||Poland - Justyna - Sama (Polish)
Music/Lyrics: Wojciech Waglewski, Mateusz Pospieszaalski/Wojciech Waglewski
Conductor: Noel Kelehan
Poland came close to winning on its debut the previous year with an epic ballad. This time, Justyna’s song is more in the style of a Polish folk/gypsy song. Her choreography consisted almost exclusively of lots of hand waving.
| Eddie Friel
||Ireland - Eddie Friel - Dreamin' (English)
Music/Lyrics: Richard Abbott, Barry Woods/Richard Abbott, Barry Woods
Conductor: Noel Kelehan
Under normal circumstances, this uninspiring folk ballad would not have been considered as a possible winner. However, on the back of three wins in a row for Ireland, no-one would have bet against it! Sighs of relief all round then when it became clear it was not going to be four in a row.
| Stone and Stone
||Germany - Stone and Stone - Verliebt In Dich (German)
Music/Lyrics: Cheyenne Stone/Cheyenne Stone
Conductor: Hermann Weindorf
Pretentions of greatness were misplaced as Cheyenne and her husband presented their slightly funk influenced song in a way that suggested they thought it was going to finish higher than was ever likely.
| Davor Popovic
||Bosnia - Davor Popovic - Dvadeset I Prvi Vijek (Bosnian)
Music/Lyrics: Zlatan Fazlic, Sinan Alimanovic/Zlatan Fazlic
Conductor: Sinan Alimanovic
There was a lot of international sympathy for Bosnia at the time which possibly translated into votes for some of the new country’s other entries. However, this is a rather non-descript song which passes by unnoticed. It was never likely to feature highly on the scoreboard. Davor hardly opened his eyes the whole time he was singing performance.
| Secret Garden
||Norway - Secret Garden - Nocturne (Norwegian)
Music/Lyrics: Rolf Lövland/Petter Skavlan
Conductor: Geir Langslet
Ireland may not have won the contest, but there was more than a hint of Irish about the song that did claim the prize. The group even borrowed a former member of the RTE concert orchestra to perform the main part of the song, the violin solo.
| Philipp Kirkorov
||Russia - Philipp Kirkorov - Kolybelnaya Dlya Vulkana (Russian)
Music/Lyrics: Ilya Reznyk/Igor Bershadsky
Conductor: Michael Finberg
The big man with the big voice and a sense of melodrama was the perfect performer for a song like this. There is no understatement here!
| Bó Halldórsson
||Iceland - Bó Halldórsson - Núna (Icelandic)
Music/Lyrics: Bó Halldórsson, Ed Welch/Jon Örn Marinosson
Conductor: Frank McNamara
There is a feeling that Bo’s beautiful ballad never quite takes off to achieve its full potential. Even so, it is still a very worthy entry and there is more than enough in the song to enjoy.
| Stella Jones
||Austria - Stella Jones - Die Welt Dreht Sich Verkehrt (German)
Music/Lyrics: Michael W Krausz/ Michael Krausz
Conductor: Michael Keinzl
The Austrian entry is a jazz/funk number which is slightly messy, but welcome in a contest containing a lot of ballads. Perhaps expecting not to be involved at the end of the show, Stella appeared to be wearing pyjamas.
| Anabel Conde
||Spain - Anabel Conde - Vuelve Conmigo (Spanish)
Music/Lyrics: Jose Maria Puron/Jose Maria Puron
Conductor: Eduardo Leyva
Spain should send a song like this every year! Anabel may have been small in stature, but her voice filled the auditorium. Her song is a smouldering fire of emotion. The Spanish delegation were delighted with the result and celebrated wildly afterwards.
| Arzu Ece
||Turkey - Arzu Ece - Sev (Turkish)
Music/Lyrics: Melih Kibar/Zeynep Talu Kursuncu
Conductor: Melih Kibar
The 1995 contest was bursting with ballads. Even the usually cheery Turks slowed down the tempo. The beginning of the song is better than bearable, but by the end, it sounds a bit laboured.
| Magazin and Lidija
||Croatia - Magazin and Lidija - Nostalgija (Croatian)
Music/Lyrics: Tonci Huljic/Vjekoslava Huljic
Conductor: Stipica Kalogjera
Soprano Lidija lent an operatic feel to Croatia’s entry, which also had a classical edge. It was classy, but possibly a bit too high brow to have a wide enough appeal.
