Eurovision Song Contest 1998

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Eurovision Song Contest 1998
ESC 1998 logo.png
Dates
Final9 May 1998
Host
Venue National Indoor Arena
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Presenter(s)
Musical director Martin Koch
Directed by Geoff Posner
Executive supervisorChristine Marchal-Ortiz
Executive producerKevin Bishop
Host broadcaster British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
Website eurovision.tv/event/birmingham-1998 OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Participants
Number of entries25
Debuting countriesFlag of North Macedonia.svg  Macedonia
Returning countries
Non-returning countries
  • ESC 1998 Map 2.svg
         Competing countries     Relegated countries unable to participate     Countries that participated in the past but not in 1998
Vote
Voting systemEach country awarded 12, 10, 8–1 points to their ten favourite songs
Winning song
1997  Eurovision Song Contest  1999

The Eurovision Song Contest 1998 was the 43rd edition of the annual Eurovision Song Contest, held on 9 May 1998 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and host broadcaster the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and presented by Terry Wogan and Ulrika Jonsson, the contest was held in the United Kingdom following the country's victory at the 1997 contest with the song "Love Shine a Light" by Katrina and the Waves.

Contents

Twenty-five countries participated in the contest. Six participating countries in the 1997 edition were absent, with Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Iceland and Russia relegated due to achieving the lowest average points totals over the previous five contests and Italy actively choosing not to participate. These countries were replaced by Macedonia in its first contest appearance, and previously relegated and absent countries Belgium, Finland, Israel, Romania and Slovakia.

The winner was Israel with the song "Diva", composed by Svika Pick, written by Yoav Ginai and performed by Dana International. The United Kingdom, Malta, the Netherlands and Croatia rounded out the top five. Dana International was the contest's first openly transgender participant and became the contest's first openly LGBTQ+ winning artist; however, her participation for Israel was controversial among sections of Israeli society and resulted in opposition and death threats against her in the run-up to the contest.

It was the first contest in which the results were determined predominantly through televoting, and would become the last contest in which all participants were required to perform in the language of their country and the last to feature an orchestra and live music accompaniment for the competing entries.

Location

National Indoor Arena, Birmingham - host venue of the 1998 contest NIA, Birmingham.jpg
National Indoor Arena, Birmingham – host venue of the 1998 contest
United Kingdom adm location map.svg
Location of the selected host city (in blue), shortlisted cities (in green) and other cities that expressed interest (in red)

The 1998 contest took place in Birmingham, the United Kingdom, following the country's victory at the 1997 edition with the song "Love Shine a Light", performed by Katrina and the Waves. It was the eighth time that the United Kingdom had hosted the contest setting a new contest record with the nation having previously hosted the contest in London in 1960, 1963, 1968 and 1977, in Edinburgh in 1972, in Brighton in 1974 and in Harrogate in 1982. [1] The selected venue was the National Indoor Arena, a sporting venue and indoor arena opened in 1991 which prior to the contest had previously hosted the 1993 IBF Badminton World Championships and 1995 World Netball Championships, as well as being the principal venue for the recording of UK television programme Gladiators . [2] [3] [4] [5]

Many cities across the United Kingdom expressed interest in hosting the contest, the first to be held in the country in sixteen years, with venues in Aberdeen, Belfast, Bournemouth, Brighton, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Harrogate, Inverness, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield being considered. [6] Following visits by the production team to each city, Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, London and Manchester were shortlisted as potential host cities, and Birmingham's National Indoor Arena was subsequently announced as the host venue on 8 August 1997. [6] [7]

Participating countries

Eurovision Song Contest 1998 Participation summaries by country

Per the rules of the contest twenty-five countries were allowed to participate in the event. [8] Macedonia participated in the contest for the first time, having previously applied to enter the 1996 contest but failing to progress from that edition's qualifying round; due to the then-ongoing Macedonia naming dispute with Greece, the nation participated under the provisional reference "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" or its shortened form "FYR Macedonia". [9] [10] Belgium, Finland, Israel, Romania and Slovakia made a return to the contest, replacing Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Iceland and Russia, which were relegated following the previous year's contest, and Italy which decided against entering the event. Italy would not return to the contest again until 2011. [9]

Among the performers at this year's contest were five representatives who had previously competed as lead artists in past editions. Two artists returned as lead artists in the 1998 contest: Danijela had previously represented Croatia in 1995 as a member of the group Magazin; [11] [12] and José Cid, a member of Alma Lusa, had represented Portugal in 1980. [13] Additionally, three artists who had previously competed as lead artists at Eurovision returned as backing performers for their respective countries at this year's event: José María Guzmán, who had represented Spain in the 1986 event as a member of the group Cadillac, was a backing singer for Mikel Herzog; [14] Egon Egemann, who had previously represented Switzerland in the 1990 contest, performed on stage as violinist for Gunvor; [15] and Paul Harrington, winner of the 1994 contest for Ireland with Charlie McGettigan, providing backing vocals for Dawn Martin. [16]

