From shoe-chucking Czechs to entangled Russian twins; from the contest-winning combinations of Bobbysocks and the Olsen Brothers, to the confounding and polarising performances of Jemini and Jedward, each year we can rely on the Eurovision Song Contest to offer us a delicious selection of duos.
This year arguably offers us six of the most eclectic pairings to perform at one contest and it could result in the first couple taking out the glittery top prize since Azerbaijan’s generationally challenged pairing of Ell & Nikki in 2011.
Get “lost” in Verona via Estonia
After a horrendous misstep last year, whereby poor playboy Jüri Pootsmann found himself at the bottom of the table of semifinal one, the Estonians have opted for a safer set of hands in 2017. The pairing of Koit Toome & Laura easily took out the Estonian national selection competition, Eesti Laul, with a massive public vote in the super-final and they’re currently being touted as rank outsiders to win the entire competition. The twosome are no strangers to Eurovision, both having represented their homeland previously, and bring with them a melodramatic duet best described as a modern take on the Romeo and Juliet story.
Finland’s bleak bird
Finland’s recent performances at Eurovision have been pretty bleak, with the Scandinavian nation not having qualified to the main event since 2014. Could the hypnotising piano of Lasse Piirainen combined with the lilting and disarming vocals of Lena Tirronen - performing together as Norma John - remedy this? There’s a quiet yet dark melancholy permeating throughout “Blackbird”, which should see the couple take flight and make the final.
You can always rely on Romania to deliver a Eurovision moment. Remember the flamboyant camp operatic pop of Cezar in 2013 or Paula Seling & OVI’s duelling pianos in 2010? So what will those rambunctious Romanians offer us in 2017? What about the fabulous fusion of musical stylings that is rodelling - where rap and yodelling are combined to create three minutes of “what the!?” It’s bonkers and brilliant.
Mildly creepy, a little bit gimmicky and borrowing heavily from the helmet chic of Daft Punk, music producer JOWST (Joakim With Steem) will be hitting the decks during “Grab the Moment”, sporting an LED light face mask which pulsates to his beats. Supported by Aleksander Walmann on vocals, the lads from the Kingdom of Norway will be hoping to break out of the semifinal pack ice in which Agnete left them stranded last year. More #discoface than #leatherface, Norway may just grab the attention of a younger voting demographic this year.
Let’s be honest, we all want a little bit of camp fun when watching Eurovision. So thank you, San Marino, for proffering us a delicious slice of cheese in 2017. Sammarinese Valentina Monetta is no stranger to the competition - this will be the greedy lass’s fourth contest and she remains the only artist to have qualified the small microstate to the grand final. Gyrating alongside her this year will be US-born German resident Jimmie Wilson, better known for his musical theatre work than singing contest antics. He'll assist Monetta in belting out the campest of '90s throwback duets. One can only hope Valentina and Serhat (San Marino's entrant from 2016) decide to duet at a future contest.
There’s no denying the folksy charm of Belarussian duo Naviband. There’s undeniable joy in their entry, “Story of My Life”, with its addictive hippy/indie vibe. This will be the first entry at the contest to be sung in Belarussian, with the pairing of Artem Lukyanenko and Ksenia Zhuk reportedly relishing the chance to sing in their native tongue. Frolicking in the forest never felt so fun - let’s hope they don’t get lost there.
The Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast over SBS’s Eurovision weekend - Friday 12 May, Saturday 13 May, and Grand Final Sunday 14 May at 7.30pm on SBS with LIVE early morning broadcasts begin Wednesday 10 May at 5am on SBS.