Congratulations: 1996-2005

by Sietse Bakker 115 views

This week, we will discuss one decade of the Eurovision Song Contest's history. Or, more particular, the entries from that decade chosen to compete among the last 14 during the 50th anniversary show Congratulations, which will take place this Saturday in Copenhagen, Denmark.

1998 – Israel – Dana International – Diva
The 1998 Eurovision Song Contest took place in Birmingham's National Indoor Arena, on 9th May, 1998. Ulrika Johnsson and Terry Wogan, the UK's famous Eurovision Song Contest commentator, hosted the event. FYR Macedonia debuted. Both Imaani's Where are you as well as Dana International's Diva became hits in several countries. Chiara, who we'd see again in 2005 with Angel, came third with The one that I love.

Dana International was born male (named Yaron Cohen) in 1972. From a very young age, Yaron really loved to entertain and perform in front of an audience. His mother and his younger sister encouraged him to devolop his talent through both the school choir and in the Youth Music Company in Tel-Aviv. Later on he attended the National Theater of Israel. It was during high school that Yaron started to discover Tel-Aviv's thriving nightlife.

In his last year of high school, Yanon knew he really was a woman. After graduating with top grades, Yaron met producer and DJ Ofer Nisim. Ofer quickly recognized Yaron's talent, asked him to join his latest drag queen show. Yaron became the leading star of the show. In 1992, Yaron went to London to undergo a gender reassignment surgery. In 1993, as Dana International, she released her first album.

Dana's transexuality brought her a lot of press attention, that some say her victory in 1998 was almost assured. And, in the end, she received 172 points and won the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest.

2000 – Denmark – Olsen Brothers – Fly on the wings of love
The 2000 Eurovision Song Contest took place in Stockholm's Globen Arena, on 13th May. The modern show was hosted by Kattis Åhlström and Anders Lundin. Due to a big fireworks accident in the Netherlands, Dutch television interrupted the broadcast and used the jury.

Jørgen and Niels Olsen have been a popular brother act in Denmark since the sixties. They often participated in the Danish national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest and were finally chosen in 2000 with Smuk som et stjerneskud, translated for the contest in Stockholm as Fly on the wings of love. Their performance was the suprise of the evening and their enthusiasm and light effects likely contributed to this unexpected victory.

2003 – Turkey – Sertab Erener – Everyway that I can
The 2003 Eurovision Song Contest, the last one taking place in one night, took place in Latvia's capital Riga. Ukraine made their debut and the televoting was one of the most exciting ones ever. At the end, the famous Russian duo t.A.T.u. came third with Ne Ver', Ne Bojsya, the Belgian group Urban Trad with the song Sanomi – a song in an imaginary language – came second and Turkey, represented by Sertab Erener, came first. It was Turkey's first Eurovision Song Contest victory.

In 1992, Sertab released her first album. Over the past 13 years, more than 4 million albums of the Turkish star have been sold. She has recorded duets with Ricky Martin, Jose Carreras and performed with the Greek singer Mando, who represented Greece in 2003.

2005 – Greece – Helena Paparizou – My number one
The 2005 Eurovision Song Contest took place in Kyiv's Palats Sportu, on 19th and 21st May. DJ Pasha and Maria Efrosinina hosted both the semifinal and final. The 'Big 4' countries ended up at the last four places, a shocking results for the most important financial partners of the contest.

Helena Paparizou represented Greece in 2001 as part of the duo Antique. With Die for you, the charming singer and her male colleague reached a well-deserved third place. Paparizou, who grow up in Swedenleft Antique in 2003 and in 2005, the Greek broadcaster ERT invited her to sing four songs in a national song selection. One of the songs got disqualified, as it already appeared on CD. With My number one, Helena brought Greece its first Eurovision Song Contest victory. Next year's contest, the 51st edition, will take place in Athens.

This article marked the last daily article covering the 14 songs participating in tomorrow's 50th anniversary show Congratulations.

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