The Eurovision Song Contest 1981 was the 26th edition of the annual Eurovision Song Contest. It took place in Dublin, Ireland, following the country's victory at the 1980 contest with the song "What's Another Year" by Johnny Logan. Organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and host broadcaster Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ), the contest was held at the RDS Simmonscourt on 4 April 1981, and was hosted by Irish television journalist Doireann Ní Bhriain.
|Eurovision Song Contest 1981|
|Final||4 April 1981|
Ballsbridge, Dublin, Ireland
|Presenter(s)||Doireann Ní Bhriain|
|Musical director||Noel Kelehan|
|Directed by||Ian McGarry|
|Executive supervisor||Frank Naef|
|Executive producer||Noel D Greene|
|Host broadcaster||Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ)|
|Number of entries||20|
|Voting system||Each country awarded 12, 10, 8-1 point(s) to their 10 favourite songs|
|Winning song|| United Kingdom|
"Making Your Mind Up"
Twenty countries participated in the contest, equalling the record of the 1978 edition. Cyprus made their début this year, while Israel and Yugoslavia both returned to the competition, after their one-year and five-year absences, respectively. Morocco and Italy decided not to participate.
The winner was the United Kingdom with the song "Making Your Mind Up", performed by Bucks Fizz, written by Andy Hill and John Danter. Germany finished second for the second consecutive year, while France finished third. Norway again finished last, with its third nul points in the contest.
Bucks Fizz's win launched the group's hugely successful international career. Their performance on the Eurovision stage included a dance-routine where the two male members ripped the skirts off the two female members only to reveal mini-skirts, and today stands as one of the most defining moments in the contest's history.
Having won in 1980, head of Irish broadcaster RTÉ, Brian MacLochlainn announced that they would host the contest in 1981 within hours of Johnny Logan winning. The 1981 contest took place in Dublin, the capital of Ireland. It was the second time the country (and city) had hosted the contest, the last time being ten years earlier in 1971.
Participating countries Edit
By October 1980, it looked as though 21 countries were planning to take part, the largest number so far, but Monaco declared that they were no longer interested. This year marked the début of Cyprus in the contest, who finished sixth. Returning to the contest was Israel, who did not compete the previous year, despite winning the two years prior to that. They finished seventh. Yugoslavia also returned to the competition after a five-year absence. Italy decided not to enter due to lack of interest, while Morocco declined to take part after their debut entry the year before. Morocco's king, Hassan II, "reportedly withdrew Rabat's participation from the contest the following year, saying that the country will never participate again". Despite no reasons were given for this withdraw, two factors could explain it, first, Morocco's low placement in 1980 contest, and second, support to other Arab nations who had chosen not to engage with Israel on various platforms. The draw for the running order took place on 14 November 1980, with it being confirmed that there were a total of 20 entrants.
