14
July
2020

Eurovision 1973: Israel’s Ilanit in focus

Eurovision 1973: Israel’s Ilanit in focus

Ilanit

It is always exciting for fans, and the contest in general, when a new country joins the fold.  It gives us all a chance to see what this new market has to bring when it comes to its music and culture, and one of Eurovision’s most successful countries debuted in 1973. Albeit in tension filled fashion, as Israel took to the world stage.

In the summer of 1972, the Olympic games in Munich where overshadowed by the massacre of eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team by Palestinian militant organisation Black September. Tensions have always been high in the region and views for and against the formation of Israel continue to be prominent to this day. Therefore their debut in Eurovision didn’t come without some trepidation for both the EBU and host broadcaster CLT (Luxembourg).  The potential violent threat that their inclusion caused was seen throughout the organisation of the 1973 contest, tighter than usual security was in force throughout the week. Terry Wogan reminisced about the live broadcast, where the floor manager encouraged audience members to stay seated throughout the show as they may have been shot if they stood up.

Contents

  • 1 Ey Sham – opinions from fans
  • 2 Ilanit- mini biography

The honour of being the first ever Israeli representative went to Ilanit and her song Ey Sham, written by Ehud Manor and Nurit Hirsh who also conducted the song. Hirsh is one of only three women to ever conduct an entry in the contest, and she is also the only female to conduct a winning entry, in 1978.

IBA, the Israeli broadcaster was actually approached by Ilanit as she along with her partner, had first been asked by the German broadcaster to represent them at the 1972 contest.  While they were considering the offer, the duo discovered that Israel was eligible to participate in the contest. Although it was too late to register for the 1972 contest, IBA promised that Ilanit would be given the honour the following year. Ey Sham is a dramatic ballad about finding and enjoying love with someone without the interference of others. It was the last song to be performed on the night and was well received at the contest where Israel finished in fourth place with 97 points.

Ey Sham – opinions from fans

To get an idea of what contest fans think of the debut Israeli entry we asked some of our team as well as our dedicate fan panel for their opinions below:

Adi S.

Since it’s the 1st entry from my country – I grew up with this song. Ilanit has a magical voice and I believe it resonates with people even if they don’t understand the language. Well deserved of its high ranking.

Aaron S.

I liked Israel in 1973, and while it wasn’t a winner for me, I do think it deserved to finish in 4th place as it did. I especially like the strength of the chorus which Ilanit does well. Another example of a song made better and complimented by the live orchestra.

Josef S.

What a voice! And this soft ballad combined with Ilanit’s strong voice is a very good combination. I would put this song on my playlist as I like a lot of Israeli songs. And this orchestral version is very classy. Would be in my TOP 10 for sure.

Michael O.

What a debut, and what a performer. This would have been a deserving winner right off the bat for Israel, so much better than the cheesy dance numbers they sent year after year for a while later. Still a great song after all these years. Go Ilanit.

See alsoEurovision 1990: Israel's Rita in focus

Alvaro S.

A strong debut entry. Although I don’t understand the lyrics, the interpretation of the song is heartwarming and the sound of the live orchestra makes it sound even more beautiful. A truly beautiful gem.

Ashleigh K.

Ilanit has a really strong voice, she is a charismatic performer and she sings the song well. I’d have liked to hear her sing a different song though as unfortunately this doesn’t grab me at all. In fact, I listened to it 2 minutes ago and I’ve already forgotten the melody.

Pawel J.

Surrounded by controversy and many security issues of Israel’s debut at the 1973 contest, Nurit Hirsh delivered such a delightful performance of “Ey Sham” (Somewhere) and ended up finishing fourth that year. Very positive song. I just love it, makes me happy every time I listen to it.

Martti I.

Israel arrived with superb power ballad and with a style. Ilanit performed the song strongly, and luckily the jurors loved this song ending 4th. Israel did keep the record of best placed debut for decades. Personally I have adored her both entries. Strong song, best possible artist and a real pearl in eurovision history. Ilanit is a star with a long career with several albums and one of the artists whom career last whole lifetime. Selecting first ever entry for Eurovision could not have been more perfect.

Charlotte J.

