A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Sunday, May 6, 2012

ESC 1991 - it's a draw!

The other day, I wrote about how the 1988 voting left me gasping for my breath for the first time but that would be nothing compared to the thriller of 1991.

I had faint memories of Herreys' victory back in 1984, but for the first time as an active eurofan I had the feeling that my native Sweden could actually have the possibility of winning. I suspect many younger eurofans from Sweden have the same feeling this year.

The voting soon turned into a very tight race with no less than five countries battling it out for victory: Switzerland, Sweden, France, Israel and Spain were contenders until a very late stage, where Spain and Switzerland fell behind.

Finally, it seemed also France dropped too far behind, leaving the final battle to Sweden and Israel - but little did we know. The final jury - the Italian one - gave nul points to Sweden and Israel respectively but awarded their top mark to France.

As if this tension was not enough: add two of the least suitable hosts ever - previous winners Toto Cutugno and Gigliola Cinquetti - whose lack of languages skills as well as any detectable interest for the voting taking place left EBU scrutineer Frank Naef increasingly weary throughout the process.

When the tie between Sweden and France is a fact the result is complete confusion on stage as neither one of the hosts has the slightest idea what to do.

ESC 1991 - the end of the voting (with BBC commentator Terry Wogan)

Trying very hard to keep control over his voice and actions, monsieur Naef manages to sort out the situation. According to a new paragraph in the rules - established as late as after the 1988 ESC (probably because the tight voting that year reminded the EBU it might come to use one of these years) - the juries would not be called back to cast new votes.

Instead, there was a countback and the country recieving the biggest number of top marks would be deemed winner. As both countries involved in this tie had scored four 12-pointers each, the scrutineer went on to count ten-pointers instead. Sweden had five, France had two, and Carola had won the whole thing.

The French delegation - claiming to be completely unaware of this change of rules - were reportedly very upset about the final verdict. The Israeli act, Duo Datz, had on the other hand made friends with Carola during the week and they stayed in touch for several years afterwards. (Maybe still today, is there anyone out there who knows?)

Tobson, aged 15, was extatic about the Swedish victory and the new-found hope of possibly seeing the Eurovision Song Contest live for the first time. It wasn't to be - the tickets were expensive as well as sold-out - but the dramatic victory of Carola remained an important event for this young fan.

Carola - Fångad av en stormvind (Sweden 1991)

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