Participants of the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 [17] [11] [18] [19]
CountryBroadcasterArtistSongLanguageSongwriter(s)Conductor
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium RTBF Mélanie Cohl"Dis oui" French Philippe Swan No conductor
Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia HRT Danijela " Neka mi ne svane " Croatian Petar Grašo Stipica Kalogjera
Flag of Cyprus (1960-2006).svg  Cyprus CyBC Michael Hajiyanni "Genesis" (Γένεσις)Greek
Costas Cacogiannis
Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia ETV Koit Toome "Mere lapsed" Estonian
Heiki Vahar
Flag of Finland.svg  Finland YLE Edea "Aava" Finnish Olli Ahvenlahti
Flag of France.svg  France France Télévision Marie Line "Où aller"French
Martin Koch
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany NDR [lower-alpha 1] Guildo Horn " Guildo hat euch lieb " German Stefan Raab Stefan Raab [lower-alpha 2]
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece ERT Thalassa"Mia krifi evaisthisia" (Μια κρυφή ευαισθησία)Greek
  • Yiannis Malachias
  • Yiannis Valvis
No conductor
Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary MTV Charlie "A holnap már nem lesz szomorú" Hungarian
  • Attila Horváth
  • István Lerch
Miklós Malek
Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland RTÉ Dawn Martin "Is Always Over Now"EnglishGerry Morgan Noel Kelehan
Flag of Israel.svg  Israel IBA Dana International "Diva" (דיווה) Hebrew
No conductor
Flag of North Macedonia.svg  Macedonia MRT Vlado Janevski "Ne zori, zoro" (Не зори, зоро) Macedonian Aleksandar Džambazov
Flag of Malta.svg  Malta PBS Chiara "The One That I Love"English
  • Sunny Aquilina
  • Jason Paul Cassar
No conductor
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands NOS Edsilia "Hemel en aarde" Dutch Dick Bakker
Flag of Norway.svg  Norway NRK Lars A. Fredriksen"Alltid sommer" Norwegian
  • David Eriksen
  • Linda Andernach Johannesen
  • Per Kristian Ottestad
Geir Langslet
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland TVP Sixteen "To takie proste" Polish
  • Olga Pruszkowska
  • Jarosław Pruszkowski
Wiesław Pieregorólka
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal RTP Alma Lusa "Se eu te pudesse abraçar" Portuguese José Cid Mike Sergeant
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania TVR Mălina Olinescu " Eu cred " Romanian
  • Adrian Romcescu
  • Liliana Ștefan
Adrian Romcescu
Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia STV Katarína Hasprová "Modlitba" Slovak
  • Gabriel Dušík
  • Anna Wepperyová
Vladimír Valovič
Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia RTVSLO Vili Resnik "Naj bogovi slišijo" Slovene
  • Matjaž Vlašič
  • Urša Vlašič
Mojmir Sepe [lower-alpha 2]
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain TVE Mikel Herzog "¿Qué voy a hacer sin ti?" Spanish
Alberto Estébanez
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden SVT Jill Johnson " Kärleken är " Swedish Anders Berglund
Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg   Switzerland SRG SSR Gunvor "Lass ihn"GermanNo conductor
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey TRT Tüzmen "Unutamazsın" Turkish
  • Canan Tunç
  • Erdinç Tunç
Ümit Eroğlu
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom BBC Imaani "Where Are You?"English
James McMillan

Qualification

Due to the high number of countries wishing to enter the contest a relegation system was introduced in 1993 in order to reduce the number of countries which could compete in each year's contest. Any relegated countries would be able to return the following year, thus allowing all countries the opportunity to compete in at least one in every two editions. [23] The relegation rules introduced for the 1997 contest were again utilised ahead of the 1998 contest, based on each country's average points total in previous contests. [6] [8] The twenty-five participants were made up of the previous year's winning country and host nation, the eighteen countries which had the highest average points total over the preceding four contests, and any eligible countries which did not compete in the 1997 contest. [6] [8] In cases where the average was identical between two or more countries the total number of points scored in the most recent contest determined the final order. [8]

Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Germany, Iceland and Russia were therefore excluded from participating in the 1998 contest; however, after Italy declined to participate Germany was subsequently provided a reprieve and allowed to enter. [9] [24] The calculations used to determine the countries relegated for the 1998 contest are outlined in the table below.

Table key

  Qualifier
 Automatic qualifier
 New/returning countries which did not compete in 1997
Calculation of average points to determine qualification for the 1998 contest [lower-alpha 3]
RankCountryAverageYearly Point Totals [25] [26] [27] [28] [29]
1993 1994 1995 1996 1997
1Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland 155.2018722644162157
2Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom  121.40164637677227
3Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 91.60120761481140
4Flag of France.svg  France 80.4012174941895
5Flag of Italy.svg  Italy [lower-alpha 4] 79.5045114
6Flag of Malta.svg  Malta 75.206997766866
7Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 74.60894810010036
8Flag of Poland.svg  Poland 66.50166153154
9Flag of Cyprus (1960-2006).svg  Cyprus 63.401751797298
10Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 61.4058171191796
11Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia 59.33DNQ2R9482
12Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary 54.67DNQ1223DNQ39
13Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia 54.203127919824
14Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 52.2510R2157121
15Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 50.206444683639
16Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg   Switzerland 47.5014815R225
17Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 46.0060735920
18Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 44.75924R785
19Flag of Israel.svg  Israel  42.504R81DNQ
20 [lower-alpha 5] Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia 42.259R841660
21 [lower-alpha 5] Flag of Germany.svg  Germany [lower-alpha 4] 42.25181281DNQ22
22Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 42.009R92DNQ25
23Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 40.007017DNQ33
24Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 39.603219676812
25Flag of Iceland.svg  Iceland 38.204249315118
26Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina 23.002739141322
27Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia  17.00DNQ15R19R
28Flag of Romania.svg  Romania  14.00DNQ14RDNQR
29Flag of Finland.svg  Finland  13.332011R9R
30Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium  11.003R822R
Flag of North Macedonia.svg  Macedonia   [lower-alpha 6] DNQR