I am prepared to be the minority here. I am well aware of that this is a classic loved by many fans. Unfortunately not by me. I have never been able to feel the love for this song. On a really good day, I can tolerate to listen to it, and forget about it afterwards. On a bad day, it really annoys me. I can’t explain why I feel so different than many other fans when it comes to this one, I just do.

Find out more about Ilanit’s career under this video of her live Eurovision performance.

Ilanit- mini biography

Ilanit was born in Tel Aviv as Hanna Dresner-Tzakh in 1947 to Polish parents, before moving to Brazil in 1953.  She later returned to Israel in 1960 where soon after she became a successful youth act. Throughout the late 60’s she formed bands such as trio Gidi, Zach & Hanna and Ilan & Ilanit, the latter becoming a successful act and charting the Israeli charts on numerous occasions.

After going solo in 1968 she took part in the Israel Song Festival 1969 with the song Shir b’arbaah batim she didn’t win but it became a domestic hit.  By 1973 she was one of the biggest stars in the country and it was not surprising she was chosen to debut for the country albeit it of her on volition. She would return to the contest four years later with the song Ahava Hi Shir Lishnayim, unfortunately she wasn’t able to replicate her success, finishing in 11th place with 49 points.

Throughout the rest of the 70’s and into the 80’s she continued to be one of Israel’s biggest stars and she even attempted to represent them once more in 1984 with the song Balalaika, although IBA pulled out of participating as the date conflicted with Memorial Day.  She released the song regardless and it became a domestic hit once again.

In more recent years she took a hiatus from recording, toured North America and was seen performing Ey Sham at the opening of the 2019 Eurovision Grand Final in her hometown of Tel Aviv.

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Categories: Eurovisionary

14
July
2020

Sergey Lazarev wants to scream out his love to the entire world

Sergey Lazarev wants to scream out his love to the entire world

Sergey Lazarev - Я не могу молчать

Rusian pop star and double Eurovision participant, Sergey Lazarev, recently launched a new single in Russian titled ‘Я не могу молчать’. It’s a contemporary up-beat tempo song about love.

Last year, at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest Sergey Lazarev screamed about a fear of the unknown and how misconceptions can guide people’s anxiety. A year later, he screams about love on his latest release Я не могу молчать which translates to I Can’t Keep Silent.

Sergey’s new song is a typical summer track that invites to dance and having fun. The singer is letting us know that love drives him so crazy, that he can no longer keep silent about it. And he is even ready for a wedding. As he sings it: “I have one question. Will you wear the white dress? Yes, or not seriously? It’s easy, believe me. Take a step closer to me. We are free birds on the way to one fate“.

Я не могу молчать is penned by Alexander Malikovsky and composed by Timur Yelchin. Musically, the song is a fusion of disco vibes and EMD.

My summer premiere. This song is for all lovers. Love is a feeling familiar to everyone. When in love, I want to scream about it all over the world.

Sergey Lazarev on Instagram

Sergey Lazarev in the Eurovision Song Contest

Sergey Lazarev represented Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 2016 in Stockholm, Sweden, with the song You Are The Only One. He finished in third place, after winning the televote. Sergey represented Russia again at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019, held in in Tel Aviv, Israel with the song Scream, and similarly finished in third place.

You can listen to Sergey Lazarev’s latest song in the embedded video below:

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Categories: Eurovisionary

14
July
2020

Eurovision 1996: United Kingdom’s Gina G in focus

Eurovision 1996: United Kingdom’s Gina G in focus

Gina G at the 1996 Eurovision Song Contest

In 1996, Gina G represented the United Kingdom with her song ‘Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit’ which became a run-away hit in the UK and Israeli charts reaching the top spot as well as becoming popular in the USA. Despite being 24 years old, this pop song was the last Eurovision entry of the United Kingdom to reach the top of the national charts.

Gina G was selected to represent the United Kingdom in 1996 following her win the national selection show The Great British Song Contest, a special edition of the music television show Top Of The Pops.

Contents

  • 1 Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit – opinions from fans
  • 2 A Mini biography of Gina G
  • 3 Join the Fan Panel

Gina G performed in the cursed 2nd position in the running order. She was joined on stage by two female backing dancers, both of whom wore donning bright neon dresses and a DJ stood at a keyboard and two apple mac computers. Matching the up-tempo dance song, the performance was energetic and full of lighting effects. Gina G was awarded a total of 77 points finishing the contest in 8th place.

Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit – opinions from fans

Steve P. – Wearing a dress made by her Gran, Australian born Gina injected a bit of life early in the show. It’s what every contest needs, pure, unashamed, unadulterated pop to lift the spirits. Easily the most contemporary song for years, it could be argued that the international success of the song (it reached number 1 all over the world, including the USA – no mean feat) provided a springboard for a more modern look and feel to contests in the future. If televoting has been introduced one year earlier, Eurovision history might be looking a bit different today.

Elvir P. – Ooh Aah… Just A Little Bit is one of my favourite UK entries. Modern, fresh and catchy. The live performance could have been better, but over all, Gina G deserved a much better result back in 1996.

Egemen O. – This song was part of a genre that caught fire all over the Europe in 90ies: Eurodance. The more techno sounds in a song, the better the song would be. Therefore, it suddenly became ultimate favourite of ‘96. For younger fans, it can be compared to Shady Lady (Ukraine 2008) or Popular (Sweden 2011). The stage were theirs after Turkey’s ballad. Gina G, the song and the performance were flawless. The audience was on fire. However, the 8th place for the UK at the end of the night was scandalous. They should have won as they had deserved.

Ashleigh K. – I wasn’t even 10 years old when this song came out and I remember hearing it being played on the radio and loved it. I remember asking for the cassette of this song to play on my Walkman and was over the moon when I was bought it for my birthday. Even now 24 years later the song still brings back lots of nostalgic memories from my childhood and is regularly played at 90’s throwback parties.

See alsoEurovision 1993: Bosnia & Herzegovina's Fazla in focus

Pascal W. – Unquestionably a guilty pleasure of mine. Maybe a little bit trashy, but trashy enough to like it. 😂 It’s definitely time to make the United Kingdom great again (not only at Eurovision hahaha)!

Josef S. – Ooh.. Aah… Just A Little Bit is perfect example of 90’s disco and that’s really my cup of tea, so I love it a lot. It would probably not end up on the top of my scoreboard, but definitely would be in the better half and maybe I would put it in the group “guilty pleasure”.

🇮🇪 Conor K. – This was the big favourite going into the contest, but in all honesty I can see why it ‘flopped’. I mean 8th place is nothing to be ashamed of but not the winner many in the UK were hoping for.
In my opinion the live performance didn’t do the song justice (the studio version did much better in the pre qualification round), and no.2 in the running order dealt some damage.
However it is one of the most modern UK entries for its time and is still heard on the radio here in Ireland. How could you not dance along?

🇷🇸 Miljan T. – The mid-nineties were a time where I didn’t watch Eurovision. But even I knew Gina G’s song. That was a time when the UK used to send contemporary songs, ahead of the time Eurovision is usually stuck in. Just A Little Bit was a huge hit and still is, and many people are still surprised it’s actually from Eurovision. The real question is – what happened to the UK and why did it stop sending such contemporary chart toppers after 1998?

Charlotte J. – A catchy pop song of the kind, which it’s basically impossible not to like. No matter how hard you may try to resist, you end up singing along to it. Believe me, I tried! I shouldn’t like this. It’s the Spice Girls’ sound, which I really don’t like – so why I am not pulled off from this one? It’s really weird, and I can’t explain it in any other way, that it’s simply impossible not to like. It’s too damn catchy, and charming.

See also12 things they (surprisingly?) got right in ‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga’

🇬🇧 🇮🇪 William S. – This UK entry is the quality that most people expect from the country every year. It’s a real shame when we are then mostly presented with sub-par entries year in/ year out. This is pure cheese and heady pop/Eurodance, I adore dancing to this today and it is one of the few Eurovision songs that everyone I knows, knows off by heart. Not surprising that this is the last song from the contest to top the UK charts.

Wouter V. – This is what a typical Saturday morning sounded like, in the period where I “transitioned” from child to teenager. Not because I was such a huge Eurovion fan back then, but because Carlo Boszhard was. In those years, he hosted a hugely popular children’s programme, Telekids, together with Irene Moors. And that show opened with a session of morning gymnastics, to the tune of Ochtendgymnastiek. Good fun! Many years later I found out that this was a cover of Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit. As for Gina G’s original; it’s a hard pass from me. Her vocals are just a little bit too weak.