|Austria||ORF||Marty Brem||"Wenn du da bist"||German||Werner Böhmler||Richard Oesterreicher|
|Denmark||DR||Tommy Seebach and Debbie Cameron||"Krøller eller ej"||Danish||Allan Botschinsky|
|Finland||YLE||Riki Sorsa||"Reggae O.K."||Finnish||
||Henrik Otto Donner|
|Germany||BR[a]||Lena Valaitis||"Johnny Blue"||German||Wolfgang Rödelberger|
|Greece||ERT||Yiannis Dimitras||"Feggari kalokerino" (Φεγγάρι καλοκαιρινό)||Greek||
|Luxembourg||CLT||Jean-Claude Pascal||"C'est peut-être pas l'Amérique"||French||Joël Rocher|
|Netherlands||NOS||Linda Williams||"Het is een wonder"||Dutch||
||Rogier van Otterloo|
|Norway||NRK||Finn Kalvik||"Aldri i livet"||Norwegian||Finn Kalvik||Sigurd Jansen|
|Portugal||RTP||Carlos Paião||"Playback"||Portuguese||Carlos Paião||Shegundo Galarza|
|Spain||TVE||Bacchelli||"Y sólo tú"||Spanish||Amado Jaén||Joan Barcons|
|Sweden||SVT||Björn Skifs||"Fångad i en dröm"||Swedish||
|Switzerland||SRG SSR||Peter, Sue and Marc||"Io senza te"||Italian||
|Turkey||TRT||Modern Folk Trio and Ayşegül||"Dönme Dolap"||Turkish||Ali Kocatepe||Onno Tunç|
|United Kingdom||BBC||Bucks Fizz||"Making Your Mind Up"||English||
|Yugoslavia||JRT||Seid Memić Vajta||"Lejla" (Лејла)||Serbo-Croatian||Ranko Boban||Ranko Rihtman|
Returning artists Edit
Of the performers, many previous contestants returned to the contest this year. Notably, Jean-Claude Pascal for Luxembourg, who had won the contest 20 years earlier, although could only manage 11th place this time. Repeated entrants Peter, Sue and Marc returned for the fourth time, after 1971, 1976 and 1979. Performing again for Switzerland, they remain the only act to sing in four different languages (French, English, German and this time, Italian). Other returnees were Marty Brem who had taken part the year before for Austria, Tommy Seebach for Denmark, and Björn Skifs for Sweden. Bucks Fizz member, Cheryl Baker had performed in 1978 with the band Co-Co for the UK, while Sheeba member Maxi had performed as a solo artist in 1973 for Ireland.
Bold indicates a previous winner.
|Peter, Sue and Marc||Switzerland||1971, 1976, 1979 (along with Pfuri, Gorps and Kniri)|
|Maxi (as part of Sheeba)||Ireland||1973|
|Ismeta Dervoz (as backing singer)||Yugoslavia||1976 (as part of Ambasadori)|
|Cheryl Baker (as part of Bucks Fizz)||United Kingdom||1978 (as part of Co-Co)|
|Debbie Cameron||1979 (as backing singer for Tommy Seebach)|
|Marty Brem||Austria||1980 (part of Blue Danube)|
The contest took place under heavy guard at the 1,600 seat Simmonscourt Pavilion of the RDS, which was normally used for agricultural and horse shows. The set was the largest ever seen in the contest so far, being 150 feet across, 80 feet deep and 30 feet high. Over 250 armed soldiers and police were on hand to protect against any likely political demonstrations, with the UK entrants being under constant guard during their time in Dublin due to threats from the IRA. This included an evacuation of the participants hotel at one point due to a bomb scare. The security measures were reported on British news reports on the day of the contest.
Rehearsals at the Pavilion began on 31 March with each act allowed 30 minutes with the orchestra, continuing up until the day of the contest, which ended with a dress rehearsal at 16:30. On 1 April, the Irish Tourist Board held a reception for the contest at Jurys Hotel, Dublin.
The presenter on this occasion was Doireann Ni Bhriain, who was well known in Ireland at the time as a TV presenter and for the current affairs radio show Women Today. She was chosen for her fluency in Irish and English as well as having studied French and Spanish, which she spoke with some ease. She had also worked on the 1971 contest as an interpreter in the RTE press office. The director was Ian McGarry, while Noel Kelehan was the chief conductor of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, which comprised 46 musicians.
It cost RTÉ £530,000 to stage the show, although this included £110,000 from the EBU. From this, the Irish Government expected to make around £2,000,000 from tourism as a result of staging the show. It was expected that the worldwide audience would be some 500 million with 30 countries broadcasting the event, including countries such as Hong Kong, the Soviet Union, United Arab Emirates and for the first time, Egypt.
Each song was introduced by a filmed 'postcard', framed by an animated identification of the nation's location. Unlike previous films used in 1970 and 1976 that had also featured the performing artist, the 1981 films prominently included the authors and composers alongside the performing artist.
