|Marie Bergman and Roger Pontare
||Sweden - Marie Bergman and Roger Pontare - Stjärnorna (Swedish) 4
Music/Lyrics: Peter Bertilsson/Mikael Littvold
Conductor: Anders Berglund
Getting things started were the odd couple! Marie and Roger had completely different images. What counts is the performance and their voices worked well together for this big (almost) ballad.
| Cat Cat
||Finland - Cat Cat - Bye Bye Baby (Finnish)
Music/Lyrics: Karl Salli, Nake Lentonen/Karl Salli, Nake Lentonen
Conductor: Olli Ahvenlahti
Finland sent a fresh and contemporary dance number to Dublin. The image given to the two sisters of Cat Cat didn’t quite work and relying on the orchestra took away the punch that dance tracks need.
| Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan
||Ireland - Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan - Rock 'n' Roll Kids (English)
Music/Lyrics: Brendan Graham/Brendan Graham
Conductor: Noel Kelehan
Surely Ireland couldn’t win for an unprecedented third time in a row? Not with two middle aged gentlemen singing an Irish folk song? It was too introspective to have broad appeal, wasn’t it? Yes, yes and no! Ireland made history and showed all those newcomers how it’s done.
| Evridiki 1994
||Cyprus - Evridiki - Ime Anthropos Ke Ego (Greek)
Music/Lyrics: George Theophanous/George Theophanous
Conductor: George Theophanous
Two years after she finished 11th with a song written by her husband, they teamed up again, and finished 11th again. The Greek styles of the two songs aren’t worlds apart. There’s more of an ‘oomph’ this time and plenty of emoting by Evridiki.
||Iceland - Sigga - Nætur (Icelandic)
Music/Lyrics: Fridrik Karlsson/Stefán Hilmarsson
Conductor: Frank McNamara
Under the circumstances, the pressure was on Sigga to give a good performance and deliver a result, and she succeeded with the first part. While pleasant enough to listen to, Nætur seems to drift along and doesn’t seem to go anywhere.
| Frances Ruffelle
||United Kingdom - Frances Ruffelle - We Will Be Free (Lonely Symphony) (English)
Music/Lyrics: George de Angelis, Mark Dean/George de Angelis, Mark Dean
Conductor: Michael Reed
Following in the more famous footsteps of Michael Ball and Sonia, West End star Francis accepted the BBC’s invitation to represent her country. The result was a very different song than the United Kingdom had sent before. It wasn’t the musical number that many may have expected; it is more in the style of the new age/gothic genres. Someone had the idea of including a crown of ‘thorns’ in Francis’ clothes.
| Tony Cetinski
||Croatia - Tony Cetinski - Nek'ti Bude Ljubav Sva (Croatian)
Music/Lyrics: Zeljen Klasterka/Zeljko Krznaric
Conductor: Zdravko Sljivac
Having failed to win the Dora (Croatia’s selection show for the contest) the previous year with arguably a much better song, Tony tried again with a ballad that is very sincere and traditionally Croatian in sound.
| Sara Tavares
||Portugal - Sara Tavares - Chamar A Música (Portuguese)
Music/Lyrics: Joao Carlos Oliveira/Rosa Lobato de Faria
Conductor: Thilo Krassman
At first glance, the Portuguese song is a sad affair, but the lyrics are actually positive. Sara, one of the youngest singers in the contest, carried it well.
||Switzerland - Duilio - Sto Pregando (Italian)
Music/Lyrics: Giuseppe Scaramella/Giuseppe Scaramella
Conductor: Valeriano Chiaravalle
Duilio’s ballad builds steadily chorus by chorus. The only verse is right at the beginning.
| Silvi Vrait
||Estonia - Silvi Vrait - Nagu Merelaine (Estonia)
Music/Lyrics: Ivar Must/Leelo Tungal
Conductor: Urmas Lattikas
Estonia’s debut is more likely to appeal to appeal to older listeners than younger ones. Nagu Merelaine is easy to listen to and doesn’t fit into any particular genre.
| Dan Bittman
||Romania - Dan Bittman - Dincolo De Nori (Romanian)
Music/Lyrics: Antonio Furtuna, Dan Bittman/Antonio Furtuna, Dan Bittman
Conductor: Noel Kelehan
The piano is the dominant instrument throughout Dan’s ballad. It works well, providing the song with an easy flowing feeling and a sound to make the listener maintain interest to the end.
| Moira Stafrace and Christopher Scicluna
||Malta - Moira Stafrace and Christopher Scicluna - More Than Love (English)
Music/Lyrics: Christopher Scicluna/Christopher Scicluna, Moira Stafrace
Conductor: Anthony Chircop
The tune is ok, but the lyrics are, at times, awful; ‘to tell you the truth, I’ll never change my youth’, and ‘not easy to say, there’s a will, there’s a way’, being a couple of examples. Chris should have taken the deeper notes as Moira couldn’t get down that far. Apart from that, it’s reasonable, and the theme of striving to succeed could be inspirational for some.
