Eurovision Again Revisits the 1980 Contest

Eurovision Again Revisits the 1980 Contest

Eurovision Again has returned this summer for another season of monthly installments. Following a re-broadcast of the 1969 contest in June, this month saw us go back to 1980 and The Hague, Netherlands, to witness Johnny Logan’s first Eurovision win with “What’s Another Year”.

The show was re-broadcast on the Eurovision YouTube Channel on Saturday, July 17th in collaboration with Dutch Broadcaster NOS. The fully show is available to watch here until the next edition of Eurovision Again on August 21st.

About the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest

The 1980 contest was full of peculiarities, starting with the host nation. Israel won in 1979 with “Hallelujah” on home soil, and thus did not want the financial burden of hosting again. The EBU then selected The Hague, Netherlands to take over. This is the last time that the winning country did not host the following year.

This was also the first time that the previous year’s winning country did not return. The date selected by broadcaster NOS – April 19th – is Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day, and Israel subsequently withdrew.

Due to a European financial crisis, NOS took several additional cost-cutting measures in planning the contest. Pieces of the set from the 1976 contest (also held in The Hague) were re-used. There were no postcards; instead, each song was introduced by a media personality from their respective nations. Finally, the host, Marlous Fluitsma, only spoke Dutch during the broadcast. The only time English or French were heard was during the voting.

The voting in 1980 is the classic 12-point system used from 1975 to 2015, but this year included a first. Instead of reading the points in performance order, spokespersons announced their juries’ results in ascending order (i.e. from 1 point to 12 points). This helped the broadcast run smoother, and I think we are all grateful for this change in the present.

Eurovision Again introduced its own first during the voting. Instead of the physical scoreboard in the venue, Eurovision Again opted for a digital scoreboard provided by YouTuber David Hughes that works much like the present-day broadcasts. Fans had mixed reactions, with many saying that watching the old scoreboard is part of the excitement of older contests.

Memorable Eurovision 1980 Performances

There were 19 competing countries at the 1980 contest. In addition to Johnny Logan’s winning performance, here are a few other highlights:

  • ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany – Katja Epstein returned to Eurovision for the third time with her song “Theatre”. Her silver-medal performance included fancy suits and mimes…who sing…
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Morocco – Samira Bensaid’s “Bitaqap Hub” was the nation’s first – and only – entry at Eurovision. Though the song finished second-last, it has become a classic. Maybe they’ll return….
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ท Greece – Anna Vissi made her first appearance at Eurovision with her song “Autostop”, finishing 13th. She would return 26 years later in 2006, one of the longest gaps in appearances for a performer.
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ Luxembourg – Sophie & Magaly introduced us to “Papa Pingouin” – complete with a backing singer waddling around dressed as a penguin. They finished 9th.
  • ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Finland – Vesa-Matti Loiri put his flute skills to good work with his song “Huilumies”. Unfortunately, he finished last with only 6 points.
  • ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด Norway – Sverre Kjelsberg & Mattis Haetta showcased Saami culture with their song “Samiid aednan”, complete with traditional Saami dress and the first (though not the last) instance of yoiking at Eurovision.
  • ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช Belgium – Telex entered with one of the earliest troll entries in the contest, aptly titled “Euro-Vision”, complete with lackluster delivery and haphazard throwing of glitter.

Additionally, The Dutch Rhythm Steel and Show Band provided the interval act. Their performance of “San Fernando” was accompanied by the Lee Jackson Dancers.

The results of the fan-voting are below. Are you surprised by the results?

Did you enjoy Eurovision Again this month? Which contest would you like to revisit next? Let us know in the comments or on social media. Don’t forget to follow ‘THAT Eurovision Site’ on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

News Source: EBU, againeurovision.wordpress.com

Photo Source: National Archives, The Hague / Wikimedia Commons

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