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(T): from Talking to You to Twist of Love
KEY: Winner Runner-up Third-place Top 5 Debut Entry Host Entry Last Place Nul Points

TALKING TO YOU (song) Danish entry, Kiev 2005: 10th place (125 pts)
Weren't Jakob's shoes smashing? The first Danish song to reach the Eurovision final since 2002, Mr Sveistrup finished an impressive third in the 2005 semi-final, despite rhyming the word 'ocean' with 'devotion'.

The song has since been taken on by Denmark's premier telecommunications company to encourage it customers to run up higher bills by constantly chatting to each other over the phone. It replaced their previous jingle of eight years - some rap by a bloke in leopard skin pants about directory enquiries.

tATu (not lesbians) Russian entry, Riga 2003: 3rd place (164 pts)
Is it me, or are they singing about horse-shit at the beginning?

Well, nobody thought there'd ever be somebody that famous singing at the Contest.

Without doubt the most openly sexual entrant since Kenneth McKellar bared his knees in 1966, tATu certainly showed how not kissing on stage for 20 seconds can transfix a continent and translate into votes regardless of vocal ability.

tATu were not concerned at only claiming bronze in Riga, they spent their time in the groon raum idly flicking through Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit while texting their boyfriends to ask why their management team were so keen on them wearing sensible shoes.


TAXI (group) Romanian entry, Stockholm 2000: 17th place (25 pts)
"Follow that Taxi!" as Paula Selling said when she saw the hirsute singer of a Romanian folk band leave a Bucharest Radio Station on Millennium Eve after giving its top DJ a copy of her hopeful ESC entry.

"Step Back!" he called from the window of the cab as she stepped from the kerb to stop him and was nearly run over.

And so the group Taxi went to Stockholm in 2000, instead of the girl who could have turned Europe red, yellow and blue. In an attempt to win her nation over in 2002, Ms Selling is perfecting the art of singing whilst sounding as though she's playing the Mongolian nose flute at the same time. Well, it worked for Taxi.


TELEGRAM (song) German entry, London 1977: 8th place (55 pts)
Silver Convention arrived at the Wembley Conference Centre for the 1977 contest with the success of their previous year's hit Get Up and Boogie still bouncing about their collective heads.

To celebrate representing Germany, the girls asked the BBC if they could wear some cast-offs from the Doctor Who wardrobe, and the host broadcasters were only too happy to oblige.

The extremely un-German Ronnie Hazlehurst conducted this (don't ask me why), and what people may not be aware of is that the telegraph signal given at the beginning of the song translates as a distress call to any watching record executives from three women who think they may have just made the worst move of their career.


TELEVOTING (pickin' up the phone)
It's 'Power To All Our Friends' in its most horrifically real form, 'Friends' being the operative word.

Five years from now, Escademics will scratch their collective chins and wonder why Ireland hasn't won as much as they used to, even though they're sending the same type of songs they did in their glory years. Then they will look at a map of Europe, count the number of countries that Ireland borders with and a light-bulb will burst into illumination over their heads.
Note: 'Televoting' is actually an Old Norse word which translates into English as 'Indicating Near Places', although in its Gaelic form it translates as 'Ha! Let's Ignore those British B*****ds for Another Year'.

TELEX (group) Belgian entry, London 1977: 17th place (14 pts)
Telex. The Belgian Beatles of Synth (with scarves).

They flopped big style with the imaginatively-titled Eurovision in 1980, and the moptops soon realised that they couldn't emulate the success of their Liverpudlian counterparts with the millstone of a certain song contest round their necks.

Their fate was already sealed. One of the members kept dipping out of rehearsals in The Hague to meet the infamous Dutch maharishi Ranjit Van der Valk whose influences led him to try and introduce a sitar instrumental break to their song. He failed, mainly because the subdued oriental finger painter with long dark hair who kept standing at the lead singer's side during recording sessions told him it was a rubbish idea, and he should only pay attention to the ideas she had, anyway.

The other member of Telex went on to voice a popular Belgian children's TV series about a train.


