The Eurovision Song Contest 1997 was the 42nd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. It took place in Dublin, Ireland, following the country's victory at the 1996 contest with the song "The Voice" by Eimear Quinn. It was the fourth time in five years that Ireland had hosted the contest – and a record sixth time that it was staged in Dublin. Organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and host broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ), the contest was yet again held at the Point Theatre (the venue for the 1994 and 1995 contests), on Saturday 3 May 1997. The contest was presented by Irish actress Carrie Crowley and Boyzone front-singer Ronan Keating who also sang in the interval act with Boyzone.
|Eurovision Song Contest 1997|
|Final||3 May 1997|
|Musical director||Frank McNamara|
|Directed by||Ian McGarry|
|Executive supervisor||Marie-Claire Vionnet|
|Executive producer||Noel Curran|
|Host broadcaster||Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ)|
|Opening act||Good luck messages from former Eurovision stars and winners.|
|Interval act||"Let The Message Run Free" performed by Boyzone|
|Number of entries||25|
|Voting system||Each country awarded 12, 10, 8-1 points to their 10 favourite songs|
|Nul points in final|
Twenty-five countries participated in the contest, equalling the record of the 1993 and 1994 editions. Italy returned after their three-year absence. Denmark, Germany, Hungary, and Russia, returned after their last participation in 1995, despite all of them taking part in the non-televised 1996 pre-qualifying round in which they failed to qualify and therefore were absent. Belgium, Finland, and Slovakia were relegated due to having the lowest average scores over the previous four editions.
The winner was the United Kingdom with the song "Love Shine a Light", performed by Katrina and the Waves and written by band member Kimberley Rew. Ireland, Turkey, Italy and Cyprus rounded out the top five. Turkey's third place finish was their best result in the contest at this point, finishing in the top five for the very first time.
Having to host so many contests (sometimes in succession) put great financial pressure on host broadcaster RTÉ. There were early rumours stating that the Irish broadcaster was to team up with the BBC in Northern Ireland (BBC had previously offered to do this for the 1995 contest), however RTÉ eventually decided to host the event alone.
Ireland hosted the contest for the fourth time in five years after winning the 1996 contest in Oslo. Dublin was again chosen to be the host city, making it the sixth time that the Eurovision Song Contest was staged in the Irish capital. The venue for the contest was the Point Theatre located on the North Wall Quay of the River Liffey, amongst the Dublin Docklands. The theatre previously hosted the 1994 and 1995 contests. The Point Theatre remains the only venue to have hosted the contest three times.
After the controversy over the 1996 pre-qualifying round, the European Broadcasting Union introduced a new system for 1997: countries with the lowest average scores over the previous four years would be excluded from the 1997 contest, and those with the lowest averages over the previous five years would be excluded from future contests (save that every country so excluded for one year would automatically be allowed to participate the following year), with so many countries being omitted as would reduce the number of participants each year to 25. The running order was determined by a draw on 28 November 1996.
Israel declined to participate, as the contest was held on its Holocaust Remembrance Day, granting a reprieve to Bosnia and Herzegovina, which would otherwise have been excluded owing to its low point average over the previous four years. RTÉ once again produced a highly spectacular show, with a stage that had a smaller performance space for the artists than in previous years. This was the third Eurovision set to be designed by Paula Farrell, who had previously been involved with the 1988 and 1994 contests.
There was a wide array of different styles this year. Denmark brought a rap song, Croatia came with their version of the Spice Girls and Sweden brought a mid-1980s style boy band. The music was in general more modern than before, and for the first time in six years, an up-tempo song won (the last time this happened was in Rome 1991, with Carola's song, Fångad av en stormvind).
This year, televoting was tested in five countries: Austria, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The results of the televoting countries were, in some cases, different from those that used a jury. Iceland received 16 of its 18 points from these five countries.
Also, for the first time in Eurovision history, there was a country where not one, but two spokespeople gave votes – France. Television reporter Frédéric Ferrer and 1977 Eurovision winner Marie Myriam each took turns at giving results from that country. Long-time Irish conductor Noel Kelehan was not the host conductor this year due to illness, the duty being fulfilled by Frank McNamara.
Katrina and the Waves, (with lead vocalist Katrina Leskanich) representing the United Kingdom, were the winners of the contest with the song "Love Shine a Light", written by that band's lead guitarist Kimberley Rew, and Marc Roberts from Ireland came second with "Mysterious Woman". Despite being the runner-up, it remarkably received only one 12-point score, which came from the United Kingdom. The UK spokesman Colin Berry remarked: "You're going to like this one: Ireland, twelve points!" causing Terry Wogan to reply: "Well, tit for tat!" The winning song scored an unprecedented 227 points; it received points from all participating countries, including five sets of 10 points and a record-breaking ten sets of the maximum 12 points.
"Love Shine a Light" is regarded as one of the most successful Eurovision winners,[a] and was the closing song in the medleys that opened the 50th anniversary show Congratulations in Copenhagen in 2005, and the ESC 2006 semi-final in Athens. With this victory, the United Kingdom has five Eurovision wins and it is to date the country's last win in the contest. After the 2020 contest was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Broadcasting Union aired a replacement show titled Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light, part of which featured the 41 scheduled acts performing "Love Shine a Light", alongside footage of European landmarks being lit up in tribute to the contest.
