The highlight of the European Music world is upon us again, the annual ‘Eurovision Song Contest’ So what better time then to look back at some of the rarities of the festival’s history.
Starting off with Mister Eurovision himself, Johnny Logan, it is his birthday today so Happy birthday Johnny. That is not the rarity though. He won the contest 3 times, twice as a performer. In 1980 with “What’s another year” and in 1987 with “Hold me now”. In 1992 Linda Martin won with “Why me” which was written by Johnny Logan. What most people don’t know is that in 1984 Linda Martin finished 2nd place, also with a song written and composed by Johnny Logan. The song was called “Terminal 3” was the Irish entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1984.
The first song contest was held in 1956 in Lugano, Switzerland, at the Teatro Kursaal on Thursday 24 May 1956. Seven countries participated in the first ever contest, each were represented with two songs. Two more countries, Austria and Denmark, were also expected to take part in the contest, but they missed the submission deadline and therefore could not take part.
Although there were 7 countries participating, the total number of performers were 11. Luxembourg and Switzerland used one performer for two songs. Luxembourg with Michèle Arnaud and Switzerland with Lys Assia. The winning song was “Refrain” performed by Lys Assia.
There are 20 countries who have never won the song contest:
Malta, Cyprus, Iceland, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, F.Y.R Macedonia, Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Moldova, Armenia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Montenegro, San Marino and Australia. This disperses the Eastern European block voting, because if that was the case it clearly isn’t working.
Australia made its debut at the 2015 Contest with the song “Tonight Again” a song written and performed by Guy Sebastian. It was supposed to be a one off event, but since 2015 Australia has been a contender in the Eurovision Song contest.
In 1969 there wasn’t one winner but 4, Spain, United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands.
The voting systems used in the Contest have changed throughout the years. The modern system has been in place since 1975. Voters award a set of points from 1 to 8, then 10 and finally 12 to songs from other countries — with the favourite being awarded the now famous douze points. Historically, a country’s set of votes was decided by an internal jury, but in 1997 five countries experimented with televoting, giving members of the public in those countries the opportunity to vote en masse for their favourite songs. The experiment was a success and from 1998 all countries were encouraged to use televoting wherever possible. But sometimes the voting did not go as foreseen.
Norway could be found at the bottom of the scoreboard as many as eleven times. The unfortunates came last in 1963, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1990, 1997, 2001, 2004 and in the Grand Final of 2012. Nevertheless, they also won 3 times, in 1985, 1995 and 2009.
Sometimes it becomes clear how important tape can be. Javine was the UK entry in 2005, with her song Touch my Fire. During the 2005 UK final (selection) for the Eurovision Song Contest, she had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction.
I could do a blog on Eurovision Song Contest without mentioning the ‘bearded lady’.
Thomas Neuwirth is an Austrian singer, recording artist, and drag queen who is known for his stage persona Conchita Wurst.Neuwirth came to international attention after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 as Austria’s entrant with the song “Rise Like a Phoenix”. Regardless what you think about Thomas/Conchita, the song was great and it surprises me that no one in the James Bond franchise has asked Conchita to do a James Bond song.
The first scandal in Eurovision history occurred in 1957 where the Danish singers Birthe Wilke and Gustav Winckler kissed for 11 seconds in the end of the song. Generating a furious reaction.
Morocco has participated in Eurovision Song Contest. But only once. It was in 1980, the performer Samira Said ended second-last. Morocco only received 7 points from Italy.
In 2020 the contest was cancelled due to Covid 19 restrictions.
The 2021 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The 2 semi finals will be held on May 18 and May 20. The grand final will be on May 22.
This was the last winner.