Eurovision Song Contest 1996 Review

“Phew, we don’t have to host. Why do I hear boss music?” said Ireland. “Oh shit, we have to host it. Let’s show everyone how advanced our technology is,” said Norway. “Oh shit, we’re almost broke,” said the EBU after Germany failed to advance from the pre-qualification round (which I’ll be covering, so technically there are no missing countries in my review).

Preface

So, yes, here we are, reviewing 1996. And by we I mean I am, you’re all just reading this. This time, we’re in Norway for the second time and in Oslo for our very first time. For this special occasion, NRK decided that money didn’t matter and splurged on the most extravagant video effects available at the time. In fact, they even built a whole virtual studio for this contest.

Unfortunately for them, they were also quite strapped for cash. A new system of admitting entries into the final was introduced (and promptly scrapped after this year) - an audio-only pre-qualification round judged by a completely different panel than the juries in the actual show. Norway, as the host country, was exempt from this, but the other 29 countries had to fight for the other 22 places in the final. Very controversially, Germany didn’t qualify from this, which meant they didn’t have to pay a participation fee at all.

Now, a little note about the pre-qualification round. Most people assume that it was introduced because Germany would’ve been relegated otherwise. I used to assume that as well until I’ve read a youtube comment citing a Finnish newspaper that this was decided before the 1995 contest happened, since it published the news about the pre-qualification round a few days before that year’s contest even took place. And it would’ve worked the same way 2004-2007 semifinals worked: for 1997, the top 10 countries in 1996 would’ve qualified directly and the rest would’ve had to go through a pre-qualification round again. Of course, there was no Big 5 back then, so only 10 countries would’ve qualified automatically.

Now, I’m not sure how reliable the information is since 1) I can’t read Finnish and 2) I don’t remember the name of the newspaper, so take it all with a grain of salt. But I just had to mention this for completeness’ sake.

But for now, let’s also cover the opening of the show itself. We open with a montage showcasing traditional Norwegian culture, as well as some hot men, sadly not topless, it’s very cold after all. They pull a oat on the shore, dance around the campfire and do some other cool things, it really looks like a lot of fun. After that, one of the hosts - Morten Harket, the lead singer for the band a-ha - sung his song Heaven’s not for Saints as an opening act (that was the first time it was performed in public btw), which feels a little self-indulgent and also shows just how terribly dated Eurovision was in the 90s because I can’t imagine this ever being entered in ESC 1996, even though the song was released in 1996. After this, the other host - Ingvild Bryn - enters the stage, introduced by Morten and given a fanfare. The audience’s cheers and whoops prove that the stuffy audiences of the past that brought the atmosphere down are, indeed, a thing of the past - and good riddance to them, they won’t be missed.

The presenters quickly greet every country in the country’s native language, which is really sweet, I love it when people spend time to learn other languages, even if it’s just a couple of small phrases. After this, they do some light-hearted slander of Eurovision, which is always funny, I don’t mind it and mention the non-qualified countries by name, which is quite sweet. In fact, we’ll start the review with a quick detour to the non-qualifiers first.

Non-qualified songs

Germany - Planet of Blue

Performed by
Leon
Language
German

And we start with the big fan favourite of the seven non-qualifications this year (note: I’m listing them in the same order the juries listened to the entries: sorted alphabetically by the country’s two-letter ISO 3166 code. Germany’s is DE, which comes before Denmark’s DK).

Anyway, I have no idea why this didn’t qualify. I can’t blame the listening order since the UK was quite early on as well (since the UK’s ISO code is GB) and finished 3rd. I can’t blame language bias, since Austria’s song in German finished 6th. I can’t blame poor production or quality since the song sounds very well-produced for this era of the contest. I think it was simply a case of being unlucky. I theorise that most jurors thought it was decent, but preferred other songs more, which still happens to this day.

And, in fact, I think this not qualifying saved the contest. It made the EBU take a long look at the contest as a whole, the method of admitting the countries into the final, the mandatory orchestra, jury-only voting and realise that all of this was holding the contest back and making it seem outdated and unappealing to the public. This non-qualification (as well as another result by another country, but more on it in just a little bit) was very important and I’m glad it happened - but it’s a shame that a good song had to suffer in the process.

