1990 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
5 May 1990
Vatroslav Lisinski, Zagreb, Yugoslavia
Helga Vlahovic and Oliver Vlacar
About the contest: 

In the history of the contest, 1990 is one of the most eventful. Simone was representing Austria almost by default. Austrian broadcaster ORF held a national final for the first time in years, and Simone finished second. The song that won, Das Beste by Duett, was disqualified after the final when it was discovered that the song had been entered for the German selection the previous year.

On the night of the contest, a technician started the backing track of the Spanish song in the wrong place. When they realised what had happened, Azucar Moreno left the stage. According to the rules, they should not have been allowed back, but common sense prevailed, and they returned to give a gutsy performance.

Huge changes were starting to happen in Europe politically at the time. The eastern European countries were starting to want their independence from the Soviet Union and this would impact on the contest in not so many years to come. The Berlin Wall, the symbol of the division between east and west Europe had been pulled down by the people and the smell of freedom was very strong in the air. Many of the songs in the contest reflected these historic times.

In addition to the historical element to the contest, it was also a family affair. Finland, The Netherlands, Spain and Sweden all featured brothers and sisters, while Belgium’s representative sang about his missus 

No country withdrew and no-one new came along so 22 countries competed. Ketil Stokkan had represented Norway on home turf four years earlier and he sung for his country for the second time. Haris Anastasiou had been a backing dancer in 1987 and now had the limelight. Icelandic duo Stjórnin featured Sigga, who would try her luck again in 1994.

The scoring system remained unchanged. Juries awarded points from 1-8, then 10 and finally 12.

About the songs: 
Azúcar MorenoAzúcar Moreno Spain - Azúcar Moreno - Bandido (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: José-Luis Abel/Raúl Orellana, Jaime Stinus

Conductor: Eduardo Leyva

Despite a false start, the sisters of Azucar Moreno performed strongly. Their passionate vocal combined with Spanish rhythms and dance beat to provide a very trendy opening to the contest.

 Christos CallowChristos Callow Greece - Christos Callow and Wave - Horis Skopo (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Giorgos Papagiannakis/Giorgos Paleokastriris

Conductor: Michalis Rozakis

Christos is the nephew of top English actor, Simon Callow. The presentation wasn’t helped when the microphone of the female backing singer didn’t work. The song is sensitive and sincere, and well done to Christos for hitting the big high note at the end. 

 Philippe LafontainePhilippe Lafontaine Belgium - Philippe Lafontaine - Macédomienne (French)

Music/Lyrics: Philippe Lafontaine/Philippe Lafontaine

Conductor: Rory Brack

Philippe wrote this song about his Macedonian wife. There is a romantic, almost monastic feel about it, supplemented by the strong arrangement.

 KayahanKayahan Turkey - Kayahan - Gözlerinin Hapsindeyim (Turkish)

Music/Lyrics: Kayahan Acar/Kayahan Acar

Conductor: Ümit Eroglu

Kayahan came across as a very likeable, his friendly smile added charm to his folk song. He sat on his stool, strummed his guitar and let the song sell itself.

 MaywoodMaywood The Netherlands - Maywood - Ik Wil Alles Met Je Delen (Dutch)

Music/Lyrics: Alice May/Alice May

Conductor: Harry van Hoof

This is an example of the unpredictability of the contest. Prior to the contest, Maywood was rightly one of the favourites, but the juries combined to put the sisters in 15th place. Ik Wil Alles Met Je Delen is worth a higher placing than that. It is well constructed, memorable, and powerful and was well performed.

 Céline CarzoCéline Carzo Luxembourg - Céline Carzo - Quand Je Te Rêve (French)

Music/Lyrics: Jean-Charles France/Thierry Delianis

Conductor: Thierry Durbet

The beautiful, sultry Céline was plucked from obscurity by the writers and RTL (Luxembourg’s national broadcaster) to sing this striking, atmospheric ballad. The co-ordinated presentation was just right, but somehow it passed over the heads of the juries.

 EmmaEmma United Kingdom - Emma - Give A Little Love Back To The World (English)

Music/Lyrics: Paul Curtis/Paul Curtis

Conductor: Alyn Ainsworth

Emma was 15 at the time of the contest, but was just old enough to compete as she turned 16 in the year of the contest. Give A Little Love Back To The World is a big anthem which she performed well, ably assisted by, amongst others, Miriam Stockley, with whose voice the big note was safe.

 StjórninStjórnin Iceland - Stjórnin - Eitt Lag Enn (Icelandic)

Music/Lyrics: Hördur Olafsson/Adalsteinn Asberg Sigurdsson

Conductor: Jón Kjell Seljeseth

Iceland’s duo were full of energy and they needed to be! Eitt Lag Enn is the type of song the Eurovision Song Contest Is often criticised for; it’s chirpy, fast and fun, and we all need that sort of thing from time to time.

 Ketil Stokkan 1990Ketil Stokkan 1990 Norway - Ketil Stokkan - Brandenburger Tor (Norwegian)

Music/Lyrics: Ketil Stokkan/Ketil Stokkan

Conductor: Pete Knutsen

Four years after he sang about Romeo, Ketil made the Brandenburg Gate the subject of his second contest entry. It doesn’t sound as serious as maybe it should and is a bit too sing-along for the subject matter. 