| Willeke Alberti
||The Netherlands - Willeke Alberti - Waar Is De Zon (Dutch)
Music/Lyrics: Edwin Schimscheimer/Coot van Doesburgh
Conductor: Harry van Hoof
Willeke was the choice Dutch broadcaster, NOS, to go to Dublin. The public selected a good, musical style big ballad for her to sing.
||Germany - MeKaDo - Wir Geben 'ne Party (German)
Music/Lyrics: Ralph Siegel/Bernd Meinunger
Conductor: Norbert Daum
Mekado were three ladies put together by prolific contest writers, Siegel and Meinunger. Justifiably one of the favourites, their song is a contemporary, up-tempo tune which stays long in the memory. The performance was very professional.
| Martin Durinda
||Slovakia - Martin Durinda and Tublatanka - Nekovecná Piesen (Slovak)
Music/Lyrics: Martin Durinda/Martin Sarvas
Conductor: Vladimir Valovic
Old fashioned (in a good way) rock band Martin Durinda and Tublatanka got Slovakia’s so far occasional participation off to a good start. As you might expect, it’s a rock song, although the strings take away some of the impact.
| Ovidijus Vyshniauskas
||Lithuania - Ovidijus Vyshniauskas - Lopsine Mylimai (Lithuanian)
Music/Lyrics: Ovidijus Vyshniauskas/Gintaras Zdebskis
Conductor: Tomas Leiburas
Lithuania’s history in the contest started very inauspiciously with a failure to score even a single point. Ovidijus did deserve a few. Perhaps the shaven head with the leather trousers pt a few people off.
| Elisabeth Andreasson and Jan Werner Danielsen
||Norway - Elisabeth Andreasson and Jan Werner Danielsen - Duett (Norwegian)
Music/Lyrics: Rolf Lövland/Hans Olav Mörk
Conductor: Pete Knutsen
Experienced Elisabeth teamed up with the youthful Jan for this ballad that remains popular with the fans. Big ballads need big voices to pull them off and these two coped easily. Jan’s immense talent is a big loss to music after his tragically early death.
| Alma and Dejan
||Bosnia - Alma and Dejan - Ostani Kraj Mene (Bosnian)
Music/Lyrics: Edo Mulahalilovic/Adi Mulahalilovic
Conductor: Siman Alimanovic
The audience applauded Alma and Dejan so loudly for so long at the beginning of the song that Dejan missed his cue because he couldn’t hear the orchestra. He maintained concentration enough to come in at the right place. Sentimentality aside, this is a very solid ballad.
| Costas Bigalis
||Greece - Costas Bigalis and the Sea Lovers - To Trehantiri (Diri Diri) (Greek)
Music/Lyrics: Costas Bigalis Costas Bigalis
Conductor: Noel Kelehan
Costas and his band looked like a recession hit Showaddywaddy in their colourful jackets. It’s definitely Greek, but doesn’t represent Greek music well, being a bit too juvenile.
| Petra Frey
||Austria - Petra Frey - Für Den Frieden Der Welt (German)
Music/Lyrics: Alfons Weindorf/Karl Brunner, Johann Brunner
Conductor: Richard Österreicher
Petra was one of the younger singers in the contest, and it showed during her sometimes nervy performance. The song is an understated anthem.
| Alejandro Abad
||Spain - Alejandro Abad - Ella No Es Ella (Spanish)
Music/Lyrics: Alejandro Abad/Alejandro Abad
Conductor: Jose LLobel
The scene is reflective and melancholy for the verse. When the chorus arrives, the song almost explodes into life and develops a rock feel.
| Friderika Bayer
||Hungary - Friderika Bayer - Kinek Mondjam El Vétkeimet (Hungarian)
Music/Lyrics: Silvester Jenei/Silvester Jenei
Conductor: Peter Wolf
Another country losing its Eurovision virginity. Frederika only needed to stand absolutely still to perform her folk song. It received the first maximum of the night, and deserved to do well.
||Russia - Youddiph - Vechni Stranik (Russian)
Music/Lyrics: Lev Zemlinski/Youddiph
Conductor: Lev Zemlinski
Russia’s first song starts gently but builds into the epitome of dramatic! Her cleverly designed dress allowed the choreography to increase the dramatic atmosphere as it waved and curled around her. A majestic debut indeed!
| Edyta Górniak
||Poland - Edyta Górniak - To Nie Ja! (Polish)
Music/Lyrics: Stanislaw Syrewicz/Jacek Cygan
Conductor: Noel Kelehan
Only the seemingly unstoppable Irish prevented a debut win for Poland. Petite Edyta was the little lady with the big voice with a fine ballad that has aged very well.
| Nina Morato
||France - Nina Morato - Je Suis Un Vrai Garçon (French)
Music/Lyrics: Bruno Maman/Nina Morato
Conductor: Alain Goraguer
The eccentric Nina looked and sounded like Barbara Streisand performing a number from ‘Cabaret’. It’s one of those you love or hate with not much room for views in-between.