Wednesday, 13 April 2016

27 days to go... Worst Winner 1956-1998

"How on earth do you go about this without being controversial?" - and that is exactly the reason I am so excited to reveal my least favourite winner from the period 1956-1998. The reason for choosing this period? WELL the 1999 contest saw the long overdue decision to allow countries to sing in any language they wished, as well as the EBU allowing live music to be entirely optional. The Israeli host broadcasters in 1999 took advantage of this by removing the orchestra all together. So that's why I've chosen the period 1956-1998.

BUT this is actually quite hard. How do you go about choosing the worst winner? There are many subjective ways of choosing this. Do I choose a year in which the winner might not have been bad, but another country was robbed of a win? Or do I choose my least favourite winner on the list? That brings in issues of ranking songs across 5 decades. That's seemingly impossible. There is no true comparison between Dana International and Lys Assia. Nonetheless, I've made a choice, and I'd be interested to see if you agree.

First up though, let's make some notable mentions.

The 1966 version actually saw countries having to sing in their national language, officially, for the first time. I believe if Sweden had a chance to sing in English that year, then Lill Lindfors and Svante Thuresson would have won. However, my favourite entry from 1966 was Belgium's entry, the ever-so quaint 'Un peu de poivre, un peu de sel' and if I could have chosen a winner, that would easily have been it. So the real winner? It was Udo Jurgens with 'Merci Cherie', a worthy winner and nice song. And for that reason it would be hard to choose as the worst winner 1956-1998.

Belgium came 4th in 1966 with Tonia's "Un Peu De Poivre, Un Peu de Sel"

Next I'll move on to the 1979 contest. 1979 was a great year, Germany came 4th with 'Dschinghis Kahn' and Danish legend Tommy Seebach sang 'Disco Tango'. The runner-up was a nice entrant from Spain, Anne-Marie David almost slayed again, this time competing for France, the UK entered with Black Lace, and I even think the Greek entry 'Sokrati' was alright. My favourite from the year though was Portugal, and I think that 'Sobe Sobe Balao Sobe' should have won. It is easily won of Portugal's best entrants from the pre-99 years and it's a Eurovision crime this came as low as 9th! The winner that year? Israel did a double header following their win in 1978 and won again on home soil with 'Hallelujah'. I really like 'Hallelujah', it's not great and shouldn't have won against so many other great entries, and I'm always in awe of double victories. So for that reason, Israel 1979 is not the worst winner 1956-1998 either.

Portugal came 9th in 1979 with Manuela Bravo's "Sobe Sobe Balao Sobe"

The 90s? Well one of my least favourite winners is Italy's triumph in 1990 with 'Insieme: 1992' by popular artist Toto Cutugno. I think its boring, dreary, dated. In fact, there are two pretty poor reasons why I'm not choosing this as my least favourite. The first is Toto hosted the following year and he was hilarious at hosting, encompassing all the Italian pandemonium passion. Second, the song is about Europe coming together. At a time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Soviet Union, the break-up of Yugoslavia, the forming of an economic trade deal with the EU. There really was a reason to sing about coming together and Italy delivered.

Toto Cutugno brilliantly hosted the ESC in 1991 with Italy's other winner, Gigliola Cinquetti, from 1964.

My least favourite winner of the last 20 years is going to divide you. It's one of the most popular winners ever. It's 1998 entrant Dana International with 'Diva'. I don't need to say anything, you all know who she is and what this represented. But I will say this, I hate this song. And I LOVE Chiara and she totes should have won for Malta!

Going into the final round of votes, any of Malta, Israel or the United Kingdom could have won the 1998 contest. After the FYRO-Macedonian jury gave Israel 8, everyone was held in suspense as the United Kingdom won 10 points and pushed into second place, and then Croatia were awarded the douze pointe, leaving Malta scoreless from Macedonia and securing the win for Israel.

So let's resort back to the 50s. Easily the worst was 1958 winner 'Dors Mon Amour' probably because of the brilliant Volare coming 3rd for Italy. It seems silly to choose a song from such early days when there is so much to compare AFTER them.

Andre Claveau brought such strong eyebrow game to the 1958 contest.

Another silly choice would probably be a winner from 1969 when we had our only tie. A four way tie no less. My least favourite from the four is, quite easily, France. I love the Dutch winner, I love the Spanish winner and I love the UK winner. The French entry ruins it. It's terrible and boring and does actually rank as my least favourite winner of all. But I'm not going to choose it because it was a tie and doesn't truly count in my opinion.

The Spanish hostess was so confused!

My winner? Well if I told you Israel came 2nd and probably should have won... no wait, Sweden who came 3rd DEFINITELY should have won, does that help? Sweden came 3rd with 'Framling' sung by Eurovision legend Carola, who went on to secure a win in the 90s and a top 5 finish in the 00s. 3 top 5 finishes across 3 decades? You go Carola! She came 3rd in 1983 with 'Framling' and the winner from 1983 was soooo boring. This ranks quite low down when I compare winners, and I'm sorry Luxembourg, but your 5th winner Corinne Hermes' 'Si La Vie Est Cadeau' not only robbed other worthy winners, but it's also boring and the worst winner of the 80s. For this reason it's the worst winner of all from 1956-1998. Congratulations!

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