Denmark - Kun med dig

Performed by
Dorthe Andersen and Martin Loft
Language
Danish

Note, this would’ve been in the final under the 1994-1995 relegation rules since Denmark scored 5th place the previous year, which proves that relegation is just stupid. This entry is such a downgrade compared to Fra Mols til Skagen that it isn’t even funny. It really has nothing to offer musically, being just a plain love ballad. I suppose the singers’ voices are nice, but that’s pretty much all I can say.

Hungary - Fortuna

Performed by
Gjon Delhusa
Language
Hungarian

This is the one I really wish made it into the final. This might seem like another ballad, but I really love Gjon’s performance of this. He performs it with such passion and conviction that it’s impossible not to like this at least a little bit.

I really like the piano intro here, it sets the mood really well, as well as the strings that kick in afterwards. In general, I really enjoy the instrumental, it’s simple, but effective. It reminds me of instrumentals of Irish entries because of this, a lot of their winners also had simple, but effective instrumentals. I also like the vocal performance, even if it can get a bit waily at times - I think that fits the song.

I wish the final had 25 participants, then both Germany and Hungary could’ve made it. Of course, that wouldn’t account for my third fave NQ, but more on that later.

Israel - Shalom Olam

Performed by
Galit Bell
Language
Hebrew

While a little repetitive, I think this would’ve given a little diversity in the final. It’s a nice, upbeat pop songs (with just a dash of rock undertones) that actually does feel Israeli for the first time in a while.

Of course, Israel ruined their chances by sending a recording of the live performance while everyone else sent studio cuts. And yes, the live performance isn’t the strongest (though it isn’t really bad, and most singers perform better in the actual contest compared to the national final), but it’s still strong enough for me simply by being very fun.

North Macedonia - Samo ti

Performed by
Kaliopi
Language
Macedonian

Welcome to the family, North Macedonia (I’ll refer to it as North Macedonia in all of my reviews - same for Czechia). Well, not welcome yet, actually, you’ll have to wait for two more years to make a proper debut.

And while it probably would’ve been nice for this entry to be qualified automatically, I’m glad it wasn’t because it really isn’t strong at all. Kaliopi is a great singer, but this is the weakest entry out of her three. My biggest issue is that the structure is very inaccessible in a bad way. The verses feel like choruses and the bridge is barely noticeable. Thankfully, Kaliopi will be back in 16 years to redeem herself.

Romania - Rugă pentru pacea lumii

Performed by
Monica Anghel and Sincron
Language
Romanian

Honestly, poor Romania. They failed to qualify in 1993, got relegated for 1995, failed to qualify in 1996, got relegated for 1997 and finally got to participate in 1998, only to be relegated in 1999 again.

Sadly, I can’t say their lack of success was undeserved. They just didn’t select good entries and got appropriately poor results. This reminds me a lot of Nu pleca, their 1993 entry, both because it has a screaming woman and a bit of a rock vibe, as well as because both aren’t considered to be official entries by Romania. Unfortunately, Monica doesn’t have as much stage presence as Dida had in KzM, though she’ll be back for revenge in 2002 (and do much much better).

Russia - Ya eto ya

Performed by
Andrey Kosinskiy
Language
Russian

I’ve always thought that this song was amazing and deserved to qualify from the semifinal, but I’ve actually taken a listen to the national selection that year and was blown away. Now I believe that choosing this song was a big mistake, even though I really like its chill city pop vibe that doesn’t match Western European styles of the time at all.

Now, I don’t think that most of the songs would’ve qualified either, they were all very eccentric and inaccessible to the overly conservative juries. My personal favourite of the selection was the song Zheltie Babochki (Yellow Butterflies). While it’s a bit messy, I still think it’s a lovely rock song with some nice guitars. The lyrics are utterly bizarre though, they use a lot of weird metaphors I can’t even begin to explain. All I’ll say is that the yellow butterflies are made of paper and are falling on the flowers from the sky. No, it doesn’t make any more sense in Russian.

