The first weekend of September has become a tradition to many Eurovision fans to join the Eurovision Cruise, sailing from Helsinki to Tallinn and back during 22 hours. This being already the 8th edition, this year the cruise had an impressive set of artists: both former Eurovision winners and 2017 contestants.
While Tallink’s M/S Silja Europa took off, hundreds of Eurovision fans onboard got ready for a wonderful evening. It was easy to get to the mood when Eurovision songs were played everywhere as a background music. Fans could also enjoy a Eurovision karaoke early in the evening. The host of the evening was the fabulous Kaisa Pylkkänen, and the first performers were the group Dance Factory.
Blackbird don’t sing! Nordic magic by Norma John
This year Finland, despite failing to reach the final, presented one of their most stylish and beautiful Eurovision tunes ever. Norma John, the duo consisting of Leena Tirronen and Lasse Piirainen, presented their songs just as they had presented “Blackbird” at the Eurovision semifinal this year, with simple and atmospheric staging. They also performed a few of their yet unreleased songs. One of the songs, “Radiation”, had caused unexpected attention in Kiev due to its title!
Taking the wild chances with Ruslana
Who is the wildest creature on the cruise? It’s of course Ruslana from Ukraine, the energetic singer who gave Ukraine its first ESC victory in 2004. Ruslana has been loyal to her own style during the years and her performance felt like a never-ending journey to a mystical land. The audience went wild, no matter if they knew the songs or not! Ruslana told us that she really loves Eurovision and would like to participate in the contest again one day. And why not? She can definitely start a real party!
The party continues with SunStroke Project
If you have ever heard the name Epic Sax Guy or seen the YouTube videos of his movements while playing the saxophone, this band is the one to definitely turn you on! Presenting Moldova in 2010 (with Olia Tira) and again in 2017, the SunStroke Project consists of Sergey Yalovitsky (vocals), Anton Ragoza (violin) and Sergey Stepanov (sax). The trio performed their both Eurovision songs, and it was easy to see how the catchy “Hey, mamma!” had secured them the third place in the Eurovision final this year.
The man and the violin – Alexander Rybak
The last artist of the night was Alexander Rybak, who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009 for Norway with the largest number of points ever given (387 points) during the voting system in use between 1975 and 2015. His winning song “Fairytale” has already become a kind of Eurovision evergreen, so it was fantastic to hear the song on the cruise. The audience could sing along to his other songs as well, even the Russian-language “Котик” (‘Pussy’). Alexander seemed like a sweet and humble young man with a lot of musical talent.
The night ended with a Eurovision disco until 6 in the morning. It was almost hard to enter the dancefloor, as it was fully crowded! The conclusion is that DJ Ohrmeister and DJ Werneri were playing all the catchiest Eurovision hits for the happy fans.
After the amazing musical night, a new day was dawning. As the ship was sailing from Tallinn back to Helsinki, fans could enjoy more Eurovision music – this time by other fans. OGAEvision Song Contest is a part of the annual Eurovision Weekend. The idea of the contest is that different countries’ OGAE clubs can send their members as participants.
We had three OGAEvision contestants performing on the cruise, all very talented young singers: Johan-Cristian Brotkin representing OGAE Finland, Caroline Lövrell Brodén from OGAE Sweden and Rilli Willow from OGAE Israel.
Koit Toome, the Estonian superstar
The last Eurovision artist to perform on the Sunday afternoon was Koit Toome, who has represented Estonia twice: in 1998 and 2017 (as a duo with Laura). Koit is a sympathetic singer with a great voice and there was a really cool eurodance beat in his music. He was sorry for Laura not being able to participate, so he needed some help from the audience to sing the high parts of “Verona”. He was also happily surprised that people could sing along to his 1998 entry “Mere lapsed” and the hit “Valged ööd”, which he has recorded together with Getter Jaani, another Estonian Eurovision star.
Jukka K & Divet
Last but not least, cruise passengers were treated with a new drag show by Finland’s top drag artists Jukka K & Miss Divet (real names: Jukka Kuronen and Marko Vainio). They are standard guests on the Eurovision cruise, keeping the audience laughing through the show. Who wouldn’t get amused by “Carola” on her knees in front of a wind machine, or “Salvador Sobral” making funny hand movements, if you could see them behind the oversized jacket. The show included some ingenious moments, such as Francesco’s hairy “gorilla” suddenly turning into a long-haired Loreen.
The cruise is an excellent cure for the quiet season in the Eurovision scene, and turned out to be a success, as every time. We are already looking forward to next year. See you in Lisbon, and see you on the Eurovision cruise 2018!