Welcome to Madrid for the only time Spain actually hosted Eurovision (despite having taken part every years since their debut). Austria decided to skip out on this year as a protest against Franco’s regime, but everyone else stayed here.
We open with an organ endition of Te Deum, which sounds very different from the normally-cheereful vibes of the opening. It does set it apart from everything else though, so I’m not complaining.
This is a legendary year because of the four-way tie for the winner. It baffles me that the EBU didn’t have a formal tie-breaker procedure before this, especially considering last year’s contest where the winner won by a margin of just one point.
Our host today is Laurita Valenzuela, who (reportedly) asked Clifford Brown (the executive supervisor) what she should do if there’s a tie, to which he replied that it would never happen. She must’ve felt so smug (I know I would’ve, karmic justice is so sweet).
She greets all countries in their native language (though she doesn’t repeat the whole introductory speech in them, which is fair, it would take a lot of time). Notably, she’s probably the first non-English or French host who’s more comfortable with French.
Also notably, this contest was broadcast in some South American countries (Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Puerto Rico).
Honestly, what a banger opener for the contest. If I didn’t know the order was random, I would’ve definitely thought this was put in the opener slot on purpose. After all, is there a better way to open the contest than by greeting the viewers in their native language? (Well, most of them anyway, Portugal, Sweden and Norway would have to live with being forgotten about).
It’s a nice cheereful ballad that sets the mood really well. It doesn’t feel abrupt or drawn out or annoying. And the backing singers add a lot to this. It isn’t a big standout, but it’s nice and pleasant and made me smile, so good job, Ivan.
And here we have a nice romantic ballad about a childhood sweetheart. Now, this had the potential to be creepy, but I think it managed to avoid that. There’s nothing to suggest anything inappropriate here. But maybe I can relate because I had a crush back when I was in kindergarten as well.
There’s a nice piano in the instrumental that really draws your attention to itself and some nice trumpets that add a jazzy feel. Overall, it’s nothing special, but I just think it’s kinda neat.
Wow, I feel out of breath from watching her performance. It’s full of energy from the first “para-para-pa-pa” from the backing singers to the final “hey”. There’s only some slow-down after the bombastic opening for the verse, but it really works to its favour. If it started energetic and continued being on the same level of energy all throughout the song, it would’ve felt static, the slow part helps it avoid that.
While it mostly consists of its chorus (repeated five times!), it never feels repetitive. The rhythm keeps increasing (without getting hectic) and we keep moving through keys, which makes it feel different enough to prevent it from getting stale. Key changes are kind of a joke in the Eurovision community, but they’re absolutely essential in some songs, this one being a prime example.
Also, her dress weighted 14 kg, which is just wow. The fact that she was able to have a little dance routine in it (or rather perform “choreographed movements”, thankfully the dumb ban on dancing will be lifted soon).
All in all, it’s a total banger with a brilliant composition and I’m not surprised that it won.
First of all, I want to say that I don’t like the idea of having children in Eurovision (spoilers for some of my future reviews). Even 16 feels a bit too young, but fine, it’s still better than nothing.
Still, he’s an impressive singer for a 13-year-old. His voice is deep (and I’m not sure if it’s naturally like this or he’s putting it on) and rich and he does have a good stage presence. It’s hard to dislike this, especially since the song feels pretty personal because, well, he is a child, so him singing to his mother is only natural. Especially if it’s about nightmares and how much he loves her and wants to spend more time with her and for her to “hold [him] close to [her]”.
After four ballads in a row, Ireland decided to send a contemporary pop song, just like their neighbours did in those days. It’s full of energy, but it doesn’t have a lot of vairation, so it starts feeling repetitive by the end.
Still, props for trying something different, even if I didn’t enjoy it very much.
And here’s a lovely ballad from Italy. It opens with an American-sounding guitar, but, thankfully, doesn’t sound like country music afterwards. Instead, we get a classy ballad about love sung by a woman with a deep voice. Like the year before, this feels pretty intimate and connects with me.