| Nathalie Santamaria
France - Nathalie Santamaria - Il Me Donne Rendez-vous (French)
Music/Lyrics: Francois Bernheim/Didier Barbelivien
Conductor: Michel Bernholc
Unusually, the French song is easily the most commercial of the contest. The employment of a very pretty singer certainly wasn’t going to hinder the chances of success, it very nearly worked.
| Czaba Szigeti
||Hungary - Czaba Szigeti - Ùj Nèv Egy Règi Hàz Fàlan (Hungarian)
Music/Lyrics: Ferenc Balazs/Attila Horváth
Conductor: Miklós Malek
Hungarian isn’t the most attractive of languages, especially when sung in a croaky voice. This combination makes the song easy to underrate. Czaba’s tender, piano based ballad would have benefited from the free language rule that exists today.
| Frédéric Etherlinck
||Belgium - Frédéric Etherlinck - La Voix Est Libre (French)
Music/Lyrics: Pierre Theunis/Pierre Theunis
Conductor: Alec Mansion
Boasting several verses (or several choruses, depending on your point of view), Belgium’s song builds with each one, but lands just the wrong side of the border between dull and interesting.
| Love City Groove
||United Kingdom - Love City Groove - Love City Groove (English)
Music/Lyrics: Stephen Rudden, Catsiana Mais/Stephen Rudden, Catsiana Mais
Conductor: Mike Dixon
A musical first for the Eurovision Song Contest, rap music. It was a brave, but always doomed to fail, attempt. Rap music has limited appeal and a lot of jurors would not have been familiar with that genre anyway.
| Tó Cruz
||Portugal - Tó Cruz - Baunilha E Chocolate (Portuguese)
Music/Lyrics: Antonio Vitorino de Almelda/Rosa Lobato de Faria
Conductor: Thilo Krassman
Portugal’s contribution is a slow paced soul number appealing for racial harmony. Tó gave it his all, but looked a bit awkward as he swayed from side to side.
| Alexandros Panayi
||Cyprus - Alexandros Panayi - Sti Fotia (Greek)
Music/Lyrics: Alexandros Panayi/Alexandros Panayi
Conductor: George Theophanous
Every contest needs an over the top piece of drama, and this year, it was provided by Cyprus. That said, Alex gave one of the best performances of the night. There are brief but impactful interjections from the backing singers and lots of sudden changes in intensity.
| Jan Johansen
||Sweden - Jan Johansen - Se På Mej (Swedish)
Music/Lyrics: Hakan Almquist, Bobby Ljunggren/Ingela ‘Pling’ Forsman
Conductor: Anders Berglund
Every Swedish song seems to be in the shadow of Abba. Se På Mej is a world away from Waterloo, it is a slow, quiet number that never threatens to boil over.
| Aud Wilken
||Denmark - Aud Wilken - Fra Mols Til Skagen (Danish)
Music/Lyrics: Lise Cabble, Mette Mathisen/Lise Cabble
Conductor: Frede Ewert
The Banjo made a rare and welcome appearance in the contest. That is the only interesting aspect about what is otherwise quite a dull effort! It lumbers along lifelessly.
| Darja Svajger
||Slovenia - Darja Svajger - Prisluhni Mi (Slovenian)
Music/Lyrics: Primoz Peterca, Saso Fajon/Primoz Peterca
Conductor: Jozé Privsek
Prisluhni Mi is a graceful ballad of the type that has often been done well in contests past. It’s a bit ballad-by-numbers, but bears up well under multiple listens.
||Israel - Liora - Amen (Hebrew)
Music/Lyrics: Moshe Datz/Hamutal Ben-Zeev
Conductor: Gadi Goldman
Perhaps determined to avoid relegation, Israel sent this uplifting anthem. Like all good anthems, it builds and builds to the big finish. Liora was rightly disappointed with 8th.
| Mike Spiteri
||Malta - Mike Spiteri - Keep Me In Mind (English)
Music/Lyrics: Alfred Sant/Ray Agius
Conductor: Ray Agius
Soul is a genre not often heard in the contest. Malta’s effort wasn’t a disaster by any stretch of the imagination, and Mike’s gravelly voice suits the song well.
| Elina Constantopoulou
||Greece - Elina Constantopoulou - Pia Prossefchi (Greek)
Music/Lyrics: Nikos Terzis/Antonis Pappas
Conductor: Haris Andreadis
Elements of classical Greek culture are all over Pia Prossefchi. As a result, it is possibly one for aficionados only, but well worth a listen.