Skip to main contentText Only version of this page
Access keys help
Where I Live
A-Z Index

Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage
BBC Music
Eurovision, Making Your Mind Up

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


Are you a fan of Making Your Mind up and the Eurovision Song Contest? If you are, check out our A top Z of Euro-trivia from years gone by and brush up your song contest knowledge! The A to Z of Eurovision

ABBA - Eurovision's most famous winners - Brighton in 1974 with 'Waterloo'. Incredibly the British jury gave 'Waterloo' no points at all. 'Waterloo' went to no.1 in the UK charts, the first of their 9 number ones.
'Ah Na Ni Bee' - Israel's first Eurovision winner in 1978 performed by Izhar Cohen and Alphabeta.

Brotherhood of Man - Won for the UK in The Hague 1976 with 'Save Your Kisses for Me'. The song is considered to be the most successful Eurovision winner ever.
Bucks Fizz - UK winners in Dublin in 1981 with 'Making Your Mind Up'. Cheryl, Jay, Bobby and Mike went on to top the UK charts and also had no.1's with 'My Camera Never Lies' & 'Land of Make Believe'.

Celine - Unknown Ms Dion sang 'Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi' for Switzerland in 1988. She won the contest beating the UK's Scott Fitzgerald by just one point.
Cliff - Cliff Richard represented the UK twice - although he has never won. 'Congratulations' came second in the Royal Albert Hall in 1968. In 1973 'Power to All Our Friends' came third in Luxembourg.

Dana - Ireland's first Eurovision winner in Amsterdam 1970. 'All Kinds of Everything' went on to top the UK charts.
Dana International - Not to be confused with 'Dana Derry', Israel's winner with 'Diva' in 1998. Transsexual Dana was the talk of the contest in Birmingham and famously fell over presenting the trophy the following year.
Draw - The final result of the contest has ended in a draw just twice. In 1969, UK, Spain, Netherlands and France all tied and with nothing in the rules to accommodate such an event all four were declared winners. In 1991, Sweden and France tied but, as Sweden had been given more 'dix pwans' by the juries, Carola was the winner with 'Captured by a Lovestorm'.

'Eurosong' - defined as an entry with typical Eurovision ingredients. A bouncy catchy chorus, a little dance, lots of smiling, madcap outfits.
'Everybody' -A winner in Copenhagen for Tabel Padar, Dave Benton and 2XL. Although Estonia have a strong record in the Contest, it was their first win.

False Start - Azucar Moreno suffered this nervous beginning in Yugoslavia in 1990. The backing track for their song 'Bandido' failed and they had to start again! It didn't affect their performance and they finished in fifth place.
Fanfare - All Eurovision broadcasts start with 'Te Deum' by Marc Antoine Charpentier.

Gimmicks - Occassionally used as secret weapons in the scramble for votes. For example Golden Boots (Herreys, 1984) and ripping skirts off (Bucks Fizz, 1981).

Gina G - represented the UK in Oslo 1996 with 'Ooh Aah Just A Little Bit'. Despite being the pre-Contest favourite she finished in eighth place. Gina topped the UK charts and made the Billboard Top 20 in America.

Hair - 'It's a battle between the songs and the hair…and the hair's winning' - Terry Wogan Esq.

Hat Trick - Ireland are the only country to win the Eurovision three times in a row. Linda Martin won with 'Why Me?' in 1992; in 1993 Niamh Kavanagh won in Millstreet with 'In Your Eyes' and in 1994 Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan won with 'Rock'n'Roll Kids'.

Imaani - came second for the UK in 1998 with 'Where Are You?'.
Interval Acts - Clowns, children, dancing, brass bands, jazz bands, dancing, crossbow shooting, guitar playing, dancing, bicycle tricks, a Euro-uniting pop video, Lesley Garret and mime artists. All these have been used to fill the time we're voting, brewing up or at the loo!

Jemini - see 'Zero'!
Johnny Logan - 'Mr Eurovision' who has been involved in three Irish Eurovision wins. A fresh-faced Johnny sang 'What's Another Year?' in 1980, he composed and sang 'Hold Me Now' in Brussels 1987. He wrote 'Irish Popstars' judge Linda Martin's winner 'Why Me?' in 1992.
Juries - In the early 1970's a two person jury from each participating country voted in the host country from a neighbouring studio or in the theatre. From the mid 70's votes were relayed by telephone and from 1994 technology meant we could see and hear the jury spokesman give their points. All participating countries must have a back-up jury in case televoting fails on the night of the Contest.

Katie Boyle - The legendary Katie has hosted the Contest four times - firstly from the Royal Festival Hall in 1960, in 1963 from the brand spanking new BBC Television Centre, the 30th Contest in 1968 from the Royal Albert Hall and ABBA's winning year 1974 from The Dome in Brighton. Katie is still a fan of the contest and lists 'Congratulations' as her favourite song.
Katrina - Our last winner in 1997, with Waves, and 'Love Shine A Light' by Kimberley Rew. The song set a record for the highest number of points scored in the Contest Katrina has now split from the Waves.

