Today is an important date in the Eurovision history as we are celebrating 35 years from Eurovision Song Contest 1986 when Belgium recorded their only victory at the contest, with the youngest Eurovision winner ever 13 year old Sandra Kim sang “J’aime La Vie” which got 5 or more points from each jury except of the German one who gave the song 1 point, and scored the recording 176 points at Eurovision 1986. So what a better way to celebrate than taking a walk down the memory lane and going through the show.
The 31st edition of Eurovision took place at Grieghallen in Bergen, Norway following their first victory at the contest held in Scandinavium, Gothenburg when Bobbysocks! made the whole Europe dance with “La det swinge“. The host of the show was Stockholm born, Norwegian singer, songwriter musician and politician, Åse Kleveland who also performed the opening act “Welcome to music”. Except setting up the record of the northernmost hosting city of Eurovision Song Contest it is good to note that his was the first time royalty were among the guests of Eurovision, as Crown Prince Harald, Crown Princess Sonja, Princess Märtha Louise and Prince Haakon Magnus were all present. Twenty countries participated in the contest equaling the record previously set by Eurovision 1978, 1981 and 1983. Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom were joined by The Netherlands and Yugoslavia who returned to the contest after one year absence. The Netherlands did not participate at Eurovision 1985 due to the national Remembrance of the Dead while Yugoslavian participation was prevented with the anniversary of the death of Josip Broz Tito, even though Jugovizija was regularly organised and the song “Pokora” by by Zorica Kondža and Josip Genda won the show they have withdrawn the participation before that. Iceland was the country which made their Eurovision debut. It was the first debut after Eurovision 1981 when Cyprus joined the show. Two countries withdrew from Eurovision 1986, Italy withdrew for the second time because RAI made the decision not to enter the show while Greece first selected Polina Misailidou to be their representative with the song “Wagon-lit” and after that they made the sudden decision to pull out of the show. The reason of their withdrawal was because the show was set to be held on the night before Orthodox Easter.
Eurovision 1986 featured songs in 15 languages, 4 songs in French, 2 in English and German and 1 in Danish, Dutch, Finnish , Greek, Hebrew, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian, Norwegian and for the first time Icelandic – given the fact that Iceland made their debut. All entries of the show except the Cypriot song had their studio versions recorded in English alongside the original language of their song. The contest featured 11 solo acts 2 duets and 7 groups. The returning artist from Eurovision 1979 Elpida Karayiannopoulou went the steps of Anna Vissi and she became the second artist which represented Greece and Cyprus at Eurovision Song Contest. The members of the French band Cocktail Chic – Dominique Poulain, Catherine Bonnevay, Francine Chanterau and Martine Latorre, were the backing singers of various French, Belgian, Luxembourgish and Monegasque entries at Eurovision, two of them (Dominique and Francine) backed “L’oiseau et l’enfant” the French winning song at Eurovision 1977. One half of the Swedish duet, Lasse Holm made his previous appearances at the contest as the writer and backing of “Dag Efter Dag” (1982) and “Främling” (1983) and writer of “Bra Vibrationer” (1985) and later on he was the one who wrote the Swedish entry at Eurovision 1993, “Eloïse“. José María Guzmán member of the Spanish band Cadillac, came back to the show as the artist and writer after previously being a backing vocal to their entry in 1980, he was also among the backing vocals in 1995 and 1998. Portuguese representative Dora, made her first out of the two Eurovision appearances with “Não sejas mau para mim” (second one came at Eurovision 1988 with “Voltarei“), same as the artist who represented the hosting nation with “Romeo“, Ketil Stokkan who made his second appearance at Eurovision 1990 with “Brandenburger Tor“. Ketil competed at this years Melodi Grand Prix, you can read our interview with him HERE. One third of the Icelandic debut trio, Eirikur Hauksson made his first out of three Eurovision appearances after the debut with “Gleðibankinn” he represented Norway in 1991 with “Mrs. Thompson” as part of band Just 4 Fun and Iceland in 2007 with “Valentine Lost“.
After the juries of all participating countries presented their votes Belgium was crowned as the winner of the show with “J’aime la vie” by Sandra Kim. That remains their only victory at Eurovision up to date. As mentioned the record of 176 was set by Sandra Kim as “J’aime la vie” got 5 or more points from each jury except of the German one who gave the song 1 point. This record remained until Eurovision 1993 when Ireland scored 187 to win the contest. Swiss entry “Pas pour moi” by Daniela Simmons received 140 points and ended as the runner up while Luxembourg completed the songs sung in French top 3 with their song “L’amour de ma vie” performed by Sherisse Laurence who scored 117 points. Irish entry “You Can Count On Me” by Luv Bug ended on 4th place with 96 points while the Swedish duet “E’ de’ det här du kallar kärlek?” by Lasse Holm & Monica Törnell received 78 points which was enough for the 5th place. 13 years old Kim claimed to be 15, and after her victory at the contest her real age has been revealed which led to the second place Switzerland unsuccessful appeal for Sandra’s disqualification. After even younger singers took part at Eurovision 1989, 11 years old French representative Nathalie Pâque and 12 years old Gili Netanel in 1990 the age rule was introduced with the minimum age of the participants to be 16 at the time of the show. You can watch the full contest at the link below
Sandra Caldarone is a Belgian singer of an Italian descent born on 15th of October 1972, Sandra is better known as Sandra Kim and she is the youngest winner of Eurovision Song Contest. “J’aime la vie”, was composed by Jean Paul Furnémont and Angelo Crisci while the lyrics were written by Marino Atria who was also in charge of production of the song. It also got the versions in English, “Crazy of Life” and Italian with the same title as the original French version “J’aime la vie”. In addition to the success Sandra achieved with her Eurovision victory she was also the one to sing the main theme of the French animated series Il était une fois… la vie (Once Upon a Time… Life). Last year Sandra was crowned as the winner of the first edition of Belgian version of the show Masked Singer, you can check all of her performances HERE. At this years Eurovision Kim will be one of the six winners of the show to be featured in the special interval act “Rock The Roof”. 10 years ago on the 25th anniversary of the Belgian Eurovision victory a music video which featured the original “J’aime la vie” music video from 1986 and it’s recreation 25 years after was released you can check it out below.
Would you like to see Belgium snatch their second victory at Eurovision Song Contest soon? What are your impressions of Eurovision 1986? Let us know in the comments below and at our social media links!