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(L): from L'Amour A La Francaise to Lynn

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

L'AMOUR A LA FRANCAISE (song) French entry, Helsinki 2007: 22nd place (19 pts)
Les Fatals Picards is not Patrick Stewart on a suicide mission, rather, the avant garde pop-types who represented La France at Eurovision 2007.

This rather good slice of un-Eurovisiony Francopop rather cleverly blended English and French phrases to create the sort of smartybum rhymes that people who drink real ale, while making sure the whole world knows about it, would laugh louldy at, while explaining how the joke works in loud, condescending tones to those around them.

As for Whoops Dragovic, we loved the pink suits and the way the bald bloke ran round the rim of the stage. Good job he never caught up with that cameraman.

L'IMHABBA (song) Maltese entry, Edinburgh 1972: 18th/last place (48 pts)
Let's l'imhbber up for the L section with L'imhabba, one of the very few Maltese entries which went out in Maltese.

Viewers to the 1972 contest could be forgiven for thinking Helen and Joseph, the representatives of the proud island had hot-footed it from the budget version of a hit Hollywood musical, namely One Bride for One Brother, as there is much Gingham in evidence in their costume.

I can't claim to speak much Maltese, although the word "hardcore" is very clearly mentioned in the early part of the song. An English version of this song has never charted in the UK either, so I can only assume Mike Reid played it once on his radio show and then ordered the BBC to ban it. You can sometimes hear it on Channel Four, though.


LA SOURCE (song) French entry, London 1968: 3rd place (20 pts)
Eurovision is the last place you would think to feature a song about rape, but it was indeed the subject of the song Isabelle Aubret took to the Albert Hall in 1968, aiming to repeat the success she enjoyed in Luxembourg six years earlier.

It took a huge early lead but stopped getting any points at all about halfway through the voting as Cliff and his quiff battled it out with the thought-provoking lyricry of La La La.

Songs like La Source don't win Eurovision these days, but although the contest has far more detractors than supporters, it's worth noting that songs on sensitive subjects with quality writing behind them can still be found on stage at this event.


LA VITA C'OSE (song) Swiss entry, Stockholm 2000: 20th place (14 pts)
I can't put this one better than Mr Wogan: "And, as usual, lots of armpits and pointing."

The Swiss entry of 2000 was very much old school, in that it could be placed in an identity parade with pretty much all of the contest's output between 1988 and 1993 and you wouldn't be able to tell it apart from anything else.

Two years after her country got zilch in Brum, Jane Bogaert was determined that Switzerland were going to miss the next year's contest as well with La Vita C'ose, a song that should have had Jennifer Rush reaching for her solicitor's phone number the second it got to the chorus. Switzerland won't be returning in 2001 - perhaps they should reach for a certain Ms Dion's number again.
Note: Contrary to popular belief, Bogaert does not say 'Play it Again, Sam' at any point during this song.


LAKA (one-off) Bosnia-Herzegovinan entry, Belgrade 2008: 10th place (110 pts)
Ever wondered what happened to Andy Abraham's hair? It was stolen by the bridesmaids who appeared at the top of Laka's performance and needed something to knit with.

The Tim Burton-ish performance of Pokusaj was one of the real highlights of Eurovision 2008 and deserved to wind up with a single-figure placing, but life can be a bit rubbish like that, sometimes.

A huge sigh of relief could be heard from the Bosnian delegation on the night the Contest was broadcast. There were red faces all round during rehearsals when Laka emerged from a washing basket full of dirty pants and bras with a pair of crotchless knickers on his head.

LAS KETCHUP (group) Spanish entry, Athens 2006: 21st place (18 pts)
It takes some bottle (ahem) for an established international group to dip their toe into Eurovision's unpredictable waters, but Las Ketchup were convinced they were up to the task.

So cocky were they at their conviction of getting first place, they put a rudie word in their song title ('Bloody Mary'), and didn't even attempt anything approaching a powerful vocal performance at the final.

A dismal spot near the bottom of the scoreboard severely dented the Ketchup's credibility back home and a lean period followed, leading them to advertise their services as office temps, with the promise of being able to provide their own swivel chairs.

LAS VEGAS (song) Swedish entry, Kiev 2005: 20th place (30 pts)
Martin Stenmarck's favourite part of Sweden inspired him to Melodifetivalen victory in 2005.