Alvaro S. – This is one of these enjoyable songs I should feel guilty for liking but I can’t. This is the type of eurovision song with a chorus that gets stuck in your head o easily. Just a little bit is probably one of the most memorable UK entries of the 90s after Love Shine A Light.

Michael O.- This was by far the best entry in 1996, proved by becoming a huge hit round the world. Despite the slightly under par performance this should still have won for the UK and would have brought the contest right up to date, but instead we had to wait another 16 years until another modern contemporary entry win the contest.

You can relive the moment Gina G represented the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest by watching the video below.

A Mini biography of Gina G

Gina G was born as Gina Mary Gardiner in Queensland, Australia in 1970. She worked as a DJ in her native Australia before moving to the United Kingdom to further pursue a music career. After winning the Great British Song Contest and subsequently representing the United Kingdom in Oslo, Gina G became an instant star in the UK with the song peaking at number 1 in the singles chart and entering the US Billboard chart at number 12. The following year, Gina G released her debut album Fresh! which she released several singles from though with each single release the songs charted less and less well.

Following the release of the first album Gina took a long hiatus from releasing music and took part in some reality TV shows in the naughties. She made a second attempt to represent the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest again in 2005 where she competed against Javine Hilton and Katie Price with the song Flashback. Unfortunately for Gina, it was Javine who was selected to fly the flag in Kyiv. As well as releasing more music Gina also has set up her own record label and a property staging business.

Join the Fan Panel

Do you want to join our Fan Panel? We’ll ask you for your opinion on a former Eurovision entry or a Eurovision related topic approximately once a week. Your opinions will be used in articles like this.

Send us a message on Facebook, and we’ll get back to you.

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Categories: Eurovisionary

12
July
2020

Eurovision 1993: Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Fazla in focus

<div>Eurovision 1993: Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Fazla in focus</div>

Fazla at the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest

Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Eurovision debut in 1993 was anything but easy. The country was still at war, but a Eurovision debut could bring hope for a better future. Eurovision fans today feel the pain and the suffering the nation went through back then.

Bosnia & Herzegovina got their Eurovision debut in 1993. The country was still at war after they had declared themselves independent just a year earlier.

Contents

  • 1 Sva Bol Svijeta – opinions from fans
  • 2 Fazla – A mini biography

Together with Croatia and Slovenia, they joined Eurovision as independent nations as the first ones after the east European communism and Yugoslavia fell apart. A special competition ‘Kvalifikacija za Millstreet’ was held for Eurovision newcomers. Six countries battled for three places. The ones left out at that time were Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia.

Fazla had been internally selected with the song Sva Bol Svijeta. The title translates to ‘All the pain in the world’ and it’s a patriotic song about defending your country. The chorus says “All the pain in the world is in Bosnia this night. I’m staying here to defy the pain. I’m not afraid to stand up against the wall. I can sing, I can win”.

Sva Bol Svijeta is written by Dino Merlin (Bosnia and Herzegovina 1999 and 2011) and Fahrudin Pecikoza. The latter also wrote Lejla, which in 2006 achieved the country’s best Eurovision result, a 3rd place.

Sva Bol Svijeta – opinions from fans

In order to find out what Eurovision fans today think of this Bosnia & Herzegovina entry from 1993, we asked our Eurovision Fan Panel. It includes team members as well as fans from all over the world.

🇧🇦 🇩🇰 Elvir P. – Sva Bol Svijeta is a song that will always have a special place in my heart as it’s my home country’s first Eurovision entry as an independent country and because the song refers to the sufferings of the Bosnian War which I also have experienced. So, I consider Sva Bol Svijeta a personal and very emotional song as well. Fazla’s performance in Millstreet was fantastic and this song deserved much more than 16th place in the final.

🇬🇧 🇮🇪 William S. – This is an emotional one. 1993 for me is the strongest year and this is one of the songs why I have come to this conclusion. Bosnia as we all know, were going through the toughest times in their history and this band showed commitment to their country by fleeing to Ireland to sing for their citizens. Their show of strength and determination should be applauded, and their pain can be felt through this rousing ballad. One of the most important entries in Eurovision’s history from a social as well as political stand point. Their placing in that years contest is irrelevant.

