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(M): from Marija L'Maltija to My Number One

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

MARIJA L'MALTIJA (song) Maltese entry, Dublin 1971: 18th/last place (52 pts)
Denmark finished third on its snogtastic 1957 debut and Poland did pretty damn well coming second out of 25 when it joined the big Euro party in 1994. Malta always does OK for itself at Eurovision, so you'll be surprised to know it came a distant last on its first two Eurovision stabs.

The first was by Joe Grech, who looks like a cross between Tony Curtis and Dean Martin, with the tan of the latter. His song Marija L'Maltija involved lots of bah-ing (or la-ing, can't remember which) and shaking his hand out towards the crowd while standing side-on to them - and to think Clodagh Rodgers came on a bit later in a pair of hot pants to try and grab their attention.

The Irish hosts very cruelly cut to shots of Joe's crestfallen face at least once during the voting as he was flatly shoved into last place, but all was not lost. Even if he was dead or not at the time the 1971 Eurovision was broadcast, Jimi Hendrix still paid tribute to the brave Malteser by writing a song for him.

For the second Maltese wooden spooner, see L'IMHABBA.

MAJA (singer) Bosnia-Herzegovinan entry, Tallinn 2002: =13th place (33 pts)
Dressing down quite considerably from her national final performance (judging by the photos anyway), Maja Tatic did Bosnia and indeed Herzegovina proud in Tallinn with her very gutsy performance of something with lots of consonants which translates as Fairytales About Love.

This uptempo shot only got 33 points, which is a birruva shame as it did evoke memories of all those late 80s Yugopop songs.

Hmm. Perhaps that's exactly why it did so crappily.

Still, I bet you didn't know the idea for this ditty came from a failed experiment by a mad Bosnian scientist to cross-fertilise the genes of a squirrel with that of the accepted world symbol for peace. That's right - the working title was Furry Tails About Doves. Boom-boom.

MAKE MY DAY (song) Macedonian entry, Kiev 2005: 17th place (52 pts)
Somebody up there likes Macedonia. In the first three Eurovision semi finals, the Macedonian act has been forced to perform in it. In the first three Eurovision semi finals, the Macedonia act has progressed to the final every single time.

In the first instance, it was clear that 'Life' was a worthy finalist, but as for 'Make My Day', umm, aah, we-ell...

How anyone thought putting Martin Vucic in jeans and a blazer would make him a contender is a ludicrous notion. Doubt he could make even Doris' Day.

MALINA (singer) Romanian entry, Birmingham 1998: 22nd place (6 pts)
This girl has real EU Cred. Faced with the sheer exoticism of Birmingham City Centre during '98 rehearsal week, Malina Olinescu went quite wild, visiting just about every JD Wetherspoons she could find, drinking dead sophisticated cocktails that have got sparklers in and everything.

Unfortunately, her drunken stupour made her incredibly flirty, and an extended visit to Lars A Frederiksen's dressing room the Friday before the show made Romanian telly hastily commission the Birmingham School of Jewellery to make a 'stunning silver and gold hickey concealer' thus sparing the blushes of her relatives in the audience.

MALTA (nation) First entry: Dublin 1971. 0 2 1
The Katrina and the Waves fan club has its base here (in the New Dolmein Hotel).

Malta is in fact one large musical airport, where its stewards and hostesses must obtain Joint Honours in Singing/Peanut Distribution from a redbrick university before being allowed entry onto the island.

At each year's Graduation ceremony, the airport staff congregate to congratulate the most outstanding student of the year, who will then spread news of Air Malta's vital work around the continent via a simplistic popular song composed on the back of an in-flight napkin.

There was a slight blip in 1998 however, when the most outstanding student misread her course prospectus and took Joint Honours in Singing/Peanut Over-Consumption.

MANDO (dominatrix) Greek entry, Riga 2003: 17th place (25 pts)
Greek telly saved themselves pots of cash in 2003 when their Head of Light Entertainment found a business card Mando had left in a phone box advertising her services.

As the Head of Light Entertainment still lives with his Mum, he thought the service on offer was the ability to write light-hearted pop tunes which would surely enchant the small-c conservative viewers at home.

When the impossibly curly lady strode onstage in Riga in the same outfit she wore for Mammary Pride, that same Head of Light Entertainment was instantly sacked by that Alexis bloke who reads the votes out.
Note: Mando's entry "Never Let You Go" was originally intended as a song for Kate Winslet to sing in the moving final scenes of Titanic, but then, she did let Leonardo go seconds after promising she wouldn't, so the song wasn't used.