Contest overview Edit
The interval act was traditional Irish band Planxty, who performed the lengthy piece "Timedance", which depicted Irish music through the ages. The dancers were from Dublin City Ballet with choreography by Iain Montague. This is seen as a precursor to Riverdance, which became famous after its performance in 1994. The song, which was written by Bill Whelan, went on to be released as a Planxty single and became a No.3 hit in the Irish charts.
|1||Austria||Marty Brem||"Wenn du da bist"||20||17|
|2||Turkey||Modern Folk Trio and Ayşegül||"Dönme Dolap"||9||18|
|3||Germany||Lena Valaitis||"Johnny Blue"||132||2|
|4||Luxembourg||Jean-Claude Pascal||"C'est peut-être pas l'Amérique"||41||11|
|6||Denmark||Tommy Seebach and Debbie Cameron||"Krøller eller ej"||41||11|
|7||Yugoslavia||Seid Memić Vajta||"Lejla"||35||15|
|8||Finland||Riki Sorsa||"Reggae O.K."||27||16|
|10||Spain||Bacchelli||"Y sólo tú"||38||14|
|11||Netherlands||Linda Williams||"Het is een wonder"||51||9|
|13||Norway||Finn Kalvik||"Aldri i livet"||0||20|
|14||United Kingdom||Bucks Fizz||"Making Your Mind Up"||136||1|
|17||Greece||Yiannis Dimitras||"Feggari kalokerino"||55||8|
|19||Switzerland||Peter, Sue and Marc||"Io senza te"||121||4|
|20||Sweden||Björn Skifs||"Fångad i en dröm"||50||10|
Each country nominated a spokesperson who was responsible for announcing the votes for their respective country via telephone. Known spokespersons at the 1981 contest are listed below.
Detailed voting results Edit
Each country had a jury who awarded 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 point(s) for their top ten songs.
12 points Edit
Below is a summary of all 12 points in the final:
|N.||Contestant||Nation(s) giving 12 points|
|5||Switzerland||Finland, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia|
|4||France||Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland|
|Germany||Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey|
|United Kingdom||Netherlands, Israel|
Each participating broadcaster was required to relay the contest via its networks. Non-participating EBU member broadcasters were also able to relay the contest as "passive participants". Broadcasters were able to send commentators to provide coverage of the contest in their own native language and to relay information about the artists and songs to their television viewers.
Known details on the broadcasts in each country, including the specific broadcasting stations and commentators are shown in the tables below. In addition to the participating countries, the contest was also reportedly broadcast in Iceland, in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the Soviet Union via Intervision, and in Egypt, Hong Kong, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.
- On behalf of the German public broadcasting consortium ARD
- Deferred broadcast at 22:40 CEST (20:40 UTC)
- Broadcast through a second audio programme on TSR
- Delayed broadcast on 3 May 1981 at 17:10 CEST (15:50 UTC)
- Delayed broadcast on 2 May 1981 at 21:50 CEST (19:50 UTC)
- Delayed broadcast on 19 April 1981 at 21:10 WET (21:10 UTC)
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- "T.V. Programma's". De Voorpost (in Dutch). Aalst, Belgium. 3 April 1981. p. 31. Retrieved 12 January 2023.
- "Radio en televisie, programma's". Limburgs Dagblad (in Dutch). Heerlen, Netherlands. 4 April 1981. p. 6. Retrieved 12 January 2023 – via Delpher.
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- "TV – samedi 4 avril". Radio TV - Je vois tout (in French). Lausanne, Switzerland: Héliographia SA. 2 April 1981. pp. 14–15. Retrieved 12 January 2023.
- "Tileorasi" Τηλεόραση. Makedonia (in Greek). Thessaloniki, Greece. 4 April 1981. p. 3. Retrieved 19 January 2023 – via National Library of Greece.
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- "Visto alla televisione: Trepidando per Nella". Gazzetta Ticinese (in Italian). Lugano, Switzerland. 7 April 1981. p. 15. Retrieved 19 January 2023.
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