Eurovision Song Contest 1996

The 1996 Eurovision Song Contest moved to a new destination, after it had been in Ireland for the three preceding years. Norway's capital Oslo had the honour of hosting the contest, it's 41st running, for the first time.

From 29 to 23...

For the 1996 contest, the European Broadcasting Union replaced the relegation system with an audio preselection. This new system was tried out in order to find a more acceptable method of whittling down the large number of potentially participating countries. Apart from the host country of Norway, all other potential participants - 29 countries in total - competed in this audio preselection, in which the national juries solely listened to audio tapes with the recordings of the 29 songs.

22 out of the 29 countries plus the host nation Norway were allowed access into the final on 18th May in Oslo. Germany, Israel, Denmark, Hungary, Russia, FYR Macedonia and Romania all failed to qualify. This type of pre-qualifier round was conceived by many broadcasters and the European audience as rather peculiar, because the pre-selection was not broadcast in any way and the full results of the voting were not made public either. With Germany not qualifying - the first time ever Germany couldn't participate - the organisers were also confronted with much less financial means than expected.

However, the Norwegian broadcaster, NRK, tried to modernise the contest this year. For example, virtual reality was used to visualize the voting. In the introduction video postcards, every participant received the best wishes from a government representative.

The contest was threatened by a conductor's strike after Norwegian TV-station NRK, wanting to save time, said it would cut out the orchestra conductor's appearance. Luckily, the dispute was settled amicably. The show was hosted by Norwegian popband a-ha front man Morten Harket and Norwegian journalist, Ingvild Bryn. They greeted each country in their national language.

About the winner

Ireland got its seventh victory with the song The Voice performed by Eimear Quinn. This was the fourth victory for Ireland in just five years. However, the winner was not the biggest commercial success in record sales this year.

The United Kingdom's song Ooh...Aah...Just A Little Bit by Australian Gina G, did not go down too well with more conservative juries, who felt her Paco Rabanne coin-clad dress and fast-paced performance was too racy for the Eurovision Song Contest. The song went on to be a big hit in the UK and in the USA, and Gina G was nominated for a Grammy as Best Dance Act.

Facts & Figures


Saturday 18 May 1996


Oslo Spektrum, Oslo, Norway


Eimear Quinn from Ireland




Ingvild Bryn & Morten Harket

Executive Producer

Odd Arvid Strømstad

EBU Scrutineer

Christine Marchal-Ortiz


Pal Veiglum

Interval Act

Nils Gaup & Runar Borge feat. Aamil Paus-Beacon Burning

The Participants

# Representing country Performer(s) Song title, writer(s) and composer(s) Points Place
01 Turkey
Flag of TurkeyTRT
Şebnem Paker Besinçi Mevsim 057 12
02 United Kingdom
Flag of United KingdomBBC
Gina G Ooh...Aah...Just A Little Bit 077 08
03 Spain
Flag of SpainTVE
Antonio Carbonell ¡Ay, Qué Deseo! 017 20
04 Portugal
Flag of PortugalRTP
Lúcia Moniz O Meu Coração Não Tem Cor 092 06
05 Cyprus
Flag of CyprusCyBC
Constantinos Móno Gia Más 072 09
06 Malta
Flag of MaltaPBS
Miriam Christine In A Woman's Heart 068 10
07 Croatia
Flag of CroatiaHRT
Maja Blagdan Sveta Ljubav 098 04
08 Austria
Flag of AustriaORF
George Nußbaumer Weil's Dr Guat Got 068 10
09 Switzerland
Flag of SwitzerlandSSR SRG
Cathy Leander Mon Coeur L'aime 022 16
10 Greece
Flag of GreeceERT
Marianna Efstratiou Emis Forame To Himona Anixiatika 036 14
11 Estonia
Flag of EstoniaERR
Ivo Linna and Maarja-Liis Ilus Kaelakee Hääl 094 05
12 Norway
Flag of NorwayNRK
Elisabeth Andreasson I Evighet 114 02
13 France
Flag of FranceFT2
Dan Ar Braz et l'Héritage des Celtes Diwanit Bugale 018 19
14 Slovenia
Flag of SloveniaRTVSLO
Regina Dan najlepših sanj 016 21
15 The Netherlands
Flag of The NetherlandsNOS
Maxine and Franklin Brown De Eerste Keer 078 07
16 Belgium
Flag of BelgiumBRTN
Lisa del Bo Liefde Is Een Kaartspel 022 16
17 Ireland
Flag of IrelandRTÉ
Eimear Quinn The Voice 162 01
18 Finland
Flag of FinlandYLE
Jasmine Niin Kaunis On Taivas 009 23
19 Iceland
Flag of IcelandRÚV
Anna Mjöll Sjúbídú 051 13
20 Poland
Flag of PolandTVP
Kasia Kowalska Chce Znac Swój Grzech 031 15
21 Bosnia & Herzegovina
Flag of Bosnia & HerzegovinaRTVBIH
Amila Glamocak Za Našu Ljubav 013 22
22 Slovakia
Flag of SlovakiaSTV
Marcel Palonder Kým Nás Mᚠ019 18
23 Sweden
Flag of SwedenSVT
One More Time Den Vilda 100 03


Participant Austria Belgium Bosnia & Herzegovina Croatia Cyprus Estonia Finland France Greece Iceland Ireland Malta Norway Poland Portugal Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland The Netherlands Turkey United Kingdom Points Place
Turkey Turkey
55154108676 57 12
United Kingdom United Kingdom
3127128436126643 77 8
Spain Spain
4265 17 20
Portugal Portugal
16110123551012410652 92 6
Cyprus Cyprus
2862121231072512 72 9
Malta Malta
1281612410510 68 10
Croatia Croatia
410861567721053511584 98 4
Austria Austria
6712281285314 68 10
Switzerland Switzerland
2434243 22 16
Greece Greece
1013183217 36 14
Estonia Estonia
571211228108412310 94 5
Norway Norway
883535778742101071028 114 2
France France
732411 18 19
Slovenia Slovenia
8611 16 21
The Netherlands The Netherlands
12125410257756831 78 7
Belgium Belgium
211225 22 16
Ireland Ireland
7312612106104101287127121212 162 1
Finland Finland
72 9 23
Iceland Iceland
68310536163 51 13
Poland Poland
474727 31 15
Bosnia & Herzegovina Bosnia & Herzegovina
3136 13 22
Slovakia Slovakia
4852 19 18
Sweden Sweden
101041083612644788 100 3