Eurovision’s just around the corner. We’re being promised a spectacular show, so we had a look at some of our favorite interval acts so far.
In just one week all eyes will be on Kyiv, Ukraine, where the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest is taking place.
Apart from the 26 finalists competing, Europe can also expect a big show, led by it’s hosts Oleksandr Skichko, Volodymyr Ostapchuk, and Timur Miroshnychenko. They are joined by former Eurovision winners Ruslana & Jamala and the high-profile Ukrainian band ONUKA who are due to perform as interval acts. They have a lot to live up to.
Perfect moment for us to have a look back at some of the interval acts which have stayed with us throughout the history of the Eurovision Song Contest.
10. The Wombles (1974)
If you thought Ireland were the first to grace the contest with a fictional character in 2009, think again. The Brits did it decades earlier with the forefathers of the Teletubbies, the Wombles. It was the release of their second single Remember You’re a Womble, a #3 hit in the charts, which prompted the BBC to commission them as interval act for the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest. The fictional pointy-nosed, furry creatures, started off as characters in a book series, which later turned into a BBC commissioned tv series which peaked in the seventies.
The act showed the Wombles across several places in Brighton, starting off by singing ‘the Wombles theme’ then sailing a speed boat across the coast of Brighton Beach singing ‘Remember You’re a Womble’ alongside a choir of children, before Orinoco, one of the characters, arrived at the hall, with applause from the audience to deliver a rose to hostess Katie Boyle.
9. Jessica Mauboy (2014)
If you thought, the Wombles were anything to go by, wait until you see our next interval act. To celebrate their 20th anniversary of broadcasting the Eurovision Song Contest, Australia’s EBU associate member SBS were allowed to look after the interval act of the second semi-final.
The end product ended up being an Australian application to Europe showcasing their love for the contest and their aspiration in competing one day. With a lot of humor, and a new song, performed by Jessica Mauboy, Australia announced they were ready for the Eurovision adventure. Their dream came true when the country received an invitation to take part in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 contest.
Take a look at their funny bid, and Jessica Mauboy’s song, A Sea of Flags, which is also the theme song for the upcoming Commonwealth games, held in Australia.
8. Aqua (2001)
In 2001 the Eurovision Song Contest image changed completely when Denmark moved the contest to a massive concert hall. Under the motto bigger and better, the Danish broadcaster approached the world famous Danish-Norwegian pop act Aqua to treat Europe to a medley of their biggest hits, and a surprise cameo of the successful Danish duo, Safri Duo.
The band injected some much-needed fun into a contest, performing their biggest hits, even though it later emerged the band were at the verge of breaking up. Looking back at the interval now, hardly surprising, considering the events unfolding during the Barbie Girl segment (Yep, you did hear Lene Nystrøm René to f**k off and call him a B*****d.) Not quite the family friendly language the EBU had in mind.
Regardless, Aqua proved to be a highlight as the interval act, reminding us just how incredible their pop songs from the late nineties were. The group reformed in 2007, and are still touring, albeit as a trio.
7. Dana International (1999)
In more recent years, the limelight on the winner of the year before has been far less staged as usually was the case. In 1999, however, things were completely different. When Jerusalem hosted the 44th Eurovision Song Contest, their winner Dana International was the center of attention in a massive interval production for her new single, Free, a cover of the Stevie Wonder Song.
Taking place outside, Dana’s new single was intertwined with a mixture of Eastern dance, vibrant colors, fire and a huge cast of talented dancers.
As Terry Wogan said at the end of the performance; “It’s like an evening in old Babylon”.
6. Justin Timberlake (2016)
But in the event your winner is too busy, multi-tasking as singer and host of the final, there is always the option to invite an international superstar for the contest. Considering Sweden’s main export is pop music, needless to say, SVT checked it’s option to stumble upon Justin Timberlake for a cheeky little interval act, promoting his brand new feel-good single ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’.
Europe was ready to party, and it did!
5. Emmelie De Forest (2014)
Doing one better is Denmark, again. In 2014, DR hooked up with their 2013 winner Emmelie de Forest to write a song for the 59th Eurovision Song Contest. Emmelie delivered Rainmaker, which featured that year’s slogan #Joinus in the lyrics.
During the grand final, Emmelie and her dancers performed her winning entry Only Teardrops and the new single, Rainmaker, transforming the Eurovision Song Contest stage in a blue lagoon of semi-naked dancers, to then have all finalists join her on stage to perform together. Check it out below:
4. The Prague Theatre of Illuminated Drawings (1984)
So, we’ve heard a good decent bunch of music, dance, Eurovision winners, invited guests and humor so far. But one of the most astonishing and nostalgic interval acts is without a doubt the 1984 art performance of the Prague Theatre of Illuminated Drawings.
God only knows why, RTL decided to go all the way to Prague to find their interval act, but we couldn’t be happier they did because this is so sublime.
The seven individuals making up the act designed the whole act with just strings and fabric. It’s the story of a Carney finding an illuminated snake who he turns into a horse that can do tricks like sitting down and dancing and shape shifting. Who said an interval needs to cost loads of money.
3. Glow (2010)
In 2010, the contest moved to Oslo. Host broadcaster NRK also invited the Norwegian rap duo Madcon to present their new single Glow.
The world was gripped by Flash mobs and so was Eurovision. A massive flash mob kicked off in the Venue, spreading across Europe, into the family homes of all Eurovision nations taking part, back into the venue. Absolutely spine-tingling. If there ever was a personal interval, this is the one.
2. Love Love Peace Peace (2016)
Well, we couldn’t possibly head back to last year’s contest, could we? Of course, we can! Look I know, for those who thought we’d overlooked Petra Mede’s 2013 Swedish Smörgåsbord, we have to admit we did it on purpose. Only for the reason, it was the beginning to something even bigger. I mean, last year’s hosts Måns Zelmerlöw and Petra Mede had us all in frenzy, when they provided Europe with the ultimate Eurovision winner recipe. Written by last year’s script writer/stage director Edward af Sillén, no winning element was overlooked nor any glitter and campness spared.
Fans lapped it up so much, the producers have now one year later, been able to release the tracks as a single. So go on, If you want to own this masterpiece, you know you want to.
and finally… well could it be anyone else… Eurovision gave us many things; Melodifestivalen, Douze Points, ABBA, Celine Dion and …
last but not least…
1. Riverdance (1994)
Not only were Ireland establishing themselves as the ultimate Eurovision country in the nineties, but their 1994 interval act, fronted by Michael Flatley, would go from a seven-minute interval to one of the most successful dance shows across the globe.
The piece, based on traditional Irish music and dance, became hugely successful after it’s appearance on the Eurovision Stage. It was invited to perform at the prestigious Royal Variety Performance at Dominion Theatre, London in the presence of Prince Charles a few months later, before expanding and being transformed into a dance show.
At it currently, stands, the show has visited over 450 venues worldwide and been seen by over 25 million people, making it one of the most successful dance productions in the world. Thank you RTE and Eurovision!
What an incredible line up of interval acts. True, the nations in each show are the stars of the show, but everyone involved in the production of these interval and opening acts deserve just as much recognition. Eurovision wouldn’t be the same without them.
Over to you
Let us know which Interval Act you enjoyed the most over the years. Did we miss one? let us know in the comment box.