Some of the postcards were preceded by greetings from past Eurovision stars. These stars were (in order of appearance):
- Céline Dion (Winner of the 1988 contest for Switzerland)
- Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (Winners of the 1974 contest for Sweden as members of ABBA)
- Johnny Logan (Winner of the 1980 and 1987 contests for Ireland; winning songwriter in 1992)
- Bobbysocks! (Winners of the 1985 contest for Norway)
- Eimear Quinn (Winner of the 1996 contest for Ireland)
- Cliff Richard (UK representative in 1968 and 1973)
- Linda Martin, Niamh Kavanagh, Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan (Winners of the 1992, 1993 and 1994 contests for Ireland)
- Cheryl Baker and Mike Nolan (Winners of the 1981 contest for the United Kingdom as members of Bucks Fizz)
- Julio Iglesias (Spanish representative in 1970)
- Sandra Kim (Winner of the 1986 contest for Belgium)
- Secret Garden (Winners of the 1995 contest for Norway)
Postcard themes and placesEdit
- Cyprus – Arthouse Multimedia Centre
- Turkey – Music
- Norway – Literature
- Austria – Kilkenny
- Ireland – Limerick–Killaloe Canal
- Slovenia – Armagh Observatory
- Switzerland – Irish Museum of Modern Art
- Netherlands – Animals
- Italy – Guinness and Jameson
- Spain – Calligraphy
- Germany – West Region
- Poland – Trinity College
- Estonia – Waterford Castle
- Bosnia and Herzegovina – Sport
- Portugal – Street theatre
- Sweden – Derry
- Greece – Horses
- Malta – Saint Patrick's Day
- Hungary – Trains
- Russia – Limerick
- Denmark – Cafés
- France – Prehistoric Ireland
- Croatia – Telecommunications
- United Kingdom – Irish Sea
- Iceland – Fashion
The audio-only qualification round used in 1996 had been poorly received among the competing countries, and so a new relegation system was introduced by the EBU for the 1997 contest. 25 participation places were on offer, to be filled by the host country Ireland and the 24 countries which had received the highest average total of points received over the past four contests (1993 to 1996). Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Macedonia, Romania and Slovakia, as the countries with the lowest average scores, were therefore excluded from participating in 1997; however, following Israel's withdrawal due to the date of the final clashing with its Holocaust Remembrance Day, Bosnia and Herzegovina was subsequently reinstated to fill the final place.
- Automatic qualifier
- Replacement qualifier
|Rank||Country||Average||Yearly Point Totals|
|26||Bosnia and Herzegovina[b]||23.25||27||39||14||13|
Most performances had a conductor who directed the orchestra; four countries used a backing track instead of the orchestra. This was also the first year where full playback was allowed in the contest.
- Cyprus – Stavros Lantsias
- Turkey – Levent Çoker
- Norway – Geir Langslet
- Austria – N/A
- Ireland – N/A
- Slovenia – Mojmir Sepe
- Switzerland – Pietro Damiani
- Netherlands – Dick Bakker
- Italy – Lucio Fabbri
- Spain – Toni Xuclà
- Germany – N/A
- Poland – Krzesimir Dębski
- Estonia – Tarmo Leinatamm
- Bosnia and Herzegovina – Sinan Alimanović
- Portugal – Thilo Krasmann
- Sweden – Curt-Eric Holmquist
- Greece – Anacreon Papageorgiou
- Malta – Ray Agius
- Hungary – Péter Wolf
- Russia – Rutger Gunnarsson
- Denmark – Jan Glæsel
- France – Régis Dupré
- Croatia – N/A
- United Kingdom – Don Airey
- Iceland – Szymon Kuran
|Alma Čardžić||Bosnia and Herzegovina||1994|
|Maarja-Liis Ilus||Estonia||1996 (with Ivo Linna)|
|Şebnem Paker (with Grup Ethnic)||Turkey||1996|
|01||Cyprus||Hara and Andreas Konstantinou||"Mana mou" (Μάνα μου)||Greek||5||98|
|02||Turkey||Şebnem Paker and Grup Ethnic||"Dinle"||Turkish||3||121|
|03||Norway||Tor Endresen||"San Francisco"||Norwegian[c]||24||0|
|04||Austria||Bettina Soriat||"One Step"||German[c]||21||12|
|05||Ireland||Marc Roberts||"Mysterious Woman"||English||2||157|
|06||Slovenia||Tanja Ribič||"Zbudi se"||Slovene||10||60|
|07||Switzerland||Barbara Berta||"Dentro di me"||Italian||22||5|
|08||Netherlands||Mrs. Einstein||"Niemand heeft nog tijd"||Dutch||22||5|
|09||Italy||Jalisse||"Fiumi di parole"||Italian||4||114|
|10||Spain||Marcos Llunas||"Sin rencor"||Spanish||6||96|
|12||Poland||Anna Maria Jopek||"Ale jestem"||Polish||11||54|
|13||Estonia||Maarja-Liis Ilus||"Keelatud maa"||Estonian||8||82|
|14||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Alma Čardžić||"Goodbye"||Bosnian||18||22|
|15||Portugal||Célia Lawson||"Antes do adeus"||Portuguese||24||0|
|16||Sweden||Blond||"Bara hon älskar mig"||Swedish||14||36|
|17||Greece||Marianna Zorba||"Horepse" (Χόρεψε)||Greek||12||39|
