Last week , as part of my series on the trials and tribulations of being the host country for the Eurovision Song Contest. I looked at the ( very ) large financial commitments that the host delegation and host country has when hosting a large event like our beloved contest. As we saw , just hosting the contest in any one year goes into the thousands where costs are concerned and the likely hope of the host country is that you never have to host it again…. or .at least hopefully not win again for many years !
But …..what if the unthinkable happens and you actually win the contest again on home soil, just the year after winning ? Naturally , there is the elation that you have won in front of the home crowd and made your country proud .
However, once the elation and euphoria of victory has died down, it presents the host broadcaster with the stark reality that they may have to host the whole thing again next year and face the challenge of providing just as good a show as they have just produced ! It also provides a headache for the host broadcaster in the sense of again having to find the financial means to host another contest so soon after .🤔😭😭No country knows this better than Ireland who having won the contest in 1992 with Linda Martin and ” Why me”, their delegation could never have foreseen that they would win the contest again…..and again ! 😲😲
It was certainly something of a financial headache for RTE when they won the contest the following year in 1993 with Niamh Kavanagh beating the UK into first place and were first in line to hold the contest again the following year . They went into the 1994 contest believing it would be near impossible for a third victory to happen and indeed, their act for that year wasn’t expected to do well but the voting juries clearly had other ideas …..
There was a mixture of elation and shock with the result with the Irish public in the arena , expressing joy at another win on home soil but posing a real headache for RTE and questions as to whether they would financially be able to hold another contest the following year, which they did but requested the EBU to not oblige them to host again should they win again. Thankfully for RTE , Norway broke the cycle in Dublin in 1995 , however they only had a two year reprieve , as they won again in Oslo in 1996 and then hosted again , in Dublin in 1997 .
Only four countries can claim the honour of achieving a back to back win , they are Spain, Luxembourg, Israel and Ireland, albeit Spain’s was in the controversial year of 1969 when there were three other winners !
It’s not really surprising that Spain didn’t host again the following year, that honour went to The Netherlands, who were one of the four winners in Madrid .
Luxembourg won the contest in 1972 and 1973 respectively with the now legendary Eurovision hits ; Après -toi by Vicky Leandros and then again in 1973 with Tu te reconnaitras by Anne-Marie David . Luxembourg did not host the contest again following their consecutive win .
Israel , this year’s host country, can also claim the honour of being one of the few countries to achieve a back to back win . Having won the 1978 contest in Paris with Izhar Cohen and the Alpha Beta , singing Aba ni bi , they went on to win on home soil in Jerusalem in 1979 with Gali Atari and Milk and Honey singing Hallelujah . They declined to host the 1980 contest, citing financial reasons and The Netherlands took on hosting duties that year
Since Ireland, no country has achieved a back to back win and in times where the contest has become much bigger with more participants and requiring much more financial input ,it is questionable whether there ever will be a back to back win again or indeed if any host country actually wants to win two years in a row. This may reflect why the host country results have been very mixed over the years, ranging from top 10 results , mid -table or in the case of Portugal last year and Austria in 2015 coming last just the year after victory . It remains to be seen what happens in the future .
Author : Sarah Rudman
Source : Eurovision Ireland, John Kennedy O’Connor
Image source : Eurovision.TV, YouTube