MARC (singer) Irish entry, Dublin 1997: RUNNER UP (157 pts)
Marc Roberts was ordered from the Betterware catalogue by a helpful RTE employee in late '96. He was advertised as 'A versatile vocalist, interchangeable between victorious ESC performances and the lead role in Jesus Christ Superstar. Shave Twice Monthly. Batteries Not Included.'

Mysterious Woman, the song he took to second place in '97 was in tribute to that employee who ticked his box on the order form, but she sent him back a few days after the contest as he didn't do exactly what it said on the box. As far as we are aware, he is still on the shelf in the warehouse.

MARIE (singer) French entry, London 1977: WINNER (136 pts)
The last French winner of the 20th Century nows suffers the unfortunate fate of being locked in the smallest TV studio in Paris for the bulk of the year, her only respite being the announcement of a list of European countries and numbers for about thirty seconds every May.

She is kept well-fed by French TV executives however, as plates of roast baby birds turn up at the studio door at regular intervals.

MARLAIN (fan pleaser) Cypriot entry, Jerusalem 1999: 22nd place (2 pts)
May 29, 1999, is a bleak day in the memories of many hardcore Eurovision fans.

All who cared to listen (and many who didn't) had been told emphatically the song Tha'ne Erotas (is that right?) would be right up at the top of the scoreboard in Jerusalem as the televoters succumbed to this Robert Miles-lite 180 seconds of techno-balladry.

By 1am Israeli time, and with just two points from the UK public to show for her moody performance and glittery chest, vocalist Marlain was understandably gutted, but this pales in comparison to the weeks, months and years in which the (perhaps unfair) second-last placing of this song has been picked to death.

After so much re-examination, re-analysis, and everyone from Guy Fawkes to a group of old ladies sat dribbling in front of the TV in a Dutch nursing home blamed for this not winning, it's a shame the result has started to overshadow the song.

I wouldn't mind, but the song isn't even that good, and it perplexes me to this day why two backing singers face each other at the climax of the perfomance and say "Hairy fat fanny" to each other in mock-robotic tones. Disgraceful behaviour.

MESS (duo) Austrian entry, Harrogate 1982: 9th place (57 pts)
Oh dear. The Austrian entrants in 1982 overdosed on the 'nice' pills somewhat.

The male half of Austro-Bardo was a former member of the Vienna Boy's Choir, thus explaining his natural dancing ability(?), whilst the female half had been picked up from a YMCA on the way to the Harrogate Conference Centre and briefed about the song and the routine in the back of the cab.

Their song was called Sonntag which the BBC helpfully translated as Sunday on screen.

Strangely, the Beeb didn't translate the name of the group. Perhaps it has the same meaning in both countries.

M.F.O (group) Turkish entry, Gothenburg 1985: =14th place (36 pts); Dublin 1988: 15th place (37 pts)

"No, not a Musical Flying Object," the hilarious Michelle Rocca (she's going out with Van Morrison now, you know) said when introducing the Turkish entry for 1988.

And how perceptive - as well as hilarious - Michelle is. MFO is not a Musical Flying Object, it's the Turkish eqivalent of Dexy's Midnight Runners, but they didn't wear dungarees and sing about Johnny Ray. In '88 they sang Sufi (Hey Ya Hey) and three year earlier they sang Didai Didai Dai, coming 14th first, and then 15th.

Contrary to popular belief, their 1985 entry did not go: "Come on, Sertab, didai dai...".

MICHA (singer) Belgian entry, Jerusalem 1979: =18th place (5 pts)
In 1978, Belgium finished second in Paris - their best showing so far. To ensure they would go one place higher in Jerusalem the following year, they employed the future manager of Sandra Kim - Micha Marah.

The prospect of bringing musical pride to the pride Belgian nation was not lost on the country's songwriters, who spent moments pouring their collective genius into the tune Hey Nana.

It went: "Hey Nana (pause) Hey Nana (pause) Hey Nana..." You get the picture.

National pride did eventually reach Belgium, it just took another seven years to get there.

MICHAEL (singer) British entry, Malmo 1992: RUNNER UP (139 pts)
Jeans and jackets, jackets and jeans. Whichever way you put them round, it inescapably spells 'naff'. Amazing how that particular sartorial combination springs to mind when one thinks of 'Grandma's Favourite' Michael Ball.

After his actually-not-too-bad song and performance and runner-up position at the 1992 Eurovision with One Step Out of Time (his tribute to whenever H gets the routine to Deeper Shade of Blue wrong), Michael infamously said he'd rather stick hot needles in his eyes than sing at the ESC again. If only he had the same attitude to the contents of his wardrobe.