Ok, let’s get through the rest with fewer words, I’ll be listing them in order from more favourite to less favourite. My second favourite is Belye Gory (White Mountains). It’s got a nice walzy feel and feels quite freeform. In fact, I’d say it reminds me of Russia’s 1994 entry a bit. The lyrics pretty much just praise the mountains and the beauty of nature, I don’t detect any double meanings here. After this, my third place is Veterki. It starts out quite etherally, but becomes slightly more power ballad-y later on, though not in an obnoxious way. I definitely think the juries would’ve liked this quite a lot.

Next, Zemlya Moya (My Planet) might feel like a fairly average song about saving the Earth, but something about Lisa’s performance makes me appreciate this way more than I would’ve otherwise. On the other hand, Voyennaya Kolybelnaya (War Lullaby) feels quite dark, fitting its title. While the lyrics are very vague and don’t mention or even allude to any war at all, it still has a miliary march feeling, which is probably the reason why it was titled this way. Igray, Sudba (Play, Fate) might be generic Russian chanson (has nothing to do with French chansons, Russian just borrowed the word for “song” from French and assigned it to a completely unrelated genre), which I usually absolutely hate, I actually find this pretty good, which is a great achievement. It’s quite fun and playful and the performance is pretty charismatic.

On the completely opposite end of the spectrum, there’s Muzyka Plus (Music Plus), which is an almost-acapella song (the minimal accompaniment makes this not acapella) with a very lovely performance. This definitely would’ve stood out from the rest of the lineup. The same can be said about Moskovskiy Romans (Moscow Romance), which is performed by a rather famous Russian rock band Nogu Svelo. Of course, this isn’t rock, we’re about a decade away from rock making its way into Eurovision, but it does have their signature satyrical style. The lead singer even shouts at the audience that it’s their only chance to make it to the Eurovision country. It fits with the lyrical topic of the song about people begging because they got their documents and money stolen at the train station when they arrived to Moscow. Nobody would’ve understood the song though since it depends a lot on the cultural tropes that are completely inaccessible to western audiences.

Only then did I put Ya eto ya, which I still consider a good song, but nowhere near as good as before. Like I said before all of this, I think choosing it for Eurovision was a big mistake and something more upbeat should’ve gone instead. The rest of the songs aren’t interesting at all and completely not worth reviewing.

I suppose this is now my longest “song” review, but it’s actually a review of a whole national final, so that makes sense. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading this because it’s finally time to move to the rest of the songs.

Songs

With my detour finished, let’s move to the actual songs. There are 23 of them and most of them are pretty good.

Turkey - Beşinci Mevsim

Performed by
Şebnem Paker
Language
Turkish

Oh hi, Şebnem, nice to see you. I always forget you competed in 1996 as well, though a bit undeservedly as this is actually pretty good! While it lacks some progression for me (especially compared to her later entry, but shhh, no spoilers), I still really enjoy the instrumentation, especially the prominent piano and the accordion. Generally, it has a nice Turkish vibe to it, but it’s just a little bit reserved to wow me.

United Kingdom - Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit

Performed by
Gina G
Language
English

On the other hand, this isn’t reserved at all. And, in fact, it’s easily the most 90s-feeling song of the night (obviously, it was a chart hit all over the world, and it’s easy to see why). It’s also the other song that influenced every contest in the years to come (and, in fact, to this day) that I alluded to in the review of the German entry. It’s very obvious to me that this coming 8th is what pushed the EBU to introduce televoting into the contest (which will improve the contest by a lot), since the juries were incapable of rating the songs according to the public tastes.

The juries were supposed to be representative of the public taste, and I feel like they were until 1991, when the split became 8 musical professionals to 8 normal people instead of 0 musical professionals to 16 normal people. You can immediately see the results, with fun songs being pushed to the side and professionally-executed, but not as fun, song being rewarded. This is what made the 90s Eurovision into a completely musically irrelevant show, having nothing that identifies it as 90s apart from 2 or 3 entries. It’s also why the 90s are so beloved by fans, since the music not being commercial means it didn’t age really poorly, especially compared to some of the songs from the 2000s and 2010s.