Love City Groove - Brought rap to the Contest in 1995 in a bid to give it some credibility. Scored a Top 10 record and finished a credible tenth.

Lulu - Joint winner in Madrid 1969 with three other artists the song 'Boom Bang-A-Bang'.

Michael Ball - Represented the UK in 1992 with 'One Step Out Of Time'. Despite a strong performance, and a rather nifty 'finger pointing' routine in the chorus, Michael came second. Michael didn't relish his Eurovision experience, but is still working today in London's glamorous West End.
Mistakes - Like all other live television broadcasts occasionally things do go wrong. With Eurovision, the most common problems have been making contact with the juries, votes being misheard and the odd camera sneaking into shot. Far be it for us to suggest any artists who made a mistake entering the contest!

Nailbiting Finish - Eurovision is at it's best when the winner isn't decided until all the votes are in. Celine Dion won for Switzerland in 1988 by just one point over the UK and had been behind in the voting for most of the evening. In 1993 the lead changed frequently between our own Sonia and Ireland's Naimh Kavanagh and either would have won with the final 'douze pwans'.
Nicole - Sang 'A Little Peace' and became Germany's first and only winner in 1982.

Olivia Newton-John - Represented the UK in 1974, pre her leather-clad Grease days Olivia finished 4th with 'Long Live Love'.
Out of Tune - Despite all the rehearsals, sometimes nerves do get the better of performers on the big night and a few duff notes can slip out. (see Janus, Samantha.)

Postcards - Each year, we get a new take on the films between songs - Estonia has given them a fairy tale theme - but in the past we've had artists forced to sing Italian songs, the cartoon Eurocat, mime artists and lots of waving and smiling from the poor contestants.
'Puppet on a String' - UK's first Eurovision winner from 1967 performed by Sandie Shaw and written by Phil Coulter and Bill Martin.

Question - Eurovision's most asked question is 'Can I have your votes please?'

Relegation - So many countries want to take part in the Contest that relegation was introduced in 1993 to help limit the numbers to 25 or less. Last year this was replaced with the semi-final.
Riverdance - Originally a 7 minute interval act in The Point in 1994, there are now three Riverdance companies touring the world, with one returning to the UK this Spring. After over 5000 performances, over 14 million people have seen the show.

Scoreboard - Regardless of the songs, the scoreboard is the main attraction at the Contest. Computerised scoring was launched in 1988 and Norway even gave us a Virtual Reality scoreboard in 1996.
Send Ups - Occasionally, countries try to raise the humour stakes by sending up the Contest - Germany's Guildo Horn (1998), Stefan Raab (2000) and Israel's Datner and Kushnir (1987).

Televoting - Piloted by the UK and 4 other countries in 1997 and then extended to most other countries the following year. Rather than reduce the amount of neighbourly and political voting, some say it's made the situation even worse!
Totty - The odd whispered suggestion claims some viewers don't watch the contest for the songs but rather to check out the talent performing them.

Ulrika - Ms Johnson co-hosted the contest for the BBC from Birmingham in 1998.
United Kingdom - Winners five times and Runners Up an unrivalled 15 times.

Voting - The undoubted high spot of the evening - viewing figures soar - often dramatic, always surprising and sometimes just jaw-dropping hilarious.

Wombles - Provided the interval entertainment in Brighton in 1974 - wonder what the foreign commentators made of Wimbeldon's finest.

X Rated - Iceland's Paul Oscar's 1997 performance featured provocative dancers in fishnets. The UK audience (televoting for the first time) loved it and gave him 8 points - almost half of his total for the night.

Yodelling - Used in a bid to cultivate extra votes (from the Swiss?) - usually fails though.

Zero - No-one wants to take home a big fat zero at the end of the night. Norway have managed to get 'Nul Pwans' more times than any other country BUT in 2003 the UK ENTRANTS Jemini JOINED THIS EXCLUSIVE CLUB WHEN THEY FAILED TO GET A SINGLE POINT!

Also on The Ouch podcast - Irreverent, funny and fresh - Get it NOW!

Snoop arrested in airport fracas

Judge creates own Da Vinci code

Deadline for football TV rights


Find out more about great songs and song writing.


Take That Take That tour opens...
To rave reviews! The tour opened in Newcastle, with Robbie Williams appearing as a hologram.


Eurovision Song Contest
The official site - full of essential information.
BBC Red Nose Site
Catch up with the latest from the BBC's Red Nose Day website!
Red Nose Day Site
Check out the official Red Nose Day website.
Ruslana's Official Site
Catch up with the latest from last year's Eurovision winner!

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy