Eurovision Song Contest 1998
The 1998 Eurovision Song Contest from Birmingham resulted in a thrilling voting with the most controversial winner in the history of the contest: Dana International from Israel.
Taboo breaking year
In 1998, for the 43rd edition of the Eurovision Contest, 25 countries participated in the event. All countries that were relegated in the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest came back plus FYR Macedonia entered the contest for the first time. Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Denmark, Russia and Iceland were relegated in 1998 as their 5-year-average points were worse than those of all the other countries. Italian broadcaster RAI decided to withdraw permanently. Mass televoting took part for the first time and only countries which did not have a properly functioning telephone system were still allowed to vote through the national juries. There was a problem with the Spanish televote as Spanish televoters had awarded 12 points to Germany, but while announcing the points, the 12 points went to Israel! However, the mistake was quickly unearthed after the show and you have the correct rankings and points on our scoreboard here.
It was a taboo-breaking year for the contest which saw the performances of Israeli transsexual Dana International, whereas Germany brought balding singer, Guido Horn to the contest. Dana sang the fitting Diva while Horn climbed all over the stage during his crazy performance. The composer of the German song, TV star Stefan Raab, made a joke by using the pseudonym Alf Igel to mock another German Eurovision composer, Ralph Siegel, who had written more than 10 former Eurovision entry and who had already won the contest with Nicole's Ein Bisschen Frieden in 1982. Guildo Horn's extravagant performance resulted in record-breaking viewing figures in Germany. Fans even travelled abroad to be able to vote for the German entry. However, Guildo Hat Euch Lieb only ended up 7th.
The trophy of the 1998 Eurovision Song Conest went to the equally extravagant Dana International from Israel who got the largest part of media attention both before and after the show. During the voting process, it quickly became clear that either Israel, the United Kingdom or Malta were going to win, but the Macedonian vote did not give a single point to Malta's Chiara, giving the victory to Israel. The United Kingdom came in second, and the Netherlands obtained their best result since 1975 - finishing at fourth place.
Dana International was crowned with a gold and silver trophy which was made by the Birmingham School of Jewellery. For her reprise performance, Dana chose to wear a stunning designer feather dress which resulted in her being on the front side of almost all the European newspapers the following day.