With this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest having just taken place (Georgia winning for a record 3rd time), and Belgium and Macedonia announcing their 2017 artists in the last few days, it’s definitely beginning to feel a lot like Eurovision season! Time for another top 5 – best debut performances of new countries at Eurovision. I’ve taken it from 1970 as by then, the original core of Western European countries were established, and afterwards saw entrances from the East – first the Mediterranean and Middle East (Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Israel), and then the waves of Eastern European and ex Soviet countries from 1994 onwards.
5th place is a joint one – both had the same finishing positions but as the eras they are from have completely different scoring systems, it’s impossible to rank one above or below the other, so two for the price of one!
5.= Israel, 1973 – 4th place, 97 points (Ilanit, “Ey Sham”)
Israel’s glory days happened in the late 70s and early 80s, but they also started very well, coming in 4th in a very strong year (this was the year of Anne-Marie David, Eres tu, and Cliff’s “Power to All Our Friends” which came in 1st, 2nd and 3rd).
5.= Hungary, 1994 – 4th place, 122 points (Friderika Bayer, “Kinek mondjam el vétkeimet?”)
1994 saw 7 countries make their debut, so perhaps it’s fitting to have a song in this top 5 from that year. Hungary finished 4th in their debut performance, still their best performance to date.
4. Latvia, 2000 – 3rd place, 196 points (Brainstorm, “My Star”)
Latvia were relative latecomers compared to their Baltic neighbours, Estonia and Lithuania, but they got things off to a flying start with this quirky but fun and catchy entry.
3. Poland, 1994 – 2nd place, 166 points (Edyta Górniak, “To nie ja!”)
Another country from the big 1994 intake, this remains Poland’s most successful entry by quite some way.
2. Serbia and Montenegro, 2004 – 2nd place, 263 points (Željko Joksimović & Ad-Hoc Orchestra, “Lane moje”
The only country in this list that no longer performs at Eurovision, Serbia and Montenegro were a unit for just two years at Eurovision before going their separate ways into two different countries. Notched up a 2nd place on their debut though, and came 7th in their second and final appearance as a nation at Eurovision.
1. Serbia, 2007 – Winner, 268 points (Marija Šerifović, “Molitva”)
Serbia again! Except on their own for the first time and getting this big win on their debut. Serbia had of course entered Eurovision in two previous incarnations – as Serbia and Montenegro for a couple of years, and for many years, they were part of Yugoslavia, who entered Eurovision 21 times between 1961 and 1992.