The Top Six Interval Acts Of The Eurovision 2016 National Finals Season

How Europe filled in the bit where we waited for the votes…

You know that bit in every national final where they have to verify and ratify all the votes (or in some case, give the president a quick phone call)? You know, the one they fill with jamboree bags of past entries or curious slabs of local colour? Well we got treated to some proper gems this year. So here’s a run down of what turned out to be a bumper crop of showbiz shenanigans.

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The MelFest Medley
Sweden finished off the national final season with their usual over-the-top aplomb (check out our coverage of the show here if you’ve already forgotten what happened), and their interval act featured perhaps their most intense barrage of entertainment yet. Alongside the usual (locally) witty sketches and hostly high jinks, we saw a stunning version of Heroes, where Måns did the stickboy thing with real living children, and this, an uber medley of MelFest near misses celebrating 15 years of the show’s current format. If you’ve not seen it, we won’t spoil the fun as you try to guess who’s going to pop up next, but we can only image that backstage was one heck of an exercise in tricky ego management.

The MGP comebacks
Perhaps the most touching interval act came in Norway’s MGP16 (and you can recall what happened in the show itself here), which came with a trio of smashing little trips down memory lane. First up, our hostess Silya Nymoen performed a sweet tribute to the recently sadly-departed Nora Brockstedt, whereby she performed a virtual duet of Norway’s debut tune Voi Voi, thenup popped Åse Kleveland in her trousers for  quick whip through Intet Er Nytt Under Solen, before Knut Anders Sørum and Reidun Sæther hammered into a medley of Jahn Teigen favourites. At this point I turned to Mrs Roy and stated: “What a shame they didn’t dig dear old Jahn out for the show. The place would have gone bonkers.” And then he walked onto the stage, all Voodooed up, and the crowd went slightly more than bonkers. A priceless few minutes in Eurovisionia.

Operatic Estonia
Slightly less bombastic, but equally respectful of previous contests, the first Eesti Laul semi-final (remind yourself of all the competing performers here) pulled off a blinder. As local light opera stars Kristel Pärtna & Oliver Kuusik prowled around the sparse bedroom scenery, your first thought was that this was a pretty decent but slightly out of place skit that no one outside of Tallinn would fully understand. But then the melody started to become familiar and you realised that this was a full on Italian-flavoured operatic version of Goodbye To Yesterday! Perfect! Especially the bit on the car!

Finnish Fever
You thought you couldn’t top Lordi’s appearance in the UMK final (click here to see what other wonders the show brought), where they ripped out Roope’s giblets and sawed Krista Siegfrids in half? Well you clearly never saw Chisu’s utterly unhinged remould of Tipi-Tii in one of the earlier semi finals. All swathed in white, with hair viciously scraped back, she and a gaggle of similarly garbed girlies stuttered about, hips a-swaying to this somewhat fractured cover version of Marion Rung’s family favourite. It’s a great watch, but also slightly unsettling at the same time!

Bring On The Tanks
Probably the most successful and utterly jaw-dropping interval act of the season hailed from the unexpected environs of Slovenia’s EMA (remind yourself of how it all went here), where their host, a noted local mimic, put on his best Russian accent and ripped the billy-oh out of Russia’s dear leader Vladimir Putin. Quite how and why they decided to plump for such a provocative statement of a Saturday night light entertainment show we’re not quite sure, but we rather admired its cheek – as indeed did the massed ranks of the internet, as it’s bagged getting on for four million YouTube views already. But if we were Slovenia, we’d start combing the skies for unfamiliar high-flying jets. #justsaying

The Perfect Beaver
We’ve saved the best till last. OK, so we know it wasn’t strictly speaking an interval act as the good people of Latvia never got to see him, but we international internet viewers of Supernova (wallop this link to see how the Latvian final went) grew to love the way of the Riga Beaver. And he was on prime for this year. We variously got furry cover versions of all of last year’s finalists, got to witness his origami skills, and suffered some painfully awkward games of Pictionary. But his best moment of all – and possibly of the whole Eurovision season – was when he got a pre-school princess up on stage with him to perform an eye-wateringly sweet version of Frozen’s Let It Go – complete with fairy wand and regal crown. He’s going to have to go a long way to beat that next year. Latvia, do the right and proper thing and let him read out your votes this year!

Contributor – Roy Delaney

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