As many of you might have noticed, the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest will see the landmark 1500th Eurovision performance ever. And with the running order out, we know it’s going to be Alexander Rybak’s song. A lot of fans might also know who was the 1000th song. But what about the 500th? The 100th? A few months ago, I counted all the songs since 1956, and ESCXTRA is now proud to present you the definite list of the landmark songs through Eurovision History.
Wait, let’s be clear… what IS a landmark entry?
Here, we will only concentrate on the purely “statistical” data. Imagine all the Eurovision songs put one after the other in a giant running order since 1956. A landmark entry would be an entry falling on a “round” number. Obviously, with more than 1500 entries, we don’t consider landmark the 130th or the 1280th. Basically, it’s the “XX00th” songs, as well as the (1)250th and 750th.
Historically, only ESC songs count: the prequalifications round held for some contests in the 1990’s (like in 1993) do not count. Songs that didn’t qualify are not into our “big running order”, and those that did qualify are counted using their running order at Eurovision.
And of course, once we enter the eras of semi-finals (since 2004), songs only count once, the first time they perform. For example, in 2018, the 37 semi-finalists will be counted first, then the 6 automatic qualifiers, from the first to the last to perform in the final (once the final running order is known).
So, who was 500th, 1000th and 1500th?
With 1480 Eurovision songs performed until 2017, the 20th to sing this year — the opener of the second semi-final, after the 19 first semi-finalists — will be the 1500th performance ever. And that is for former Eurovision winner Alexander Rybak, from Norway, with “That’s How You Write A Song”. But what about the other, historic landmarks?
The 1000th Eurovision performance was in 2006, during the unique semi-final. After 992 songs at the end of the 2005 contest, the 1000th was the 8th song in the running order, Ireland’s “Every Song is the Cry for Love” by Brian Kennedy. The song barely qualified (9th) but ended up 10th in the final, with 93 points.
Less famous is the 500th performance at Eurovision. Luxembourg had this honour when they opened the contest in 1986, in Bergen, Norway, with their song “L’Amour de ma vie”, by Sherisse Laurence. She finished in third position.
What about the others?
Here is the complete list of all “landmark entries” since 1956.
|1st||1956||???????? The Netherlands
||“De Vogels Van Holland” – Jetty Paerl|
|50th||1960||???????? Belgium||“Mon Amour Pour Toi” – Fud Leclerc|
|100th||1963||???????? Switzerland||“T’en va pas” – Esther Ofarim|
|200th||1969||???????? The Netherlands||“De Troubadour” – Lenny Kuhr|
|250th||1972||???????? Italy||“I Giorni Dell’Arcobaleno” – Nicola di Bari|
|300th||1975||???????? Malta||“Singing This Song” – Renato|
|400th||1980||???????? France||“Hé, m’sieurs dames!” – Profil|
|500th||1986||???????? Luxembourg||“L’Amour de ma vie” – Sherisse Laurence|
|600th||1990||???????? Portugal||“Há sempre alguém” – Nucha|
|700th||1994||???????? Poland||“To Nie Ja!” – Edyta Górniak|
|750th||1997||???????? Norway||“San Francisco” – Tor Endresen|
|800th||1999||???????? Spain||“No Quiero Escuchar” – Lydia|
|900th||2003||???????? Cyprus||“Feeling Alive” – Stelios Constantas|
|1,000th||2006||???????? Ireland||“Every Song Is A Cry For Love” – Brian Kennedy|
|1,100th||2008||???????? Latvia||“Wolves of the Sea” – Pirates of the Sea|
|1,200th||2011||???????? Turkey||“Live it Up!” – Yüksek Sadakat|
|1,250th||2012||???????? Cyprus||“La La Love” – Ivi Adamou|
|1,300th||2013||???????? Azerbaijan||“Hold Me” – Farid Mammadov|
|1,400th||2016||???????? Hungary||“Pioneer” – Freddie|
|1,500th||2018||???????? Norway||“That’s How You Write A Song” – Alexander Rybak|
Does this omen anything good for Alexander Rybak? Hard to tell: while some landmark songs have fared quite well (including the 500th and the 1000th), with several top 3 songs and even a winner (“De Troubadour” in 1969), others haven’t (“Live it Up!” didn’t qualify in 2011, “No Quiero Escuchar” only got one point in 1999…). There is obviously no pattern, but the fact that Norway will be the 1500th song might be highlighted by commentators, if not by the hosts, hence giving some publicity to a song that is already one of the winners of the running order.
