Eurovision Song Contest 1999
The Eurovision Song Contest 1999 was the 44th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. It took place in Jerusalem, Israel, following the country's victory at the 1998 contest with the song "Diva" by Dana International. It was the second time Israel had hosted the contest, having previously done so in 1979. Organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and host broadcaster Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA), the contest was held at the International Convention Center with the final on 29 May 1999. The live show was presented by Yigal Ravid, Dafna Dekel and Sigal Shachmon.
|Eurovision Song Contest 1999|
|Final||29 May 1999|
|Venue||Ussishkin Auditorium at the|
International Convention Center
|Directed by||Hagai Mautner|
|Executive supervisor||Christine Marchal-Ortiz|
|Executive producer||Amnon Barkai|
|Host broadcaster||Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA)|
|Opening act||Digital animation "From Birmingham to Jerusalem" transitioning into a film about Jerusalem|
|Interval act||"To Life" by Dafna Dekel & Sigal Shachmon" |
"Freedom Calling", with the song "Free" performed in a medley with a version of a traditional prayer for freedom, "Dror Yikra" by Dana International
|Reprise act||All acts performed the English version of "Hallelujah" as a tribute to the victims of the Balkan War|
|Number of entries||23|
|Voting system||Each country awarded 12, 10, 8–1 points to their 10 favourite songs|
Twenty-three countries participated in the contest. It saw the return of Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark and Iceland after being relegated from competing the previous year. Lithuania also returned to the contest, after their last participation in 1994. Finland, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia and Switzerland were relegated due to having the lowest average scores over the previous five editions. Hungary decided not to participate, which left a spot open for Portugal, who otherwise would had been relegated from competing. Russia had intended to participate, but were not allowed to, due to not having broadcast the previous year's contest.
The winner was Sweden with the song "Take Me to Your Heaven", performed by Charlotte Nilsson, written by Gert Lengstrand and Marcos Ubeda, and composed by Lars Diedricson. This was Sweden's fourth victory in the contest, following their wins in 1974, 1984 and 1991. Iceland, Germany, Croatia and Israel rounded out the top five. Iceland achieved their best result in the contest at this point. Further down the table, Bosnia and Herzegovina also achieved their best result as a independent country at this point, finishing seventh.
In the run-up to the Contest, many speculated that it would not be held in Israel, but would be moved to either Malta or stay at the United Kingdom (the countries that completed the top 3 of the 1998 Contest). This came about after major concerns over funding for the event from the Israeli government arose, alongside the opposition from Orthodox Jews that they would attempt to stop the Contest from coming to Israel after Dana International won the previous year's Contest. This, however, provided no hindrance for IBA or to the organizing team of the event, and the Ussishkin Auditorium at International Convention Center in Jerusalem was selected as the venue for the 44th Contest.
Long-standing rules in place for decades were abolished during this Contest: rules that each country had to sing in one of their national languages was abolished for the first time since 1977. A majority of the participating countries, fourteen out of twenty-three, chose to sing entirely or partly in English and only eight entirely in their respective national languages; Lithuania, Spain, Croatia, Poland, France, Cyprus, Portugal and Turkey, not counting the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta, who have English as a national or official language. Furthermore, live music became optional for the first time in the Contest's history. IBA took advantage of this and decided to drop the orchestra from the Contest as a way to conserve money for the show. This meant that for the first time all entries used backing track during their performances. This caused controversy for Eurovision traditionalists, with two-time winner Johnny Logan criticising the move, describing the event now as "karaoke".
A compilation CD was released in Israel by the host broadcaster and IMP Records. Due to licensing problems, the CD omitted the songs from Poland, Cyprus, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Since then, all compilation CDs have featured all the songs.
It was announced in 1999 that, as of the 2000 Contest, the four biggest financial contributors to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) – Germany, Spain, France and the United Kingdom – would all be given automatic entry into the Contest, regardless of their average scores over the past five years.
Latvia had attempted to participate in the contest for the first time, but later withdrew. This gave Hungary a chance to enter the contest, however, Magyar Televízió decided not to take part, allowing Portugal to compete as the 23rd country.
Draw for the order of performances took place on 17 November 1998.
Lithuania returned to the contest for the first time in five years. The Lithuanian delegation had budget problems to contend with, and so the EBU allowed the Lithuanians to arrive in Israel a day later than everyone else. The first delegation on the other hand, to arrive were Estonia.
Russia's Channel One had decided not to broadcast that year's contest, in order to allow for a strong comeback in Israel. However, as only countries which had broadcast the previous year's contest were allowed to enter the next year's contest, Russia was forced to miss another year.
The favourites to win the Contest came from Iceland's Selma with "All Out of Luck", and Cyprus's Marlain with "Tha 'Ne Erotas", after an internet poll by fans. But, while Iceland finished second to Sweden (the country's best showing in the contest), Cyprus failed to inspire televotes, finishing second last with only two points, both from the United Kingdom.
