The 13th esctoday.com TOP TEN list continues today with the place no. 1 being announced. As revealed on Saturday, this week's topic are the TOP TEN surprising winners.
The list features Eurovision Song Contest winning performers or songs that were not consideredf favourites for first place before the contest. As reliable information on pre-contest media reports is only available since the introduction of the preview videos in 1971, only entries of the last 39 years are considered. It is regarded how much an entry was of a favourite at the time it took part, so "retrospective" surprises are not considered. The following criteria were included in the ranking:
- Betting odds
- Media predictions
- Reactions by the audience in the hall and the commentators
- Reactions after the victory
- Commercial success of an entry compared to the success of other songs that year
So we continue…
No. 1 – Riva with Rock me (Yugoslavia 1989)
Yugoslavia was one of the least successful countries in the Eurovision Song Contest for a long time until their entries managed to finish fourth in 1983, fourth in 1987 and sixth in 1988. In the 1989 Yugoslav national final, Riva narrowly won by one point and went to Lausanne with their song Rock me hoping to continue a streak of successful results. Although Yugoslavia was drawn last in the running order, the entry was by no means one of the many favourites for vicotry in a year that was generally considered among the stronger ones.
Yugolasvia got no points from the first jury but 12 from the second one, which led to Terry Wogan's statement "Predicting the winner of the Eurovision is the most difficult thing in the world". Riva got another three sets of twelve later. Remarkably, Yugoslavia got its last top three mark from Austria, which was only the 13th country to vote. In the second half of the voting, they mostly got lower or no points. It was no overwhelming victory in general with only 137 points and four sets of 12. At that point, it was the lowest average number of points given to the winner (6.52), but Helena Paprizou would get even less in 2005 (6.05).
Rock me is considered one of the worst selling Eurovision Song Contest winning songs ever. In the bigger music markets, it only reached the charts in the Netherlands peaking at no. 56. However, some people claim that the song helped making Yugoslav rock music popular in Europe, which should be seen as a debatable thesis. In 1991, Riva disbanded, but lead singer Emilija Kokic established a successful solo career in Croatia. In 2008, she competed in the Croatian national final again.
Tomorrow, we will take a look at some winning entries that were close to making the list as well as at some entries before 1971 that were probably big surprises.