MICHELLE (singer) German entry, Copenhagen 2001: 8th place (66 pts)
Borrowing Charlotte Nilsson's breasts, Danijela's hair, Natascha Crone's dress and every other Euroballad ever written, Germany's Michelle was the real mongrel of Eurovision 2001 (and we mean that nicely).

Wir Liebe Lebt was Angleterrified as To Live For Love, and appears on the 2001 compilation album as four minutes and six seconds of the most earnestly delivered (not to mention mispronounced) songs in the history of popular music.

After Copenhagen, the many people Michelle had borrowed from not unreasonably wanted their possessions back. Therefore, for ten embarrassing minutes, passers-by in Munich city centre were treated to the sight of a bald, naked woman with extremely small boobs singing songs that stood a chance of breaking into the European Top 20 - and in a voice a bit like Minnie Mouse's too.

MIJA (singer) Bosnia-Herzegovinan entry, Riga 2003: 16th place (27 pts)
It's pretty clear this little madam must be a right bugger to work with; her male backing singers had their arms folded in a big huff throughout her not-as-energetic-as-it-could-be performance of Ne Brini in what must surely be a sign of protest.

A bit of a shame, as this is Bosnia's most chart-friendly entry ever despite its resemblance to Tom Jones' Sex Bomb.

When lawyers representing Jones the Voice contacted Mija over terms of compensation for this blatant bit of borrowing-tunes-without-asking, Mija contacted Bosnian TV chiefs and it was decided Tom would be able to do a cover of whatever previous Bosnian entry he wished without having to fork out royalties to the composer.

Tom agreed, so do keep an eye out for the forthcoming rendition of Putnici with ex-TVam chef Rusty Lee on his next duets project.

MIL ETTER MIL (song) Norwegian entry, Paris 1978: 20th/last place (0 pts)
Some of us are born great. Some of us achieve greatness, whilst others have greatness thrust upon them.

None of those three scenarios apply to Jahn Teigen, who had absolutely nothing thrust upon him by the watching juries in 1978. As the second nervous minstrel on the Paris stage, he will forever remain in our hearts as he twanged his braces, kicked his legs out and helpfully indicated to the crowd where his backing singers were standing.

Mil Etter Mil translates as 'Mile after Mile', referring to the aggregate distance the BBC's library tape has covered showing the clip of Mr Teigen's performance every single year in their usual attempt to extoll the crappier aspects of the world's most prolific song contest that's not called San Remo. Jahn doesn't care, as he runs a brewery, employing the likes of Elisabeth Andreasson and Merthe Trojan as barmaids. However, the latter was nearly sacked when she continually failed to clean the ashtrays to an acceptable standard.

MOCEDADES (group) Spanish entry, Luxembourg 1973: RUNNER UP (125 pts)
Surprisingly few noticed when Elvis Presley entered Eurovision for Spain in 1973. Admittedly, he was in drag with a few of his mates standing alongside him for support, so even die-hard fans would be hard-pushed to have spotted him.

The thrill of cross-dressing excited The King so much that he didn't bother to come up with a new tune to fit Spanish lyrics to, he just made the orchestra play Can't Help Falling in Love off-key instead. 100% true.

Viva Lux Vegas.

MODLITBA (song) Slovak entry, Birmingham 1998: 21st place (8 pts)
Twelve months after one Katrina stormed to victory, another Katrina (Hasprova, this time) gave the contest a shot.

However, there was one very real problem - Katrina was so nervous during the performance of Modlitba that her face kept on melting, as could clearly be seen on screen. This reminded too many televoters of scenes from mid-80s horror/slasher films and so they hid behind the sofa until Poland came on. A pity, as it's quite a good song, in a Eurovision-folksie kind of way.

MOI, TOUT SIMPLEMENT (song) Swiss entry, Millstreet 1993: 3rd place (148 pts)
I never did French at school, so I hope this doesn't translate as 'Me, Too Simple?' as that's really quite offensive.

This may be why the Swiss chose Annie Cotton to perform this for them in Millstreet. Annie is American, so presumably needs no other language than English in her day-to-day dealings.

Anyhow, the Yank with 148 points in the bank eventually came third - representing Switzerland's highest score ever and Annie remained the contest's highest placed American for, ooh... about four years I'd say. She remains among the cantons to this day in an ambassadorial role for Uncle Sam, regularly serving Big Mac and fries to passing tourists at the Matterhorn's Ski-thru McDonalds.