Now, when most people think of a number called 'Las Vegas', they imagine a bloke in a ruffled tuxedo surrounded by dancing girls in massive feathered head-dresses and glittering bodice tops Martin offered Europe some women who were preparing for the next oil change at a pit stop in the Stockholm Grand Prix. See you in the semi, then.

LAPPONIA (song) Finnish entry, London 1977: 10th place (50 pts)
This is apparently the Finnish word for 'Lapland', but there do not appear to be any references to 'poles' or 'look but don't touch' in the lyrics - very confusing.

Another Finnish cracker that was cruelly overlooked, Monica Aspelund's large-lunged anthem took the lead after the first vote in 1977, but once the Irish jury had concluded their business, this represented the last time to date the Helsinki faithful were to either sneak out in front, or get the douze.

It's a mystery why it didn't do better, as is the fact why Elton John is clearly tinkling on the tusks for her.


LARS (swarthy singer) Norwegian entry, Birmingham 1998: 8th place (79 pts)
All he ever wanted was a brand new jumper, but this was the man who unshavenly awoke the lustful lay-dee viewers out of their slumber toward the end of the presentation of the '98 entries (in my flat anyway).

Having perfected the arts of 'pushing the mike stand as far way as possible from his person during the performance' and 'knowing exactly when to point out of the monitor in the ceiling' Lars looked as if he was heading for a Top Five placing, if only the remaining three entries hadn't sent so many potential televoters into a deep slumber until four o'clock the following morning.


LATVIA (nation) First entry: Stockholm 2000. 1 0 1
Grand place, Latvia.

Not only have they got into the swing of this Eurovision thing quite quickly by debuting with a third-placer, escaping relegation by the thinnest of hair's breadths when their follow-up entry went completely a-over-t, but made up for this unforeseen cock-up by storming to victory in 2002.

Not bad for what doesn't even amount to ten minutes work.


LE PAPA PINGOUIN (song) Luxembourgeois entry, The Hague 1980: 9th place (56 pts)
The Encyclopaedia Eurovisica has been going for almost four years at time of writing, so why it has taken so long to render the exploits of Sophie, Magaly and a gentleman auditioning for the aborted live-action version of Pingu to the interweb is a matter of severe shame for its compiler (ie. me)

Anyway, one of them wore blue, one of them wore pink, and the other was very clearly in black and white as the Luxembourgeoise-isch entry for 1980 in The Hague. Le Papa Pingouin was written by The Littlest Hobo of Eurovision composers (Ralph Siegel) which was most unfair, considering he had also penned the German Theater which finished runner-up that same year.

To compensate for such selfishness, he threw both Sophie and Magaly a fish after the voting, which they dived onto the floor to catch. This was just before Siegel threw a chair at Johnny Logan, for beating him.


LEAVE ME ALONE (song) Finnish entry, Helsinki 2007: 17th place (53 pts)
How charming of the Finnish that, on the occasion they finally get to host the Eurovision Song Contest after umpteen years of trying, they tell the world, via their entry from surly minx Hanna, that they want to be left alone.

Don't be too hasty to judge. This song was picked from a shortlist which included the titles You'll Have to Pay For That Press Pack, This Drink Is Not Being Paid For by Finnish Telly and the classic You're Not Really a Journalist, You're a Self Important Fan With a Home-Made Website (Get Out of my Press Centre).

That was when the Finnish Office for International Relations thankfully stepped in to pick the least offensive ditty.

LENNY (not-boy singer) Dutch entry, Madrid 1969: JOINT WINNER (18 pts)
It was only the overly generous 6 votes from France which helped this lady scrape into the joint first position in 1969 (then again, the same can be said for Lulu's 5 points from Sweden).

Lenny Kuhr had very long hair indeed - a cunning ploy she had developed since her early performing days. If any of her guitar strings snapped on stage, she had devised a method of plaiting any hairs plucked from her head to the required thickness for a makeshift replacement. She moved on to learning the piano after her sort-of-win, but kept on hitting the keys with such ferocity when learning that she soon went bald.


LET ME BE THE ONE (song) British entry, Stockholm 1975: RUNNER-UP (138 pts)
"Let me be the one who's loving you tonight,
...Let me be the one who hoofen-doof... I knew it!"

And with that poetic slip of the tongue, The Shadows firmly cemented themselves into Eurovision's hall of cock-ups. What's even more remarkable is that they still finished second.

