There’s many a trick that a Eurovision contestant can employ to win the hearts (and votes) of the audience and one of the standard tropes is the hand grasp.
Chris Zeiher

15 May 2015 - 11:31 AM  UPDATED 15 Apr 2016 - 2:35 PM

There’s many a trick that a Eurovision contestant can employ to win the hearts (and votes) of the audience and one of the standard tropes is the hand grasp. If timed perfectly, often as a soloist delivers a warbling high note, the hand grasp or "eurovisionius clenchinus" can change the momentum of performance.

However, if used incorrectly the impact can fall flat and may result in slight hand or shoulder soreness for the user. As the 2015 contest will be a ballad-palozza expect to see hands being flung high in order to reach out and grab that elusive douze points. Here’s a run down of the standard types of hand grasp we’ll likely see in Vienna.

Grasp 1 – The 'Heavenly Reach'

This elegant grasp is typically identifiable by a sweeping euphoric reach toward the sky used to punctuate a moment of significance within a song. The risky double-handed #heavenlyreach can only be achieved if the singer is sans hand-held microphone but can deliver double the impact. 2006’s winning entry 'My Number One' from Greek goddess Helena Paparizou demonstrated repeated use of the difficult double #heavenlyreach.

Grasp 2 – The 'Elegant Half Crest'

A variation on the #heavenlyreach is the #eleganthalfcrest demonstrated by a sweeping outward and upward movement of one hand used to enhance a vocal lick or a tempo change. The #eleganthalfcrest should be used repeatedly and works effectively if the singer’s eye line follows the hand rise thereby taking the audience on the grasp’s journey. Celine Dion’s winning 1988 entry for Switzerland 'Ne partez pas sans moi' is a Masterclass in the #eleganthalfcrest.

Grasp 3 - The 'Fist Pump'

Grasps are not isolated to female performers. And the #fistpump typifies an often used grasp by the fellas. This very masculine move is a favourite of the lead vocalist of a band or group and consists of a clenched fist vertically pumping toward the sky. Guy should take note and consider a #fistpump or seven during his performance.
Tight silver pants and repeated use of the #fistpump helped Norway’s Wig Wam fist their way to 9th at the ’05 contest.

Grasp 4 - The 'Stop Right Now'

No, not a Spice Girls floor stomper but another grasp that is used to create drama within an Eurovision performance. With a jutting palm thrust toward the audience the #stoprightnow can be used repeatedly throughout an entry as either a warning or a reflection of the hesitant or sad nature of the song. Albanian Rona Nishliu used the #stoprightnow to maximum effect during her performance of the stunning 'Suus'.

Grasp 5 - The 'He's Over There'

One may think the #hesoverthere is a simple point and look-away but when used effectively and co-ordinated with backing dancers the vocalist can pack a punch with one clean finger erection. Sonia’s (remember her?) entry for the UK in 1993 'Better the Devil You Know' demonstrates an artful use of the #hesoverthere.

Grasp 6 - The 'Staccato'

The need for co-ordination and disciplined practice is the key to a successful #staccato. This grasp is a repeated hand or arm movement used to create both visual impact and lyric punctuation. This movement can be used repeatedly throughout a song’s 3 minute duration. Norwegian Maria Haukaas Storeng and backing dancers displayed textbook #staccato during their ’08 performance of 'Hold on Be Strong'.

Grasp 7 - The 'Many Hands'

The most complicated of movements from the hand grasp manual is the not-often used #manyhands. This tricky manoeuvre requires the vocalist and supporting singers or dancers to co-ordinate clenches simultaneously to create shape and heighten drama. Adding to this grasps difficulty is that the #manyhands dictates that the performers must include as many variations of all official grasps in the one act. Difficult to master but if applied effectively audience euphoria will result. Belarussian Koldun performed the complicated #manyhands during the ’07 contest resulting in him grasping 6th.


The Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast on SBS’s Eurovision Weekend - Friday 13, Saturday 14 and Grand Final Sunday 15 May, 7.30pm on SBS, with LIVE early morning broadcasts from 5am on Wednesday 11, Friday 13 and Sunday 15 May.

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