The second esctoday.com TOP TEN list continues with the places 5 and 4 being announced. As announced on Saturday, this week's topic are the TOP TEN innovations that changed Eurovision.
Innovations in the rules and innovations in the production of the Eurovision Song Contest could qualify for the list if they changed the competition in one of the following aspects:
- The way the contest is seen by the general public
- The way the contest is seen by fans
- The popularity of the contest
- The outward appearance
- The addition of elements that helped making the contest a "cult event"
No. 5: Visible spokespersons (1994)
The 1994 Eurovision Song Contest saw an innovation that has made the voting sequence far more entertaining than it was before: For the first time, the spokespersons of the countries could not only be heard, but also seen. Since then, many performers who had represented their countries announced the points in a later edition. Among them are also many winners like Marie Myriam, Corry Brokken, Marie N, Nimah Kavanagh, Johnny Logan and Cheryl Baker of Bucks Fizz, who experienced another moment in the spotlight. Many other former entrants also announced the votes, but the most spectacular one was probably Edsilia Rombley in 2007, as she had competed in the semi final that year two days before the final, but did not qualify. Other spokespersons had that job for a very long time. One of them is Colin Berry, who had already been a spokespersons before the announcement was transmitted via satellite and he kept the job for almost three decades. Another familiar face is the one of Peter Poles, whose comedic ideas were often a highlight for many years and are well remembered. Other people who announced their country's votes very often are Alexis Kostalas from Greece, who (as many others) always sends his greetings in the language of the host country and Meltem Yazgan from Turkey.
Funny moments in the voting – before and after 1994:
No. 4: Abolition of the language rule (1973/1999)
In the early days of the Eurovision Song Contest, there was no rule stating in which language an entry should be performed. However, it seemed out of question that all countries had their entries performed in one of their national languages. In some cases, however, entries included words in other languages. The first one to do so was the German entry in 1957 and the German entry 1961 was the first one with the full last chorus performed in a foreign language, namely French. The first country that had an entry entirely performed in a language other than its own was Sweden in 1965. The song Absent friend was performed in English. The decision was disputed and although the entry only finished tenth in Naples, the EBU launched a new rule in 1966 that stated that all countries' entries have to be performed in a national language. Some countries still included foreign words in their lyrics, most notably Yugoslavia in 1969, which used languages of almost all countries competing that year. In 1973, the language rule was abolished for the first time. Only three countries – Finland, Sweden and Norway – took the chance to switch to other languages. All three entries reached the top seven and remarkably, Finland achieved its best result that year until their victory in 2006. Over the next three years, mainly the Nordic countries, the Netherlands and Belgium took advantage of the free choice of language, while the countries with Romanic languages as well as Yugoslavia and the English speaking countries stuck to their own languages. Three songs in English won in those four years: Waterloo, Ding-a-dong and Save your kisses for me. In 1977, the language rule was introduced again but Belgium and Germany were allowed to have their entries performed in English as the songs had already been chosen before the change of rules was announced.
Over the next two decades, all entries were performed in the countries' national languages. Although only three English speaking countries took part, more than one third of the victories were achieved by songs in English, two of them from the United Kingdom and six of them from Ireland. Therefore it was seen as an advantage for many countries to present a song in English and in 1999, the language rule was abolished again. This time, the decision was more groundbreaking as almost half of the countries competing in Jerusalem partly or entirely switched to a language other than their own, mostly English. The number increased over the following years and had its peak in 2004, when only six countries in the final had their entries performed entirely in their national language (among them the English speaking countries Malta, Ireland and the United Kingdom). Since 1999, all entries of seven countries only were performed entirely in a native language: Ireland, Malta, San Marino, Serbia, Serbia & Montenegro, Slovakia and the United Kingdom. However, another six countries always at least partly stuck to a national language: Andorra, France, Israel, Monaco, Portugal and Spain. Again, we can see that the countries with Romanic languages rather tend to stick to their own languages. Only six countries did not use a single word in a native language since 1999 and those are Azerbaijan, Belarus, Denmark, Georgia, Iceland and Sweden. Although English is the most common language of choice, some countries had different ideas. Bosnia & Herzegovina's entry in 1999 was partly performed in French, the Latvian entry of 2009 was entirely performed in Russian and the Romanian entries of 2006 and 2008 were partly performed in Italian, to name just a few examples. There were also many multilingual entries, most notably the Romanian entry in 2007, which was performed in six different languages. It has also been popular to have the last chorus of a song performed in English. The idea behind this is obvious, but it only rarely worked out well for the countries. The highest placed entry out of that category was the French entry in 2001, which finished fourth.
Generally, it has to be said that there was only one winning song that included no word in English since 1999, which was the Serbian entry in 2007. The Ukrainian entry of 2004 also included a few lines in Ukrainian. However, some other entries came close, most notably the entry of Serbia & Montenegro in 2004, which won the semi final and finished second in the final as well as the entry of Bosnia & Herzegovina in 2006, which finished third in the final.
Belgium in 2003 – the first entry in an imaginary language:
Tomorrow, we will introduce the places 3 and 2.