Television news anchor Yigal Ravid, singer and 1992 contestant Dafna Dekel and model/actress Sigal Shachmon presented the show, and it was the first time that three presenters were used to host the contest. Israel's two previous winners, Izhar Cohen, who won in 1978 with "A-Ba-Ni-Bi" and Milk and Honey's Gali Atari who won it the next year with "Hallelujah" attended as spectators.
The postcards' theme was "interactive tour in the Land of the Bible". It featured paintings of biblical stories, "coming to life" with a humorous animation (created by cartoonist Yossi Abulafia), and then continuing to modern locations in Israel or modern themes that represent Israel's culture and industries. The various themes were as following, listed in appearance order:
- Lithuania – Jacob's Ladder / Israel Museum, Jerusalem
- Belgium – Pharaoh & His Army / Eilat
- Spain – Noah's Ark / Landscapes of the Galilee
- Croatia – Ruth / Israeli agriculture
- United Kingdom – Jonah & The Whale / Jaffa
- Slovenia – Adam & Eve / Israeli fashion
- Turkey – The Sea of Galilee / Tiberias and surroundings
- Norway – Workers of the Tabernacle / Israeli high tech & virtual reality
- Denmark – Joseph & His Brothers / Haifa
- France – The Golden Calf / Israeli jewellery industry
- Netherlands – The Prophet / Tel Aviv nightlife
- Poland – David & Goliath / Israeli sports
- Iceland – The Manna from Heaven / Israeli culinary
- Cyprus – The Basket of Moses / Rafting on the Jordan River
- Sweden – David & Bathsheba / Music and art on the roofs of Tel Aviv
- Portugal – Daniel & The Lions / Acre
- Ireland – Cain & Abel / Judaean Desert
- Austria – The Judgement of Solomon / Jerusalem
- Israel – The Promised Land / Jezreel Valley
- Malta – David & Michal / Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance and Theatre, Tel Aviv
- Germany – The Tower of Babel / Israeli beach
- Bosnia and Herzegovina – Samson / Caesarea National Park
- Estonia – The Zodiac mosaic at the Old Beth Alfa Synagogue / Love at the Dead Sea
A number of controversies occurred before the Contest. Two songs selected to compete in Israel were found to be ineligible: Bosnia and Herzegovina's Hari Mata Hari were disqualified after their entry was discovered to have been released in Finland some years previously; Germany's Corinna May was also disqualified after her song was revealed to have been released in 1997 by a different singer. Both artists would eventually represent their countries in Eurovision, in 2006 and 2002 respectively.
Croatia's entry, Marija Magdalena, attracted objections from the Norwegian delegation, due to synthesised male vocals being used on the backing track of Doris Dragović's entry. The EBU decided to reduce the country's score by a third for the purpose of calculating its five-year average to determine participation in future contests, though it was decided to leave its placement in the 1999 result unaffected.
The interval act was provided by Dana International, who performed a cover of the Stevie Wonder song "Free", which although was a smash hit in Israel at the time, caused some controversy there due to the song's lyrics. Dana International also appeared at the end of the show, handing the winning trophy to Nilsson. After pretending that the trophy was too heavy to lift, she fell to the stage, bringing down the winning composers with her. After the encore of the winning entry coming from Sweden, the three presenters re-appeared inviting everyone on stage to sing a rendition of the English version of "Hallelujah", the Israeli winner from the 1979 Contest, as a tribute to the victims of the Kosovo War (particularly then-Yugoslavia, which was banned from participation as penalty due this conflict), who were unable to view the contest after bombings destroyed television transmitters.
|Doris Dragović||Croatia||1986 (for Yugoslavia)|
|Evelin Samuel (along with Camille)||Estonia||1997 (as a backing singer for Maarja-Liis Ilus)|
|Chris and Moira||Malta||1994|
|Gabriel Forss||Sweden||1997 (as a member of Blond)|
|Stefán Hilmarsson||Iceland||1988 (as a member of Beathoven) and 1991 (with Eyjólfur Kristjánsson)|
|Kenny Lübcke||Denmark||1992 (with Lotte Nilsson)|
|Linda Williams||Belgium||1981 (for the Netherlands).|
Each country had a televote, where the top ten most voted-for songs were awarded the 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 points, with the exceptions of Turkey, Lithuania, Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina who used juries.
|Voting procedure used:
100% Jury vote
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||86||1||10||10||7||7||8||6||3||5||3||6||12||8|
Below is a summary of all 12 point in the final:
|N.||Contestant||Nation(s) giving 12 points|
|5||Germany||Israel, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Turkey|
|Sweden||Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, Malta, Norway, United Kingdom|
|3||Iceland||Cyprus, Denmark, Sweden|
|1||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Austria|
Qualification for the 2000 contestEdit
In addition to Sweden, the host country of the 2000 contest, and the "Big Four", the 13 countries with the highest average scores between 1995 and 1999 were allowed to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest 2000 alongside new or returning countries.