TELL ME! (song) Icelandic entry, Stockholm 2000: 12th place (45 pts)
Right, you'll have to concentrate for this one. In 1999, Iceland sent SELMA to Eurovison. The following year, they sent TELMA (and some blonde bloke). TELMA sang a song called TELL ME! (with the blonde bloke). So that's SELMA/TELMA/TELL ME! Do not confuse it with TELMA/SELMA/SMELL ME!

Although, if you think about it, the latter does have a kinda cheeky charm.

TELL ME WHO YOU ARE (song) Danish entry, Tallinn 2002: 24th/last place (7 pts)
First, second then a resounding last. Denmark's Eurovision renaissance came to an earth with a larger bump than the last time Geoff Capes fell out of bed with their 2002 effort Tell Me Who You Are.

What is undeniably a very good Alison Moyet-ish song on single, which also comes across as very credible, by the time Malene W Mortensen attempted to follow in the same footsteps as Sahlene on the Tallinn catwalk her nerves just couldn't do the tune justice.

Don't get too upset for her though. The moment she got back into the green room she won the hearts of everyone around her by telling Tanel Padar that if she had a face like his, she'd teach her bum to talk.

She didn't really, but nuff 'spect to her if she had.


TELL ME WHY (song) Romanian entry, Tallinn 2002: 9th place (71 pts)
Monica Not-Lewinsky is indeed Romania's most be-bosomed singer.

She considered it only right and proper that she leave her large Gothic pile in Transylvania in the able company of her house boy Marcel to strain her lungs at the Tallinn Eurovision and give the nation its first ticket to the next contest along. Monica was, of course, careful not to reveal her method of winning those all-important votes to anybody involved in the organisation of the show.

If you look carefully at Monica's bosoms during the performance of Tell Me Why (which isn't difficult), it is clear to everyone that they actually revolve, causing the viewer to become hypnotised and feel compelled to pick the phone up and vote for the curiously mis-matched pair.

Her plan clearly worked in Macedonia, anyway.


TERASBETONI (band) Finnish entry, Belgrade 2008: 22nd place (22 pts)
What ruffians.

The Finnish hard rockers 9where have we heard that before?) were vfery close to the bottom of the scoreboard in 2008 with song Missa Miehet Ratsastaa.

The song is all about the time the maskless lead singer of the Lordi tribute band was in kindergarten and, showing early signs of rock rebellion, spanked a rat on the bottom.

He put his hand up and informed his teacher: "Miss, ah, me hit rat's ass. Ta." looking very smug and pleased with his naughty behaviour.

His teacher was not at all impressed and punished him by making him clean the boy's toilets with his toothbrush and then listen to Marion Rung's greatest hits.

He never spanked a rat's bottom again. But he vowed there and then to get his revenge on his teacher at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. And do you know, he kept his word.

TERRY (commentator)
Terry has been on an NHS Waiting List since the early 70s for a complex operation to have the Blarney Stone surgically removed from his throat.

Although never admitting to it, Terry can often be found under railway bridges in his fur-lined Parka trying to tell disinterested passers-by just how many times Greece and Cyprus have reciprocated each other, and the colour of the Herreys' boots.


TEXAS LIGHTNING (group) German entry, Athens 2006: 14th place (36 pts)
Germany, as every schoolboy will tell you, is the birthplace of the cowboy - a fact celebrated by those Teutonic rustlers at Athens 2006.

And if it isn't Germany people are thinking of when it comes to the Wild West, then it's Australia, hence comely Jane Comerford making the trip from her ranch down under to front 'No No Never'.

This Country and Western combo had the bare-faced cheek to beat Eurolegend Vicky Leandros in the German heat, who had won for Luxembourg several centuries earlier. Vicky was so disappointed that her new face fell off, but luckily, the Lightnings managed to re-attach it using only a lasso, some buckskin and a cattle brand. You can't see the join.

THALASSA (group) Greek entry, Birmingham 1998: 20th place (12 pts)
Perhaps it was the poodle perm, or the dress that lost its fight with a Flymo, but only the Cypriots wanted to play with the Greeks in the 1998 Eurovision playground.

