Seeing the amazing Katrina & the Waves perform so wonderfully at the UK show Eurovision: You Decide last night got me thinking there are so many characters that have graced the Eurovision stages across the years. I thought I’d take a look at some of those that have lodged in my memory and try to track them down and see where they are now and what they are up to, this is part one there is more to come…
I’m starting with t.A.T.u who represented Russia in 2003 with the song Ne Ver’, Ne Bojsia (Don’t Believe; Don’t Fear). Oh my goodness I can’t tell you how much I adored these girls when they were riding high in the charts. I was living in the USA when their album 200kph in the Wrong Direction came out and I played that thing on repeat for months! When I heard that they were representing Russia at Eurovision I was so happy and I just happened to be visiting the UK at the right time to watch it on TV. They finished 3rd on the night in a very close run vote which saw them just 3 points behind winners Turkey.
It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster for Yulia & Lena, off/on, off/on, off/on! The girls separated not long after their appearance at Eurovision, it was revealed in a TV documentary that neither of the girls were lesbians as their act had suggested, they broke their contract in early 2004 and went their separate ways.
They’ve reunited at various points over the years, most notably for Moscow Gay Pride in 2007 (aw, remember the time LGBTI and Russia were ok together?) Although not gay themselves they became strong allies for Russia’s LGBTI community and have continued to speak out LGBTI rights and love without boundaries. The last time we saw the girls perform live together was at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi where they performed their song Not Gonna Get Us which is somewhat ironic given how LGBTI rights have deteriorated in Russia in recent years. They released a song after that but recorded it separately, shot their parts of the video separately and even insisted on doing press interviews separately too. Despite many calls from fans for the girls to sort out their differences and put their long-running conflict aside, it doesn’t look like there’s going to be a t.A.T.u reunion anytime soon. Maybe that’s for the best, as a fan I’d love to see them back together, but maybe some things are best as a memory.
t.A.T.u performing at 2014 Winter Olympics Sochi Photo: http://www.gotceleb.com
A bit more up-to-date but one of my absolute favourite winning Eurovision songs and artists. Having won ‘Unser Star für Oslo’, the newly formatted German selection show for Eurovision which still continues today Lena went on to triumph at the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest with that fabulously quirky little song Satellite.
Lena was back in 2011, representing the home nation in Dusseldorf with the song Taken By a Stranger (which I loved even more than Satellite). This attempt at Eurovision was not as successful for Lena, but she still finished a very respectful 10th place.
In 2012 Lena release her 3rd studio album Stardust which entered the German charts at number two and gave her a Gold disc as it sold over 100,000 copies. It also graced the charts of neighbouring Austria and Switzerland. In 2013 Lena toured again, and was invited to be one of the judges on The Voice Kids. She also dubbed German voice parts for film and audiobooks and she also presented the German results at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. Lena’s album Crystal Sky was released in 2015 and in my opinion is her best yet which includes (on the deluxe edition) her latest single Wild & Free, which does have a touch of the Ellie Goulding about it, but it still very distinctively Lena. You can still catch her as a coach on The Voice and performing all over Germany in fact just this weekend alone she’ll be in Hamburg, Berlin and Köln and if you’re on Instagram you can follow Lena’s quirky account right here: https://www.instagram.com/lenas_view/.
Lena in Frankfurt last week Photo: https://www.facebook.com/lenameyerlandrut
People seem to forget that Michael Ball represented the UK at Eurovision, I was only just having a conversation the other day with some (non-Eurovision) friends who were saying that you never hear about anyone who does Eurovision, they then recalled that Abba had ‘done Eurovision’, and were shocked to learn that Celine Dion is ESC Alumni too. ‘And Michael Ball’ I chipped in, ‘Really?’ came the reply ‘well, who knew?’ 1992 was the year, the infamous Viking boat stage was the setting, Ireland were the winners and despite achieving more 12 point votes on the night second place where Michael finished with the song One Step Out Of Time.
Michael went on to enjoy a huge stage career, becoming a big name in musical theatre his CV is vast and includes so many familiar title, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserable, Sunset Boulevard, The Rocky Horror Show and Aspects of Love to name but a few. I saw him as Edna Turnblad in the UK tour of Hairspray and he was absolutely blooming marvellous!
Michael has also carved out a career as a presenter in the UK, with many TV shows to his credit. He has especially thrived in radio and currently hosts Sunday Night with Michael Ball on BBC Radio 2. Music is never far away for Michael though, his latest Album was released in 2014 and he continues to tour and entertain all over the UK. Michael has just been awarded an OBE too and rightly so we say, well deserved for not only this Eurovision treasure but a National treasure too!
Michael Ball Photo: BBC
Who do you remember from that past? Leave your comments and maybe I’ll look them up and find out where they are now…
Author: Lisa-Jayne Lewis
Source: Eurovision Ireland