 RitaRita Israel - Rita - Shara Barechovot (Hebrew)

Music/Lyrics: Rami Kleinstein/Tzurya Lahav

Conductor: Rami Levine

Barefooted Rita changed the atmosphere. After the carefree feel of the previous two songs came her dramatic, emotive ballad. The camera loved her!

 Lonnie DevantierLonnie Devantier Denmark - Lonnie Devantier - Hallo Hallo (Danish)

Music/Lyrics: John Hatting, T. Leandager/Keld Heick

Conductor: Henrik Krogsgaard

Young Lonnie did her best but looked uneasy and stiff with the very little choreography she was given. It wasn’t necessarily her fault, swaying on the spot was not what her up-tempo song full of zip needed. 

 Egon EgemannEgon Egemann Switzerland - Egon Egemann - Musik Klingt In Die Welt Hinaus (German)

Music/Lyrics: Cornelia Lackner/Cornelia Lackner

Conductor: Bela Balint

Clad all in white and armed with a violin (also white) and a cheesy grin, Egon had to be alert to flit quickly between singing and fiddle playing. His song - written by his wife - is melodic, uplifting and very hummable.

 Chris Kempers and Daniel KovacChris Kempers and Daniel Kovac Germany - Chris Kempers and Daniel Kovac - Frei Zu Leben (German)

Music/Lyrics: Ralph Siegel/Michael Kunze

Conductor: Rainer Pietsch

Daniel returned to his native country to represent Germany with Chris, who looked the much more relaxed of the two. It’s German, therefore it’s anthemic with a peace theme which was of the time.

 Joelle UrsullJoelle Ursull France - Joelle Ursull - White And Black Blues (French)

Music/Lyrics: George Ougier de Moussac/Serge Gainsbourg

Conductor: Régis Dupré

Over-rated is the word that springs to mind. Yes, it is original, but that doesn’t mean it’s any bloomin’ good! Joelle sang and danced well and the flavour was very African.

 TajciTajci Yugoslavia - Tajci - Hajde Da Ludujemo (Serbo-Croat)

Music/Lyrics: Zrinko Tutic/Zrinko Tutic, Alka Vuica

Conductor: Igor Kuljeric

The hosts turned to youth rather than experience. Looking like a young Marilyn Monroe, 17 year old Tajci flirted with her backing singers and had a great time performing this rock song, which had a touch of innocence about it.

 NuchaNucha Portugal - Nucha - Há Sempre Alguém (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Jan van Dijck, Luis Filipe/Teotonio Pereira

Conductor: Carlos Alberto Moniz

The occasional blast of brass gives the song a bit of life. All the same, it does get slightly lost in the crowd.  

 Liam ReillyLiam Reilly Ireland - Liam Reilly - Somewhere In Europe (English)

Music/Lyrics: Liam Reilly Liam Reilly

Conductor: Noel Kelehan

In an attempt to please everyone everywhere, the lyrics mention almost every country in Europe, together with its major tourist attraction as Liam pines for his holiday romance. It must have been a coach tour of epic proportions! Finishing second, it clearly worked and, desperate lyrics aside, it is a pleasant ballad.  

 Edin-ÅdahlEdin-Ådahl Sweden - Edin-Ådahl - Som En Vind (Swedish)

Music/Lyrics: Mikael Wendt/Mikael Wendt

Conductor: Curt-Eric Holmquist

Having come close with a rock song one year earlier, Sweden sent another song in that genre. The two sets of brothers gave it their all, but Som En Vind was never going to repeat the success of its predecessor.

 Toto CutugnoToto Cutugno Italy - Toto Cutugno - Insieme 1992 (Italian)

Music/Lyrics: Toto Cutugno/Toto Cutugno

Conductor: Gianni Madonini

Eighteen years after Italy first won the contest, the second victory was finally achieved. Nothing much was expected after the preview video was very under produced, leading some to wonder if Toto had actually finished writing the song at that stage. These thoughts would not exactly have been dispelled when he turned up at his first rehearsal with a music stand and sheet music.  The song is about the creation of a more unified Europe due at the end of 1992 and, as might be expected, is an anthem which builds gradually. 

 SimoneSimone Austria - Simone - Keine Mauern Mehr (German)

Music/Lyrics: Wolfgang Berry/Mario Botazzi

Conductor: Richard Österreicher

Glamorous Simone was thankful just to have the chance to sing having finished second in the first Austrian final for a few years. Keine Mauern Mehr is a fairly ordinary song about the political changes of the time. Lines like “no walls anywhere” and “tomber le barriers” are used to re-inforce the image. 

 Haris AnastasiouHaris Anastasiou Cyprus - Haris Anastasiou - Milas Poli (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: John Vickers/Haris Anastasiou

Conductor: John Vickers

Anastasiou (as he was known) livened things up a bit with his energetic, if slightly forced, choreography to his disco tune.

 BeatBeat Finland - Beat - Fri? (Finnish)

Music/Lyrics: Kim Engblom, Janne Engblom, Tina Krause/Tina Engblom

Conductor: Olli Ahvenlahti

The brothers and sisters of Beat stood side by side to perform this soft rock song. While it is decent enough effort, there was a feeling the songs had ended with more of a whimper than a bang.  

Tajči - Hajde da ludujemo

See video

Tajči came 7th when she, on homefield, represented the country Yugoslavia in 1990. This song is in Croatian.




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