Eurovision Song Contest 1997
Dublin's Point Theatre was - yet again - the venue for the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest, the last one to date hosted on Irish ground. The United Kingdom charmed the national juries and the televoters from Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and Germany and easily won the trophy with Love Shine A Light by Katrina & The Waves.
To The Point!
Just like in 1993, 1994 and 1995, Ireland hosted the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest for the fourth time in the 1990's and for the third time in Dublin's Point Theatre. This year the number of participants rose to 25 again. The 1996 audio preselection procedure was dropped for a new system: the average results of all countries in the last five song contests were measured, and the 25 countries that had done best qualified for the final in Dublin. Israel withdrew voluntarily, and Bosnia & Herzegovina took their place. Belgium, Finland, Romania and Slovakia were forced to take a break from Eurovision this year.
Irish broadcaster RTÉ spent a lot of money for the set with a great result: The stage was spectacular and gave the viewer the impression of a cave. Televoting was introduced this year in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and Germany and it would be extended to almost all participating countries in the following 1998 contest. It was the year the Eurovision Song Contest tried to appeal to the younger generation. Irish boy band Boyzone were the interval act and their lead singer Ronan Keating co-hosted the evening. The opening sequence included messages from former contest stars, including Céline Dion and Morten Harket, beamed onto a massive video wall. Russia's Alla Pugacheva sang Primadonna - she was convinced of victory and demanded a limousine to pick her up when she arrived at the airport. Her Primadonna antics did not impress anyone, however, and she came only 15th. Another Eurovision Song Contest Primadonna was Icelandic singer Paul Oscar, a star as big as Björk in his native country. His performance was breathtaking as he sang on a white leather sofa, flanked by four women in leather dominatrix outfits.
About the winner
For the fifth time in the history of the contest, the United Kingdom won. With the song Love Shine A Light, Katrina & the Waves scored an unprecedented 227 points. The total score for the United Kingdom included five sets of '10 points' and a record-breaking ten sets of '12 points'. The record was not equalled before 2005 when Helena Paparizou would win for Greece. However, in 2005, 39 countries would cast their votes, compared to a modest 25 in 1997.