Eurovision has been around for 60 years, and yet it sometimes feels like it’s brand new. The years go by oh-so-quickly and what we think only happened recently is actually further back in the past than we imagine. Here are ten iconic ESC moments from yesteryear.
1. It’s been 20 years since Ireland last won the Eurovision Song Contest
Ireland still holds the record for the most wins in the ESC history, but it has actually been 20 years since we saw Eimear Quinn take home the last trophy for the emerald isle in 1996. Who would’ve thought?!
2. Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia debuted as independent countries 23 years ago
The year is 1993. The location is (as usual) Ireland. For the first time — after the breakup of war-torn Yugoslavia — Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Slovenia appear as separate and independent countries on the Eurovision stage. I can’t even…
3. Even more debuts 22 years ago
Following the breakup of the Soviet Union and the end of the Warsaw Pact in the early ’90s, a whole lot of new countries were able to join the EBU and enter Eurovision. In 1994 Russia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Estonia and Lithuania finally debuted in the contest. It’s only been 22 years, but who’s counting, really?
4. Malta re-entered the contest 25 years ago
Malta has been around forever, right? Wrong! The small island took a 16-year break, from 1975 to 1991. So roughly 67% of today’s ESC fans (bogus statistics from the top of my head, should not be taken seriously) weren’t even born when Malta became an everlasting part of Eurovision… again.
5. Dana International happened 18 years ago
Wait, what? The Diva’s victory is old enough to buy alcohol? Why, yes it is! Dana International stormed on stage in Birmingham in 1998 and secured Israel its third victory, along with being the first transgender singer to enter and win the Eurovision Song Contest. BAM!
6. Luxembourg departed 23 years ago
Luxembourg might be one of the smallest countries in Europe, but it was a foundation country of Eurovision, winning the contest five times. But sadly in 1993 it said farewell to the Eurovision, with their last entry being Modern Times with “Donne moi un chance”. Luxembourg is sorely missed still today, and faithful ESC fans still await their return.
7. The Eurovision world saw its first semi-finals (and Zeljko Joksimovic) 12 years ago
These days, we can’t imagine Eurovision without the three-night festival of semi-finals and then the grand final. But that form was first introduced to us in 2004, along with this Serbian dude named Zeljko, who, since then, has been dubbed by many as Mr Eurovision.
8. The Olsen Brothers took Europe by storm 16 years ago
In 2000, no one gave Denmark a second look. Just a couple of old guys, playing guitars and singing about older women? Lame! But how the tables turned during Eurovision week. Suddenly all eyes were on the charming brothers, and they destroyed their competitors and took home Denmark’s first victory in 37 years.
9. Its been 31 years since Lill Lindfors shocked Europe by tearing off her dress
“Just thought you should wake up a little bit”. Immortal words by the hilarious Lill Lindfors, who presented the contest in Gothenburg in 1985. She walked on stage and “accidentally” tore off the bottom half of her dress, only to replace it by another half, tied to her shoulders. Good one, Lill. Old but still gold.
10. France hasn’t won the contest in 39 years!
What is up with that? Marie Myriam sang her way to victory all the way back in 1977 and brought France its fifth victory to date. Thirty… nine… years! Isn’t it time for France to shine again? Methinks so!