A few other interesting numbers
The Eastern Expansion from the 1990’s/2000’s
Landmarks entries are not only anecdotic: they are also an interesting and trusted indicator of how the contest expanded, geographically and statistically.
Here you have the “statistical aspect”: the blue line is the cumulated number of songs year by year. The orange one is a statistical “prevision” starting in 1992. It shows how the contest would have evolved if it had expanded at the same rythm it had done before 1992. As you can see, in 2018, we would be around 1220 songs, against 1523 songs in the real world. That’s a difference of 300 songs! The gap gets really bigger after the mid-2000’s, when the semi-final was introduced, and Eurovision could finally go from 22-25 to 40 songs or more each year — while the orange line follows a trend of 20-23 songs each year.
In our table of landmark entries, it is shown by the relative closeness of landmarks after the 1990’s. It took 16 years to go from the first to the 250th song (1956-1972), while it only took 6 years to go from the 1000th to the 1250th (2006-2012).
So, why 1992? It’s the last year before the arrival of the first countries from Eastern Europe and the Yugoslavian dissolution. And it shows in the table: from 1994 onwards, 5 of the 11 landmark entries are from the new countries who entered in the 1990’s and 2000’s.
This “inflation” in entries is also shown by the median song (and year), the song “in the middle” of our big running order. Half of all Eurovision songs were performed before it, the other half were performed after. Obviously, each year, the median song changes. In 2018, with 1523 Eurovision songs (taking 2018 into account), the median song is the 762th song: “Antes Do Adeus” from Portugal, in 1997. It means that 50% of the Eurovision song are from the 41 first years of the contest (1956-1997), and 50% from the 21 last years (1997-2018).
As you have noticed, only one winner (so far) has been a landmark entry: “De Troubadour”, one of the four winners of the 1969 contest, as the 200th entry. If you’re curious, learn that the three other winners (Spain, the United Kingdom and France) were respectively 195th, 199th and 206th.
Two other winners have been granted with “small landmarks”. Israel’s “Hallelujah” in 1979 was the 375th song of Eurovision history. And Céline Dion’s “Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi” is the 550th Eurovision song.
As for other “iconic winners”:
- “Refrain”: 9th
- “Non Ho l’Étà”: 118th
- “Waterloo”: 281th
- “What’s Another Year”: 401st song, “Hold Me Now”: 539th
- The Irish Victories of the 1990s:
- “Why Me?” : 645th
- “In Your Eyes”: 665th
- “Rock’n’Roll Kids”: 679th
- “The Voice”: 741st
- “Hard Rock Hallelujah”: 1008th
- “Fairytales”: 1138th
- “Euphoria”: 1267th
- “Rise Like a Phoenix”: 1341st
- “Amar Pelos Dois”: 1447th
And now, just for the curious and the hexakosioihexekontahexaphobic
If you do not know what it is, the internet will surely help.
- 123th song: “Het Is Genoeg” – Conny van den Bos (The Netherlands – 1965)
- 666th song: “Donne moi une chance” – Modern Times (Luxembourg – 1993)
- 999th song: “Je t’adore” – Kate Ryan (Belgium – 2006)
- 1111th song: “Disappear” – No Angels (Germany – 2008)
- 1234th song: “Sognu” – Amaury Vassily (France – 2011)
What are your thoughts? Are you curious about your favorite song/winner’s number? Were you surprised by some statistics? Are you, by any chance, hexakosioihexekontahexaphobic? Tell us more on the comments below or on social medias, at @escxtra!