This may have something to do with Yiannis Valvis, officially the world's most disgruntled songwriter. The BBC had informed him that during the performance of Thalassa's entry, there could not have a temple erected next to the Birmingham Whale's Fin which would spout out flames, lightning, and It's A Knockout style icons of Nana Mouskouri shaving lamb from a kebab spit at six different angles as Valvis had requested. This led Yiannis to skulk about the green room chanting "If you don't get out the way, I'll KICK you out the way!" to all the other performers, as well as telling Guildo Horn there was a poo-stripe on his cape.

No-one voted for Greece after that.


THIS IS MY LIFE (song) Icelandic entry, Belgrade 2008: 14th place (64 pts)
This is Michael Aspels' favourite Eurovision song and he often stands in front of his bathroom mirror, singing it out loud while handing a big red book to himself.

The Icelandic heats for Eurovision 2008 seemed to begin before the 2007 Contest had been broadcast, but Euroband were indeed the successful act who took this club anthem all the way to 14th place in Serbia.

It would have finished higher, but Aspel was so busy singing into his bathroom mirror when Euroband were on, he forgot to pick up the phone and vote for it.

THIS TIME I MEAN IT (song) Danish entry, Jerusalem 1999: =8th place (71 pts)
This time I'm in it, oh crikey...

It's 1999, Denmark are back after an enforced absence, and what better way to mark the occasion than get a future member of the Danish Hear'Say to sing with a man who doesn't shave on Saturdays accompanied by what are clearly a pair of bouncers.

Well, it did come eighth and pave the way for an emphatic victory the next year.

It's still not clearly what Trine and Michael actually were trying to reinforce in the song's title, but it probably wasn't the fact that he really was going to buy a new razor in the morning or that she wouldn't break wind under the duvet during the night.


TIMES 3 (trio) Maltese entry, Jerusalem 1999: 15th place (32 pts)
It has been proved elsewhere in this highly intellectual use of webspace that utilising bacofoil as your outfit curries no favour with either juror or televoter (see BOUM-BADABOUM).

The Maltese entrants of 1999 not only blatantly ignored this rule, but also named themselves after a broadsheet supplement and went in for shock tactics. They thought that singing, "I belive in penises what you see," would get them the lunatic fringe vote, but the lunatics were obviously watching Blind Date on the other side. Ha-ha.

TO TAKIE PROSTE (song) Polish entry, Birmingham 1998: 17th place (19 pts)
Aah, but for the luck of the draw. One of the best songs to ever grace the contest (although, admittedly, the chorus is identical to a section of Iceland's 1994 entry) had the misfortune to directly precede that most bashful of transexuals (Dana International), in the running order.

Therefore, hype overcame songsmithery, and not for the first time either. Sixteen weren't too bothered though, the lead singer went on to have a lucrative sideline as Winona Ryder's stunt double, and the bald bloke in the shades never wore leather trousers on stage again, much to the delight of the Polish public.


TO TREHANTIRI (song) Greek entry, Dublin 1994: 14th place (44 pts)
Diri, Diri me...

In the tiny Greek hamlet of Cwmathens, Costas Bigalis would often sit at the end of the bar in his local taverna and proudly proclaim he was the only sea lover in the village.

The kindly and bosomly bartender would often listen to his cries, but one night whispered down Costas' ear there were other sea lovers in the village. Costas refused to believe her and demanded to know who they were. When she pointed them out, sitting in a secluded corner, composing the Greek entry to the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, Costas marched over to confront them, declaring: "I am the only sea lover in this village."

Hours of negotiation followed, which, in an effort to stop Costas' spleen bursting, the other sea lovers allowed Costas to front the band they were taking to Dublin to represent Greece with the song To Trehantiri (Diri Diri).

The whinging Grecian did not get it all his own way though. Despite his best efforts, he could not get the name of the band changed to Costas Bigalis and the Sea Lovers Who Do Not Love the Sea As Much as Costas Does.