But it also caused another rule change. Since the instruments could be pre-recorded, but had to be mimed, and this was a mostly electronic track (the orchestra played some live strings over it, but it’s pretty minor), they just put two Apple Macintoshes on stage, didn’t even bother to turn them on or make this convincing in any way and called it a day. From 1997 onwards, the performers would be allowed to use a backing track without mining the instruments on stage, which was a great change. And from 1999 onwards, the orchestra would be dropped completely (which was a good change in my opinion, but more on that later).

Anyway, to talk a little more about the song, I love it, but mostly the studio cut. I don’t think Gina had a winning performance on the night, she sounded very out-of-breath for most of it. It seems like she couldn’t really handle dancing and singing at the same time. Still, it’s a very contemporary entry, actually representing contemporary music and the song itself is good enough to make me not care about the vocals as much.

Spain - Ay, qué deseo

Performed by
Antonio Carbonell
Language
Spanish

Let me mention the postcards a little: they feel very chaotic. At first, the artists appears and sings a song (not necessarily their entry), after which we see a quick montage of some views of Norway and then a politician from the country wishes luck to the entrant. I don’t think they’re structured that well, the different parts don’t flow into each other well at all.

As for the song, well, it’s shit. Specifically, the singing, the instrumental is fine. But his performance makes me want to never return to this song, which is exactly what I’ll do after I’m done with this review. His voice is very grating and annoying - and it isn’t any better in the studio cut. I have no idea how this made it through the pre-qualification round - though I suppose it’s distinctive enough to stick in the minds of the juries.

Portugal - O meu coração não tem cor

Performed by
Lúcia Moniz
Language
Portuguese

This is cute! If I had to pick just one word to describe this entry, it would be “cute”. This was Portugal’s best result up to this point and it’s still their second best result ever.

Looking at the translation of the lyrics is a lot of fun since they have to explain a lot of the references in footnotes, which is really appreciated, since most people aren’t from Portuguese-speaking countries (speaking purely statistically). Basically, this is a song calling for all of lusophone countries to unite together and put their differences aside. Musically, it’s a combination of a lot of different styles, which might make you think it sounds disjointed and messy, but they manage to make it work really well (props to them for that, it must’ve felt impossible to feature so many different styles in just three minutes).

I’m so happy that it got a good result. The juries at the time really didn’t like Portugal, so them rewarding this feels so out-of-character, but I’m glad they did. It feels like Portugal was finally getting the points they were owed since 1964.

Cyprus - Mono gia mas

Performed by
Constantinos
Language
Greek

I think this is a bit overhated. Sure, it might not be as good as a lot of other Cypriot entries, but it’s very nice, especially between two upbeat entries from Portugal and Malta. I really like his voice and I’m always a bit of a sucker for piano ballads.

Malta - In a Woman’s Heart

Performed by
Miriam Christine
Language
English

Just like the UK, Malta sent a very contemporary song, though in a very different way. This is way less electronic, instead being a piano-driven pop song. But it does have some flaws. First of all, the choreography is a bit weird. I usually revisit this in the studio, so I forget that Miriam tries to be all seductive on stage and kinda fails at it, looking a bit off-putting to me (especially if you consider that she was still 17 years old at the time of the show), but then, I’m not a huge fan of people trying to look seductive in general on stage: it usually feels so forced to me. On the other hand, I like her deep voice, I think it fits the song really well. Basically, it falls into the same trap as most Eurovision songs will: the stage show is a bit too much, but the song is good.

But still, I’m glad that we got more than one contemporary song this year. Malta generally sends contemporary and trendy songs for the most part, so this is pretty much what I’d expect them to send in the televote era.

Croatia - Sveta ljubav

Performed by
Maja Blagdan
Language
Croatian

I actually think that 4th place for this was well-deserved. I can already hear you say “but the screams” and to that, I reply “yes, the screams!”. The screams don’t detract from my enjoyment of this one bit. In fact, they really add to the song, just like in the 1977 entry for Finland.