So, let's consider the evidence. In 1973 Cliff sang for Royaume Uni, the following year his just-my-special-friend, honest Olivia Newton-John did the same, and in 1975 his one-time backing group took centre stage to prove they could sing. The BBC Eurovision-pickers either had a fascination with all things Cliff, or the ESC-loving bequiffed granny's favourite has some very incriminating photos of all he has worked with.


LET ME TRY (song) Romanian entry, Kiev 2005: 3rd place (158 pts)
Watch for those sparks! Blatantly ignoring every health and safety issue in the Eurovision rule book, Romania managed a surprise bronze medal at the 2005 Eurovision.

Luminita Anghel is not a protractor with lights on, it is in fact the Ruby Wax-ish singer who belted out this rather pedestrian dance number while some blokes got busy with their anghel grinders on some steel drums behind her. There isn't much call for the group these days, but if anyone would like to contact them, they can cut you a new set of keys in less than five minutes at a very competitive rate.

LET'S GET HAPPY (song) German entry, Riga 2003: =11th place (53 pts)
You may not be aware of this, but the subtle colour differences in the costumes of Lou's backing group onstage in Riga is a clear indication that Germany has an Olympic bid in the offing.

This uber-chirpy ditty was just an advance warning, but what a warning it was. Written by the only two songwriters in Germany (Ralph and Bernd), this Pride-friendly anthem is noteable for the line Let's get happy and let's be gay.

Not to be mistaken as the ageing pair's embrace of the notion of blokes kissing each other, the sentiment behind the lyrics lies in Ralph's desire to spend Fridays nights at the discotheque happily dressed as popular TV gardening show presenter Gay Search.


LEYLAKLAR SOLDU KALBINDE (song) Turkish entry, Tallinn 2002: 16th place (29 pts)
This translates as 'Lilacs Have Faded in Your Heart', but we are assured the Turks did not get confused between sending a song to Eurovision 2002 and preparing a short segment for Ground Force.

Some people will try anything to do well in Eurovision, and Buket Thingy-shu and her pals were no exception. Before arriving on stage, they each cleaned their teeth to an impossible standard of whiteness and desperately tried to bounce the spotlight beams off their gnashers into Christin-Marchal's face during their performance.

This blinding effect would thus enable Sebnem Paker, cuningly disguised as the EBU scrutineer and waiting in the audience immediately behind, to push the oddly-clothed one off her chair and take her place.

Once safely seated, she planned to fax bogus results through to all 24 jury spokespeople, allocating every point from one through to 12 to the Turks, giving her country a grand total of 1,392 and clear victory.

Obviously, the plan failed.


LIBERA (song) Italian entry, London 1977: 13th place (32 pts)
The tragically overlooked Italian entry of 1977, which in parts sounds like a superb piece of mid-tempo disco, but in others threatens to turn into Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep.

For the gravel-gargling Mia Martini, this was her first crack at the Euro trophy, and was an inifinitely more interesting entry than her 1992 fan-pleaser which I still struggle to enjoy (see RAPSODIA).

The reason for her husky vocals is clearly explained when she is seen smoking like a chimney in the Wembley Conference Centre green room during the voting, but what was never explained is why her backing singers were all in denim.

Didn't they look scruffy? Tssch...


LIED FUR EINEN FREUND (song) German entry, Dublin 1988: 14th place (48 pts)
Another typical Siegel/Meinunger nice number, with Maxi and Chris Garden singing something insipid for Germany in 1988.

The mother and daughter outfit were a first at the contest, but their surname was something of a giveaway to their double lives. They are actually Germany's only related singing garden-centre proprietors.

Such an impressive reputation caused a nightmare for the RTE organisers in 1988. Maxi wanted a selection of garden gnomes grouped around her piano stool, whilst Chris wanted a water feature spouting freely from beneath her piano lid.

RTE refused, but they did make one accession to the green-fingered duo by having a pair of vegetables host the entire evening.


LIEFDE IS EEN KAARTSPEL (song) Belgian entry, Oslo 1996: =16th place (22 pts)
Before 2001, this song was known more for its resemblance to ABBA's Angeleyes and the 'top half of an oyster shell' dress Lisa Del Bo wore during its performance.

The English translation is 'Love is a Cardgame' which, excuse me, is quite an obscure one.

Consider:

Love is Happy Families - A loving couple living in domestic bliss with their brood. GOOD

Love is Snap - Someone keeps trying to get their hannnds on Lisa's pair. NOT SO GOOD

Love is Gin Rummy - A couple who are always pissed. NOT VERY GOOD EITHER

Really, Lisa, perhaps you should think a bit harder next time you go out in public trying to compare human relationships to simple games of chance. Tssch.

