Eurovision Song Contest 1996

Eurovision Song Contest 1996

Infobox Eurovision
name = Eurovision Song Contest 1996

final = 18 May 1996
presenters = Ingvild Bryn
Morten Harket
conductor = Frode Thingnæs
director = Pal Veiglum
host = flagicon|Norway NRK
venue = Oslo Spektrum, Oslo, Norway
winner = flag|Ireland
"nowrap|The Voice"
vote = Each country awarded 12, 10, 8-1 points to their 10 favourite songs
entries = 23
debut =
return =
withdraw =
null =
interval =
opening =
con = Eurovision Song Contest
pre = ◄1995
nex = 1997►

The Eurovision Song Contest 1996 was the 41st Eurovision Song Contest and was held on 18 May 1996 in Oslo Spektrum in Oslo, Norway. The presenters were Ingvild Bryn and Morten Harket. Harket, lead singer of a-ha, opened the show with a performance of his single Heaven's Not For Saints. Eimear Quinn of Ireland was the winner of this Eurovision with the song, The Voice.

The European Broadcasting Union continued to experiment in their efforts to find a broadly acceptable method of whittling down the large number of potential participating countries to a more realistic figure. This year, they reverted to the pre-qualifying round that had been used for the 1993 contest, but this time with just one country exempt from the process - the host Norway. The pre-qualifier was an oddity in that it was not broadcast in any form, and did not even entail any live performance of the entries. Instead, the traditional set of national juries simply listened to the studio recordings of each song, through audio tapes, and awarded points accordingly. All that was subsequently revealed of their deliberations was which countries had qualified, with the precise scores and placings remaining under wraps (although they were leaked some time later).

It rapidly became evident that this system was no more sustainable than any other the EBU had tried, as it meant that several countries had gone through their traditional full-blown national selection procedure to come up with an entry, only to suffer the anti-climax of having their challenge quietly extinguished without even having had the opportunity of presenting the song to an international audience. As a leading financial contributor to the contest, Germany were particularly aggrieved that their entry, "Planet of Blue" performed by Leon, was one of the seven cast aside. It was the only year in the history of the ESC in which Germany did not participate in the final.

The 1996 contest also featured two novelties — which similarly failed to become a tradition — firstly a short 'good luck message' for each entry, recorded by a political leader or official from their country. The seniority of the figure who delivered the message varied wildly from country to country, ranging from Presidents and Prime Ministers on one end of the spectrum to junior ministers or ambassadors on the other, but a few very significant European political figures did appear, including long-serving Swedish premier Göran Persson and President Alija Izetbegović of Bosnia and Herzegovina. But of course the only good luck wish that was fully rewarded in the end was that of Irish Taoiseach John Bruton, who introduced the song that took his country to a fourth win in five years.

Secondly, the voting section was conducted using "blue screen" virtual reality technology provided by Silicon Graphics. The host Ingvild Bryn introduced the viewers to the 'blue room', upon which a 3D scoreboard, views of the green room, the jury spokespersons and country graphics appeared. The only physical aspects were Ingvild herself and two podiums.

It seems that a national final was held in 1996 for Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which was won by Maja Odzaklijevska.Maja Odzaklijevska won the Festival MESAM 1996. with the song "Rastanak" but this festival existed since 1983 and the only common point with "Beovizija" (Serbian national final) is that the festival used to be organised in the "Sava Centar" (the biggest congress hall in Belgrade). However RTS considered Maja to be their Eurovision Representative. But, due to ongoing sanctions, the country was unable to enter.

Individual Entries


Good luck wishes

In 1996 all contestants were wished good luck by a politician from their own country. Those wishes were shown right before their performance. This was the only year in Eurovision they did something like that.

These are the person who wished their country's participant good luck:

* Turkey - Süleyman Demirel, President of Turkey
* United Kingdom - Virginia Bottomley, UK Secretary of State for National Heritage
* Spain - Don Alberto Escudero Claramunt, Spanish ambassador
* Portugal - António Guterres, Prime Minister of Portugal
* Cyprus - Glafkos Klerides, President of Cyprus
* Malta - Edward Fenech Adami, Prime Minister of Malta
* Croatia - Zlatko Mateša, Prime Minister of Croatia
* Austria - Elisabeth Gehrer, Federal Minister of Education, Science and Culture of Austria
* Switzerland - Michel Coquoz, Swiss Chargé d'affaires
* Greece - Caterína Dimaris, Greek Chargé d'affaires
* Estonia - Tiit Vähi, Prime Minister of Estonia
* Norway - Gro Harlem Brundtland, Prime Minister of Norway
* France - Philippe Douste-Blazy, Minister of Culture of France
* Slovenia - Milan Kučan, President of Slovenia
* Netherlands - Aad Nuis, State Secretary of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands
* Belgium - Luc Van den Brande, Prime Minister of Flanders
* Ireland - John Bruton, Taoiseach (Prime Minister of Ireland)
* Finland - Riitta Uosukainen, Speaker of Parliament of Finland
* Iceland - Davíð Oddsson, Prime Minister of Iceland
* Poland - Aleksander Kwaśniewski, President of Poland
* Bosnia & Herzegovina - Alija Izetbegović, Chairmen of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
* Slovakia - Vladimír Mečiar, Prime Minister of Slovakia
* Sweden - Göran Persson, Prime Minister of Sweden


* Turkey - TBC
* United Kingdom - Terry Wogan (BBC TV), Ken Bruce (BBC Radio 2)
* Spain - José Luis Uribarri
* Portugal - Maria Margarida Gaspar
* Cyprus - Evi Papamichail
* Malta - TBC
* Croatia - Aleksandar Kostadinov
* Austria - TBC
* Switzerland - TBC
* Greece - Dafni Bokota
* Estonia - Marko Reikop
* Norway - Jostein Pedersen
* France - Olivier Minne
* Slovenia - TBC
* Netherlands - Willem van Beusekom
* Belgium - Michel Follet & Johan Verstreken (BRTN), Jean-Pierre Hautier & Sandra Kim (RTBF)
* Ireland - Pat Kenny
* Finland - Erkki Pohjanheimo & Sanna Kojo
* Iceland - TBC
* Poland - TBC
* Bosnia & Herzegovina - TBC
* Slovakia - TBC
* Sweden - Björn Kjellman


* Turkey - Ömer Önder
* United Kingdom - Colin Berry
* Spain - Belén Fernández de Henestrosa
* Portugal - Cristina Esteves
* Cyprus - Marios Skordis
* Malta - Ruth Amaira
* Croatia - Danijela Trbović
* Austria - Martina Rupp
* Switzerland - Yves Ménestrier
* Greece - Niki Karra
* Estonia - Annika Talvik
* Norway - Ragnhild Sælthun Fjørtoft
* France - Laurent Broomhead
* Slovenia - Mario Galunič
* Netherlands - Marga Bult
* Belgium - Monique Delvaux
* Ireland - Eileen Dunne
* Finland - Solveig Herlin
* Iceland - Svanhildur Jakóbsdóttir
* Poland - Jan Chojnacki
* Bosnia & Herzegovina - Segmedina Srna
* Slovakia - Alena Heribanová
* Sweden - Ulla Rundqvist


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