeable song for the aformentioned Irish in the also aforementioned 1979.

'I'm in love and I'm a live Happy Man' was the hookline to this fifth-place finisher, indicating that Cathal had several electric eels hidden in his pants. Thus, if any dirty girls tried to get too close to him, they would suffer a non-fatal but discomforting electric shock. This obviously explains why his three backing singers stood so far away from him, and had rubber-soled shoes on.
Note: Cathal is now a sex bomb, sex bomb. He's a sex bomb.

HARI MATI HARI (singer mati singer) Bosnia-Herzegovinan entry, Athens 2006: 3rd place (229 pts)
Like a famous lady spy with a moustache problem, Hari Mati Hari and his hilarious up-tempo number was one of the real highlights of Athens 2006 (apparently).

The Bozzers were a vision in white on the evening, as Hari sang about that woman Eric Clapton had a thing for. If he'd gone down the Lordi route and introduced some hard metal riffs in the instrumental break and scoffed raw meat from one of his lady backing singers' cleavage, there is no doubt that Sarajevo would have staged the 2007 Contest.

HARMONY (group) Dutch entry, Paris 1978: 13th place (37 pts)
T'is OK was clearly a rejected candidate for the theme tune to Charlie's Angels, but Eurovision '78 was a better place for it.

It is just unfortunate that 1978 was a year in which the microphones seemed to be rigged to make the entrants sound as though they were singing about five miles down the road from the venue, but Harmony were not to be rebuked. I mean, who would be, when your choreographer makes you give a thumbs up every time you sing 'OK!' and one member of your group looks like Shaft working undercover on the Starship Enterprise?

I know I wouldn't.

HASTA LA VISTA (song) Ukrainian entry, Riga 2003: 14th place (30 pts)
Oleksandr Ponymonymonymaryov was the ex-boxer with the girlie voice who gave the good folk of Kiev and its outskirts the chance to get a bit excited in front of Eurovision for the very first time by belting out a song written by a bald Israeli with a Spanish title.

Beginning with an extremely phallic shot of a space shuttle in the big telly on the floor and putting some poor thin woman in a leotard through a spin cycle during the entire performance, as far as the people in the hall were concerned, Oleks was heading for the Top 5, but aah, televoters are fickle creatures.

They were unable to vote for him after trying to stick their head through their legs from the wrong direction (like the thin woman in the leotard) and were rushed en masse to A&E departments Europe-wide before having a chance to pick up the phone and dial.

HEDDY (singer) Dutch entry, London 1977: 12th place (35 pts)
The Netherland's foremost big game hunter, Heddy Lester went on a expedition to Florida especially to bag several flamingoes from which to make her stage outfit for ESC '77.

She considered standing on one leg for the performance of De Mallemolen, but this proved a foolish idea, as any slight breeze catching her masseef sleeves sent her careering to the surface of the Wembley Conference Centre stage. Heddy is still interested in bagging large game, and has plans to mount the heads of each member of Boyzone on her kitchen wall.

HELLO FROM MARS (song) Latvian entry, Riga 2003: 24th place (5 pts)
FYI, FLY represented host nation Latvia at the 2003 contest with a song that clearly wasn't written at their dad's house.

Although expected to do well, the song fared poorly with just 5 points and 24th place.

The reason for this is clear; just before the millions of potential televoters picked up the phone to dial Hello From Mars' number, astronomer and glockenspielist Patrick Moore contacted each one individually to inform them it would be impossible to say "Hello" from Mars as it is a barren and red dusty planet with an atmosphere extremely hostile to the human respiratory system.

Any singing trio wishing to send greetings from it in white suits would invariably end up with big bulging eyes (like that bit in Total Recall), burst lungs and all dust on their clothes, rendering the raison d'etre of the pop tune entirely worthless.

Patrick also reminded them the group had sung it a bit shite as well.

HEMEL EN AARDE (song) Dutch entry, Birmingham 1998: 4th place (150 pts)
Scientifically proven as 'much better than Diva' this is the best best-song-that-never-won-Eurovision since Genial G. It's just a shame that the English translation was changed to Walking on Water, as the original Heaven and Earth can be made to fit, to wit:

'Heaven and Earth come together/Yeh, whenever you're around/Tonight we never heard of never/Now the days don't bring me down...

