Best and worst of Eurovision… Part 1

Posted: 11/3/2005 in:

In the run-up to this year’s contest, we at Team Eurovision will be taking a look back at contests past, and suggesting our favourite and least favourite winners of all time. To get the ball rolling, here’s our first nomination for the least favourite:

Nocturne by Secret Garden (1995 winner for Norway)
Let’s face it, the 1995 contest wasn’t exactly vintage stuff. The first Eurovision after Ireland’s unprecedented triple victory, it also came at a time when the BBC had decided to stop showing previews of the songs – and given the Internet wasn’t in common usage at that point, downloading them for a quick listen wasn’t an option either. So for viewers in the UK, at least, the first (and last) time most of us got to hear anything other than our own entry was on the night of the contest itself.

And despite having only a few brief moments to decide which song we liked best, Team Eurovision distinctly remembers being underwhelmed by Norway’s entry at the time – and even more surprised when it stormed to victory. With the ongoing Irish obsession of the mid-90s, it should have been entirely predictable that something Irish-sounding should take top honours (Ireland themselves seemed to go out of their way to enter a rubbish song and avoid a fourth straight victory) – but frankly, we’re still not convinced that three minutes worth of whistly flute, high-pitched female vocals and indecipherable lyrics are the stuff of great, rousing Eurovision winners. The fact it didn’t even have a discernible chorus – the kind of thing you can wave your country’s flag to enthusiastically during the victorious reprise – was an equal disappointment.

There were a handful of decent tunes that year – both the songs from Spain (who were runners-up) and Israel (who just about scraped into the top ten) would have been worthy winners – and while the UK’s efforts to bring rap to the contest with Love City Groove fell flat, even they were more interesting to watch on the night. The best thing to be said for Nocturne is that it gave someone else a crack at hosting the contest and saved Ireland a fortune (until the following year, when they won it again), but in terms of Norwegian winners, we’ll stick with Bobbysocks and their matching shiny bow ties, thanks very much.