Production

The Eurovision Song Contest 1998 was produced by the British public broadcaster British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Kevin Bishop served as executive producer, Guy Freeman served as producer, Geoff Posner served as director, Andrew Howe-Davies served as designer, and Martin Koch served as musical director, leading the 60-piece BBC Concert Orchestra and arranging and orchestrating the music for the opening and closing sequences and the interval act. [30] [31]

Construction within the National Indoor Arena began on 19 April 1998 to build out the stage and orchestral area for the contest, as well as creating space for the green room, the dressing rooms, the press centre and accreditation area, and small rooms for use by each country's individual commentators. [6] Although the arena could hold up to 13,000 people, the assembled audience during the contest was limited to around 4,500, with tickets for the dress rehearsal and live show awarded by ballot. [6] [32] The contest organisers also engaged with fan groups, and tickets in the front rows of the arena were distributed among these groups for the first time. [33] [34]

The green room was situated behind the stage, and was designed to resemble a nightclub. The arena featured three large video screens to enable the audience to follow the voting, and video walls were also constructed for use on stage, in the press centre and the green room. A 400-seat auditorium for press conferences and 38 booths for journalists equipped with phone lines were installed within the press centre, and 40 commentary boxes were constructed in the arena to accommodate the teams from the various broadcasters, with 28 built for television and 12 for radio. [6] [30] [31] Much of the press centre facilities constructed for the contest were subsequently retained and augmented for use during the 24th G8 summit held in Birmingham the following week. [31] [35]

Orchestral rehearsals and rehearsals of the main elements of the interval act took place on 2 and 3 May, with rehearsals for the competing countries beginning on 4 May. The first rehearsals for each country, lasting 40 minutes in total followed by a 20 minute press conference, took place on 4 and 5 May, with second rehearsals for each country taking place on 6 and 7 May and lasting 30 minutes. [6] Three dress rehearsals were held on 8 and 9 May, with an audience in attendance during the evening dress rehearsal on 8 May, which was also recorded for use in case of problems during the live contest that resulted in the broadcast being suspended. [6] Stand-in studios were also prepared in Studio 4 of BBC Television Centre, London and in the Pebble Mill Studios in Birmingham in case of an emergency at the National Indoor Arena that resulted in evacuation. [6]

Presenters

Terry Wogan (pictured in 2015), co-presenter of the 1998 contest Terry Wogan at Cheltenham Literature Festival.jpg
Terry Wogan (pictured in 2015), co-presenter of the 1998 contest

The Swedish-British television presenter and model Ulrika Jonsson and the Irish television and radio presenter Terry Wogan were the presenters of the 1998 contest. Wogan had previously provided television and radio commentary on the BBC since 1971, and performed this role once again for the contest's broadcast on BBC One from a separate commentary booth erected behind the stage in addition to his role as the contest presenter. [6] [36]

The draw to the determine the running order, held on 13 November 1997 in the National Indoor Arena, was compered by Wogan and Katrina Leskanich, lead vocalist of the 1997 contest winners Katrina and the Waves. [6] [37]

Conductors

For those countries which opted to utilise the orchestra during their performance a separate musical director could be nominated to lead the orchestra during their performance, with the host musical director, Martin Koch, also conducting for those countries which did not nominate their own conductor. [8] [19] [38]

The entries from Belgium, Greece, Germany, Israel, Malta, Slovenia and Switzerland were performed entirely without orchestration; however, in the case of Germany and Slovenia, conductors for those countries were present during the contest. [11] Stefan Raab, the writer of the German entry under the pseudonym "Alf Igel", had no intention of conducting the orchestra but insisted on taking the customary conductor's bow before the entry, while the Slovenian entry had been due to be performed with the orchestra before a change of mind by the songwriters during the rehearsals led to the full backing track being used and their conductor Mojmir Sepe instead signalling to start the track. [21] [22] The French entry had been planned to be performed completely with the backing track, but during rehearsals a decision was reached to incorporate additional live string accompaniment from the orchestra directed by Martin Koch. [39]

During rehearsals conflict occurred between the contest organisers and the Greek delegation, with the Greeks unhappy with the way that their entry was being presented on screen. Aggressive behaviour by the Greek composer, Yiannis Valvis, during the dress rehearsals led to his accreditation being rescinded, and on the day of the contest the Greek broadcaster Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) withdrew from the contest, a decision which was ultimately reversed minutes later. [11] [24] [40] Issues also arose during the rehearsals for the Turkish entry, when their conductor Ümit Eroğlu was found to be leading the orchestra at too slow a tempo, resulting in the performance running over the three minute limit and thus breaking the rules of the contest. Ultimately the final performance lasted two minutes and fifty-nine seconds, ensuring that Turkey could not be disqualified for exceeding the time limit during the final and would remain in the competition. [40] [41]

Trophy

The trophy awarded to the writers of the winning song was designed by Anongkarat Unyawong, a student at the Birmingham School of Jewellery, who had won a competition conducted at the school for the occasion. [42] [43] The winning performers received a glass bowl designed by Susan Nickson bearing the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 logo. [44] The winners were heralded by the trumpeters of the Life Guards as they entered the stage, and the awards were presented by Katrina Leskanich. [45] [43]

Format

The rules of the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 were published in November 1997. The document set out the overall aim of the contest and provided detail on the organisation of the event, the qualification process, the criteria for the competing songs and performers, the voting system to be used to determine the results of the contest, as well as the rights and responsibilities conferred by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) onto the participating broadcasters. [8]

Entries

Each participating broadcaster submitted one song to the contest, which was required to be no longer than three minutes in duration and performed in the language, or one of the languages, of the participating country. Short quotations from another language, no more than a single phrase repeated a maximum of three times, were permitted. [8] Each entry was able to utilise all or part of the live orchestra and could use instrumental-only backing tracks. [8] This was the second edition of the contest in which the entire song could be performed with a backing track, following the 1997 contest; previously any backing tracks which were used could only include the sound of instruments which featured on stage being mimed by the performers. [46] A maximum of six performers were allowed on stage during each country's performance, and all performers must have reached the age of 16 in the year of the contest. [8]

Selected entries were not permitted to be released commercially before 1 January 1998; entries were only permitted to be released after being selected for the contest, and were then only allowed to be released in the country they represented until after the contest was held. [8] Entries were required to be selected by each country's participating broadcaster by 15 March, and the final submission date for all selected entries to be received by the contest organisers was set for 23 March. This submission was required to include the score of the song for use by the orchestra, a sound recording of the entry and backing track for use during the contest, and the text of the song lyrics in its original language and translations in French and English for distribution to the participating broadcasters, their commentators and juries. [8]

For the first time a watermark was included on screen during each entry with the name of the country being performed, an innovation which has become a standard feature in each contest. [9] This edition of the contest would conversely be the last in which countries would be obliged to perform in their own language and the last to feature an orchestra accompanying the competing entries; from the following year's contest participating countries were able to send entries in any language and the organising broadcaster was no longer obliged to provide an orchestra. [47] [48] In subsequent years the rules would be modified again to remove the option for entries to be accompanied by live music entirely. [49]

Voting procedure

The results of the 1998 contest were determined through the same scoring system as had first been introduced in 1975: each country awarded twelve points to its favourite entry, followed by ten points to its second favourite, and then awarded points in decreasing value from eight to one for the remaining songs which featured in the country's top ten, with countries unable to vote for their own entry. [8] [50] For the first time each participating country was required to use televoting to determine their points, with countries with weak telephone networks that prevented them from holding a large-scale televote being granted an exception. [8] [9] [43] This followed a trial held in the 1997 contest where televoting was used to determine the points from five of the twenty-five competing countries. [50] Viewers had a total of five minutes to register their vote by calling one of twenty-four different telephone numbers to represent the twenty-five competing entries except that which represented their own country, with voting lines opening following the performance of the last competing entry. [44] [8] Once phone lines were opened a video recap containing short clips of each competing entry with the accompanying phone number for voting was shown in order to aid viewers during the voting window. [44] Systems were also put in place to prevent lobby groups from one country voting for their song by travelling to other countries. [8]

The points from countries which were unable to use televoting were determined by an assembled jury of sixteen individuals, which was required to be split evenly between members of the public and music professionals, comprised additionally of an equal number of men and women, and below and above 30 years of age. In addition countries using televoting were required to appoint a back-up jury of eight members which would be called into action upon technical failure preventing the televote results from being used, with the same equal split of gender, age and occupation. [43] [8] Each jury member voted in secret and awarded between one and ten votes to each participating song, excluding that from their own country and with no abstentions permitted. The votes of each member were collected following the country's performance and then tallied by the non-voting jury chairperson to determine the points to be awarded. In any cases where two or more songs in the top ten received the same number of votes, a show of hands by all jury members was used to determine the final placing; if a tie still remained, the youngest jury member would have the deciding vote. [8]

Postcards

Each entry was preceded by a video postcard which served as an introduction to the competing artists from each country, as well as providing an opportunity to showcase the running artistic theme of the event and creating a transition between entries to allow stage crew to make changes on stage. [51] [52] The postcards for the 1998 contest continued the theme of the opening segment, with each clip focussing on a particular theme either an object, place or concept and creating a juxtaposition between its older and newer versions. Each postcard was accompanied by extracts of Britpop or classical music, with a pattern featured in the final moments of the footage forming into the flag of the country which was about to perform. [11] [44] The various themes for each postcard, and the musical accompaniment which featured, are listed below by order of performance: [11] [44]

