Eurovision Song Contest 1994 Review

After hosting Eurovision in Millstreet, RTE probably realised what a headache it was and moved back to Dublin for this year. Also, relegation (ugh) was introduced, so Belgium, Denmark (noooo), Israel, Luxembourg, Slovenia (noooooooooooooo) and Turkey were relegated. Initially, Cyprus was also going to be relegated, but Italy withdrew voluntarily and they were admitted to the contest after all. All of this was done to let the KzM NQs (Estonia, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia) in, as well as three new countries: Lithuania, Poland and Russia. Also, Riverdance! But more about it at the end of the article.


For the first time ever, a country that won twice in a row actually hosted Eurovision again (Spain had that messy situation with a 4-way tie in 1969 and Luxembourg and Israel both passed on hosting in 1974 and 1980 respectively). However, they chose Dublin as the host city this time around.

We open with a rather hectic pre-filmed insert with a proto-flag parade, people in masks doing random things and other random things (but of course, it’s supposed to be Walpurgis Night) all set to some pretty nice orchestral music. All of this very smoothly transitions into an actual opening act on the actual stage. Speaking of the stage, I think this might be one of the best stages ever, especially if you watch an upscaled version of this year. The background reminds me of an American talk show, but in a good way.

Terry Wogan mentions relegation again, so let me rant about it for a bit before we proceed. The relegation system will almost-relegate several high-placing entries (as well as two winners), which proves that it was always a fatal mistake by the EBU. Imagine how many good songs had to miss out because of relegation. I’m sure that in a parallel universe in which a semifinal was brought in for 1994, we laugh at the idea of relegation Terry Wogan off-handedly mentioned in his 1993 commentary and saying “imagine they wanted to relegate the winner of ESC 1994, Denmark (or whatever)”. Even Cyprus was only allowed to participate this year because of a fluke (Italy withdrawing). Not only that, but it was also detrimental to the debuting countries since they couldn’t build up any momentum or experiment with their approach, since they’d get slammed with being relegated after that. Though some Western countries also got killed by relegation, especially Finland, but also Switzerland and Belgium. And it would only get worse between 1997 and 2001 as relegation would be based on an average across 5 previous contests, which is just insanely unfair.

Tonight, our hosts are Cynthia Ní Mhurchú and Gerry Ryan. Cynthia opens with a welcome in Irish, which is traditional for contests hosted in Ireland. They then both alternate giving introductions in French, English and Irish. They hype up the contest a bit, but nicely, not in an annoying way, and we move to the first song.


Sweden - Stjärnorna

Performed by
Marie Bergman and Roger Pontare

By Sweden’s standards, this is rather meh. It’s a pleasant power ballad and all, but I don’t find it particularly interesting or inspiring. I’m glad Roger Pontare got to redeem himself in the year 2000.

Finland - Bye Bye Baby

Performed by

I’ve always felt like this song was composed for the English lyrics since the rhythm doesn’t match the steady flow of Finnish language. This time, I finally stopped being lazy and looked up the English version and it turns out that I was right - the English version does flow much better. For some reason, I still prefer the Finnish version though. And generally, it’s some pretty nice 90s pop, it’s hard to dislike it. Though it’s clear that Finland was out of ideas on how to make Finnish appealing to non-Finnish speakers and just repeated the English-language hook as much as possible.

Oh, the staging is absolutely awful though. The costumes are insane and the backing dancers are unnecessary. I can’t help but feel like that was what pushed them down into the relegation zone.

Ireland - Rock ’n’ Roll Kids

Performed by
Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan

With a heavy heart, I admit that I’ve never liked this song and today isn’t much different. Look, I don’t hate it either, but no amount of convincing will make me like it. Their voices may be pleasant and all (and I’m a sucker for a piano, of course), but I don’t like songs that are all about how good it was in the past. Now, I’m obviously the outlier here since this is probably one of the most popular songs in ESC 1994, but I can’t help the way I feel about it.

Cyprus - Ime anthropos ki ego

Performed by

Luckily for me, it’s followed by one of my favourites of the year. Evridiki is back from 1992 and she’s ready to slay. I think it’s really great, though perhaps not as good as her 1992 entry. While Teriazoume had a very minimalistic arrangement that allowed Evridiki to shine, this is way more dramatic, with bouzoukis making it veeeeeeery Greek-sounding. In general, this is just full-blown drama, though with direction and purpose. The lyrics are really good as well, all about how she’s a real person too. Also, there’s a French version as well, and I think it fits it really well - granted, I’m used to dramatic songs in French. But the lyrics are a bit of a downgrade, they don’t seem as poetic to me (but that could be because I actually know French).