MOJA STIKLA (song) Croatian entry, Athens 2006: 12th place (56 pts)
The Balkan answer to Imelda Marcos, Severina was the foxy little madam behind 'Moja Stikla', otherwise known as 'My Stilettos'.

A stalwart of the Dora, Severina was thwarted on a number of early attempts to progress to earn the Croatian ticket. She was not disappointed to receive a lukewarm reaction from the voting public for her turbofolk stomper, and is already plotting a comeback along similar lines.

Watch out in future for the even more tabloid frenzy 'My Panties', 'My Neglige' and 'My Peephole Bra and Crotchless Knickers'.

MOJOT SVET (song) Macedonian entry, Helsinki 2007: 14th place (73 pts)
Losing the human coal scuttle effect of five year's previous, Macedonia's Karolina Gocheva also lost the long skirt and let the breeze hit her legs while on stage in Helsinki.
Full of drama and nye-na-nye-na bits, Mojet Svet is a rather generic Eastern European entry, but then, if Magdi had turned up at the semi final and performed a three minute French knitting demonstration, FYR Macedonia would still have got through to the ESC proper.

MOLITVA (song) Serbian entry, Helsinki 2007: WINNER (268 pts)
It was the mystery which plagued fans of Grange Hill for years. Just what did happen to Ro-land Browning (whom Janet just wanted as a friend) after he left the North London comprehensive?

They got their answer during transmission of the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest. The plumptious lad had debunked to Serbia, taken singing lessons, and then asked five girls from the perfume despartment of Belgrade Selfridge's to back him up while performing the Serbs' debut ESC entry as an independent nation.

If Roley has one weakness, though, it's lovely cakes, and when he spied some from the stage halfway through the performance of Molitva, it was all his backing singers could do to hold him back before he launched into the crowd to grab the tasty treats.

Thankfully, their razor-sharp feminine wile-type reactions were rewarded with victory for Serbia.

MONACO (nation) First entry: Cannes 1959. 1 1 3
Otherwise known as The Other Luxembourg.

Monaco is not quite France and is full of streets, benches and trees.

MOLDOVA (nation) First entry: Kiev 2005. 0 0 0
Welcome to Moldova, where grandmothers make up the rhythm sections of most major pop combos and nubile young ladies can't wait to show you their knocas.

Moldova was created by a team of scriptwriters for the US soap 'Dynasty' in the mid-1980s when they needed a Eastern European state for Michael Praed to get shot in at his wedding. Since that fateful day, Moldovans across the state must kiss a poster of Joan Collins five times before breakfast and wear shoulder pads at least once a week to dig the fields in.

Unfortunately, the nation's love affair with the high-glam soap took a knock during the 2006 Eurovision, when citizens were convinced Dex would burst into the Olympic Hall at the last minute with a sackful of emergency points for 'Loca'.

Ms Collins has since urged her new husband, Percy, to be on the lookout for Moldovan separatists when picking her up from the OAP day care centre.

MONO I AGAPI (song) Cypriot entry, Harrogate 1982: 5th place (85 pts)
Only their second appearance in the Contest, but another good showing from the Cypriots, having finished sixth on their debut with a song about Chandler's wife.

Anna Vissi, the lady behind the song, had already represented Greece two years earlier, thus setting the scene for the cosiest two-way friendship between nations the contest has ever witnessed.

Greece weren't present in Harrogate (well, the stage could only accommodate about three people) so it's commendable this song did so well without the guaranteed nod from Athens.

Ms Vissi very coolly dragged on her cigarette during the voting, presumably because nobody was working up a sweat about catching Nicole, so she left and went for a pint with Doce and Chips, instead.

MONTS ET MERVEILLES (song) French entry, Riga 2003: 18th place (19 pts)
Laura Baileche reached for the moon and the stars, but ended up in Riga instead.

Looking like she'd just stepped out of a salon, Laura even had a nice wee wave for the crowd before she launched into this typically sophisticated French entry which either bombs or blossoms according to the quality of the rest of the pack.

Unfortunately, the rest of the pack proved quite popular.

Therefore, to ensure she can wring every use possible out of the song, Louise now hopes to turn it in to the theme tune of a reality TV show of the same name where Maggie Moone, runner-up in the UK Song for Europe 1980, spends nine months locked in a house with Freddie Starr and his family. Channel 4 is already halfway to commissioning it.

MOR VE OTESI (group) Turkish entry, Belgrade 2008: 7th place (138 pts)
This swarthy lot performed a song called Deli on behalf of turkey, but there's no mention of pastrami on rye while holding the mayo in the lyrics at all.

