Eurovision Song Contest 1985 Review

Welcome to one of the most 80s contests. We’re joined by 19 countries for the final time, as every year after this one will have at least 20 participants. Israel and Greece came back, though Yugoslavia and the Netherlands withdrew.


And here we are, in Gothenburg. Despite being quite a large city, this is the only time it has received Eurovision (and it seems like this is unlikely to change). It’s being held in the Scandinavium stadium, which still exists (though not for long). We’re welcomed by what might be the most 80s Eurovision logo and rendition of Te Deum, which slowly transitions into some smooth jazz music.

Our host this year is Lill Lindfors! We all know her, we all love her, we remember her from 1966. Unlike everyone else, she opens the show by singing. Now here’s a burst of energy. This properly sets the tone for this contest as something upbeat and fun. She’s honestly so much fun, there’s a reason why she was voted as one of the best presenters, I definitely agree with that. We also get the first reminder of Lys Assia, which will become increasingly common as time goes on.


Ireland - Wait Until the Weekend Comes

Performed by
Maria Christian

We start out with a pretty lovely, if rather reserved ballad. The chorus is especially lovely here, with a really nice progression, but the verses are fairly dull and unmemorable, which drags it all down for me.

Finland - Eläköön elämä

Performed by
Sonja Lumme

You can always count on Finland to bring a total banger in an odd year. This time around, we have some high-energy 80s pop rock. We get guitar solos! We rarely get guitar solos in Eurovision, so I savour each song with one (or multiple in this case). It also has such flow, it’s just mwah. The structure is fairly standard: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, but damn is it effective. The bridge is followed by a key change, as we all expect of a Eurovision song, but I love key changes, so I can’t complain.

Cyprus - To katalava arga

Performed by
Lia Vissi

The song might be rather plain, but Lia Vissi elevates it a lot. It’s always good to watch a performer that can truly connect to their song, which is unsurprising as she both wrote and composed it herself. Still, I just wish it was a bit more hard-hitting, it just feels a bit too insubstantial.

Denmark - Sku’ du spørg’ fra no’en

Performed by
Hot Eyes

Children on the Eurovision stage are a big no. They just can’t sing very well (with very few exceptions), especially young children like this. On the whole, I liked this more than the previous year’s entry from Hot Eyes - even though it was pretty similar - but the little girl’s singing was just too grating for me to enjoy the song.

Spain - La fiesta terminó

Performed by
Paloma San Basilio

Here we have a song that actually does wow me. While it does seem like just another ballad, there’s something here that touches me. Paloma performs the song really well and her gestures and hand movements are genuinely mesemrising. It’s quite similar in its theme to the 1976 entry from the Netherlands: both are titled “The party is over” (though this one is in Spanish, obviously) and both use a party as a synonym for a failing relationship. Though, while the Dutch entry has a more upbeat feeling, this one is way more melancholic and downbeat.

France - Femme dans ses rêves aussi

Performed by
Roger Bens

While I like the song, I don’t think Roger is a strong performer at all. He’s variably breathy and shouty, and he has a pretty flat delivery in general. I usually try to give mediocre live performances a pass, but this one actually makes me enjoy the song considerably less. It’s a shame too, because I actually really like the song itself. I suppose it’s the opposite of the Spanish entry, where the performer elevated a song I don’t find to be as strong.

Turkey - Didai didai dai

Performed by

Ok, now this is a very vibey song. I don’t know how else to put it, but this just makes me happy. I can’t help but tap my foot and bop my head when I listen to this. And yeah, this isn’t the most complex or musically interesting entry, but there’s something so warm and inviting about this song, I just can’t explain it. It’s not like it’s very complex or lyrically mindblowing. I guess it’s just the kind of “lovely” I can get behind.