Iceland - Nætur

Performed by

Ah, here we go, a song with lovely verses that create a nice sense of tension and then a chorus that drives a bulldozer over it, so sad. I wish they stuck to a single style (probably the synthpop style of the chorus, Sigga seems to enjoy them more). Though I do like Sigga’s expressive way of performing it, she’s just as expressive on stage as she was in 1990 and 1992.

United Kingdom - We Will Be Free (Lonely Symphony)

Performed by
Frances Ruffelle

This has a great instrumental and, generally, good vibes. Frances begins by singing in a bit of a mumbly way, though she almost immediately regains her confidence and improves by the time of the first pre-chorus.

I’m honestly really glad that the UK went with something different rather than another modern pop song because I actually think this is great. It has a very lovely melancholic vibe, though there’s a lot of hopefulness as well.

I’m not that convinced by the laurel on top of her head though, I think it looks a bit tacky. Though it isn’t something I’m particularly bothered by either.

Croatia - Nek’ ti bude ljubav sva

Performed by
Tony Cetinski

I quite like the instrumental for this. The brass parts are really well-made and the bells add a certain je ne sais quoi to this. Also, the loud backing vocals are something Croatia did a lot in the early years, so it’s very recognisably Croatian to me. Sadly, the lead vocals are a bit too muddy for me and you need to have strong vocals for a power ballad to work.

Portugal - Chamar a música

Performed by

Huge props to Sara for pulling off a performance like this at just 16 years old. Like I said in my previous review, you need powerful vocals for a power ballad to work and she completely delivered on the vocal part. I also really like the instrumentation here, it complements her voice really well. And clearly the juries thought the same since it got 8th place, which is still one of Portugal’s best results to this day.

Switzerland - Sto pregando

Performed by

I mean, there isn’t much to say about this, is there? It’s a fairly normal Italian power ballad, Duilio has a good voice, the instrumentation is nice, but it’s just there on the whole. It’s also quite repetitive since it mostly keeps to the same structure all throughout, apart from the intro and outro.

Estonia - Nagu merelaine

Performed by
Silvi Vrait

Apart from the rather ugly outfit, this is actually pretty good. It starts out as a rock ballad and then transitions into a pop song by the end and I have to say, the transition is actually done really well. I definitely disagree with the result the juries gave it, but they’ve always snubbed songs in Finnish, why would it be different for songs in the sister language of Finnish - Estonian.

Romania - Dincolo de nori

Performed by
Dan Bittman

I don’t like the way this builds up. It opens sounding like a very pleasant piano ballad, transitions into a rock ballad for a short while and then becomes a very normal power ballad with Dan being quite shouty. The songs feels like it wanted to be way longer than 3 minutes to develop all of its ideas fully, but got tortured to fit the length limit.

Malta - More than Love

Performed by
Moira Stafrace and Christopher Scicluna

Honestly, I think this is way overhated by the fandom. It has a very good instrumental and good harmonies between Moira and Chris. I also really enjoy the parts where Moira goes a bit freeform, which definitely adds some flair to it.

Netherlands - Waar is de zon

Performed by
Willeke Alberti

I would’ve liked it way more if it stuck to the tender and minimalistic instrumentation it had in the beginning since it reminds me of Door de wind (the Belgian entry in 1989). The transition into a power ballad kinda makes it stop working for me. That said, I really like Willeke’s performance.

Germany - Wir geben ’ne Party

Performed by

Terry Wogan interviewed Frances during Germany’s postcard. Honestly, I wish he did this more, since both the 1990 and 1994 interviews were really fun. But maybe he should’ve postponed it until he had more time.

Anyway, to the song. Hell yeah, baby, Germany is back. After sending nearly the same song every year for the past decade, Ralph Siegel woke up and decided to compose something that wasn’t a ballad. So, thanks to his efforts, we got this disco banger and I couldn’t be happier. It’s cheerful, it’s upbeat, basically everything I wanted to hear from Germany. Why couldn’t they have sent something like this about 5 years ago? Clearly, Ralph Siegel (who pretty much had a chokehold on German entries) is capable of making something like this and it’s obvious that the peace ballad approach stopped working pretty early on, so it boggles my mind that they continued trying the same approach over and over again.

Here’s what my friend had to say when I showed this to him, “This is a great example of how you can be both entertining and silly, without the silly part being in disservice to the fun we have.” And I have to say, I completely agree. This is pretty silly and funny, the performers don’t take this very seriously , but it’s all done in an inviting way. You just can’t help but move along with them, the whole stage show is set up really well. So well done, Germany, let’s hope you continue sending upbeat bangers from now on since this scored really well (this is what we call foreshadowing).

Slovakia - Nekonečná pieseň

Performed by
Martin Ďurinda and Tublatanka

The members of this band are quite the lookers, aren’t they? I mean, uhh, the song is pretty nice, even if it’s a bit reserved. I like the way the orchestra adds to it, it was obviously written with that in mind, something a lot of other rock songs in ESC in this era have failed to do.