  1. Flag of Croatia.svg Croatia Football; "Sight for Sore Eyes" (M People)
  2. Flag of Greece.svg Greece Beaches; "Alright" (Supergrass)
  3. Flag of France.svg France Aircraft; "Ordinary World" (Duran Duran)
  4. Flag of Spain.svg Spain Leisure; The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (performed by the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra)
  5. Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg  Switzerland  Loch Ness; "Enchanted Highland" (APM Celtic Players)
  6. Flag of Slovakia.svg Slovakia Jewellery; "Ain't Talkin' 'bout Dub" (Apollo 440)
  7. Flag of Poland.svg Poland  Glasgow, Scotland; "Slight Return" (The Bluetones)
  8. Flag of Israel.svg Israel Art; "Common People" (Pulp)
  9. Flag of Germany.svg Germany  Ironworks; "Always on My Mind" (Pet Shop Boys)
  10. Flag of Malta.svg Malta Fashion; "Mulder and Scully" (Catatonia)
  11. Flag of Hungary.svg Hungary  Wales; "A Design for Life" (Manic Street Preachers)
  12. Flag of Slovenia.svg Slovenia Pubs; "Ocean Drive" (Lighthouse Family)
  13. Flag of Ireland.svg Ireland London, England; "Bitter Sweet Symphony" (The Verve)
  14. Flag of Portugal.svg Portugal Education; "Beautiful Ones" (Suede)
  15. Flag of Romania.svg Romania Sailing; "Sailing" (Rod Stewart)
  16. Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom Cars; "Hush" (Kula Shaker)
  17. Flag of Cyprus (1960-2006).svg Cyprus Food; "Born Slippy" (Underworld)
  18. Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands Broadcasting; "Polo Mint City" (Texas)
  19. Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden Retail; "Don't Marry Her" (The Beautiful South)
  20. Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium Theatres; "She's a Star" (James)
  21. Flag of Finland.svg Finland Films; "The Chad Who Loved Me" (Mansun)
  22. Flag of Norway.svg Norway Medieval; "Hail to the King" (performed by the Kneller Hall State Trumpeters)
  23. Flag of Estonia.svg Estonia  Belfast, Northern Ireland; "Bright Side of the Road" (Van Morrison)
  24. Flag of Turkey.svg Turkey National landmarks; Symphony No. 5, III: Romanza (Ralph Vaughan Williams)
  25. Flag of North Macedonia.svg Macedonia Weather; "Sugar Coated Iceberg" (The Lightning Seeds)

Contest overview

Violinist Vanessa-Mae performed as part of the interval act. Vanessa-Mae 2014.jpg
Violinist Vanessa-Mae performed as part of the interval act.

The contest took place on 9 May 1998 at 20:00 (BST) and lasted 3 hours. [8] [11] The table below outlines the participating countries, the order in which they performed, the competing artists and songs, and the results of the voting.

The contest began with a video entitled "Birmingham, Old and New", which presented overlapping images of Birmingham in 1998 with archive footage of the city, including shots of Brindleyplace and boats on the city's canal network, to music from the BBC Concert Orchestra. [6] [44] A fanfare from the trumpeters of the Life Guards greeted the contest's presenters as they entered the stage. [44] Also featured during the opening section of the broadcast was a summary video of the 1960 contest, the first to be held in the United Kingdom, with that year's presenter Katie Boyle  the only individual to host four contests in attendance as a special guest. [44] [53] Special appearances were also featured from Katrina Leskanich and Carrie Crowley, the co-presenter of the 1997 contest, who appeared via video link from Dublin. [44]

The interval performance was entitled "Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity", based on music from the movement of the same name from the orchestral suite The Planets by English composer Gustav Holst. [45] A medley of vocal and instrumental pieces inspired by English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Indian and Zulu cultures, the segment included over 200 performers and featured music from the BBC Concert Orchestra and performances by soprano Lesley Garrett, violinist Vanessa-Mae, the Sutherland Pipe Band, Andrew Findon on tin whistle, Carys Hughes on harp, the bhangra dance group Nachda Sansaar, the Canoldir Male Voice Choir, the Grimethorpe Colliery Band, trumpeters from the Band of the Blues and Royals and an excerpt of Patti Boulaye's Sun Dance. [44] [54] [55]

The winner was Israel represented by the song "Diva", composed by Svika Pick, written by Yoav Ginai  [ he ] and performed by Dana International. [56] This marked Israel's third contest win, following the country's back-to-back victories in 1978 and 1979. [57] Dana International, the contest's first openly transgender participant, also became the first openly LGBTQ+ and first openly transgender artist to win the event. [58] [59] The United Kingdom earned a record-extending fifteenth second place finish, Malta's third place finish equalled its previous best contest performance, and the Netherlands obtained its best placing since its most recent victory in 1975 by finishing in fourth place. [9] [43]

Following her victory Dana International also caused a delay in the production when, following the conclusion of the voting, she changed outfits into one specially designed for the contest by Jean Paul Gaultier but which was ultimately not used for the original performance. [60] This led to scenes towards the end of the broadcast of hosts Terry Wogan and Ulrika Jonsson, and last year's winning vocalist Katrina Leskanich, looking perturbed and confused as to the delay and location of Dana International. [24] [61]

Following the contest it was announced the results of the Spanish vote had been incorrectly tabulated, resulting in Germany, which should have been awarded twelve points, receiving no points at all; this subsequently had an impact on the remaining countries which were awarded points by Spain. [43] [9] [62] The tables in this article present the corrected results as published by the EBU.