|18||Malta||Debbie Scerri||"Let Me Fly"||English||9||66|
|19||Hungary||V.I.P.||"Miért kell, hogy elmenj?"||Hungarian||12||39|
|20||Russia||Alla Pugacheva||"Primadonna" (Примадонна)||Russian||15||33|
|21||Denmark||Kølig Kaj||"Stemmen i mit liv"||Danish||16||25|
|24||United Kingdom||Katrina and the Waves||"Love Shine a Light"||English||1||227|
|25||Iceland||Paul Oscar||"Minn hinsti dans"||Icelandic||20||18|
Each country had a jury that awarded 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 points for their top ten songs, or a televote, where the top ten most voted for songs were awarded those points. Iceland got most of its 18 points from the 5 countries that used televoting. Ireland was ostensibly the best scoring country across the televoting countries, except they were able to score points from all 5 televoting countries. The United Kingdom was only eligible to receive points from 4 of them, since they couldn't vote for themselves. In fact, the UK received 12 points from all the other televoting countries except Germany, from whom they received 10 points: in other words, the UK earned 46 of 48 (95.83%) possible televote points that year; Ireland earned 47 of 60 (78.33%) possible televote points, including their only 12 from the UK.
During the voting the United Kingdom received at least five points from every voting country, bar Malta who only gave the United Kingdom one point.
|Voting procedure used:
100% jury vote
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||22||8||4||2||3||4||1|
Below is a summary of all 12-point in the final:
|N.||Contestant||Nation(s) giving 12 points|
|10||United Kingdom||Austria, Croatia, Denmark, France, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland|
|3||France||Estonia, Norway, Poland|
|Turkey||Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Spain|
This section needs additional citations for verification. (October 2021)
The spokespersons announced the score from their respective country's national jury (or, in some cases, televote) in running order.
- Cyprus – Marios Skordis
- Turkey – Ömer Önder
- Norway – Ragnhild Sælthun Fjørtoft
- Austria – Adriana Zartl
- Ireland – Eileen Dunne
- Slovenia – Mojca Mavec
- Switzerland – Sandy Altermatt
- Netherlands – Corry Brokken
- Italy – Peppi Franzelin
- Spain – Belén Fernández de Henestrosa
- Germany – Christina Mänz
- Poland – Jan Chojnacki
- Estonia – Helene Tedre
- Bosnia and Herzegovina – Segmedina Srna
- Portugal – Cristina Rocha
- Sweden – Gösta Hanson
- Greece – Niki Venega
- Malta – Anna Bonanno
- Hungary – Györgyi Albert
- Russia – Arina Sharapova
- Denmark – Bent Henius
- France – Frédéric Ferrer and Marie Myriam
- Croatia – Davor Meštrović
- United Kingdom – Colin Berry
- Iceland – Svanhildur Konráðsdóttir
This section needs additional citations for verification. (October 2021)
Most countries sent commentators to Dublin or commented from their own country, in order to add insight to the participants and, if necessary, the provision of voting information.
|Australia||SBS TV||Terry Wogan|||
|Belgium||BRTN TV1||Dutch: André Vermeulen|||
|RTBF La Une||French: Jean-Pierre Hautier|||
|BRTN Radio 2||Dutch: Guy De Pré|
|RTBF La Première||French: Alain Gerlache and Adrien Joveneau|
|Finland||YLE TV1||Aki Sirkesalo and Olli Ahvenlahti|||
|YLE Radio Suomi||Iris Mattila and Sanna Kojo|
|Israel||Channel 1||No commentator|
|Macedonia||MTV 1||Dragan Kostik|
|Romania||TVR1||Doina Caramzulescu and Costin Grigore|
Barbara Dex AwardEdit
For the first time, the Barbara Dex Award was organised as a humorous fan award given to the worst dressed artist each year. Named after Belgium's representative who came last in the 1993 contest, wearing her self-designed dress, the award was presented by the fansite House of Eurovision until the 2016 contest, when the Belgian Eurovision fansite songfestival.be took the reins. Debbie Scerri of Malta is the inaugural winner of the award.
- As noted on a TOTP2 Eurovision special, it ranks third in the rankings of points achieved as a percentage of maximum available with 227 out of 288 or 78.81%, behind Nicole's "Ein bißchen Frieden" in 1982 (161 out of 204 or 78.92%) and Brotherhood of Man's "Save Your Kisses for Me" in 1976 (164 out of 204 or 80.39%). For comparison, Elena Paparizou's 2005 win took 230 points out of a possible 456, or only 50.04%.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina were permitted entry into the 1997 contest following Israel's withdrawal.
- Contains some lyrics in English
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