The Eurovision Song Contest 1999 was the 44th Eurovision Song Contest and was held on May 29, 1999 in the Usshishkin Hall at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem, Israel. The presenters were Yigal Ravid, a well known Eurovision fan who's also an IBA culture journalist; Dafna Dekel, a singer who had already participated in the contest representing Israel back in 1992 getting 6th place (her performance was broadcast as a reminder in the 1999 contest); and Sigal Shahamon, a popular model and TV host who had some experience in the Israeli Kdam (the Israeli pre selection for the contest) shows as a back up singer. This was the second time that the contest was held outside of Europe, the first time the competition was presented by more than two presenters and also the first time the orchestra was cancelled (mainly due to lack of room in the Israeli venue hall) and it was decided that all countries will use playback. The contest was won by Charlotte Nilsson who represented Sweden with the song Take Me To Your Heaven (Swedish version: Tusen och en natt). Charlotte brought Sweden its fourth victory overall, and its second win in the 90s after Carola in 1991.
This year the long-standing rule that each country had to sing in one of its own national languages was dropped, and it was decided that France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, as the highest-paying European Broadcasting Union subscribers, would automatically be allowed to participate every year, irrespective of their five-year point average. The requirement of an orchestra was dropped, providing that all participants agree to use backing tracks. The Israeli broadcaster chose not to use an orchestra, after consulting all participants, which meant that for the first time in the history of the contest, all entries would perform using a backing track. This change was criticised by two-time Eurovision winner Johnny Logan, who commented that the contest had turned into karaoke.
The favourite to win the contest this year was Iceland's Selma, who performed All Out of Luck, a bouncy, upbeat song with a prophetic title, and the 13th song to be performed. Cyprus was also considered a challenger for Iceland, but ended up getting only 2 points (from the United Kingdom). When the voting began, it was a race between Iceland, Croatia, Germany and Sweden, with Iceland holding the lead throughout most of the voting. The votes from Bosnia and Herzegovina ended the suspense, giving Sweden 12 points and nothing to Iceland.
Because Croatia's song used synthesised male backing voices, the country's score was reduced by a third to 79 for the purpose of calculating its five-year average to determine participation in future contests, though it was decided to leave its placement in the 1999 result unaffected.
The interval act was the previous year’s winner Dana International, who performed her new song "Free" (a cover of the Stevie Wonder song), which caused some controversy in Israel because of the lyrics. Dana International also provided one of Eurovision's most memorable, if embarrassing, moments when she slipped backwards and took a fall while helping in presenting the winning trophy, which was never properly presented, while the hosts hardly try not to laugh at her (fortunately the girls were documented laughing hysterically). A promise by Yigal Ravid that no one is going to sing a reprise with the credits on their face was kept for the contest ended with all of the participants singing the English version of Hallelujah (Israel’s winning song in 1979) as a tribute to the people who suffered from the war that went on in Yugoslavia. The bombing resulted in their transmitter being blown up and therefore they were unable to transmit the contest.
As the Russian broadcaster ORT had failed to send a participant to the 1998 Contest, they decided not to broadcast 1998's Contest in order to make strong comeback the next year. However, the rules of the Contest stated that only broadcasters that broadcast the 1998 Contest would be allowed to participate in the 1999 Contest, leaving Russia out for another year.
Latvia initially wished to take part, but withdrew at a late stage due to financial problems. Hungary was offered the free spot but they declined to take it, so Portugal eventually got the opportunity to go to Jerusalem.
A compilation CD was made and released in Israel and is available in many other countries on import, however it was not a full official EBU release as what followed in later years. The idea of the CD was to contain all the songs from the contest, however this year it failed to include the songs of Poland, Cyprus, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom as they had not gained permission before pressing the disc. This left many fans disappointed despite including a bonus multimedia CD which featured clips of the contest itself (but not the whole event). DVDs of the whole event were officially released from 2004 onwards.