...How can we fail?/We got nowhere else to fall/Between Heaven and Earth.'

You know, I might have a go meself one day.

HENGAILLAAN (song) Finnish entry, Luxembourg 1984: 9th place (46 pts)
Surely Kirka is a girl's name? Anyway...

Unbelievable as it is Hengaillan translates as Come On, Let's Boogie, an extremely contemporary title for a song released in 1984, I'm sure you'll agree.

Performed as the Finnish entry in Luxembourg that year, the Finns again Finnished way down the scoreboard despite getting a cracking response from the crowd with this perky number performed by a man backed by the earliest example of Nordic yuppies.

Applause must go to Kirka for the way he pulled out his organ in front of several hundred million people and proceeded to put it in his mouth and produce a tune, but considering 1984 was the year the winners wore (yawn) gold boots and the UK entrants flung their PVC macs toward the back of the stage during their performance - don't be surprised at anything.

HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW (song) Irish entry, Harrogate 1982: 11th place (49 pts)
That early incarnation of The Corrs - The Duskeys - are officially recorded in The Guinness Book of Records as the most hyperactive family in Ireland.

It's true, they are physically unable to keep still, as was easily proven during both performance and postcard at the 1982 Eurovision. In the former they proved how this unremitting energy can be harnessed into a crap dance routine during a crap song, whereas in the latter they effortlessly proved how even the simple task of relaxing on a park bench is a complete anathema to the Duskey name.

Their song's title alludes to this inability to remain immobile for even a second and eagle eyed viewers will have noticed that they are nowhere to be seen in the green room during the voting. Even the nail-biting tension of the ESC wasn't enough to slow this lot down - by the time Nicole re-entered the stage for her reprise The Duskeys had skipped halfway along the Leeds to Liverpool canal.
Note: Rumour has it that following the Duskey's poor showing on the scoreboard, Noel Kelehan had them taken out and shot.

HERO (song) Swedish entry, Belgrade 2008: 18th place (47 pts)
Who is yoiur hero? Let's hope Charlotte Perelli's isn't her botox surgeon.

We think Charlotte, the 1999 Eurovision winner, was delighted to win the 2008 Melodifestivalen, but it was rather difficult to discern any sort of expression on her face.

Saved by the juries to progress from the second semi final to the final proper, Charlotte's rather lifeless performance of the big favourite saw her finish a surprisingly low 18th on the night, sandwiched between Sebastian Tellier and the Romanians on the scoreboard (lucky Lotte).

Despite the international success of the American TV show Heroes, it just wasn't enough to make the public fall in love with Charlotte's entry. She's going to try one more time, though, with the uptempo smasher Prison Break.

HIGH (song) Norwegian entry, Istanbul 2004: 24th/last place (3 pts)
Clearly, Knut wasn't paying homage to Norway's eventual position on the 2004 scoreboard with this entry.

And that's a real shame, as although the song is all very much of a muchness, anyone who can get up in front of an audience of that size in a suit like *that* deserves a bonus score for bravery.

People called Conny have lived here since a very long time ago.

HOFFMANN & HOFFMANN (fashionably dressed group) German entry, Munich 1983: 5th place (94 pts)
If you want to win Eurovision two years in succession, what better way to do it than get a crowd of geography teachers to muck about with one of those new-fangled synthesizer things?

This was the reckoning behind the German choice of 1983, with a piece of pop so clearly Teutonic in origin if television were smell-o-vision, you'd be hit by the Bierhalle fumes the moment their three minutes started ticking down.

This naturally got a big reaction from the home crowd, but if one looks closely at the group during the performance of Rucksicht you can clearly see the worry in their eyes.

They had only taken a break from marking their class's geography homework for a few minutes to go out and sing the song, as they had to have an entire term's worth of glacial movement projects ticked and graded by the Monday morning, or they could kiss the day jobs goodbye.

HOLD ON BE STRONG (song) Norwegian entry, Belgrade 2008: 5th place (182 pts)
Norwegian folklore is peppered with tales of the hapless heroine Bea Strong.

The squeeze of many a Norse God, Ruler and Viking, Bea was always in some sort of trouble, whether it be carried away by a herd of stampeding reindeer, getting lost down an ice cave with only a really thin cardigan on, or dangling from a glacier by the very tips of her fingers.

