43º Eurovision Song Contest
Diva (Dana International) - Israel
The 43rd Eurovision Song Contest 1998 was held on May 9, 1998 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England. The presenters were Terry Wogan and Ulrika Jonsson. Dana International from Israel won this year's Eurovision, with the song Diva, following much pre-contest hype and publicity due to the fact that she was a male-to-female transsexual.
This year will be remembered for several reasons: this was the last year with an orchestra, the first year with mass tele-voting, and the last year with language restriction. The contest will never be forgotten because of the suspenseful voting, where the winner was decided on the last nation's points. Greece, France, Switzerland, Malta, Israel and Belgium did not sing with an orchestra, they sung with backing tracks. The Republic of Macedonia was present for the first time, after their participation failed in 1996 during the internal selection by the EBU. Belgium, Finland, Israel, Romania and Slovakia all participated after their break from last year's contest; Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Russia and Iceland could not participate because of their low average scores from the past five years.
The Italian broadcaster, RAI, decided to withdraw from the contest and stay away from it in the future. After the points from some countries were announced, it was clear that Israel, Malta, and the United Kingdom would be fighting for the top spot. Israel remained in the lead at the end of the voting, but only by two to three points.
Everything came down to the vote of Macedonia, who rewarded Israel with 8 points, United Kingdom 10, and Croatia 12, giving zero to Malta, which left Chiara in third place after being second throughout the entire voting process.
On the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel, Dana International brought the nation their third victory. Also, Edsilia Rombley, who placed fourth with 150 points, ensured the best result that the Netherlands have had since their win in 1975