Results of the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 [11] [63] [lower-alpha 7]
R/OCountryArtistSongPointsPlace
1Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia Danijela " Neka mi ne svane "1315
2Flag of Greece.svg  Greece Thalassa"Mia krifi evaisthisia"1220
3Flag of France.svg  France Marie Line "Où aller"324
4Flag of Spain.svg  Spain Mikel Herzog "¿Qué voy a hacer sin ti?"2116
5Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg   Switzerland Gunvor "Lass ihn"025
6Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia Katarína Hasprová "Modlitba"821
7Flag of Poland.svg  Poland Sixteen "To takie proste"1917
8Flag of Israel.svg  Israel Dana International "Diva"1721
9Flag of Germany.svg  Germany Guildo Horn " Guildo hat euch lieb "867
10Flag of Malta.svg  Malta Chiara "The One That I Love"1653
11Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary Charlie "A holnap már nem lesz szomorú"423
12Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia Vili Resnik "Naj bogovi slišijo"1718
13Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland Dawn Martin "Is Always Over Now"649
14Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal Alma Lusa "Se eu te pudesse abraçar"3612
15Flag of Romania.svg  Romania Mălina Olinescu " Eu cred "622
16Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom Imaani "Where Are You?"1662
17Flag of Cyprus (1960-2006).svg  Cyprus Michael Hajiyanni "Genesis"3711
18Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands Edsilia "Hemel en aarde"1504
19Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Jill Johnson " Kärleken är "5310
20Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium Mélanie Cohl"Dis oui"1226
21Flag of Finland.svg  Finland Edea "Aava"2215
22Flag of Norway.svg  Norway Lars A. Fredriksen"Alltid sommer"798
23Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia Koit Toome "Mere lapsed"3612
24Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey Tüzmen "Unutamazsın"2514
25Flag of North Macedonia.svg  Macedonia Vlado Janevski "Ne zori, zoro"1619

Spokespersons

Each country nominated a spokesperson who was responsible for announcing, in English or French, the votes for their respective country. [8] [64] As had been the case since the 1994 contest, the spokespersons were connected via satellite and appeared in vision during the broadcast. [65] Spokespersons at the 1998 contest are listed below. [44]

During the voting procedure Ulrika Jonsson had an unplanned comical moment with the Dutch spokesperson Conny Vandenbos; after Vandenbos had expressed her sympathy with the performers in the contest having previously represented the Netherlands in 1965  she added that "it's long ago". This comment was not heard by the audience in the arena due to noise, but Jonsson's reply, "a long time ago, was it?" was, leading to a reaction from the crowd due to the perceived rudeness of the remark out of context. [61]

  1. Flag of Croatia.svg Croatia  Davor Meštrović  [ hr ]
  2. Flag of Greece.svg Greece  Alexis Kostalas  [ el ] [66]
  3. Flag of France.svg France  Marie Myriam
  4. Flag of Spain.svg Spain Belén Fernández de Henestrosa
  5. Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg  Switzerland  Regula Elsener
  6. Flag of Slovakia.svg Slovakia  Alena Heribanová  [ sk ]
  7. Flag of Poland.svg Poland Jan Chojnacki
  8. Flag of Israel.svg Israel  Yigal Ravid
  9. Flag of Germany.svg Germany  Nena
  10. Flag of Malta.svg Malta Stephanie Spiteri
  11. Flag of Hungary.svg Hungary  Barna Héder  [ hu ]
  12. Flag of Slovenia.svg Slovenia  Mojca Mavec  [ sl ]
  13. Flag of Ireland.svg Ireland  Eileen Dunne [67]
  14. Flag of Portugal.svg Portugal  Lúcia Moniz
  15. Flag of Romania.svg Romania  Anca Țurcașiu  [ ro ]
  16. Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom  Ken Bruce [43]
  17. Flag of Cyprus (1960-2006).svg Cyprus Marina Maleni
  18. Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands  Conny Vandenbos [68]
  19. Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden Björn Hedman [69]
  20. Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium Marie-Hélène Vanderborght
  21. Flag of Finland.svg Finland Marjo Wilska
  22. Flag of Norway.svg Norway  Ragnhild Sælthun Fjørtoft
  23. Flag of Estonia.svg Estonia  Urve Tiidus [70]
  24. Flag of Turkey.svg Turkey Osman Erkan
  25. Flag of North Macedonia.svg Macedonia Evgenija Teodosievska

Detailed voting results

Televoting was used to determine the points awarded by all countries, except Hungary, Romania and Turkey. [43] The announcement of the results from each country was conducted in the order in which they performed, with the spokespersons announcing their country's points in English or French in ascending order. [44] [8] The detailed breakdown of the points awarded by each country is listed in the tables below.

Detailed voting results of the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 [43] [71] [72] [lower-alpha 7]
Voting procedure used:
  100% televoting
  100% jury vote
Total score
Croatia
Greece
France
Spain
Switzerland
Slovakia
Poland
Israel
Germany
Malta
Hungary
Slovenia
Ireland
Portugal
Romania
United Kingdom
Cyprus
Netherlands
Sweden
Belgium
Finland
Norway
Estonia
Turkey
Macedonia
Contestants
Croatia1315815106101010123227435363412
Greece1212
France312
Spain21146343
Switzerland0
Slovakia88
Poland1925210
Israel1721012101010712761275106510103758
Germany863121288106612711
Malta165766581287873125125868512510
Hungary4112
Slovenia1732543
Ireland642242266118814287
Portugal3611062222164
Romania66
United Kingdom166127333171218105561287768581210
Cyprus3741251114432
Netherlands1501085476586712107108127873
Sweden53348215610122
Belgium12247747125433678761027616
Finland22101101
Norway798144355104343312424
Estonia362814212412
Turkey25512215
Macedonia166343