Lithuania - Lopšinė mylimai

Performed by
Ovidijus Vyšniauskas

It’s really nice to see Lithuania finally make a debut, there have been some great entries from Lithuania over the year. But this definitely isn’t one of them, it’s way too much of a nothingburger. I suppose Ovidijus did try his best to elevate it, but to me, it just lacks any kind of progression and quickly loses my interest.

Norway - Duett

Performed by
Elisabeth Andreasson and Jan Werner Danielsen

As someone said in a youtube comment once, “[they both are] so gifted vocally, they make something out of the nothing that is Duett”. And, once again, I completely agree. The song is really nothing special, just average, but the performance really elevates it a lot, as Elisabeth and Jan have great chemistry together and harmonise really well. I also found the tribute Elisabeth Andreassen sung at MGP 2024 to be very touching as well.

Bosnia and Herzegovina - Ostani kraj mene

Performed by
Alma and Dejan

On the other hand, these two go together about as well as oil and water. Seriously, it’s like they plucked two random people off the street and forced them to sing together. And the instrumental isn’t very interesting either. It’s such a disappointment after Bosnia’s great entry the year before.

Greece - To trehandiri (Diri Diri)

Performed by
Kostas Bigalis and the Sea Lovers

Again, why is this so reserved. The opening is promising, but the actual song is rather meh. I do really like the instrumental in isolation, but the vocal performance was very slurred, which made it sound like he was repeating the same word over and over and made for a very repetitive and tiresome experience. Still, the good instrumental really saves it.

Austria - Für den Frieden der Welt

Performed by
Petra Frey

Even not being able to speak German, I can tell that this is a very sappy peace ballad that might as well have been written by Ralph Siegel. This is not helped by Petra’s very weak vocals at the start that make her sound drunk. Luckily for her, she gets a bit better as the song goes on, though I can’t say I enjoyed it any more after that.

Spain - Ella no es ella

Performed by
Alejandro Abad

Alejandro has a vocal style I don’t often enjoy, and this song isn’t an exception to that. He sounds a bit whiny, especially at the start, and then becomes more gravelly. Generally, it’s, once again, too reserved and repetitive, lacking any kind of progression.

Hungary - Kinek mondjam el vétkeimet?

Performed by

Ok, yes, here we go! This is everything I look for in a ballad! It has a lot of subtle, but lovely build-up: it starts out very minimalistic, only with the guitar, but we also get some light strings just after you think you’ve already heard everything this song has to offer musically, as well as a bit of percussion to keep your interest on the song.

Speaking of the guitar, it’s so lovely. I like that it fades away during the verses a bit for variation, but then always comes back after each chorus to remind us where the song stands and to ground us into reality.

It also works really well with Friderika’s fragile singing style. I’m glad she doesn’t start screaming and instead keeps being fairly understated. Even without knowing Hungarian, you can tell what the song is about (or, at the very least, connect with it without even knowing its meaning), which is great for a language whose closest relatives are Finnish, which has never fared well in Eurovision, and Estonian, which has had comparatively more luck.

Russia - Vechny strannik

Performed by
Youddiph (real name: Maria Katz)

And we continue our streak of great songs from debuting countries. This time, Russia brought something that actually sounds Russian (let’s cherish this as most of Russia’s entries will be made by Greeks and Swedes and sound like generic pop once we get into the 21st century).

I especially love the very light and airy, almost freeform, feel of the verses and the pre-chorus. But I wouldn’t call them minimalistic, especially when compared to Hungary’s entry before it. There’s definitely an interesting progression here and it has some interesting funky keyboard plonks. This is all complemented by Maria’s lovely performance. And I don’t mean just vocally, even though her vocals are really good, I also mean the stage show. Even on their debut, Russia tried to do some staging for their entry, which is a trend that will continue in later years. I really like the dress, it adds a lot of flair to the performance.

Even though the chorus is comparatively less interesting, I still think it provides a good contrast to the verses and works well to ground it in a simpler, more accessible orchestral style more familiar to the Western audiences at the time.

I also think the lyrics are really well-written. Not every rhyme is exact, but that isn’t unusual for older songs in Russian (or Ukrainian, or Belarusian for that matter). Exact rhymes only became super important at the start of the 21st century for songs in those languages. Sure, at their core, the lyrics are about missing your lover, hardly an original theme for a song, but it’s presented in a very interesting way. She says that her lover is far away, they live in different worlds and the only way she can see him is in a dream. They have a lovely melancholic, longing vibe, but the choruses bring some hope into it as she sings about knowing that he remembers her and she will meet him after all.

All in all, this is an immense effort from Russia.

Poland - To nie ja!