🇩🇰 Charlotte J. – The music is interesting and captivating, and he has a nice voice, which makes me feel comfortable. When reading the translation of the lyrics, I am brought to tears. This is so emotional that I cannot help but shed a tear or two. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for the locals to hear this song – in Bosnian – on that night. It must have been such a touching moment in a very difficult time. These lines sealed it for me: ‘Who will be the guard instead of me, so that another evil doesn’t occur?’ I know I am naive, but let’s hope that what their population went through back then, others won’t have to go through too.

🇦🇺 Vivienne F. – Fazla, with this song, were worthy representatives of B&H at such an awful time in the history of their new country. I enjoyed the intro especially the low whistle sound and strings thanks to the great orchestra. While slightly waiting with baited breath for the singing to begin, I watched incredulously at these brave soldiers/musicians and thought of their risky journey to arrive in Ireland. The beautiful low voice hit me and the beat of the verse transfixed me, I felt like a Bosnian and was proud. (I’m Irish Australian actually). Ah the power of music.

See also12 things they (surprisingly?) got right in ‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga’

🇬🇧 🇹🇭 John E. – Entitled ‘All the pain in the World’ in English I think, this was a very fitting debut from a war torn nation who were welcomed to Eurovision community. A haunting melody, sung with great sincerity, by a group that risked their lives on the journey to the contest. I remember feeling quite emotional watching the song, which was very relevant and reflected Balkan rhythms and style. An amazing debut followed in later years by many other songs which were not formulaic.

🇪🇸 Alexander S. – In 1993, Bosnia & Herzegovina took part in Eurovision for the first time. Needless to say that this was very special. Fazla is a great singer. I was amazed about the story behind the song and how they arrived to Ireland.
The result was not good, but maybe the political situation influenced on it. In my personal view the song is very pleasant to listen to, with oriental sound in the song. The video clip is worth watching too.

🇬🇧 Michael O. – A pretty good debut, but nowhere near as good as Croatia. Still very heartfelt and no doubt at the time and even to this day, the pain of Bosnia was definitely felt. In that respect an entry sung with passion and meaning.

🇨🇴 🇫🇮 Alvaro S. – Although I like the flute of the intro the song falls flat. I cannot feel any emotions from the singer the guitar players or the drummers until the very last part of the song. At some point the backing vocals are doing a better job than main singer.

See alsoEurovision 2015: North Macedonia's Daniel Kajmakoski in focus

🇸🇪 Sara T. – This Bosnian debut entry is not one of my favourites, mostly due to the song’s slow start. The chorus is good though, and the ending is much stronger than the beginning. The singer has a good voice, and I am very fond of Balkan ballads, so I would give this song a solid 7 points.

🇬🇧 Ashleigh K. – This is a new song for me. It wasn’t one that I knew previously and I had to look up the lyrics due to it being in Bosnian. I’m sure this song was very emotive at the time due to the situation in Bosnia. I’m lucky that I can only imagine what it was like to be there during that time. I wonder what the reaction was to this at the time as Jamala did something very similar in 2017 and got slated for being too political. A very moving song from Bosnia.

🇷🇸 Milosav T. – Congrats to Bosnia for sending a song to Eurovision in those dreadful times. Unfortunately, other than that, there isn’t much I like about this song, which is no wonder since I think Dino Merlin is the most overrated musician from the Balkans. Fazla can sing, but the song is confusing and those back vocals super annoying. Add to it a haphazard choreography and you get a very mediocre performance. Also, I personally don’t like songs with political messages at Eurovision. Bosnia had some awesome performances over the years, but their first effort should best be forgotten.

🇨🇿 Josef Š – I usually like Balkan songs and I like a lot from this region from the 1990’s. Sva Boj Svijeta is my cup of tea because its music keeps the message from the lyrics – All pain in the world. These powerful though emotional songs, I always love about songs from Bosnia & Herzegovina and other Balkan countries.

Enjoy Fazla’s performance from the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest in this embedded video. Below the video, you can read more about Fazla.

Fazla – A mini biography

Muhamed Fazlagić, better known as Fazla, was born in Sarajevo 17th of April 1967. In 1993, the same year as his Eurovision participation, he released his first album Sva Bol Svijeta. His second album Zelena Rijeka, Fazla released back in 2007. In addition to his music talent, Fazla has successfully developed his sporting talent. He played many years for the local football team FK Sarajevo.

