1996: I ♥ The Eurovision Song Contest

Ireland were taking a little break from hosting the contest this year as it was Norway’s turn since they won the previous year with the non-song – Nocturne. Probably the only famous person I knew at this time from Norway was Morten Harket from the 80s pop group A-Ha and surprise, surprise he’d escaped his cartoon world and was one of the hosts and opened the contest by shamelessly plugging one of his own songs. Morten’s co-host was Ingvild Bryn and she was either funny, crazy or crazy funny – either way she made me laugh.

Following a shout out to Queen Sonia – of Norway that is, the 1993’s Eurovision entrant had not suddenly became royalty (except for maybe in my eyes – love you Sonia).

I might have complained that in past years other countries had entered singers of different nationalities to them but as of 1996 I changed my mind. Why? The United Kingdom entry in 1996 was by an Australian singer called Gina G. I’m not quite sure what the “G” stood for but I expect it was G-String as the dress she wore didn’t hide her modesty very well.

The song itself almost blew the top off the power pop scale as it had beats, bounce and easy sing along words that made no sense whatsoever. The broadcasters must have just learned how to add special effects to live transmission as Gina was sometimes shown in slow motion and black and white – fancy! The two backing dancers had little “drive thru” microphones on although I’m not sure they actually sang but from now on I think that all McDonalds drive thru staff should dance like them when they give you your order. “Would you like fries to go with that, Sir?” “Ooh Ahh, Just A Little Bit!”

Sadly, Gina G did not win but was just a little bit short. It’s still one of my favourite entries and despite losing she did go on to have more hits in the UK.


Turkey had a “light bulb moment” when deciding on their entry and it was that if you want to win the Eurovision then you have to be Irish. So what did they do? They entered the Turkish version of The Corrs. The special effects guy was getting quite good by now and even managed to get two versions of the same singer showing at once. Well done that man!


“In A Women’s Heart” was the title of the entry from Malta. Never mind her heart, I’ve never seen a women with eyes so far apart. Looking in two different directions at the same time, coupled with her big baby shoes I’m quite surprised she never fell off the stage. The song wasn’t that great either and I’m not sure why it came 10th…


Croatia decided to enter the older sister of Toyah Wilcox dressed in half a bin bag. I’m not quite sure what happened to her at 0:47 but it scared the f***ing living s**t out of me. She didn’t seem to mind though and carried on doing some dubious dancing.


I’ve never really associated Austria with happiness but this song literally just had Greg dancing about the kitchen. It’s a kind of hybrid of swing, gospel, latin and ska. I guess one would call it swostika…oh and I really hope they found their goat.


I liked the Estonian entry and I still do. It starts off really sweet with the girl singing. Some might say that Oliver Reed hi-jacking the song really ruins it but I just think it adds to the performance…there’s also a new generation of sex pest playing the keyboard.


The previous year Norway won by using Irish performers and violins, this year they recruited from Scotland and put forward Nicola Sturgeon‘s nicer looking sibling and some panpipes. It almost worked – they came 2nd which is exactly where Nicola Sturgeon will come in the vote for Scotland’s independence.


Whilst watching the singer from Slovenia I kept expecting her to start vomiting while her head spun around as she did something naughty with a crucifix. I’m not sure why.


Belgium decided to let Davina McCall borrow Celine Dion’s dress from the 1983 contest and made her sing about playing cards or something. You kept that one quiet Davina.


If you are a fan on the hit American sitcom Friends and the hit American cartoon Scooby Doo then you will think Christmas has come early when you see this entry from Iceland. It’s Chandler’s mum singing a song about Scooby.


Sweden, Sweden, Sweden. They never get it wrong do they? I won’t even make any funny comments about this song (although, resisting the urge to say Katy Perry’s singing Aunties is quite difficult) as it really is just a beautiful song performed brilliantly and I think it should have won.


So, Ireland had a year off collecting potatoes or something and then they won…again! Now, I like to think of Eurovision as a happy, joyous occasion but this singer and song are the epiphany of everything that gives me nightmares. You just have to Google woman in white to see what I mean. Way to go Ireland.


Until next time – think happy thoughts!

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