Performed by
Edyta Górniak

Props to Terry Wogan on actually pronouncing Edyta’s name fairly well. Also, something I want to address: Edyta is an absolute trashbag of a human being, but she does sing well.

Of the three ballads by newcomers, this is the most dramatic one. When I first watched this year, this was the song I was impressed by the most. While it has grown off me over time, I still think it’s quite gorgeous. Edyta has a very strong vocal performance, though she’s a bit too shouty at times, which kinda takes away from the performance. Granted, she definitely does try to go very loud in general and I can’t say I’m a huge fan of that, but it kinda words for this song. The drama she creates fits this really well.

But my biggest nitpick is her wordless singing. It just doesn’t do anything for me anymore. Still, I like it. But it could’ve been better.

France - Je suis un vrai garçon

Performed by
Nina Morato

The final song is also the most “out there”, which is good because it means that we end the year on a high note. The lyrics are actually written really well, telling a story of a woman who wants to break her relationship with someone, but doesn’t have the courage to do so. This is all accompanied by one of the most interesting performances of Eurovision so far, with Nina being very sassy and energetic. I have to say though, the screaming wasn’t very necessary; and if I didn’t know this song contained a swear word, I wouldn’t have noticed because it’s very well-hidden.


This wasn’t the greatest year song-wise, but it was also far from the worst. The good stuff was mostly in the second half, but I prefer that to all of the good songs being bunched up near the start.

And now let’s discuss the best part: the interval act. Riverdance is, without a doubt, the most famous thing about Eurovision 1994. I wonder if the people behind it expected it to blow up or they just thought it would be a one-off thing. I bet its success was so satisfying and there isn’t a doubt in my mind that it was deserved. It’s so good that I always think it’s longer than it actually is, they just managed to pack a lot into a very time-constrained package. It also proves that Ireland didn’t just keep winning for no reason, they were just willing to involve their best of the best, their crème de la crème, with Eurovision.

The voting was really good this year. This was the first time we got to see the spokespeople in-person via a satellite, and I have to say, it does add a lot. The delay this creates is a bit unfortunate, of course, but it’s worth it overall. Ireland, of course, landslid the voting in the end, but it didn’t start to lead until the votes from Croatia came in, and Hungary led before that. In the end, Ireland won with an impressive 226 points - a record at the time and still the second best result for the winner before the semifinal era.

I’ve also decided that from now on, I’ll be putting my results after this conclusion, not before.

But I’ll see you all in Dublin yet again since Ireland was simply suffering from success.


  1. Russia - Vechny strannik
  2. Hungary - Kinek mondjam el vétkeimet?
  3. United Kingdom - We Will Be Free (Lonely Symphony)
  4. Germany - Wir geben ’ne Party
  5. Cyprus - Ime anthropos ki ego
  6. France - Je suis un vrai garçon
  7. Poland - To nie ja!
  8. Malta - More than Love
  9. Norway - Duett
  10. Slovakia - Nekonečná pieseň
  11. Estonia - Nagu merelaine
  12. Portugal - Chamar a música
  13. Finland - Bye Bye Baby
  14. Greece - To trehandiri (Diri Diri)
  15. Netherlands - Waar is de zon
  16. Romania - Dincolo de nori
  17. Iceland - Nætur
  18. Croatia - Nek’ ti bude ljubav sva
  19. Ireland - Rock ’n’ Roll Kids
  20. Bosnia and Herzegovina - Ostani kraj mene
  21. Lithuania - Lopšinė mylimai
  22. Sweden - Stjärnorna
  23. Spain - Ella no es ella
  24. Austria - Für den Frieden der Welt
  25. Switzerland - Sto pregando


  • Austria - 1 (1965)
  • Belgium - 1 (1961)
  • Cyprus - 1 (1992)
  • Denmark - 2 (1963, 1989)
  • Finland - 2 (1974, 1985)
  • France - 4 (1969, 1976, 1977, 1979)
  • Germany - 3 (1957, 1972, 1978)
  • Israel - 1 (1988)
  • Italy - 3 (1958, 1983, 1990)
  • Luxembourg - 3 (1956, 1964, 1973)
  • Malta - 1 (1991)
  • Monaco - 2 (1968, 1970)
  • Netherlands - 1 (1959)
  • Norway - 1 (1966)
  • Portugal - 2 (1967, 1984)
  • Russia - 1 (1994)
  • Slovenia - 1 (1993)
  • Spain - 2 (1971, 1982)
  • Sweden - 2 (1962, 1980)
  • Switzerland - 2 (1981, 1986)
  • Turkey - 1 (1975)
  • United Kingdom - 1 (1960)
  • Yugoslavia - 1 (1987)

And thus continues my bias towards the newcomers. Let’s see if 1995 will end it (no spoilers though)