After the war, Fazla moved to USA. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 2000 from Sullivan University and a Master’s Degree in 2003 from Kentucky State University. Furthermore, Fazla graduated in applied sociology at the University of Louisville. He also founded the United Soccer Club in Louisville, Kentucky.

In 2008, Fazla was contacted about making a film about his participation at 1993 Eurovision. The film “Sarajevo Calling” is currently in production. The aim is to have it premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. In 2018 Fazla decided to move back to his hometown Sarajevo, where he is politically active.

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Categories: Eurovisionary

11
July
2020

Eurovision 1965: Germany’s Ulla Wiesner in focus

Eurovision 1965: Germany’s Ulla Wiesner in focus

Ulla Wiesner

Naples 1965 is seen as a milestone contest in regards to many countries attempts to modernise the contest in the music produced. This is best exemplified by the winning entry from Luxembourg which became a major international hit. Although Germany decided to play a little safe with their entry, opting for a more traditional sound that unfortunately didn’t help their chances.

Other than winning a contest, there is one result that is remembered with great admiration, if a little sarcastically, and that is coming last with zero points or ‘nil points’ as it has come to be affectionately known. Between 1956 and 1974, twenty entries received this feat,. In the 45 years since the new points system was introduced in 1975, only 14 entries have received ‘nil points’ in the final, showing that it is increasingly difficult in the current iterations of voting (1-12 points). Sixteen of the twenty early entries that received zero points was during a period of four consecutive contests (1962-1965).

Contents

  • 1 Paradies, wo bist du? – opinions from fans
  • 2 Ulla Wiesner – mini biography

Within those four years one country that experienced two consecutive zero points, was that of Germany in 1964 and Ulla Wiesner’s 1965 entry Paradies, wo bist du? A mid-tempo ballad about finding paradise after falling in love, the song was written by Barbara Kist and Hans Blum.  Blum came to prominence in German speaking countries over a decade later when he released the novelty song Im Wagen vor mir, under the pseudonym Henry Valentino.  Originally a minor hit, it was covered by many artists including punk band Die Toten Hosen.

Paradies, wo bist du? – opinions from fans

To get an idea of what contest fans think of this forgotten German entry we asked some of our team as well as our dedicate fan panel for their opinions below:

Michael B.

To be honest; although I‘m Eurovision Fan for more than 40 years, I had to look up for our german entry in 1965, the year I was born. I remember, when I heard this song for the very first time, I was shocked, that such a song could be chosen in a broadcast german final. An uptempo song with depressive lyrics. I was not surprised that poor Ulla Wiesner received zero points. Nobody in Germany, beside the german Eurovision fans, remember this song.

Alvaro S.

I like the rhythm of this song. It makes me think about the soundtracks of the TV series from the 60’s. When I watched Ulla Weisner performance however, there is something that does not make me connect with the song. Was she nervous? There is something in her facial expressions that makes her look uncomfortable. Like if she did not want to be there.  Or was it intentional?

Michael O.

Now for its time this was an upbeat enough entry and arguably Ulla may have had a better voice than France Gall, but its hard to think that had Germany won, the song would have been so well loved as Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son.

Josef S.

Even though I usually love oldies and music from 50’s until today in all decades, Paradies, Wo Bist Du? is not my cup of tea. But I have to admit, that Ulla Wiesner is a good singer, only the song and its style is not something I would love. I think that Eurovision in 60’s had better songs than this one.

Ashleigh K.

Ulla Weisner gave a nice performance of Paradies, Wo bist du? Her voice was very typical of the time and I give points for singing in German. I can’t remember the last time I heard a German language song at Eurovision. I’d like to hear more of that. The song does fall a bit flat for me though. I think it’s the melody, it doesn’t catch me.

See alsoGermany opt for 2021 national selection – Ben Dolic intends to take part

William S.

When writing this article and receiving opinions, I was shocked that Alvaro pointed out so many of the aspects I have always thought about this entry. For me, my love of Paradies, wo bist du?, comes largely from the studio version. The song reminds me of a song from the soundtrack of a 50’s Sci-fi b-movie, and her vocals compliment the song well, even live. Although in Naples, Ulla seemed to be very nervous and somewhat vacant from her performance and it is not hard to see that. I feel that this is mainly the reason for the zero point result. As a song it is possibly my favourite last place entry ever, it is a forgotten gem. A big statement I know!

