Let's rewind the tape a bit and go back to the 90's. The 90's, when Eurovision was declining in many countries, when many doubted the contest would survive for particularly long, when it didn't generate any major international hits.
One thing that saved the ESC was a number of established countries taking turns to breathe new life into the event: France with ethnic entries, Spain with modern entries, UK with rap and Gina G, Germany with some dramatic rule changes in the late 90's (introduction of televoting, free choice of language, no orchestra).
Another thing was of course the formerly socialist countries of eastern Europe making their grand entrance. They brought in new attitudes, new styles, new sounds. Most of which more modern than anything Switzerland or Belgium would whip up.
The country leaving the biggest mark on many eurofans was probably Poland. From their sensational debut in 1994, when Edyta Górniak ended in second place, their first five entries was a continuous string of artistic success.
Poland sent in good singers, ambitious compositions and a very different ambience into this old contest. Apart from their debut, their songs didn't do very well, but they were impressive on many levels.
I suppose I was not the only one thinking it was only a matter of time until Poland would hit the correct button at the right time and be the first country of the former East to win.
Unfortunately, Poland has lost their touch since. Their entries are still more often good than bad, but they have not felt like a contender for years now.
I'm hoping Poland will get back in shape and impress everyone again sometime soon. It would be great to see the ESC broadcast live from Sopot, for many years the home of the Intervision Song Contest - the socialist equivalent of Eurovision.
Edyta Górniak - To nie ja! (Poland 1994)
Justyna Steczkowska - Sama (Poland 1995)
Kasia Kowalska - Chcę znać swój grzech (Poland 1996)
Anna Maria Jopek - Ale jestem (Poland 1997)
Sixteen - To takie proste (Poland 1998)