In order to prevent such events from recurring, the EBU passed a new rule stating that song entries must have a version ready to press on the official compilation CD. Since then all compilation CDs have featured all the songs.
Thankfully all subsequent releases were of higher standard than the 1999 Israel CD, which was of slightly poor quality. It featured a few spelling mistakes in the notes and the song from Denmark had the Danish title printed implying it was the Danish language version of that song. The CD version present was actually the English one.
Strangely enough, although the song from Germany was performed in German, English, and Turkish with a little bit of Hebrew at the end, the compilation CD version was in Turkish only. There were no rules (and never have been) on which versions must be included, but fans were most likely expecting the standard German, English and Turkish version instead.
|1||Samogitian - Lithuanian dialect||Aistė Smilgevičiūtė||Strazdas||The Song Thrush||20||13|
|2||English||Vanessa Chinitor||Like The Wind||-||12||38|
|3||Spanish||Lydia||No quiero escuchar||I Don't Want to Listen||23||1|
|4||Croatian||Doris Dragović||Marija Magdalena||Mary Magdalene||4||118|
|5||English||Precious||Say It Again||-||12||38|
|6||English||Darja Švajger||For A Thousand Years||-||11||50|
|7||Turkish||Tuğba Önal||Dön Artık||Come Back||16||21|
|8||English||Stig Van Eijk||Living My Life Without You||-||14||35|
|9||English||Trine Jepsen & Michael Teschl||This Time I Mean It||-||8||71|
|10||French||Nayah||Je Veux Donner Ma Voix||I Want To Give My Voice||19||14|
|11||English||Marlayne||One Good Reason||-||8||71|
|12||Polish||Mietek Szczesniak||Przytul mnie mocno||Hold Me Tight||17||19|
|13||English||Selma||All Out of Luck||-||2||146|
|14||Greek||Marlain||Tha 'Ne Erotas (Θα 'ναι έρωτας)||It Will Be Love||22||2|
|15||English||Charlotte Nilsson||Take Me to Your Heaven||-||1||163|
|16||Portuguese||Rui Bandeira||Como Tudo Começou||How Everything Began||21||12|
|17||English||The Mullans||When You Need Me||-||17||18|
|19||English, Hebrew||Eden|| Yom Huledet (Happy Birthday)|
|20||English||Times Three||Believe 'n Peace||-||15||32|
|21||German, Turkish, English, Hebrew||Sürpriz||Reise nach Jerusalem - Kudüs'e Seyahat||Journey to Jerusalem||3||140|
|22||Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, French||Dino & Béatrice||Putnici||Travellers||7||86|
|23||English||Evelin Samuel & Camille||Diamond of Night||-||6||90|
After some thoroughly confusing thrills and spills in the early voting, with Lithuania awarding maximum points to the — for once — rank outsiders Ireland, the contest soon settled into a nip-and-tuck duel between Sweden and Iceland, but with Iceland more often than not holding a slight lead. The fortunes of Germany were more erratic - on a few occasions, their challenge seemed to be failing, only for a couple of high scores to haul them back to within striking distance of the leading pair. That appeared to be the case once again when the penultimate voting country, Bosnia and Herzegovina, handed ten points to the Germans. This momentarily distracted attention from the fact that the Balkan nation had not yet awarded any points to Sweden or Iceland, meaning that one of the two was bound to receive nothing. With Charlotte Nilsson of Sweden already having crept into a three-point lead at a crucial moment, the realisation quickly dawned that, while twelve points for Iceland would put them back into a commanding position, twelve points for Sweden would settle the contest in abrupt fashion.
Voting procedure used:Red: Televote.|
|Bosnia & Herzegovina||0||1||0||10||0||10||7||7||8||6||3||5||3||0||6||0||0||12||0||0||8||0|
|The table is ordered by appearance.|
Below is a summary of all 12 point in the final:
|5||Germany||Israel, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Turkey|
|5||Sweden||Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, Malta, Norway, United Kingdom|
|3||Iceland||Cyprus, Denmark, Sweden|
|1||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Austria|