Recurring Imagery in the 2011 ESC

During our content review of the 2011 ESC lyrics, we mapped the lyrics to some recurring imagery (which we recognize recurs across contests, not just 2011). We didn’t do overarching themes – like being in love, dancing in a club, or changing the world for the better – again, we looked for more striking (or more unfortunate) imagery. Most of these lyrics do not wear well. You had better believe that these images are showing up on the bingo cards we are developing for our Eurovision viewing party.

Several counties hit on multiple images, like they’re ticking off boxes in Eurovision lyric writing:

Greece 3
Slovakia 3
Ukraine 3
Albania 2
Armenia 2
Belarus 2
Israel 2
Latvia 2

I expected the high number of onomatopoeia/silly lyrics, given the history of the song contest and the song titles of some our entries, but I was surprised by the amount of birds and flying imagery. It seems like the rhyme “fly”/”high” is this year’s “fire”/”desire.” And thanks, Georgia, for keeping the dream alive on that one.

Angels, Heaven (n=3)
What is mine in this life? Just the heaven and sea (Greece)

Stare at me with candy eyes
Love me with luscious thighs
Angel in disguise (Latvia)

We are people of the planet, we live human lives.
We are angels, we’re in danger, we are crystal white… crystal white (Ukraine)

Birds, Flying (n=9)
I’m like an eagle in the open sky, I will never land, I’m flying high (Albania)

And if you want we can fly, high up to the sky-ay (Armenia)

Spread your wings and fly fly fly high (Austria)

We’re gonna fly watching lakes in their full view (Belarus)

Watch my dance, head up high, hands like wings and I’ll fly (Greece)

I hear silent prayer and its making me high and fly, I know where to go (Israel)

And you’ll fly over lands where your eyes can’t find the end
Up on mountains, down lakes, through the clouds, out of your pains (Italy)

Spread your wings and fly (Latvia)

We are birds, we fly so high and we are falling down (Ukraine)

Fire (n=3)
I wanna give it on fire, uncover vicious desire (Georgia)

Her fire starts to melt my heart (Moldova)

Lonely I’ve walked through the fire (Slovakia)

Gems (literally), Precious Metals (n=6)
Fields are full of gold, and it’s all my land (Belarus)

Come on boys come on girls
In this crazy crazy world
You’re the diamonds you’re the pearls
Let’s make a new tomorrow (Denmark)

Ballerinas dancing “The Swan Lake”
On a river made of diamonds and pearls,
Everything is a little bit weird now. (Estonia)

But if ya shine like a diamond
Don’t get caught in the moment
Never letting your breath slip away (Slovakia)

Though the road is long,
There are golden gardens
at the sweet end of your trail. (The Netherlands)

We are people of the planet, we live human lives.
We are angels, we’re in danger, we are crystal white… crystal white (Ukraine)

The Ocean, Sea (n=4)
You are my wave rippling in the sea (Albania)

What is mine in this life? Just the heaven and sea (Greece)

Oh, the sea: Waves of eternity, waves of serenity… (San Marino)

Would ya battle the ocean (Slovakia)

Onomatopoeia, Silly (n=7)
Boom boom chucka chucka, your kiss is like a like a (Armenia)

Sito! (Bosnia & Herzegovina) [Which, as far as I can tell, means “Sieve”?!]

Da da dum (Finland)

She’s got her lipstick on Here I come, da da dum (Ireland)

Ding dong say no more (Israel) [Know what I mean? Know what I mean? Say no more.]

Haba haba (Norway) [No disrespect intended — we do understand that this has meaning in Swahili]

Ooooh! I-I-I-I can (United Kingdom)