USA: Eurovision performers from across the pond
Whilst Eurovision is distinctly a European, Mediterranean and Australian affair, our friends across the Atlantic have occasionally been called in to help countries with their songs. As rumours always swirls around about a US version of Eurovision, or a US broadcaster being given a guest slot, we’ve picked some memorable performances by American artists on this most American of days.
For the avoidance of doubt, we’re leaving out a certain interval performance from Tel Aviv as we don’t want to scare animals, children, or those of a nervous disposition.
First, we’ll start with a band the represented Luxembourg in 1989. The Grand Duchy took the unusual step of having a three-song national final, with the band Park Café performing all the songs. They were fronted by Maggie Parke from Salt Lake City. In 1989, Luxembourg was starting to fall out of love with Eurovision, so maybe the 20th place didn’t help matters. Still, Maggie and her pals beat Turkey and Iceland.
Ten years earlier, when the contest was outside of continental Europe for the first time, Ohio-born Jeane Manson also got the gig for Luxembourg. She’d been a Playboy Playmate of the Month in August 1974 before she moved to Europe. She didn’t fare too well but got 10 points from the UK jury.
Eleven years ago, when the circus was in Belgrade, Greece sent the American singer Kalomira. Born Maria Kalomira Carol Sarantis in New York State in 1985, she won a national final gaining over 50% of the vote. In Belgrade, she won her semi-final at a canter and finished third overall. I understand there were issues with her massive prop (no, that’s not a euphemism) which is why her song was preceded by an ad break. And a very interesting postcard.
One year after Kalomira’s third place, the Germans decided an American approach could be for them. Not content with one star from the US – Oscar Loya – we also saw the star of stage, screen and ex-wife of Marilyn Manson, Dita von Teese. Her act added a bit of je ne sais quoi to the staging. Luckily, for most of Europe, it was after the watershed. Unlike Kalomira’s performance, this song only managed 20th (just like Park Café) in a field of 24.
There’s only one way to finish, and that’s with an American who won the whole show. In 1997, Katrina Leskanich and her band the Waves represented the UK. Katrina had been in the country since she was 15, but hadn’t lost her American drawl. One of the best UK songs ever or what?
Are there other acts of an American persuasion that should feature in our tribute? Is one of these songs your favourite? Tell us what you think.
And Happy Independence Day!
Author: John Stanton
Source: Eurovision Ireland