This rather comtemporary offering did Turkey rather well, but it would have done even better if those really spooky carnival dummies they had projected behind them hadn't sent a fair fraction of the televoters quivering behind their cushions until the next song came on.

MORGEN (song) Dutch entry, London 1968: =16th/last place (1 pt)
The 1968 Dutch entry sounds dead fab and sixties on the single - all Hammond riffs and everything, but it lost something by the time the BBC orchestra got it hands on it at the Albert Hall.

This is not a song about the star of Driving Miss Daisy, but about the morning. Its singer, Ronnie Tober, was inspired to sing it after walking through the streets of Amsterdam in the early hours.

A watchful Auntie Beeb was, however, keen to see the London-held contest would not bring disrepute upon the Corporation in front of a Europe-wide audience. This did mean the original references to sailors wandering around alleyways with itchy groins, people trying to control bicycles while stones, and drunked tourists wandering into the path of speeding trams as they returned to their hotel, was ousted in favour of something far more cuddly.

MRS CAROLINE ROBINSON (song) Austrian entry, Paris 1978: 15th place (14 pts)
Austria must only be second to Finland as the country who continually gets the non-clean end of the stick from the assembled juries.

In 1978, blokegroup Springtime (admittedly, it's a wussy name) seemed to have it in the bag with a very jolly Kinks-esque spoof (which even mentions televisons and sex appeal if my Anglo-lugholes have not failed me) performed second to last and in a prime spot to get the thumbs up from everyone.

Certainly a lot more fun than Izhar Cohen and the Whirling Abacuses, this fine piece of pop only scraped into 15th position with a meagre 14 points. We still don't know who Caroline Robinson is, but we do know that at least one member of Springtime misses her.
Note: Following their performance, the lead singer of Springtime returned to his dressing room where he found Cheryl Baker smoking provocatively and he had to ask her if she was trying to seduce him.

MRS EINSTEIN (group) Dutch entry, Dublin 1997: =22nd place (5 pts)
Following an unfortunate incident where a truckload of valium was swapped with a delivery of icing sugar for the Hilversum Women's Institute, Mrs Einstein (formerly the five co-managers of the aforementioned Institute's Jumble Sale Division) emerged from a cloud of hyper-activity hell-bent on reaching the Dublin stage in outfits they'd nabbed from the trestle tables on the way out the room.

And arrive in Dublin they did, just in time to sing the theme from Moonraker at high speed whilst dancing a dance from Zulu. Very memorable, and at least they got a point each to carry home with them.

M.T.M (duo) Portuguese entry, Copenhagen 2001: 17th place (18 pts)
Ebony and ivory came together in mediocrity for Portugal in 2001.

The song Eu So Sei was the pot of gold at the end of a six month rainbow for Portugal's Song Finder General, effortlessly explaining why prospectors never broke their legs in the rush to sweep the Algarve for nuggets all those years ago.

Post-remix season, whatever little charm this song once possessed (and it did seem a dark horse at one point) dropped lower than Rui Bandeira's hairline, but the ability of the Portuguese language to hypnotise the French into voting for them worked once again. Funny really, because MTM weren't all that different from Tanel and Dave.

Miniscule Things Matter.

MULLANS (sisterly duo) Irish entry, Jerusalem 1999: 17th place (18 pts)
They sang When You Need Me in very deep voices for Ireland in 1999 and came 17th with 18 points.



You just had to be there during the '94 vote to appreciate that joke fully, really. And to think I've got Irish blood in me too.

MUMIY TROLL (group) Russian entry, Copenhagen 2001: 12th place (37 pts)
Hot-footing it all the way from Gotham City, where they'd just put chewie in the lock of Commissioner Gordon's Morris Minor Traveller, the Joker and his cronies thought it would be fun to spend the evening in Denmark - having a go at taking part in a song contest.

Re-naming themselves Mumiy Troll, they arrived just in time to lock the intended Russian entrant in a big cupboard and nick their song 'Lady Alpine Blue' from them.

Thinking that the title referred to a brand of toilet cleaner, they then went onstage and attempted to turn the song into a three minute ad-jingle. The subsequent failure of the song so enraged the Joker that he has stubbornly refused to clean his toilet ever since.

MY NUMBER ONE (song) Greek entry, Kiev 2005: WINNER (230 pts)
The Greeks rhymed 'capricious' with 'delicious' and Helena Paparizou played a man's braces to earn her (sort of) homeland its maiden Eurovision victory.

Whoops Dragovic is going to rhyme 'unbelievable' with 'inconceivable' while adjusting its pants and thinking a bit harder about that one.

Encyclopaedia Eurovisica
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