Grace W.

The song has all the characteristics of a sixties song, kind of reminiscent of the beach movies popular around the world during the middle part of the decade. To me, the arrangement in the verses is kind of messy, and the performance is kind of boring, but the song overall is fairly good. It didn’t deserve last place, but it’s understandable considering the year. Maybe it’s just my soft spot for sixties music, but on a scale of 1-10, I give it an 8.

Paul G.

Oh dear a nul points for Germany from the Juries and a nul points from me too. The lyrics just seem out of step with the beat of the music or maybe that’s just me!

Paul K.

It has to be said, there is a level of respect that I have for the classics, as it was all about the music and used as a way to unite all of Europe! While the modern contests are well known and absolutely entertaining, it is also riddled with too much politics and that kind of kills the point of eurovision. In terms of the song, I think it is a good classic! It is a lovely, melodic song that definitely focuses on music alone, which is what makes classic eurovision the purest form of eurovision. I give it a 7/10.

Find out more about Ulla’s career under this video of her live Eurovision performance.

Ulla Wiesner – mini biography

Wiesner was only starting out in her singing career, when she took part in Eurovision. While her result hindered her solo career, she became known throughout Germany in the decades to come for her singing.  Most famously she was a chorister for the Botho-Lucas-Chorus, known for their association with German TV show Musik ist Trumpf.

In later years she went on to record numerous singles and released a solo album in 1970, Twilight Mood, with very little chart success.  She became one of the most experienced session singers, providing backing vocals for bands such as Triumvirait. She retired from singing in 2002.

She is a mother to two sons who she had with late husband, German TV producer, Alexander Arnz.

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Categories: Eurovisionary

11
July
2020

Eurovision 1986: Norway’s Ketil Stokkan in focus

Eurovision 1986: Norway’s Ketil Stokkan in focus

Ketil Stokkan at the 1986 Eurovision Song Contest

This song represents the 1980’s very well. A catchy up-tempo colourful performance with a sleek dance routine. Ketil Stokkan was on home field when he for the first time in the history of Eurovision brought a drag act on stage.

In March 1986, Ketil Stokkan won a clear victory in the national Melodi Grand Prix final. The result was decided by a mix of regional juries, press and studio audience.

Contents

  • 1 Romeo – opinions from fans
  • 2 Ketil Stokkan – a mini biography
  • 3 Join the Fan Panel

Following Bobbysocks victory the year before, Norway was on homefield at the 1986 Eurovision Song Contest. The city of Bergen hosted the contest, in which Ketil Stokkan and his own-composed Romeo finished in 12th place.

His use of a drag queen is referred to as the first time ever a sexual minority was visible on the Eurovision stage. The lyrics tells about his struggles to get the person he desires. Every time, he thinks he might be close, he is pushed away with words comparing him to a well known Shakespeare figure: “God knows that you will never be a Romeo”.

Romeo – opinions from fans

In order to find out what Eurovision fans today think of this Norwegian entry from 1986, we asked our Eurovision Fan Panel. It includes team members as well as fans from all over the world.

🇬🇧 Ashleigh K. – Everything about this performance screams 1980’s… the sound, the clothes, the hair, the choreography. I’m usually quite a lover on 80’s music, but unfortunately this doesn’t do it for me and the drag queen dancers are a bit off putting.

🇩🇰 Charlotte J. – I must admit that I feel a bit naive. It wasn’t until the research for this article, that I realised Ketil Stokkan had a drag with him on stage! It had simply never crossed my mind before. I remember this from the 1986 contest. Back then, I was 10 years old, and I totally loved it: I loved the lyrics, the music, the dance routine and the customs. And yes, to this 10 year old me, Ketil looked handsome in his red suit too. This was the perfect Eurovision cocktail for me in 1986.

Today, I still listen to it, and if I am woken up in the middle of the night asked to sing it, it probably won’t take me more than 10 seconds to remember the entire lyrics. As I have loved the song since 1986, it’s too late for the ‘drag discovery’ to influence anything, for me 😁

🇳🇴 Robert I. – Although maybe not among the highest quality songs from Norway, it is catchy and brings me in a good mood. I still find myself humming to it now and then. Apparently this was the first drag act in the Eurovision Song Contest. I like the choreography and the performance from Olav Klingen and Jonny Nymoen from the drag group Great Garlic Girls together with the vocalist Ketil Stokkan.

