TOP TEN: No. 10, 9 and 8

by Marcus Klier 88 views

The fourth TOP TEN list starts today with the places 10, 9 and 8 being announced. As announced on Saturday, this week's topic are the TOP TEN most impressive debuts.

The ranking will in fact be based on a mathematical formula that consideres the following criteria:

  1. A country's placing
  2. The number of countries taking part in a certain year
  3. The number of countries having their debut in a certain year
  4. The participation of a country under a different name/flag in previous years

Here is a fictive example to show how the raking will work:

Let's say in 1953, ten countries competed in the contest: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I and J. The countries A, B and C take part for the first time, the other countries have already taken part in previous editions. If country A is the highest placed debuting country finishing second, how impressive is that debut?

Although a second place is always impressive, it is not as impressive for a debuting country as it seems in the first place for the following reasons:

  • Only ten countries took part. Therefore every country has a mathematical chance of strong 20% to reach the top two.
  • Three debuting countries took part. Therefore, the mathimatical chances of at least one of them reaching the top two stands at about 53%!

For this reason, the seven countries that competed in the first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956 are excluded from the top ten. The mathematical chances of a debuting country winning was 100% – Lys Assia's picture in the logo is therefore purely symbolical.

The full formula will be revealed on Saturday.

No. 10 – Hungary (1994)

The 1994 Eurovision Song Contest saw the highest number of debuting countries (apart from the first edition in 1956) in the history of the competition. Seven new countries were allowed to take part thanks to the newly introduced relegation system the year before. One of them was Hungary. The country had already competed in the Eastern Europe semi final in 1993, but Andrea Szulák only finished sixth (and hence second last) with her song Árva reggel thus not qualifying for the Eurovision Song Contest. Therefore, the country's actual debut took place in 1994. Then 22-year-old singer Friderika Bayer narrowly won the national final with her song Kinek mondjam el vétkeimet? written by Szilvester Jenei. She therefore went to Dublin where she gave Hungary a very strong debut finishing fourth. In fact, at the beginning of the voting it looked like the country was going to win as the first three juries all gave Hungary twelve points. However, votes then declined and Friderika had been taken over by the representatives of Ireland, Poland and Germany by the end of the voting. Her performance launched a successful career as her debut album was released the day that the contest was held and it soon achieved gold status. She still regularly performs on Hungarian television.

The fourth place in Dublin remains Hungary's best result in a Eurovision Song Contest final to date. The representative that came the closest was Magdi Rúzsa in 2007, whose song Unsubstantial blues finished second in the semi final but dropped to ninth place in the final. All other Hungarian entries finished out of the top ten and in 2008 and 2009, the country was eliminated in the semi final. Furthermore, Hungary is not a country with perfect attendence as no entries were submitted between 1999 and 2004, in 2006 and in 2010. It is still unclear whether Hungary will return to the competition in 2011.

No. 9 – Ireland (1965)

In 1965, a new record number of countries taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest was achieved as 18 broadcasters sent entries to Naples. Only one debuting country was among them: Ireland. A national final was held with twelve singers and songs competing and the winner was Butch Moore with the song I'm walking the streets in the rain, whose final title was shortened to Walking the streets in the rain. The song, which was written by George Prendergast, Joe Harrigan and Teresa Conlon, received eleven points in the final and Ireland finished sixth, which was the best result for a debuting country since 1960. The song was also a commercial success and reached number one on the Irish single charts. Walking the streets in the rain remains Butch Moore's biggest hit. He later performed with various bands and was mainly considered a live act. In 2001, he passed away at the age of 63.

Ireland's strong debut was actually the opener for a series of even more successful entries as the country finished fourth, second and fourth again over the following three years. Ireland made the top ten every year until 1971, when they hosted the contest for the first time. Of course, Ireland is most famous for being the country with the most winning entries. Seven times the trophy went to Ireland, where the contest would also be hosted seven times. Ireland was also very successful in general reaching the top ten many times. However, in recent years results have been declining as the country finished in the top ten only once in the last ten editions.

No. 8 – Cyprus (1981)

Cyprus' first participation in the Eurovision Song Contest took place in 1981 during a period of time when few new countries joined the competition. Especially for the occassion, the band Island was formed. Their song, which was chosen internally, was called Monika and it was written by Stavros Sideras and band member Doros Georgiadis. It was actually considered one of the favourites according to the bookmakers and at the end of the voting, it finished sixth among the 20 contestants. Island disbanded soon after the contest, but three of the band members have other connections to the contest. Goros Georgiadis had already composed the Greek entry in 1979. Alexia Bassiliou returned to the contest as a solo artist for Cyprus in 1987, this time finishing seventh. Aristos Moskovakis would be the composer behind the Cypriot entry in 1993, Mi stamatas. He had also written the disqulified 1988 Cypriot entry Thimame.

The sixth place in Dublin remains one of Cyprus' best results until today. Three times the country reached a higher position (in 1983, 1997 and 2004) finishing fifth. In 2002, the country managed to equal the sixth place which had been achieved 21 years before. Especially in recent years, Cyprus' entries were not successful and the country has not even been close to the top ten since 2004. Furthermore, it was eliminated in the semi finals four years in a row between 2006 and 2009.

Tomorrow, we will introduce the numbers 7 and 6 on the list.