Friday, March 24, 2017

HISTORY OF THE ESC. Part 22: 1999. Continues: next week.
Caffé Latté  looks back on the key moments of Europe’s annual competition.
Theme art
Israel's 3rd Eurovision win in 1998 brought the contest back to Jerusalem the following year. A change in the rules concerning the language used for a country's entry came into effect. The freedom to sing songs in any language was once again implemented in 1999. In recent years, a country could only sing in one of its official national languages. 
Sweden, as it had when the same rule had been relaxed in the early 1970s, was swift to opt for English instead of Swedish. To this day, the vast majority of winning songs have been sung in English. In 1999, Sweden's "Take Me To Your Heaven", sung by Charlotte Nilsson, easily won the contest.
1999 also saw the introduction of the "Big Four" countries. As the highest paying Eurovision nations, France, United Kingdom, Spain and Germany would no longer be required to qualify for the Grand Final. These 4 countries would automatically be guaranteed a spot on the big night. All the others were still subject to elimination based on that country's 5-year average. In 2011, Italy was added to the group of countries that do not need to participate in semi-finals. 
This was to be the final ESC of the 20th century. Many innovations and technological changes were in store in the 2000s.
Charlotte Nilsson - Take Me to Your Heaven.jpg

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