The latter predicament just happens to be the absolute favourite Norse legend of successful songwriter Mira Craig.

When Norwegian Telly begged her to submit a song to the 2008 Melodi Grand Prix, she knew exactly what she was going to write about.

HOLD ON TO OUR LOVE (song) British entry, Istanbul 2004: 16th place (29 pts)
The UK was in crisis. Jemini had scored zero in Riga (those poor misguided youngsters), and the BBC had to claw back its credibility as arguably the most successful broadcaster in the whole event.

The papers were full of suggestions in late May 2003 over who should rescue Britain's chances, with even Robbie Williams' name bandied about. The Beeb were clearly paying close attention. In the end, they sent someone who had finished mid-table in the not-very-successful 'Fame Academy' show and dressed him in a cast-off costume from the touring production of Summer Holiday.

James Fox finished 16th in Istanbul. And he was *still* more cheerful than Alex Parks.

HOLLAND (nation)
This country does not exist. (See NETHERLANDS).

HORA (song) Israeli entry, Harrogate 1982: 2nd place (100 pts)
A Hebrew term for 'Ring-a-Ring-a-Roses', this is a popular dance in playgrounds the length and breadth of Israel.

The worryingly thick-necked Avi Toledano took this to second place in the 1982 Eurovision in Harrogate. This contest was of course renowned as the 'one with the smallest stage, ever' and one of Avi's backing dancers proves it quite proficiently by kicking her microphone into the crowd during the dance in the musical break.

HOREPSE (song) Greek entry, Dublin 1997: =12th place (39 pts)
Undeniably Greek and the unsurprising leader after the first vote from Cyprus, Marianna Zorba'a 1997 entry was definitely one of the entries more representative of national tastes in the year the contest remembered it was supposed to be fun again. Mr Wogan helpfully pointed out one of Ms Zorba's backing band was playing the grapes.

This is because Horepse is actually Greek for "haemmorhoid" and the original plan was to liberally smother said grapes with ample handfuls of Anusol at the climax of the song, but tragically, Marianna left the tube in her dressing room.

HOROSCOPES (song) Irish entry, Dublin 1981: 5th place (105 pts)
Russell Grant never looked like this, but then again, he wasn't Irish.

Sheeba took the twelve signs of the Zodiac and cleverly weaved them into the 1981 Irish entry to the Dublin-held Eurovision Song Contest.

Before the show, the three Sheeba girls were in the motorhome thye shared with with Captain Caveman, just about to be fitted into their potentially eye-gouging pea-green tinselly outfits, when Cheryl Baker from the British team asked what her horoscope for that day held in store for her.

The Gaelic trio consulted the stars for a moment, then turned to the Piscean and said: "You, and three others, will have extremely good fortune tonight in a city beginning with 'D'. However, more people will remember the skirts coming off than they do the actual song."
Note: 'Sheeba' is an Old Gaelic word for 'Charmed'.

HULLO YO (song) Finnish entry, Rome 1991: 20th place (6 pts)
We're not quite sure who Yo is, but Kaija Karkinen clearly is.

A very disappointing showing for this stick of Helsinki rock, opening as it does with a very credible electric guitar intro as Kaija strides purposefully across the Cinecitta stage to take up her vocal duties.

The juries obviously had wax in their ears in 1991, as six points was a diabolical showing for this stirring number, but there ain't much anyone can do about that now.

One anomaly can be resolved, however. Kaija's backing singers spent much of the sing in a curious leaning-back position. Encyclopaedia Eurovisica can now exclusively reveal that these too were not sure who Yo was either, but Toto had told them in the wings he was hiding up in the roof, and would appreciate it if they tried to wave at him during the song. And they fell for it too, tsch...

HUNGARY (nation) First entry: Dublin 1994. 0 0 0
Their ESC career may have had a few false starts, but the Hungarians can be proud of displaying the full hand of Eurovision-i-ness in their four entries between 1994 and 1998.

They had the classic simplistic love song which scored very well indeed (1994: although Friderika does mention the word 'minge' to a worrying extent throughout the lyrics), the obligatory boy-band (1997) and the old fella who's just doing it to get noticed (1998).

That wasn't all from Hungary of course, there was the hilarious joke that Kattis told just before the 2000 voting. I'm still laughing.

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