12 points

The below table summarises how the maximum 12 points were awarded from one country to another. The winning country is shown in bold. Malta and the United Kingdom each received the maximum score of 12 points from four countries, with Germany and Israel receiving three sets of 12 points each, Croatia and the Netherlands receiving two sets each, and Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Norway, Sweden and Turkey each receiving one maximum score. [71] [72]

Distribution of 12 points awarded at the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 [71] [72]
N.ContestantNation(s) giving 12 points
4Flag of Malta.svg  Malta Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland , Flag of Norway.svg  Norway , Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia , Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia , Flag of Israel.svg  Israel , Flag of Romania.svg  Romania , Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey
3Flag of Germany.svg  Germany Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands , Flag of Spain.svg  Spain , Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg   Switzerland
Flag of Israel.svg  Israel Flag of France.svg  France , Flag of Malta.svg  Malta , Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal
2Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia Flag of North Macedonia.svg  Macedonia , Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium , Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary
1Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium Flag of Poland.svg  Poland
Flag of Cyprus (1960-2006).svg  Cyprus Flag of Greece.svg  Greece
Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia Flag of Finland.svg  Finland
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece Flag of Cyprus (1960-2006).svg  Cyprus
Flag of Norway.svg  Norway Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey Flag of Germany.svg  Germany

Broadcasts

Each participating broadcaster was required to relay live and in full the contest via television. Non-participating EBU member broadcasters were also able to relay the contest as "passive participants"; any passive countries wishing to participate in the following year's event were also required to provide a live broadcast of the contest or a deferred broadcast within 24 hours. [8] Broadcasters were able to send commentators to provide coverage of the contest in their own native language and to relay information about the artists and songs to their viewers.

The 1998 contest was transmitted to 33 European countries, as well as to Australia, Canada and South Korea. [6] [30] Known details on the broadcasts in each country, including the specific broadcasting stations and commentators, are shown in the tables below.

Broadcasters and commentators in participating countries
CountryBroadcaster [8] Channel(s)Commentator(s)Ref(s)
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium RTBF RTBF La 1 Jean-Pierre Hautier [73] [74]
VRT TV1, Radio 2 André Vermeulen and Andrea Croonenberghs  [ nl ] [73] [75] [76]
Flag of Croatia.svg Croatia HRT HRT 1 Aleksandar Kostadinov [77] [78]
Flag of Cyprus (1960-2006).svg Cyprus CyBC RIK 1 [79]
Flag of Estonia.svg Estonia ETV Reet Linna  [ et ] [80] [81]
ER Raadio 2 Marko Reikop
Flag of Finland.svg Finland YLE TV1 Maria Guzenina and Sami Aaltonen  [ fi ] [80] [82] [83]
Radio Suomi Sanna Kojo [84]
Radio Vega [85]
Flag of France.svg France France Télévision France 2 Chris and Laura Mayne [86] [87]
Flag of Germany.svg Germany ARD Das Erste Peter Urban [87] [88]
Flag of Greece.svg Greece ERT
Flag of Hungary.svg Hungary MTV Gábor Gundel Takács  [ hu ] [89]
Flag of Ireland.svg Ireland RTÉ RTÉ One Pat Kenny [90] [91]
RTÉ Radio 1 Larry Gogan [90] [92]
Flag of Israel.svg Israel IBA Channel 1 [93]
Flag of North Macedonia.svg Macedonia MRT
Flag of Malta.svg Malta PBS TVM [94]
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands NOS TV2 Willem van Beusekom [73] [95]
Radio 2
Flag of Norway.svg Norway NRK NRK1 Jostein Pedersen [96]
NRK P1 Stein Dag Jensen  [ no ] [96] [97]
Flag of Poland.svg Poland TVP Artur Orzech [98]
Flag of Portugal.svg Portugal RTP RTP1, RTP Internacional Rui Unas [87] [99] [100]
Flag of Romania.svg Romania TVR TVR 1 Leonard Miron [101] [102]
Flag of Slovakia.svg Slovakia STV
Flag of Slovenia.svg Slovenia RTVSLO SLO 1  [ sl ] [77]
Flag of Spain.svg Spain TVE La Primera José Luis Uribarri [103]
Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden SVT SVT2 Pernilla Månsson and Christer Björkman [69] [96]
SR SR P4 Anna Hötzel and Claes-Johan Larsson [69]
Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg  Switzerland SRG SSR SF 2 [86] [87]
TSR 1 Jean-Marc Richard
TSI 1
Flag of Turkey.svg Turkey TRT TRT 1, TRT Int Bülend Özveren [104]
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom BBC BBC One, BBC Prime Terry Wogan [11] [87] [105]
BBC Radio 2 Ken Bruce [11] [106]
Broadcasters and commentators in non-participating countries
CountryBroadcasterChannel(s)Commentator(s)Ref(s)
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Australia SBS SBS TV [lower-alpha 8] [107]
Flag of Austria.svg Austria ORF ORF 1 Ernst Grissemann [87] [108]
FM4 Stermann & Grissemann [109]
Flag of Denmark.svg Denmark DR DR1 [96] [110]
Flag of Iceland.svg Iceland RÚV Sjónvarpið Páll Óskar Hjálmtýsson [111]
Flag of Latvia.svg Latvia LTV Kārlis Streips  [ lv ] [112] [113]
Flag of Lithuania (1988-2004).svg Lithuania LRT LTV [114]