Belgium - Laat me nu gaan

Performed by
Linda Lepomme

I think I’ve made my opinions on opera-stye singing in ESC very clear: I usually hate it. So it should come as no surprise that I’m not a fan of the high notes in this song, they annoy me a bit. And the whole song is weird (in a bad way too) - the music suggest that it’s a floaty, dreamy love song, but the lyrics imply a relationship that’s falling apart and perhaps even a degree of domestic abuse (I’m probably reading into the lyrics “don’t touch me, no, don’t touch me” too much). So I really see why it finished last with the juries.

Nevertheless, despite heaping so much negativity on it, I still kinda like it. It’s honestly all thanks to Linda, who manages to elevate the song a lot with her performance. There’s just something mesmerising about it and, again, it’s hard to put exactly what it is into words.

Portugal - Penso em ti, eu sei

Performed by

I find it difficult to say something without repeating myself, so I’ll just repeat myself: this was a mediocre song elevated by the performance. It really doesn’t touch me in any way or interest me at all.

Germany - Für alle

Performed by

Well, this isn’t bad per se, but it’s really sugary and saccharine. You can understand that even if you don’t speak German or don’t look up the translation of the lyrics. At least it’s competently composed, written and executed.

Israel - Olé, Olé

Performed by
Izhar Cohen

You can usually count on Israel to send something fun and this year is no exception. We have a very upbeat, energetic Israeli dance banger that feels like a breat of fresh air after all of the preceding mediocrity. I love that it doesn’t begin with singing right away, oh no. Instead we get an instrumental intro and Izhar bursts onto the scene after it. Only then does he start singing, backed by one of the most irritating backing singers (whose mic stops working halfway through the performance - and people say divine powers don’t exist).

It also has a very complex choreography, especially considering that it’s 1985 - even 2004 still mostly consisted of singers standing still. That really makes the entry stand out from the rest - in a good way, of course. It even has a lovely key change that really makes me happy (I’m an unashmed key change lover - sue me).

Italy - Magic, Oh Magic

Performed by
Al Bano and Romina Power

Why did Al Bano and Romina Power end up sending two of the worst songs of their discography to Eurovision? This is a very uninteresting and indistinct song that just puts me to sleep. I don’t like it.

Norway - La det swinge

Performed by

And here we have it, another song that’s actually fun to watch and listen to. Both members of Bobbysocks took part previously: Hanne participated all the way back in 1971 and Elisabeth took part in 1982.

Just like the title says, it’s a song in swing rhythm, so you can think they’ve “let it swing” (sorry). It’s just such a burst of energy and they have great vocals actually. It might be the best vocal performance of the night, there’s nothing to critique in that department. Nor is there anything to critique from any other perspective, to be honest. The lyrics are very simple and catchy, memorable and easy to sing along to even if you don’t know Norwegian. It was clearly composed for an international audience and it paid off very well.

I’m really glad that this was Norway’s first win in the contest. They’ve sent several songs that deserved to win over the years and I’m glad this was the one to do it.

United Kingdom - Love Is…

Performed by

And here’s a fairly basic entry that I still come back to very often. There’s something very nice about its simplicty. It just works, the vocals are clear, the lyrics are nice, it’s just an all-around good entry with everything executed well. I don’t know why I like it so much, but I just do. It’s one of the few songs I know all lyrics to and can recall the melody. It absolutely deserved its 4th place.

Switzerland - Piano, piano

Performed by
Mariella Farré and Pino Gasparini

We have two people, one with a French name and the other one with an Italian name, singing a song in German - you can’t get more Swiss than that.

This is another song with pretty forgettable verses and a good, memorable chorus. I’ll be honest, I much prefer it this way than the other way around, since the chorus is (supposed to be, at least) the memorable part of the song, so I’ll always go a little softer on a song that has meh verses and a good chorus. Though I have to admit, I like the contrast between the verses and the chorus, it’s quite nice.

Sweden - Bra vibrationer

Performed by
Kikki Danielsson

I don’t think anyone will be surprised if I say that I loved this. It has that characteristic schlager sound that gets my brain fired up just like the two backing dancers here. You could say that this song gives me “bra vibrationer” (which “doesn’t mean, ahem, erm, hmm, what you think it means”).