Austria - Weil’s dr guat got

Performed by
George Nussbaumer
Language
German

I usually don’t like gospel, but this is really good. It’s fun, upbeat, the backing singers/dancers all work really well together, as well as with George. Plus, it’s really cool that George can play the piano while he’s blind, huge props to him. It’s a really great effort on Austria’s part, I love to see them taking Eurovision more seriously. It’s a shame that this comes and goes in waves: sometimes Austria barely puts in effort, other times they go all out and send something with huge winner vibes.

Switzerland - Mon cœur l’aime

Performed by
Kathy Leander
Language
French

Even for this era of Eurovision, this is pretty dated. It would’ve been much more suited for Eurovision 1984 and not 1996. Kathy has a nice voice, but I’ve heard these lyrics and instrumentals about 100 times before, there’s really nothing remarkable about this. Ok, fine, there’s one remarkable thing about this: it’s the only song in French in the final, which prevented this from being the first Eurovision final from being the first one with no songs in French.

Greece - Emis forame to himona anixiatika

Performed by
Marianna Efstratiou
Language
Greek

This feels especially interesting after the Swiss entry, even though it isn’t actually that interesting. It’s got a funky 7/8 beat, but that’s about it. Still, it’s very enjoyable and lovely, I’m glad Greece is continuing to send Greek-sounding entries. I definitely prefer it to their un-Greek entries from the 80s.

Estonia - Kaelakee hääl

Performed by
Maarja-Liis Ilus and Ivo Linna
Language
Estonian

And here’s the entry that started Estonia’s streak of good results. And, I have to say, it’s really deserved.I think that Maarja and Ivo’s voices work really well together, even if I prefer Maarja’s voice more. I just think they sound very harmonious together, which is unexpected since they’ve never met before the rehearsals for the contest itself (at first, Ivo was supposed to perform this song with Elevin Samuel, who couldn’t make it to the national final and got replaced with Maarja). Then, Ivo couldn’t make it to the final either and appeared on a screen only, while Maarja attended live.

Even then, I do really like this song. It’s very cute, very Disney. I mentioned that Estonia’s 1993 entry felt like a beta version of this and I still stand by that statement. This entry also gave Estonia some boost of confidence to continue sending good songs, eventually resulting in a win, which is another reason I consider this to be a landmark song.

Norway - I evighet

Performed by
Elisabeth Andreassen
Language
Norwegian

Huuuuuuuge applause from the audience for this, which makes sense, this is the host entry after all. And let me tell you, the applause was perfectly deserved.

This is the style of songs that did really well in 90s Eurovision: ethereal, esoteric and predominantly orchestral. It’s also a style Norway has stuck to between 1993 and 1996. I enjoyed all of them, but the last one is also my favourite. Unlike their previous entries, this also has some synths to make it just a little more contemporary, which really elevates this. But it also has a pan flute to make it sound more “traditional”, idk how to describe it.

I honestly don’t know what to say about this, I can often wax about a completely random song, but sometimes I just run out of words - and this is definitely one of those times. It’s simply a masterpiece and shows why we shouldn’t ban returning artists or even winners, since they can always surprise us by bringing something new to the table, just like Elisabeth Andreassen did every time she took part.

France - Diwanit bugale

Performed by
Dan Ar Braz and l’Héritage des Celtes
Language
Breton

France decided to take a really big risk and send a fully non-French song. It didn’t really pay off, but I’m glad they tried. This also goes all atmospheric and ethereal, to a good effect, I don’t think this would’ve been anywhere near as good as it is if it were a pop song. I also like the message here: according to the translation, it’s all about hoping that their children will continue speaking in Breton. As I’m a big supporter of language preservation, I definitely resonate with the message.

Slovenia - Dan najlepših sanj

Performed by
Regina
Language
Slovene

Is this one of the best songs ever made? No. Is it one of the cutest songs ever made? Yeah, I’d say it is - and I love cute! Regina has a very cute voice to match the cute lyrics, which are all about blossoms in May, beautiful gardens and other cute things. And I have to say, I never noticed that the drums were synthetic until someone pointed it out to me. I just don’t tend to think about stuff like that.