Other awards

Barbara Dex Award

The Barbara Dex Award, created in 1997 by fansite House of Eurovision, was awarded to the performer deemed to have been the "worst dressed" among the participants. [115] The winner in 1998 was Germany's representative Guildo Horn, as determined by the founders of the House of Eurovision site Edwin van Thillo and Rob Paardekam. [116] [117] [118]

Reception and legacy

Dana International brought Israel its third victory in the contest and became the contest's first openly LGBTQ+ winner. Dana International performing at the Miss Israel 1998 (cropped).jpg
Dana International brought Israel its third victory in the contest and became the contest's first openly LGBTQ+ winner.

The selection of Dana International as the Israeli representative for the contest by the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) created uproar among members of the Orthodox Jewish community in Israel. Taking issue with the singer's transgender status, groups mounted street protests against her selection, and she also received death threats ahead of the contest. [119] [120] [121] Her selection was also opposed by political figures, with deputy minister Shlomo Benizri demanding her removal, referring to the singer as "an abomination" and her selection as "sending a message of darkness". [122] [123] On arriving at the contest Dana International was accommodated in the Hyatt Regency Birmingham, the only hotel in Birmingham with bulletproof windows, and was accompanied in public by armed guards. [24] [124]

"Diva" was subsequently nominated in 2005 to compete in Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest , a special broadcast to determine the contest's most popular entry of its first 50 years as part of the contest's anniversary celebrations. One of 14 entries chosen to compete the only song from the 1990s on the list "Diva" ultimately finished in thirteenth place. [125] [126]

Notes and references

Notes

  1. On behalf of the German public broadcasting consortium ARD [20]
  2. 1 2 Although a conductor was present, the song featured no orchestral accompaniment and was performed entirely to backing track. [21] [22]
  3. Determined by totalling all points awarded in the past five contests and dividing by the number of times that country had participated [8]
  4. 1 2 As Italy decided not to participate the eliminated country with the next highest average points total, Germany, was awarded their place.
  5. 1 2 Despite having the same average score Slovenia ranked higher than Germany by virtue of receiving more points in the most recent contest. [8]
  6. Debut appearance
  7. 1 2 The below table reflects the official results as published by the EBU following the contest. Due to a calculation error the Spanish points were incorrectly awarded, and Germany, which should have been awarded 12 points as the highest voted song by the Spanish public, received zero points during the original broadcast. As a result of the correction, the points total of the remaining countries in the Spanish top ten were modified, with Israel and Norway being reduced by two points and Belgium, Portugal, Malta, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Croatia and Turkey being reduced by one point. [44] [9]
  8. Deferred broadcast on 10 May at 19:00 ACST (9:30 UTC) [107]

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Norway participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 with the song "Alltid sommer" written by David Eriksen and Linda Andernach Johansen. The song was performed by Lars A. Fredriksen. The Norwegian broadcaster Norsk rikskringkasting (NRK) organised the national final Melodi Grand Prix 1998 in order to select the Norwegian entry for the 1998 contest in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Eight entries competed in a show that took place on 27 February 1999 and the winner, "All I Ever Wanted " performed by Lars A. Fredriksen, was determined by the votes from a six-member jury panel and a regional televote. The song was later translated from English to Norwegian for the Eurovision Song Contest and was titled "Alltid sommer".

Finland participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 with the song "Aava" written by Alexi Ahoniemi and Tommy Mansikka-Aho. The song was performed by the group Edea. The Finnish broadcaster Yleisradio (Yle) returned to the Eurovision Song Contest after a one-year absence following their relegation from 1997 as one of the six countries with the least average points over the preceding four contests. Yle organised the national final Euroviisut 1998 in order to select the Finnish entry for the 1998 contest in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Nine entries were selected to compete in the national final on 14 February 1998 where the combination of votes from an eight-member expert jury, an eight-member OGAE jury and votes from the public selected "Aava" performed by Edea as the winner.

Israel participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 with the song "Diva" performed by Dana International. The song was written by Svika Pick and Yoav Ginai.

Greece competed in the Eurovision Song Contest 1998, held on 9 May 1998 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The Greek broadcaster Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) organised a public selection process to determine its entry for the contest. Eight semi-finals culminated in a 7 March final round where Thalassa was selected with the song "Mia krifi evaisthisia". Performing second in the running order at the contest, they finished in 20th place out of the 25 countries competing. This marked a new record for the least successful placement of the nation.

Portugal participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 with the song "Se eu te pudesse abraçar" written by José Cid. The song was performed by the group Alma Lusa. Songwriter José Cid represented Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest 1980 with the song "Um grande, grande amor" which placed seventh in the competition. The Portuguese broadcaster Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP) organised the national final Festival da Canção 1998 in order to select the Portuguese entry for the 1998 contest in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The competition took place on 7 March 1998 where "Se eu te pudesse abraçar" performed by Alma Lusa emerged as the winner following the votes from a five-member jury panel.

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