🇨🇿 Josef Š. – I had never heard this entry before, and I am very positively surprised. I love 80’s and that’s what I love in Romeo. Also the performance is very theatrical which is another thing I love. And on top of that, it has catchy melody and a small dance. I can imagine myself partying to this song from now on. Ketil Stokkan is a pleasant surprise for me.

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🇸🇪 Jill R. I only remember three songs from 1986 – the winner J’aime La Vie from Belgium (which was my favourite), the Swedish entry (which doesn’t count since I’m Swedish) and Romeo from Norway. I don´t remember what I thought of the song when I heard it then, but now I think that Romeo is likeable and catchy. But it is not the kind of music I normally listen to and I haven´t listened to it intentionally since 1986. It is far from fantastic, but since I haven´t forgotten it after all these years, it must have something rememberable.

🇧🇦 🇩🇰 Elvir P. – I am ambivalent about Norway’s entry from 1986. Although the song sounds sweet and pleasant, accompanied by a quite interesting and different staging, I find the whole performance a bit cheesy and monotonous.

🇬🇧 🇮🇪 William S. – If in right, the first attempt at drag in Eurovision (although that could be debated with a few previous entries, haha). This is such a fun number and Ketil definitely knows how to perform. I love the simple, but effective choreography, it is a little repetitive but not enough to make it annoying.

🇨🇴 🇫🇮 Alvaro S. – This is very 80s in every aspect: the song, the dresses, even the cheerful choreography. I am conflicted. I am not sure if I have to laugh with this act because there is something silly about the theatrical dresses or just find this whole performance cute.

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🇬🇧 Michael O. – Norway generally is one of my fave countries, but their winner the year before and this one are very disappointing. Nowhere near as good as say Luxembourg and Yugoslavia this year. This was a very non descript entry for the home team.

🇫🇷 Bernard D. – Ketil Stokkan with Romeo offers us a pleasant and joyful entry. In the average of 1986 but not enough to enter my top 10. 5/10.

🇳🇴 Steinar M. – He has better songs I think. I find this song too simple and cheesy. I get bored of it quickly. It does have some clever lyrics about getting the attention of a certain Mrs. X though. I don’t like the dancing, which looks too tacky. And I don’t like the drag performance either, as usual when it comes to Eurovision. Outside Eurovision, I can enjoy drag though. The music is the main thing of course, and in this case I don’t like the song. A simple pop song can work well, but I find this too “plain”. I hope I can be more positive (as up to now) in my next review 🙂.

🇭🇺 Vangelis M. – I find it really funny Norway’s entry in 1986. I had never heard it before, but I have seen the “dance” before. The costumes are funny and the whole act appear more like a parody to me than a competing act. Again not one of my favorites, but at least you can remember it.

Enjoy Ketil Stokkan’s performance from the 1986 Eurovision Song Contest in the embedded video. Below the video, you can read more about Ketil Stokkan.

Ketil Stokkan – a mini biography

He is born in 1956 in Harstad in the North of Norway. His career started mid 1970’s with a couple of years in the band Nexus. The public success came after 1977 when he joined the band ZOO. With first two albums in English, and then four in Norwegian – with Ketil as front vocalist and main songwriter, this band became a household name in Norway.

In 1983, the ZOO members went each their way, and Ketil Stokkan began his solo career. First stop on that career was the Norwegian national final. He finished second in 1983. Later he would take part two more times; in 1986 and 1990 – and win the Eurovision ticket on both of those occasions.

Nexus got back together again in 1989, and shortly after changed name to Stokkan Band. Zoo got back together again in 1999, and Ketil Stokkan got busy. He was now working as a school teacher and performing with Zoo and Stokkan Band. In recent years, he has been performing with the band Funky Ducks.

Three Melodi Grand Prix and Eurovision participations from Ketil Stokkan

  • 1983: Samme Charmeur finished second in the Norwegian national final
  • 1986: Romeo won the Norwegian final, and finished in 12th place at the Eurovision Song Contest
  • 1990: Brandenburger Tor won the Norwegianl final, and unfortunately finished in tied last position (21st) with Finland

Join the Fan Panel

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