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When Eurovision gets awkward...

25 August 2017 at 17:01 CEST
Estonia rehearsal Andres Putting
The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the most rehearsed shows in the world. Before a song is performed in the Grand Final, each act will have rehearsed up to 15 times on stage. However the live nature of the show means that anything can happen. Today we look at some examples of when Eurovision got slightly awkward.

Choosing a presenter for the Eurovision Song Contest can be a challenge for the Host Broadcaster since these individuals effectively become the face of the show. Fronting a large international primetime production, one of the biggest in the world, is a nerve-wracking job and one that is best-suited to the most accomplished of hosts. However, like all of us, presenters sometimes make mistakes. Sometimes things can go wrong and that is certainly true when it comes to the Eurovision Song Contest, especially when the voting is concerned!

When Eurovision voting gets awkward

In 1977 presenter Angela Rippon was put under pressure when the Dutch spokesperson stated that the Netherlands should have six points instead of the five that were listed on the scoreboard. With the scrutineers checking the results the spokesperson offered to continue with the votes to which she replied in agreement, "Why don't we let them sort out their problems, you give us your votes, ok?"

In 1981, when presenter Doireann Ní Bhriain called in the votes from Yugoslavia, she received the reply, "I don't have it", to which Doireann quipped "thank you very much", resulting in an eruption of laughter from the audience. In 1993 the Netherlands awarded Ireland 10 points however the presenter Fionnuala Sweeney declared that Ireland had received the maximum 12. When she was corrected by the spokesperson she replied with a smile, "excuse me, I got carried away!"

When Eurovision goes off-script

There have been times when the presenters of Eurovision have deviated from the script, sometimes unintentionally. The host of the 1983 Eurovision Song Contest, Marlene Charell, appeared to forget the name of the Norwegian conductor and when she was introducing him. After an awkward pause, she made up the name Johannes Skorgan where as he was actually called Sigurd Jansen!

In 1998, Ulrika Jonsson provided a comical moment when she called in the votes from the Netherlands. The Dutch spokesperson, Conny van den Bos, declared that her heart went out to all the performers because she knew how they felt having taken part in the competition herself. Conny also added that "it's long ago". Due to the noise in the arena, the audience did not hear this part and simply heard Ulrika's seemingly rude reply, "a long time ago, was it?"

During a live show, things sometimes take longer than expected. At that moment, the hosts have to improvise as famously happened in both 1998 and 2004 when the winners took their time to reach the stage. In the case of Dana International, she decided to change costume at the very moment she was due to appear, living up to the title of her winning song, Diva.

When the performances go wrong

At the opening of the Grand Final in Moscow, Dima Bilan was making his big entrance but it didn't go to plan. When he took his jacket off it became caught on the harness he was wearing. Whilst he tried to untangle it himself, he failed and it wasn't until several moments later, with the help of his dancers, that he became unstuck.

The UK's Jade Ewen also encountered difficulties that year. When she performed My Time, she got a little too close to her violinist who unintentionally hit her in the face. The singer carried on regardless though, taking the UK to its best placing since 2002. Earlier this year, the microphone failed when Estonia's Laura sang the first notes of her duet with Koit Toome, Verona. Like Jade, professionalism kicked in and the show went on. 

When the awkward moment is entirely intentional

Of course, there are those times when the awkward moment has been planned all along. Whether it's a singer fainting (Estonia 2010), falling off the stage (Carola in 2013) or falling whilst on the stage (Spain 2016), these moments have been carefully planned and rehearsed. Perhaps one of the most famous moments in Eurovision history can be attributed to presenter Lill Lindfors in 1985. Just as the host was about to take to the stage before the voting, her dress was ripped off to reveal her underwear. What was a deliberate stunt was perceived by many as a wardrobe malfunction since the presenter did not do this during the rehearsals. As Lil then revealed a full-length gown she announced to the audience, "I just wanted to wake you up a little". 

What is your favourite awkward moment in the Eurovision Song Contest? Let us know in the comments below!