I like it for the same reason I like the Norwegian entry (and I honestly would’ve expected this one to score over it), it’s a fun, upbeat banger with fun, singable lyrics, a good melody and a well-crafted stage show. Basically, Sweden continues the excellency streak.

Austria - Kinder dieser Welt

Performed by
Gary Lux

This is a fine - if a bit plain - song. There’s nothing exactly wrong here, nothing to critique, but not a lot to love either. It’s the definition of “alright”. Just like Terry Wogan said, it probably would’ve done even better if Luxembourg’s song didn’t come right after it.

Luxembourg - Children, Kinder, Enfants

Performed by
Margo, Franck Olivier, Chris Roberts, Malcolm Roberts, Ireen Sheer and Diane Solomon

Jesus christ, just pick a one-off name, it would make everyone’s lives so much easier. Or credit Ireen Sheer as the lead, it’s obvious that her microphone was turned up compared to everyone else.

Also, this is easily the messiest entry of the contest - and not in a charming way. It starts out just fine - an average upbeat pop song in French about children, but then becomes a multilingual mess about halfway through. Some songs manage to pull off this gimmick - this one doesn’t. It’s clear that there wasn’t a lot of thought put into the performance of the song - Ralph Siegel clearly only cared about the novelty of singing in multiple languages at once. The performers deserved a much better song, because they actually sound really good together in the first half.

Greece - Miazoume

Performed by
Takis Biniaris

And we wrap up with another insanely mediocre song. I’m sorry, Greece, you’ve had a lot of bangers since you’ve joined, but this isn’t one of those. Instead, it’s a very middling ballad with nothing that grabs my attention. At least the singer has a nice voice.


  1. CFinland - Eläköön elämä
  2. Israel - Olé, Olé
  3. Sweden - Bra vibrationer
  4. Turkey - Didai didai dai
  5. United Kingdom - Love Is…
  6. Norway - La det swinge
  7. France - Femme dans ses rêves aussi
  8. Germany - Für alle
  9. Spain - La fiesta terminó
  10. Switzerland - Piano, piano
  11. Belgium - Laat me nu gaan
  12. Cyprus - To katalava arga
  13. Ireland - Wait Until the Weekend Comes
  14. Portugal - Penso em ti, eu sei
  15. Greece - Miazoume
  16. Austria - Kinder dieser Welt
  17. Denmark - Sku’ du spørg’ fra no’en
  18. Italy - Magic, Oh Magic
  19. Luxembourg - Children, Kinder, Enfants


  • Austria - 1 (1965)
  • Belgium - 1 (1961)
  • Denmark - 1 (1963)
  • Finland - 2 (1974, 1985)
  • France - 4 (1969, 1976, 1977, 1979)
  • Germany - 3 (1957, 1972, 1978)
  • Italy - 2 (1958, 1983)
  • Luxembourg - 3 (1956, 1964, 1973)
  • Monaco - 2 (1968, 1970)
  • Netherlands - 1 (1959)
  • Norway - 2 (1966, 1982)
  • Portugal - 2 (1967, 1984)
  • Spain - 1 (1971)
  • Sweden - 2 (1962, 1980)
  • Switzerland - 1 (1981)
  • Turkey - 1 (1975)
  • United Kingdom - 1 (1960)
  • Yugoslavia - 1 (1974)

I’ve changed my mind on 1974 and made Finland my winner. Coincidentally, it’s also my winner in this year.


Despite the best attempts by Lill Lindfors, this year was very mediocre, much worse than I remember. The “wardrobe malfunction” joke definitely helped me wake up. At least the interval act was fun - a medley of Swedish songs. And the voting was cool too, Norway started off by scoring really poorly, but continued climbing over time and ended up winning it all.

I’ll see you all in Bergen, for the first contest held in Norway.