Netherlands - De eerste keer

Performed by
Maxine and Franklin Brown
Language
Dutch

This is a very 90s Dutch entry-sounding 90s Dutch entry, which checks out, I guess. It’s good and memorable, the singers are energetic and it’s performed really well. There’s nothing to remark upon here really, it’s just well-done.

Belgium - Liefde is een kaartspel

Performed by
Lisa del Bo
Language
Dutch

To get it out of the way, yes, it’s very similar to Lyssna Till Dit Hjärta / Listen to Your Heartbeat, the Swedish 2001 entry. While I don’t necessarily think it was plagiarised, I do think they both got their inspiration from the same source: ABBA. Both sound like a cover of an ABBA song, which is why they have a very similar chorus melody.

That said, I really like it. It’s so cheerful and upbeat and fun and energetic, I just can’t resist it. Lisa is a lovely performer, she really shares her energy with the viewers, and I also love the backing singers, they add a lot to the performance as well. The special effects are really pointless here, with the spinning carousel, but men, NRK wanted to show off, plus it’s a bit charming.

Ireland - The Voice

Performed by
Eimear Quinn
Language
English

What can I say about this that hasn’t been said before? It’s absolutely brilliant, no doubt about it. I absolutely love the instrumental here, it’s both simple and complex at the same time. It doesn’t have any unnecessary flourishes, it’s very straight-to-the-point, but I really like that it isn’t just some boring orchestral accompaniment. Just like most of the best songs in the 90s, it incorporates other instruments to create a very Irish sound. This also works really well with Eimear’s voice, which actually doesn’t annoy me at all, even though it logically should since I usually dislike high-pitched singing like this. Somehow, she makes it work and manages to convince me with her performance.

Also, I think that this is one of the few winners of “old” Eurovision that could still stand a chance nowadays. If you revamp the staging a bit and make another pass on the instrumental to improve the production values, you’ll be looking at a potential fan favourite, which really speaks to the timelessness of this song.

Finland - Niin kaunis on taivas

Performed by
Jasmine
Language
Finnish

I swear, I just don’t understand the juries sometimes. Did they just collude against giving Finland any points on purpose? This is easily one of the most inexplicable last places ever. It has a strong, lovable performance with a good voice and a memorable instrumental. It even got drawn to perform near the end, I can’t blame running order bias here. I swear, juries had the weirdest takes back then. I’d love to see a full ranking of the year by the juries to know if they all really hated Finland or it just slipped between the cracks. It could also be because it was performed after the winner, since this is a bit understated.

Iceland - Sjúbídú

Performed by
Anna Mjöll
Language
Icelandic

The instrumental here is actually rather lovely, very jazzy and freeform. But the incessant repetition of “shoobee-doo” (or, as its spelled in Icelandic, sjúbídú) drives me absolutely insane and makes listening to this song an absolute chore. Which is a shame because I think there’s a good song hidden underneath all of the bad stuff. Anna performs it with a lot of passion and almost makes me enjoy the song at times, but then she repeats “shoobee-doo” one more time and it’s all ruined.

Poland - Chcę znać swój grzech

Performed by
Kasia Kowalska
Language
Polish

This could not have been sent by anyone else than a Slavic country. It just has that quintessential Slavic sadness and despair (some might call it dreariness). It has an outstanding instrumental with a piano that jumps up and down octaves, creating an uneasy, hectic feeling, as well as some very sharp strings, which contributes to that feeling as well. All of this matches the atmosphere created by Kasia’s vocal performance.

It also has brilliantly written lyrics. She asks her lover what she’s done wrong (“sin” here is used in a more metaphorical way) and pleas with him to tell her. With a song like this, you really need a convincing performance, which Kasia gives with no effort at all.