And as for post-2001, see LISTEN TO YOUR HEARTBEAT


LIFE (song) Macedonian entry, Istanbul 2004: 14th place (47 pts)
If life is a book, then Tose Proeski had read up too much about the Profumo affair, judging by the way he had his dancers sitting, Christine Keeler-stylee on those chairs.

Another of his favourite reads must also have been the choreography notes from Turkey's victorious 2003 entry, judging by the way those ladies pulled some ribbons from his coat.

Still, he can be thankful that he's responsible for possibly Macedonia's best ever entry. We mourn his loss.

LIGHT A CANDLE (song) Israeli entry, Tallinn 2002: 12th place (37 pts)
Biff! Bosh! Smack! Look out everyone, it's Sarit Hadad, Yoav Ginai and Tzvika Pik, Israel's most successful vigilante trio, taking to the streets in order to rid Jerusalem of graffiti and the such. And these three mean business.

In an attempt to stop 'the kids' from carrying out any more wanton damage to their streets, the fearless threesome penned an anthem entitled Fight A Vandal to encourage people to take a stand against any shocking after-dark naughtiness which involved drawing willies on statues etc.

This most holy of trinities were so impressed with the song they wanted to take it to Tallinn as the Israeli representative in the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest.

Israeli Telly could see the merits of the song but were concerned the message given out may make any potential televoters dash out and apprehend wrongdoers before the phone lines opened, so in one of the most watering-down moments in contest history, they turned the song into a peace anthem and made Sarit wear far too much hairspray when she was singing it instead.


LINDA (singer/s)
Irish entry, Luxembourg 1984: RUNNER-UP (137 pts) ; Malmo 1992: WINNER (155 pts)
Dutch entry, Stockholm 2000: 13th place (40 pts)


One won for the Emerald Isle in 1992 with a song whose title was aimed directly at her dress designer.

The other didn't win for the Netherlands in 2000, but obviously had the same person making the frock.

LINE & WILLY (duo) Monacan entry, London 1968: =7th place (8 pts)
Even if you don't think you're going to win the Contest, it's always manners to the viewers of the country you're representing to at least sound - and look - upbeat before the show starts.

This therefore shows that Line and Willy had absolutely no respect for the 16 people in Monaco who were watching the 1968 show, as they performed A Chacun De Chanson dressed for the next flight to Monte Carlo, due to take off from Heathrow five minutes before the voting started. Tsk.


LISTEN TO YOUR HEARTBEAT (song) Swedish entry, Copenhagen 2001: 5th place (100 pts)
Listen to the schlager we've sto-len from Belgium!
Only Miss Del Bo knows where we got this song from!

Ooh, the dirty thieving Swedes! Not only do they go for the incredibly original blonde laydee/brunette laydee, ugly blokes in the background scenario, they also made a pathetic attempt to customize the title of a Roxette song before hastily stapling it to the tune of Belgium's 1996 Eurovision entry.

Friends finished fifth, and are now wanted by the Belgian police - not only on the grounds of plagiarism, but the ferocity with which the lead vocalists smacked their leather-clad thighs during the performance was thought cruel even to dead cows.


LITHUANIA (nation) First entry: Dublin 1994. 0 0 0
Stop any Lithuanian in the street and they will be proud to boast how their motherland is the second-most successful country in the history of the ESC that begins with 'L'.

Following Latvia's debut in 2000 however, this boast changed to how proud they are to be in that particular Top Five.
Note: If anyone was expecting a joke about thrush in that last definition, I am very displeased. What sort of Euro-fact compiler do you take me for?

LOCA (song) Moldovan entry, Athens 2006: 20th place (22 pts)
This didn't sound too bad on record, but then, neither did Whigfield.

Combining windsurfing and singing on only their second Eurovision appearance, the Moldovans skilfully undid all the good work Zdob Si Zdub did the year before with their truly abysmal performance of 'Loca'.

The moral to this tale is clear. Never give you poca to anyone, or you too will end up at the Ars-endium of the Eurovision scoreboard.

LOOKING HIGH, HIGH, HIGH (song) British entry, London 1960: RUNNER-UP (25 pts)
The opening song of the 1960 contest came from none other than host nation the UK, performed by Bryan Johnson, brother to 50% of the 1959 UK act.