TODOMONDO (group) Romanian entry, Helsinki 2007: 13th place (84 pts)
How do you follow up the rather splendiferous Tornero, the Romanian fourth-placed song of 2006?

Nobody quite knew at TV Bucharest, which is why Europe ended up with this rubbish, instead.

And it got 84 points. How?

TOI, LA MUSIQUE ET MOI (song) Monacan entry, The Hague 1976: 3rd place (93 pts)
I'm prepared to bet there isn't actually any Monagesque connections with the bronze-medaller of 1976 whatsoever, but it's a good piece of continental disco, so further investigation will not take place.

It was only in the Seventies people had names like Mary Cristy, and she clearly asked Ronnie Hazlehurst to arrange her version of You, The Music and Me for the big night in The Hague as his trademark wah-wah guitar is all over it.

Quite rightly one of the favourites, although she just couldn't keep up with Brotherhood of Man and Catherine Ferry come the final shout, Mary took solace in third place by tapping Fredi of Finland's shoulder while the votes were coming in, then ducking behind his couch so he couldn't see it was her doing it.

When he stopped looking and focused on the voting again, she tapped him on the shoulder again, and again ducked down behind the couch so he couldn't see her. The minx.


TOM, TOM, TOM (song) Finnish entry, Luxembourg 1973: 6th place (93 pts)
A 1973 clairvoyant Finnish tribute to The Good Life, which brought the country a placing which wouldn't be topped for 33 years.

Performer Marion Rung rung the composer, who had given her four versions of the song to sing and asked her to choose which one she liked best to put forward for the competition.

The ultimate choice Tom, Tom, Tom was chosen over Margo, Margo, Margo and Barbara, Barbara, Barbara; but Marion had to flip a coin to see if that or Jerry, Jerry, Jerry would wing its way to Luxembourg.


TOMMY (singer) Swedish entry, Madrid 1969: =9th place (8 pts)
He may not have made it to joint-firstdom in Madrid, but Korberg's Judy Min Van for Sweden in 1969 is the most lounge-friendly ESC entry the present author has ever heard.

This is the ideal tune to swap partners to, unlike Stad I Ljus, which is liable to drive any potential partners screaming toward the horizon.

TOMORROW I GO (singer) Albanian entry, Kiev 2005: 16th place (53 pts)
This rather forgettable Albanian entry from 2005 is memorable for the performer, Ledina Celo, whipping some red hankies off the heads of the violinists which surrounded her (as you do), and the intro sounding suspiciously like Boney M's 'Hooray Hooray It's a Holi-Holiday'.

Please be aware that this singer may be called Ledina Celo, but she did not invent the cello. The instrument was actually first built three weeks before she was born.

TONE DEAF (audience cruelty)
Until one has heard Geraldine singing for Switzerland in 1967, they only have the loosest concept of this term.

TOO MUCH (singer) Latvian entry, Copenhagen 2001: =18th place (16 pts)
What better way to follow up one of the most outstanding Eurovision debuts ever than with a song about a bloke who wakes up next to the wrong girl after his stag night and vows to give up the tonsil varnish?

Lots of ways, obviously, but Arnis Mednis's Too Much is without doubt one of the cleverest songs in the 2001 line-up (which was, in parts, duller than Pat Kenny's autobiography can only be) and repeated listens only makes you warm to it more - at least the man was trying to be different, and at least he didn't call it 2 Much either.

You'll now find Arnis cashing in on his oh-so-brief minutes in the spotlight with his new found career as Latvia's only Benny-Hill-O-Gram.


TOR (singer) Norwegian entry, Dublin 1997: =24th place (0 pts)
The Norwegian entrant in 1997 with San Francisco, and a man who was clearly bursting for the free-language rule to happen. He had a very rude promotional video indeed, did this particular saucy 'gentleman'. Tsk, tsk, all sorts of naked ladies and everything, and all in a blatant attempt to convince us that he's actually Paul Oscar. 'Tor' rhymes with 'score', but I hardly need explain the irony of that one to you.

TORNERO (song) Romanian entry, Athens 2006: 4th place (172 pts)
He just wants to kiss you when he really miss you. EE-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-eeeeeeeeeee...