Bosnia and Herzegovina - Za našu ljubav

Performed by
Amila Glamočak
Language
Bosnian

I actually think this is rather lovely, it’s very pretty and minimalistic. My only complaint is that Amila is very quiet for most of the performance, which does dampen my enjoyment of the song quite a bit.

Slovakia - Kým nás máš

Performed by
Marcel Palonder
Language
Slovak

This is a little boring, though it does have a rather pleasant instrumentation and some lovely vocal harmonies. It’s just a little too reserved for my tastes, but I think it could’ve been much better with just a couple more passes over the song.

Sweden - Den vilda

Performed by
One More Time
Language
Swedish

And for the second time in a row, Sweden finished 3rd with 100 points while receiving 12 points from Ireland. And I have to say, their placement was absolutely well-deserved. It’s really the kind of music we never get from Sweden: something cultural and understated, since they usually send flashy pop. But I have to say, this is really really good. They have some lovely vocal harmonies and a very memorable melody (with a decent amount of Christmas vibes, if someone told me this was a traditional Christmas song, I wouldn’t have been surprised at all).

Nanne Grönvall is definitely a big, versatile talent as she’ll prove in her following Melodifestivalen participations. Sadly, she’ll never get to show her talent on the Eurovision stage ever again, even though she really should’ve.

Final thoughts

I’ve decided to rename this section to “Final thoughts” since it sounds a bit better. And my final thoughts for this year are: this was amazing. I love 1996, it’s such a good year with so many good songs and a decent diversity as well.

I also quite enjoyed the interval act. Of course, it was no Riverdance, but it was still perfectly fine and served its purpose: to entertain me while the votes were being tallied. And the voting was actually quite interesting this year as well, and not just because of the points being given out. It was the first (and last) time Eurovision used a virtual studio for something like this and let me tell you, it’s so fun. Of course, it’s 1996, so the technology wasn’t that advanced, but they really did their best with translucent objects and movement and all that. It also features a logo of Silicon Graphics, which is kinda sad since 1996 is perhaps the last year before they began their spiral into irrelevance.

Another thing I have to remark on is the green room, because we actually get to see it for most of the contest. We even get some interviews with the participants, which wasn’t such a staple of the contest back then. It shows just how forward-looking NRK was while organising this show.

To talk a little bit more about the voting, it was quite exciting, though not because of the winner, though it took Ireland until the votes from the Swiss jury came in to take over the lead, but it has never lagged too far behind even before that. The most exciting part was watching Portugal’s position as it was firmly in the top 5 until the last set of points from Sweden put them just barely outside, into 6th place.

But in any case, we’ll meet again in Dublin, as RTE takes on the challenge of staging the contest for the 7th time.

Results

  1. Norway - I evighet
  2. Sweden - Den vilda
  3. Estonia - Kaelakee hääl
  4. Poland - Chcę znać swój grzech
  5. Portugal - O meu coração não tem cor
  6. Belgium - Liefde is een kaartspel
  7. Ireland - The Voice
  8. Finland - Niin kaunis on taivas
  9. Austria - Weil’s dr guat got
  10. Hungary - Fortuna
  11. Malta - In a Woman’s Heart
  12. United Kingdom - Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit
  13. Germany - Planet of Blue
  14. Netherlands - De eerste keer
  15. Israel - Shalom Olam
  16. France - Diwanit bugale
  17. Slovenia - Dan najlepših sanj
  18. Croatia - Sveta ljubav
  19. Turkey - Beşinci Mevsim
  20. Russia - Ya eto ya
  21. Bosnia and Herzegovina - Za našu ljubav
  22. Cyprus - Mono gia mas
  23. Slovakia - Kým nás máš
  24. Greece - Emis forame to himona anixiatika
  25. Switzerland - Mon cœur l’aime
  26. Denmark - Kun med dig
  27. Iceland - Sjúbídú
  28. Romania - Rugă pentru pacea lumii
  29. North Macedonia - Samo ti
  30. Spain - Ay, qué deseo

Winners

  • Austria - 1 (1965)
  • Belgium - 1 (1961)
  • Cyprus - 2 (1992, 1995)
  • 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 - 2 (1966, 1996)
  • 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)