Now, I've said it before and I'll say it again, but this must surely have been the inspiration for Monty Python's Lumberjack Song as there is more than a passing similarity in both melodies. Since that can't be proven, we shall instead turn to the gist of this Kiss Me Kate-esque tonsil rumbler, in that Mr Johnson spends the entire song looking for some woman who has pissed off without telling him.

As Liam Reilly found out 30 years later, sometimes these women disappear for a reason, and just don't want these scary singing types to track them down (see SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE) but I'm going off the point again.

The truly great moment of this silver-medalling song is the half-sung/half-chanted line You sure could have knocked me down/with the proverbial feather, which no song writer before or since has had the sheer balls to include in their lyrics. Except Eminem.


LORDI (group) Finnish entry, Athens 2006: WINNER (292 pts)
They did it! They really did it! Forty-four years of trying and the Finns work out that the way to win this thing is to raid the 'Fright Night' props cupboard, buy all the fireworks left over from the closing ceremony of the Athens Olympics and enter a song which even non-Eurovision fans will remember in years to come.

Mr Lordi, you will no doubt be responsible for tens of copy-cat entries until about 2019, but for achieving what every Finn worth their salt thought was impossible, Whoops Dragovic salutes you.

LOVE CITY GROOVE (group/song) British entry, Dublin 1995: =10th place (76 pts)
They'd run a mile from Missy Elliott, but this was the start of the 'big kick up the pants' for the song contest which led to the 2000 event being a very different creature from the one that these merry rapping minstrels took part in.

It was also the most orchestra-unfriendly song the ESC has ever seen, and it was reported that most of Noel Kelehan's Big Band were prescribed prozac by the RTE nurse the day after ESC '95.

Love City Groove, of course, hid in a big box for a few years while they waited for everyone to forget the 1995 Eurovision had ever happened. They're still in there, apparently.


LOVE OR LEAVE (song) Lithuanian entry, Helsinki 2007: 21st place (28 pts)
This very exciting song once again found favour with those Lithuania-loving Irish televoters.

This is, of course, due to the fact that the number one rated show on Irish TV is Hit-Vilnius, a rundown of all the latest chart hits in the Eastern European state, hosted by Gay Byrne and those two puppets with Zig and Zag's voices.

That is the reason why this rather dull ballad got 12 points from Ireland. Absolutely. One hundred per cent.

If anyone mentions the high influx of Lithuanian migrant workers into Ireland merely voting for their homeland, give them a big slap.

LULU (singer) British entry, Madrid 1969: JOINT WINNER (18 pts)
Yet another quarter of the 'Teatro Royal Four'.

At the close of the performance of Boom Bang-A-Bang, the Spanish commentator says in a real 'Channel 9' Moment: 'A thethe thethe thay, thethe thay, thethe thay, Bee Gees!!' as a very subtle reminder to viewers in the host country of the pop dynasty Lulu had recently married into.

Lulu spent many hours in Soho strip clubs before jetting off to Madrid, in order to perfect the hip wiggle she uses to great effect at the close of the song. She now suffers from the usual UK entrant post-contest syndrome of 'not really liking the song they sung at the contest very much.' Ole!


LUXEMBOURG (nation) First entry: Lugano 1956. 5 0 2
Every single member of the Grand Duchy's 350,000 strong population is a songwriter who has been exiled from their own country. This is a true fact. The national dress of Luxembourg is a large, black and white one-legged body suit complete with hood and flippers which was proudly worn by the Lord mayor of the province at the Eurovision final in The Hague in 1980. Corinne Herpes was due to change into national dress before the winning reprise in 1983 but changed her mind, saying later, "I just couldn't give a @*$#."

Corinne is now a fat housewife who eats tripe and picks her nose whilst watching the omnibus edition of Sunset Beach every Saturday in her council flat in Monaco.


LYNN (featherweight) Maltese entry, Riga 2003: 25th place (4 pts)
When the anonymous attempt to go one place higher than Ira Losco tinkled into view in Riga, it was clear to all the working title of Lynn Chircop's entry had been To Eat Again, a heartfelt reminiscence about the last time a morsel of food passed her lips (about 1987, we think).

Ironically, after leaving Riga only four points heavier than when she arrived, Lynn is now a 20-stone tubster.

When she arrived back at Valletta International, the angry hometown crowd threw a lorryload of cakes at her in protest, which she proceeded to catch in her mouth and eat to stop all jam getting on her clothes.


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