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36th Eurovision Song Contest (Rome 1991)

The Voting Chaos with Gigliola and Toto

Video winning song: Fångad av en stormvind - 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 Cinecittā in Rome. The presenters were 1964's winner Gigliola Cinquetti and the previous year's winner Toto Cotugno.

The 1991 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 and the number of points causing a lot of confusion which only got worse as the connection with Turkey failed and the Turkish jury's spokesman's voice could be hardly heard to what Gigliola suggested that Frank Naef, the EBU executive supervisor himself, helped the presenters and translated the points and the names of countries into English for the international audience. In fact, Mr Naef had to correct Toto Cotugno more than once as he was continuously giving a wrong number of points or giving them to the wrong country.

Neither he or Gigliola were able to speak either French or English (the two only official ESC languages) and all the talking (a lot of talking actually) was in Italian. "Quando parlano in inglese non capisco mai nulla" (When they speak 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". And he was probably right

Ci vediamo in Malmö... Sorry, I mean...

See you in Malmö for the 37th Eurovision Song Contest in 1992!

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