Eurovision Song Contest and records
EDITORIAL – It’s cold and rainy outside so it’s the perfect moment to stay home and take a quiz, having a look at the several records that have been beaten during the Eurovision Song Contest. How did those countries, artists, entries and editions of the contest have left their names in the competition’s annals?
To this day , the Emerald Isle still holds the record number of victories in the competition with seven trophies (1970, 1980, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994 & 1996). Note also that Ireland has the highest number of consecutive wins with what is called the “three in a row”.
This country is the king of silver medals. Britain finished second on 15 occasions (1959, 1960, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1975, 1977, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993 & 1998). In the overall chart, the UK is also second to Ireland with 5 wins (1967, 1969, 1976, 1981 & 1997) as well as France, Luxembourg and Sweden.
This republic impressed the contest with the most impressive debut in the history of Eurovision. In 2007, when the country who had previously taken part as Yugoslavia or Serbia and Montenegro competed for the first time as an independent state, Marija Šerifović and her song “Molitva” (Prayer) won the contest on their very first attempt.
This Scandinavian nation holds the woeful record of the country with the most “nil points”. On four occasions (1963, 1978, 1991 & 1997) Norway returned home without a single vote. Worse, the land of fjords finished 11 times in the last position of the final (1963, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1990, 1997, 2001, 2004 & 2012).
The Czech Republic is famous as the least successful nation in the competition. It has never managed to qualify, always finishing down the rankings of its semi-final. A total of 9 points after 3 participations… We understand why the country has been snubbing the contest since then…
It is the country that has taken part to the contest the most with 58 entries in total, having missed the contest on one occasion only, in 1996 in Oslo when Germany did not qualify from the semi-final, and had not its « Big 5 » status yet.
This country is the most persevering one. In spite of its 46 participation since 1964, Portugal has never won this contest, or even finished in the top 5. Hopefully the 47th entry will be THE one.
It is often forgotten but this country, that is part of the European Broadcasting Union, has indeed entered the contest but on one occasion only, in 1980 in The Hague. That year, Samira Said represented her country with the song “Bitaqat Hob” (Love message) and ended in the 18th position with only 7 points. The experience has never been renewed by the kingdom.
Australia-born Irish singer, is the most notorious artist in the competition with 4 victories, two as a performer (1980 & 1987) and two as a composer (1987 & 1992). This is no surprise he is nicknamed “Mister Eurovision”.
This Norwegian singer is the artist who has participated the most. She unsuccessfully took part in 1982 (8th place), but won the whole thing in 1985 as a member of Bobbysocks with their famous “La Det Swing” (Let it swing). She participated again in 1994 (6th place) and 1996 (2nd place).
Peter, Sue & Marc
The Swiss trio shares the record with Elisabeth, with 4 participations in the Eurovision for the Swiss Confederation (1971, 1976, 1979 & 1981) but without much success, finishing 4th on two occasions though. Another feature of the group is their linguistic abilities since their four songs were performed each time in a different language (French, English, German and Italian).
The artist from Aruba, who won for Estonia in 2001 (together with Tanel Padar and 2XL and their song “Everybody”) holds a double record: it is the only black singer to have won the trophy, and it is also the oldest winner, it was indeed 50 years old when was crowned.
In contrast, the young Walloon girl who won in 1986 with “J’Aime La Vie” (I love life) has invented without knowing it the Junior Eurovision since she was 13 years old only when she won in Norway, (although RTBF had declared she was 15). Sandra was not disqualified despite the demand of the runner-up Switzerland. Now the minimum age for participation has been set to 16, so Sandra’s record won’t be beaten anytime soon.
« Waterloo », ABBA 1974
This Swedish song that won the contest in Brighton was the most successful after the contest. More than 5 million copies were sold worldwide, and “Waterloo” ranked first in several charts and even entered the US Top 10! It was naturally voted “best song of Eurovision” in the “Congratulations” show that celebrated the 50th anniversary of Eurovision in 2005.
« Fairytale », Alexander Rybak 2009
2009 Norwegian entry is the song that scored the most in a Eurovision final: 387 points !
« Euphoria », Loreen 2012
The Swedish entry that won the contest in Baku did not beat Alexander’s record (372 points). But it is the song that received the most “12 points” in the final: 18!
Although Ireland has the largest number of wins, it’s the UK that organized the event on the highest number of occasions, since the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), has sometimes hosted the competition without winning the previous year. On 8 occasions Eurovision took place in Britain, and in 5 different cities (London 1960 London 1963 London 1968 Edinburgh 1972 Brighton 1974 London 1977 Harrogate 1982 and Birmingham 1998).
This is the only person who has hosted so many editions of the Eurovision Song Contest. She has been the presenter of the contest 4 times (1960, 1963, 1968 & 1974). A tribute to her was done in Birmingham in 1998.
The Irish capital city is the city who has hosted Eurovision the most, with 6 editions (1971, 1981, 1988, 1994, 1995 & 1997).
The Point Depot / The Point Theatre
The Point, now renamed The O2, on Dublin dockyards is the only venue to have welcome three different editions (1994, 1995 & 1997).
Bakı Kristal Zalı
In 2012, and for the very first time, a whole venue was built for the contest. Azerbaijan officials could not find a suitable venue in Baku so they decided to build a ultra-modern arena in the capital city (€ 140 million). The Baku Crystal Hall was opened after 9 months and could welcome the 12,000 spectators of Eurovision.
For the first time the contest did not have a winner, but 4! Spain, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom had to share the trophy. A few years later, a rule was voted to avoid this kind of outcome. It was implemented in 1991 when France and Sweden tied for victory in Rome (and this cost Amina her victory…).
The 38th Eurovision Song Contest will be remembered the one held in the smallest town. RTÉ (Radio Éireann Telefís) decided this year to organize the competition in the Irish countryside, in the town of Millstreet, co. Cork (1500 inhabitants)! Although this contest was a great edition, the Irish choice was heavily criticized. Artists got bored between rehearsals and constant trips between Millstreet and Cork (70km) exasperated more than one delegation.
The number of participating countries has constantly evolves since the beginning of the contest, but that year Eurovision received the most “debuting countries”. 7 new countries made their debut on the Dublin 1994 stage: Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia and Slovakia. Even Lugano in 1956 did not do better when six countries participated to the first contest.
In 2001, Denmark made it big for the second contest held in the capital Copenhagen. DR (Danmarks Radio) decided to build a roof over the biggest stadium of the city and to turn it into a concert hall for the occasion. It is to date the largest competition ever held, with an audience of more than 38,000 spectators. However, the experience was not a success because many criticized the choice of a large-scale contest, since most spectators could not even see the stage during the show.
It is to date the biggest contest ever with a record 43 participating countries! Remember that the limit set by the EBU is 45. Will it be reached in the future?
When the Russians welcome Europe, they do not count their money! The 54th edition of the Eurovision was the most expensive one with a budget of over € 30 million! But we must admit that the show was great.
originally pressed at Concours Eurovision France