Rome 1991

  36º Eurovision Song Contest
 Captured by a Lovestorm (Carola) - Sweden

The Eurovision Song Contest 1991 was the 36th Eurovision Song Contest and was held on May 4, 1991 in the Studio #5 di Cinecittà in Rome. The presenters were 1964's winner Gigliola Cinquetti and the previous year's winner Toto Cotugno. Carola was the winner of this Eurovision with the song, Fångad av en stormvind, representing Sweden. This was Sweden's third victory. The last one had been in 1984.

When the last jury, that of Italy, gave their votes, Sweden was in the lead, Israel was second 7 points behind and France was third, 12 points behind Sweden. Italy's jury started to give their votes and by the time they got to the last 12 point none of the three contenders had yet gotten any points from them. Italy's 12 points finally went to France and for the first time in twenty-two years, there was a tie for first place, with France's Amina incredibly overcoming a large deficit to catch up with Sweden's Carola. Both got 146 points. Unlikely in 1969 in Madrid, this time there were tie-break rules and it took the judges just one minute to announce Carola as the winner.

According to the tie-break rules applied in case of two or more countries tie for the first place the winner would be the song that received 12 points from the greatest number of countries. Should there still be a tie the tie-break would continue with ten points, eight etc. Carola was the winner because she was the one who got 10 points from most countries as amazingly there was also a tie in the number of countries France and Sweden had got 12 points from.

A new tie-break rule was introduced later after this edition that the winner would be the song that received votes from a greatest number of countries and only if there was still a tie the points tie-breaker would be used to count the number of countries that gave 12 points to each entry in the tie, and then 10, and eight and so on.

This was the second time for France to be involved in a draw for first place and, in my humble opinion, they deserved to win in 1991 as much as they did in 1969, their song being the best by far in both occasions. Funny enough, under the current tie-break rules, France would have been the sole winner in both contests as the most countries voted for them.

In the end, Israel was third, and Spain ended up 4th represented by Sergio Dalma, a very good looking latino singer, very popular in Italy and good friends with Toto Cotugno. Dalma's song "Bailar Pegados" was a hit both in Spain and Italy but, amazingly, it did not get any points from the Italian jury.

The Contest is regarded as one of the most controversial in history and by some euro fans as the worst Eurovision Song Contest ever. It was meant to be held in Sanremo to pay homage to the contest which success undoubtedly inspired the Eurovision Song Contest itself, but the RAI decided to move it to Rome due to the tensions in the already collapsing Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as the capital was considered safer. The moving of the show meant that the Italian television was not completely ready for the show and on the very same day of the contest there were still working on the set.

Toto Cotugno might be a great singer but was not a good choice as a presenter. He had great difficulties pronouncing the titles of the songs and the names of the artists and conductors and during the voting he misheard the names of the countries or totally mistake one for another. Neither he or Gigliola were able to speak either French or English and all the talking (a lot of talking actually) was in Italian, to the point that many a time it had to be Frak Naef, the EBU executive supervisor himself, who helped the presenters and translated the points and the names of countries into English for the international audience.

"Quando parlano in inglese non capisco mai nulla" (When they talk to me in English I can't understand anything) said Gigliola to Cotugno as the United Kingdom started to give their votes. Almost at the end of this most embarrasing voting chaos UK's commentator Terry Wogan exclaimed: "I have never heard so much talk at the Eurovision stage in all my life".

Ci vediamo in Stoccolma... Sorry, I mean see you in Stockholm for the 37th Eurovision Song Contest in 1992