As Spain and the UK hosted in 1969 and 1968 respectively, a draw was held between France and the Netherlands to decide who’d host. In the end, the Netherlands won the draw, which is why we’re in Amsterdam this year, missing our nordic friends and Portugal.
So yeah, the four-way tie last year made five countries skip this year (originally, Austria planned to rejoin, but decided otherwise and joined the protest). This means that this is the contest with the fourth smallest number of entries (and fifth smallest by the number of participants). On the upside, this means that it’ll be easy to review, but on the downside, it means less diversity as there are no nordics or my beloved Portugal.
We open with some sights of Amsterdam and faces of scowling people. That was a weird choice, but oh well. Our host for tonight is Willy Dobbe, who quickly welcomes us in French, English and Dutch and we move to the first song. And when I say quickly, I do mean quickly - 25 seconds to be precise. And we don’t see her until the start of the voting. Since she moved on so quickly, I’ll do the same.
This is also the first year with postcards before the entries. They were introduced to stretch out the contest to make it fill its whole slot. Funny how we’re facing the opposite problem, with the final running for way too long.
We start with the host entry this year, which is a ballad that’s all about astrology. Sadly, it doesn’t interest me at all. Musically, it’s very uninteresting and slow. Lyrically, it annoys me because it so earnestly sings about astrology, which makes it hard to take this song seriously. Luckily, we’ll get a good song about astrology later on
“Well, he sounds very happy about saying goodbye to his girlfriend, doesn’t he?” said Valerie McGovern, the Irish commentator, after the song and honestly, I don’t have anything to add except that it felt way longer than 3 minutes.
Can we please get some movement in the songs? Because again, this one didn’t have any movement in it, it went nowhere and barely interested me at all. At least the instrumental is a bit more engaging than the previous two.
This is a pretty simple song (which the Irish commentator said as well), but that works to the song’s favour. It’s just simple and cute and doesn’t aspire to be the ultimate romantic song. Plus the arrangement is pretty nice, I won’t lie.
One word: boring. This song doesn’t interest me at all, neither instrumentally nor lyrically. Can we please get something that doesn’t immediately put me to sleep?
Thank you for heeding my call, France, and sending a really sensual love ballad. This really puts the arrangement to the test, how minimalistic can you make it before it starts falling apart? Well, the answer is at least as minimalistic as this. It’s all about him playing the piano and singing his heart out, with minimal accompaniment from strings and just a little bit of woodwinds.
The vocals are also really great. They aren’t dramatic or shouty, which makes them sound real and true. They especially fit the lyrics really well. Speaking of the lyrics, they’re great too, very petic and beautiful. It feels like I could paint a portrait of Marie-Blanche just from the lyrics (well, I would be able to if I could paint).
Usually, I find this sort of songs the UK loved to send in those days a drag, but with a very big lack of good entries so far, I managed to get into this. It’s fun, upbeat and cute and cuts through the boredom pretty well.
Of course, as common with UK entrants in those days, Mary Hopkin hated this song, which doesn’t surprise me. What does surprise me is that the BBC keps sending singers with songs they detested, but clearly it got them great results, so they were obviously doing something right.
It’s pretty out-of-date for 1970 and wouldn’t have been out of place in 1963 or something. Nevertheless, it does stand out from other songs by not being extremely dreadful. It’s quite a fun jazzy waltzy song about love at first sight. Not really sure why it got 0 points, but oh well, voting is weird.
See, this is why I love having a commentary: I definitely wouldn’t have known that Julio Iglesias almost became a football player instead of a singer.
The song itself is alright. Julio has a great voice and elevates what would’ve been a pretty middling song a lot and makes me actually enjoy it.
The commentator said that she think this song was an unusual choice for Eurovision and I agree with her. It’s really not a topic Eurovision songs use - tribute. Because this song is a tribute to Marlene Dietrich (no diacritic in her name, no idea why they decided to add it), an actress and about how great she was and how hard it is to live up to being someone like her.
I have to say, I loved this song. It’s a topic I identify with a lot - it’s hard to live up to someone you find great. It helps that Dominique is a very confident performer, despite being just 16, and has a really nice voice. It’s also arranged really interestingly, the instrumental doesn’t let you get bored. It’s the completely opposite approach to Guy Bonnet’s song. Instead of being minimalistic, it’s very grandiose. All of this just makes it stand out a lot and makes me appreciate it, especially in a year mostly consisting of boring drivel.
Great use of a piano there, it really ties the entry together. I also like the “ba-boom” thing in the instrumental, no idea why, but it just makes me happy.
It also has a nice message. As the Irish commentator explained, it says that miracles always happen (which is the title of the song), so one day, you’ll find someone who loves you.
And it’s immediately obvious why this won. In a year filled with completely uninteresting songs, you have a really sweet romatic song with great vocals (and sung in English) as the closer. A great (but minimalistic) accompaniment helps it a lot by giving centre stage to Dana’s vocal performance, which is great too.
Sadly, it’s a bit too sweet for me. It’s definitely not a song I’m particularly fond of, but I understand why it’s still pretty popular.
While Marlène is far from my favourite winner, I’m confident about it being my favourite song from the contest.
Phew, short year. It felt really weird to end just after 12 songs. Worse than that, this was not a very good year. Most of the songs were very samey and boring and I really missed the Nordics and Portugal because they bring in the musical diversity I’ve come to enjoy in Eurovision. But still, I’ll always have an appreciation for this year for giving us postcards, which are such a staple of Eurovision and I missed them a lot during the 50s and 60s.
The voting sequence was fairly interesting, with Ireland getting an early lead over the UK, but failing to score any points from some of the juries. But then Ireland scored 9 points from the Belgian jury and it suddenly became very obvious who’d win. I found it very cute that the Irish spokesperson greeted Amsterdam with “This is a very cheerful Dublin calling”. I also found it cute how excited the commentator was about Dana winning. It was definitely well-deserved.
I’ll see you all in 1971, where Malta joins and everyone who skipped out on 1970 as a protest returns (Denmark still hated Eurovision and didn’t return).