Mihai Traistariu has a vocal range of 67 octaves, not that he was showing this off at all during his rendition of the Romanians' 2006 fourth-placer.

'Tornero' is Italian for 'tearing a roe', the act of eating fish with your hands in one of the country's many seafood restaurants.

Mihai was inspired to write the song when nobody would come near him due to the fishy stench from his fingers. In preparation for any future Euro entry, Mihai will be taking a knife and fork with him to any restaurant he visits, so that he can finally make some friends, and perhaps write about things like that instead.

TRODLER UND CO (song) Swiss entry, Jerusalem 1979: 10th place (60 pts)
A clerical error in SSR's bookings for 1979 meant the Swiss equivalents of Blue Peter, Gardener's World and that year's Eurovision entry would all have to incorporate the same six people.

Popular 'nice' threesome Peter, Sue and Marc were joined by the undoubtedly smelly and hairy-arsed trio Pfuri, Gorps and Kniri in front of the dead big Israeli gyroscope for Trodler und Co - no doubt the name of the scrap dealer they got their instruments from.

The song isn't that bad, but pardon my Swiss, there doesn't seem to be any reason why a load of plazzie bags have to be crumpled, a rake has to be twanged, and an overly excitable man pretends to get some sound out of a garden hose for the sake of the lyric. But the Austrians liked it.


TROPHY (trinket of variable quality)
Each year across the continent, thousands of songwriters sweat blood, tears and treble clefs in an attempt to get the flag on the Eurovision scoreboard flashing next to their country. The achievement of that aim is one which brings a cocktail of emotions; rapture, relief and sheer disbelief.

What better way to encapsulate that craved moment of recognition than with a silver-plated disc in a H Samuel presentation case with the name of the year changed for each contest? At least, that's what they did it in the 60s and 70s.

It's all different now of course. You could get an even smaller silver disc (1988), an ambitiously filled ice-cube tray (1989), that same ice-cube tray with a hockey stick on top (2000), or, best of all, the finest version of Ker-Plunk the Birmingham School of Jewellery can offer (1998).


TURKEY (nation) First entry: Stockholm 1975. 1 0 1
The Turks sent a woman in a picnic blanket with an ethnic ballad to Stockholm in 1975, and, apart from the odd year off, they've been doing much the same since. Turkey is solely responsible for making the moustache a key element in any ESC they participate in, and of course, it was Sebnem Paker's prominent facial hair which brought them their infamous third placing in 1997 (well, no, not really). It is interesting to note that during the performance of Dinle at The Point, Sebnem's keyboard player attempted to sneak off stage and televote for Turkey. It was only when he realised that Ireland weren't partaking in the televoting option that year (and it would take too long to contact his many relatives in Germany), that he tried to make it look like he was doing some sort of ethnic dance instead. Ha! Didn't fool us, matey.

TUZMEN (singer/swimmer) Turkish entry, Birmingham 1998: 14th place (25 pts)
Tuzmen took the song contest just a bit too seriously. Before he went onstage, he told a BBC person in the wings that nights like this only come around "once, maybe twice in a person's life..." Perhaps someone should tell him that Eurovision is in fact an, err... annual event?

Tuzmen probably concentrated more fully on his other career as one of Turkey's national swimmers after Unutamazen's failure. He had hoped to do a bit better than he actually did, however, and felt a bit down after the voting. Therefore, the doctor in the Turkish delegation prescribed him Un Tamazapan the day after the contest. Boom-boom.


TWIST OF LOVE (song) Danish entry, Athens 2006: 18th place (26 pts)
In 2006, one can imagine that not knowing how to twist wouldn't really scupper your chances of copping off.

Still, it was a problem which caused Sidsel Ben Semmane some consternation, hence the Danish entry to that year's Eurovision.

This sounded really good on the single version released after the Melodi Grand Prix, but the usual spit and polish given to ESC entries before they reach the final sanitised it somewhat.

These days, Sidel performs the Twist of Love in the privacy of her own home. Everybody points at her if she does it down the disco.

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