- Automatically qualified
|20||Bosnia and Herzegovina||33.75||14||13||22||86|
International broadcasts and votingEdit
Voting and spokespersonsEdit
The spokespersons announced the score from their respective country's televote (or, in some cases, national jury) in running order.
- Lithuania – Andrius Tapinas
- Belgium – Sabine De Vos
- Spain – Hugo de Campos
- Croatia – Marko Rašica
- United Kingdom – Colin Berry
- Slovenia – Mira Berginc
- Turkey – Osman Erkan
- Norway – Ragnhild Sælthun Fjørtoft
- Denmark – Kirsten Siggaard (Danish representative in 1984, 1985 and 1988 as member of Hot Eyes)
- France – Marie Myriam (Winner of the 1977 contest)
- Netherlands – Edsilia Rombley (Dutch representative in 1998 and 2007; host in 2021)
- Poland – Jan Chojnacki
- Iceland – Áslaug Dóra Eyjólfsdóttir
- Cyprus – Marina Maleni
- Sweden – Pontus Gårdinger
- Portugal – Manuel Luís Goucha
- Ireland – Clare McNamara
- Austria – Dodo Roščić
- Israel – Yoav Ginai (Winner of the 1998 contest, as lyricist)
- Malta – Nirvana Azzopardi
- Germany – Renan Demirkan
- Bosnia and Herzegovina – Segmedina Srna
- Estonia – Mart Sander
Most countries sent commentators to Jerusalem or commented from their own country, in order to add insight to the participants and, if necessary, the provision of voting information.
- Austria – Andi Knoll (ORF1)
- Belgium – Dutch: André Vermeulen and Bart Peeters (VRT TV1), French: Jean-Pierre Hautier (RTBF La Une)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina – Ismeta Dervoz-Krvavac (BHT)
- Croatia – Aleksandar "Aco" Kostadinov (HRT 1)
- Cyprus – Evi Papamichail (RIK 1)
- Denmark – Keld Heick (DR1)
- Estonia – Marko Reikop (Eesti Televisioon)
- France – Julien Lepers (France 3)
- Germany – Peter Urban (Das Erste)
- Iceland – Gísli Marteinn Baldursson (Sjónvarpið)
- Ireland – Pat Kenny (RTÉ One)
- Israel – No commentator (IBA)
- Lithuania – TBC (LTV)
- Malta – Charlo Bonnici (TVM)
- Netherlands – Willem van Beusekom (TV2)
- Norway – Jostein Pedersen (NRK1)
- Poland – Artur Orzech (TVP1)
- Portugal – Rui Unas (RTP1)
- Slovenia – Miša Molk (SLO1)
- Spain – José Luis Uribarri (TVE1)
- Sweden – Pekka Heino and Anders Berglund (SVT2)
- Turkey – Gülşah Banda (TRT 1)
- United Kingdom – Terry Wogan (BBC One)
- Australia – N/A (SBS TV)
- Finland – Jani Juntunen (YLE TV1)
- Greece – Dafni Bokota and Giorgos Ikonomou (ET1)
- Latvia – Unknown (LTV1)
- Macedonia – Ivan Mircevski (MTV 1)
- Romania – Leonard Miron (TVR2)
- Russia – Yuri Aksyuta (Public Russian Television)
- Switzerland – German: Sandra Studer (SF2), French: Jean-Marc Richard (TSR 1), Italian: Jonathan Tedesco (TSI 2)
The participating countries that provided radio broadcasts for the event are listed below.
- Belgium – Dutch: Guy De Pré (VRT Radio 2), French: Didier Mélon (RTBF La Première)
- Croatia – Draginja Balaš (HR 2)
- United Kingdom – Ken Bruce (BBC Radio 2)
- Turkey – Fatih Orbay (TRT Radyo 3)
- Norway – Jon Branæs (NRK P1)
- Netherlands – Daniël Dekker and Hijlco Span (Radio 2)
- Cyprus – Pavlos Pavlou (CyBC Radio 2)
- Sweden – Carolina Norén (SR P3)
- Ireland – Larry Gogan (RTÉ Radio 1)
- Austria – Stermann & Grissemann (FM4)
- Israel – Daniel Pe'er (Reshet Gimel)
- Germany – Thomas Mohr (Deutschlandfunk/NDR 2)
Notes and referencesEdit
- Contains some words in Hebrew
- Croatia's score from the 1999 contest was reduced by 33% for the purposes of determining average scores due to the use of synthesised pre-recorded vocals in that year's Croatian entry.
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