And here’s an example of how the instrumental and staging can elevate a pretty mediocre song. The compelling orchestration really hooks you in and Lulu’s natural charisma helps to keep you hooked. I definitely understand why this won (and why people adore this, my grandma certainly does), but I just find it too annoying to revisit. I know Lulu doesn’t like it either and considers it too silly and annoying, which makes me more confident in my feelings.
What a brilliant song. Just like a couple entries the previous year, this feels very old-fashioned, almost medieval, but in a cool way. It really plays around with the tempo, slowing down and speeding up many times, especially closer to the end, which means that it never gets stale. Lenny’s voice is pretty deep, which fits the song really really well. The atmosphere is also helped by the fact that it’s in 3/4 time instead of 4/4.
But the thing I love most about it is the prominent guitar. Guitars weren’t very common in Eurovision at this point, so every use stands out, especially something that uses it extensively and especially something that has two guitarists.
Wow, and here’s Sweden with something super contemporary (even a bit ahead of its times, this wouldn’t have been out of place in Eurovision 1973). Tommy is a great performer with lovely vocals and he sings about breaking up with a girl because “he lives for the moment” and “her path is surrounded by luxury”.
I also love the instrumental, it’s pretty complex for the era, with a lot of brass, a xylophone and a generally interesting and compelling orchestration. It’s definitely a song I’m going to revisit in the future.
This is a nice enjoyable song, but nothing really special. I much prefer his previous entry. There’s still enough fun in the instrumentation and his voice to get excited about. At one point, I thought he was going to do another fake ending, but the pause was very short, so I don’t think that counts.
They title may be in French, but the song itself is in German. Is there anything more Swiss than that?
Anyway, this is a very nice song with a lovely instrumental and optimistic lyrics about being in love. In my opinion, it does everything right and sticks in your brain (in a nice way). Paola has nice vocals that suit this song well too.
I’m sorry, but this is genuinely annoying to listen to. I like her enthusiasm, which was the only good thing about it, but I didn’t enjoy a single second of it otherwise. The instrumental is annoying (especially the squeaky trumpets) and the lyrics are way too repetitive.
And we get some nice pop from Germany. By this time, some of the entries start giving me very strong schlager vibes and this is one of those entries for sure.
Siw has, of course, taken part already, in 1960. This entry is quite a lot better than her other one though, but still a bit similar. The instrumentation is happy and upbeat, but the lyrics are just a little dark and it makes for a nice contrast.
I’m sure everyone expects me to hate this, but I don’t. In fact, I absolutely love it and I think that Frida Boccara is easily one of the best performers in Eurovision. It’s a very haunting piece with absolutely stunning vocals and beautiful lyrics. The minimalist arrangement with mostly strings really allows her to shine. Its very easy to see why this won, especially seeing how it’s very close to the end.
Simone is an unbelievably strong performer, you can feel so much passion from her. The vocal skill is unparalleled as well. All of this combined with extremely meaningful lyrics and an amazing instrumental to get something amazing. It’s very obvious why it’s still so well-regarded in Portugal. Still, there’s something in there that prevents me from fully connecting with it, it’s probably the intensity of the song.
Ok, this is honestly great. It’s a very musical theatre-like entry, but it pulls it off without feeling over-the-top. By this entry, we’ve completely given up on the pretense of dancing being banned and get a little dance number during the instrumental break. The lyrics are catchy, the arrangement is nice and bouncy, it’s done everything right and I’m going to reward it with a good score.
That’s right, France, welcome to the winner club. After snubbing you for so long, I’ve finally fallen in love with one of your entries, and that’s high praise in a year as strong as this one.
What a great year. What an absolutely great year. Every country tried their best and it really shows. Every song was a pleasure to listen to (even the only song I found annoying).
The interval act was very abstract, but in an enjoyable way. The voting sequence was extremely exciting (of course it would have to be, with four winners and all). The way the audience reacted after the Finnish jury has finished giving their results - with noise - proves that we’ve come a long way since 1956.
Anyway, I’ve decided not to do retrospectives on each decade since they don’t actually add anything in my opinion, so I’ll see you all in 1970, with a very reduced set of countries and an underdog country win.