Eurovision Song Contest 1959 Rankings

And we’re on to 1959 - the UK comes back and never misses a contest ever again and places second, Monaco joins, Luxembourg skips the year.


This year, the contest is hosted in Cannes - a city I’ve never visited, but my mum has, several times. In her opinion, the city is beautiful, and I trust her opinion most of the time.

We get a quick view of the city, the sea and the boulevard in front of the sea before entering the theatre.

The commentator (I’m watching this with the French commentary, which I do understand, though not perfectly) emphasises that there are 13 artists this time. I bet he’d be impressed by the fact that 48 artists participated in 2018.

The orchestra plays Te Deum before the contest starts, which is how you know that this is really Eurovision. The host, Jacqueline Joubert, comes onto the stage through a rotating piece.

She welcomes the viewers with “Good evening, Europe”, which is the first time this phrase is used in the contest’s history. After a quick view of the scoreboard, we get introduced to all of tonight’s performers. They rotate onto the stage from one of three rotating pieces with a background that represents their country in some way. It’s actually quite cool.


France - Oui, oui, oui, oui

Yes, yes, yes, yes
Performed by
Jean Philippe

France finally decided to deviate from their formula a bit and sent a (still very French) song about taking a trip around the world. The singer is very expressive with his face and hands, which is important in a jolly song like this.

The hook is a repeated “oui”, which sounds extremely funny. This will definitely get stuck in my mind for a while.

Score: 73

Denmark - Uh, jeg ville ønske jeg var dig

Oh, I’d wish I were you
Performed by
Birthe Wilke

I know people love to dunk on Danish for sounding drunk or constricted, but I think it sounds playful and fits a playful and cheeky song like this very well.

The performer is even more expressive than Jean Philippe. She gestures very generously, indicating her feelings. She also does a little dance (although I’m pretty sure dancing still wasn’t allowed at this point) during the instrumental break.

Score: 82

Italy - Piove

It’s raining
Performed by
Domenico Modugno

This is good, but it doesn’t have the same “wow” factor as Modugno’s previous song.

He’s as expressive as the previous time, the orchestration is good, but it just fails to impress me that much.

Score: 62

Monaco - Mon ami Pierrot

My friend Pierrot
Performed by
Jacques Pills

Let’s all say hi to Monaco. Despite having participated 24 times, they’ve never sent a Monegasque artist.

The song is quite forgettable in my opinion. It failed to impress me during the performance and I don’t really have a lot of things to say about it. I remember vaguely thinking that the instrumental wasn’t very good. I also wasn’t very impressed by the lyrics. I remember decently enjoying the performance itself though.

Score: 35

Netherlands - Een beetje

A little
Performed by
Teddy Scholten

This song is quite cheeky, you could even call it sassy. It’s performed very playfully. It’s about a woman who, when asked if she’s faithful, answers “A little bit”.

I don’t think this song would’ve worked so well in a different language. It makes use of the way Dutch sounds very well. It’s very rich in rhymes, sometimes having four rhyming words inside of a line. This makes the song appear to move even quicker than it does.

Its brilliantly catchy lyrics and quite bouncy instrumental make it a huge earworm and a pleasure to listen to.

The background for it is, of course, a pair of windmills. Because Netherlands.

Score: 95

Germany - Heute Abend wollen wir tanzen geh’n

Tonight we want to go dancing
Performed by
Alice & Ellen Kessler

The opening promised something more complex than what we got. It’s cute, I’ll give you that, Alice and Ellen’s synchronised dancing is pretty nice, but it’s far from the most interesting song, either musically or lyricaly.

Score: 47

Sweden - Augistin

Performed by
Brita Borg

The first song to have come out of Melodifestivalen. It’s a fairly pleasant song, I enjoyed listening to it. It isn’t a masterpiece, but I don’t think it’s trying to be.

Score: 54

Switzerland - Irgendwoher

From somewhere
Performed by
Christa Williams

The host described this song as “melancholic”, and I agree. It’s the good kind of melancholic though, the singer has a very clear voice and hits those high notes perfectly. The instrumental is pretty quiet, all of the focus is on the vocals, which was the correct choice. I also think her dress was very pretty, though that won’t affect my score.

Score: 68

Austria - Der K. und K. Kalypso aus Wien

The K. and K. calypso from Vienna
Performed by
Ferry Graf

From the first notes, I thought “hey, this sounds Caribbean”. I’ve never heard of calypso music before, so I was pleased to learn that I was right.

It also includes a bit of yodeling, which shouldn’t work with Caribbean music, but totally does. It’s a well-made joke entry that blends together totally different musical styles, something that’s going on to this day.

Score: 66

United Kingdom - Sing little birdie

Performed by
Teddy Johnson & Pearl Carr

The singers have amazing chemistry. They harmonise really well, they play off each other. In general, they don’t just sing, they also act. It may not be the most complex song, but sometimes that’s a positive.

I liked their use of a prop - a fake bird that would “sing” when the flutes kicked in.

It also completely matches the kind of music I expected from going back to the beginnings of ESC.

Score: 86

Belgium - Hou toch van mij

Do love me
Performed by
Bob Benny

The singer has strong vocal skills, the instrumental is very good, but I find myself unimpressed for some reason. It feels like there’s a mismatch between the orchestra and the performer.

Score: 59


R/O Country Song Score Place
5 Netherlands Een beetje 95 1
10 United Kingdom Sing little birdie 86 2
2 Denmark Uh, jeg ville ønske, jeg var dig 82 3
1 France Oui, oui, oui, oui 73 4
8 Switzerland Irgendwoher 68 5
9 Austria Der K. und K. Kalypso aus Wien 66 6
3 Italy Piove 62 7
11 Belgium Hou toch van mij 59 8
7 Sweden Augustin 54 9
6 Germany Heute Abend wollen wir tanzen geh’n 47 10
4 Monaco Mon ami Pierrot 35 11

Average score: 66.091

Median score: 66.0

Winners so far

  • Luxembourg - 1 (1956)
  • Germany - 1 (1957)
  • Italy - 1 (1958)
  • Netherlands - 1 (1959)

This is the first time I’ve agreed with the winner. I wonder if I’m going to do that a lot. I’ve also picked a different entry every year thus far. I don’t expect that to last very long.


This contest lightened the mood compared to the previous three. The entries were more playful and fun, the performers added little dances or hand movements to improve their performances. Generally, you can see the contest starting to settle into something more and more recognisable with each year, though we’re far away from the year I’d consider “modern”.

Really interesting voting this year. Switzerland took and early lead, which got overtaken by Denmark, which, in turn, got overtaken by the UK. It wasn’t until Italy gave out their points (and since the voting was in reverse order, they were third-to-last to do so) that the Netherlands took the lead.

We also got recaps of the whole top 3 - France, the UK and the Netherlands instead of just the winner’s reprise. Honestly, I think it’s a good idea. It could reduce the discontentment some fans feel when their favourite comes second or third, because they’d still get recognition.

Next year, the UK hosts because the Netherlands didn’t want to do it again so soon.