Congratulations: 50 Years of the ESC COPENHAGUE 2005

Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest

In 2005, the EBU-UER had agreed with the Danish Broadcaster, DR, to produce a programme to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the contest. The show, entitled Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest after Cliff Richard’s 1968 entry for the United Kingdom, was held in Copenhagen, and featured a competition among fourteen of the most popular songs from the last 50 years of the contest. A telephone vote was held to determine the most popular Eurovision song of all-time, which was won by ABBA’s “Waterloo” (winner for Sweden in 1974). The event was hosted by the 1997 Contest winner for the United Kingdom, Katrina Leskanich, and Latvia’s representative on its debut at the 2000 Contest, Renārs Kaupers.


Periodo: Sabato, 22 October 2005
Presentatore (i):  Katrina Leskanich, Renārs Kaupers
Trasmesso da: Danmarks Radio (DR)
Sede: Forum Arena, Copenhagen,Denmark
Brano Vincitore: “Waterloo” – ABBA (Svezia)
Participanti: 14 songs from 1958 to 2005
Struttura di voto: Televoting and juries; each country awarded 1-8, 10, and 12 points to their ten favourite songs.
Intervallo: Riverdance, Ronan Keating, Various medleys

Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest was a television programme organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU-UER) to commemorate the Eurovision Song Contest’s fiftieth anniversary and to determine the Contest’s most popular entrant of its fifty years. It took place at Forum, Copenhagen on 22 October 2005. The host broadcaster was Danmarks Radio (DR). Fourteen songs from the Contest’s first half-century, chosen through an internet poll and by a jury, contested the event. Thirty-one EBU-UER-member countries broadcast the concert (although the United Kingdom, Italy and France did not) and televoting and juries in these countries decided the winner. 2.5 million votes were cast in total on the night.

The event was hosted by Katrina Leskanich and Renārs Kaupers. The event was won by Swedish group ABBA, performing “Waterloo”; the band had originally won the Contest for Sweden in 1974.

To coincide with the event, the EBU-UER released two CDs featuring Eurovision songs from the previous fifty years. Two DVDs with original Eurovision performances of these songs were also released.

Selection of venue and hosts: In June 2004, the European Broadcasting Union announced that it was to hold a concert to celebrate fifty years of the Eurovision Song Contest. The event was to be held on 16 October 2005 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England. The BBC was to host the concert. The Royal Albert Hall was reportedly unavailable, so in August 2004 the EBU announced that DR would stage the event instead. Eurovision Song Contest supervisor Svante Stockselius said that Denmark’s previous experience of hosting Eurovision events (the 2001 Contest and the first Junior Eurovision Song Contest) were influential in the Union’s choice. 1998 Eurovision winner Dana International, who appeared at the event, later went to suggest that the reason behind the change of host country was also due to the fact that the BBC wanted to present the show “with humour” as though to poke fun at the Contest, an idea that proved to be less popular with the EBU-UER. The BBC went on to broadcast their own 50th anniversary program, Boom Bang-a-Bang: 50 Years of Eurovision. The event was codenamed Extravaganza. On 25 October 2004 Copenhagen was confirmed as the host city for the event, which was now scheduled to take place on 22 October 2005. In May 2005 Congratulations was confirmed as the official name of the concert. A month later DR announced that Forum Copenhagen would host the programme. On 9 September 2005, DR announced that Katrina Leskanich and Renārs Kaupers would present the concert. Leskanich was the lead singer of Katrina and The Waves, who won the Contest for the United Kingdom in 1997. Kaupers is the lead singer of Latvian group Brainstorm, who represented Latvia on its debut in the Contest in 2000.

Participants Countries: Fourteen songs would compete in Congratulations. In May 2005 the EBU opened a poll on its website to decide ten songs that would contest the event. Voters chose their two favourite songs from each of five decades: 1956 to 1965, 1966 to 1975, 1976 to 1985, 1986 to 1995 and 1996 to 2005. The remaining four songs would be selected by the EBU’s Reference Group. On 16 June 2005 the fourteen chosen songs were announced, although no indication was given as to which had been chosen online and which by the Reference Group. Eleven of the fourteen songs were Eurovision winners; only “Nel blu di pinto di blu”, “Congratulations” and “Eres Tú” (which all finished in the top three at the Contest) were not. Two countries, the United Kingdom and Ireland, were represented twice on the list.Johnny Logan, who won the Contest twice for Ireland as a singer, had both of his songs featured on the list.

Semi-Final (First Round): All 32 countries broadcasting the contest voted in the first round. The five songs that are marked in orange qualified to the second and final round.

Draw Country Language Artist Song English Translation Place Points
1 United Kingdom English Cliff Richard “Congratulations” 8 105
2 Ireland English Johnny Logan “What’s Another Year?” 12 74
3 Israel Hebrew Dana International “Diva” 13 39
4 Spain Spanish Mocedades “Eres tú” You are 11 90
5 Germany German Nicole “Ein bißchen Frieden” A little peace 7 106
6 Italy Italian Domenico Modugno “Nel blu dipinto di blu” In the blue painted blue 2 200
7 Sweden English ABBA “Waterloo” 1 331
8 Denmark English Olsen Brothers “Fly on the Wings of Love” 6 111
9 Luxembourg French France Gall “Poupée de cire, poupée de son” Wax doll, sawdust doll 14 37
10 Turkey English Sertab Erener “Everyway That I Can” 9 104
11 Switzerland French Celine Dion “Ne partez pas sans moi” Do not leave without me 10 98
12 Ireland English Johnny Logan “Hold Me Now” 3 182
13 United Kingdom English Brotherhood of Man “Save Your Kisses for Me” 5 154
14 Greece English Helena Paparizou “My Number One” 4 167

Final (Second Round): All 32 countries broadcasting the contest voted in the second round.


Draw Country Language Artist Song English Translation Place Points
1 Italy Italian Domenico Modugno “Nel blu dipinto di blu” In the blue painted blue 2 267
2 Sweden English ABBA “Waterloo” 1 329
3 Ireland English Johnny Logan “Hold Me Now” 3 262
4 United Kingdom English Brotherhood of Man “Save Your Kisses for Me” 5 230
5 Greece English Helena Paparizou “My Number One” 4 245


Performances: The show started with the traditional Eurovision “Te Deum” theme followed by a message from Cliff Richard. After a quick montage of all 14 songs, the orchestra began playing “Ding-A-Dong” (Netherlands 1975), with dancers on stage. “A-Ba-Ni-Bi” (Israel 1978), “Le dernier qui a parlé…” (France 1991), and “Dschinghis Khan” (Germany 1979) was also played and accompanied by choreography, which was then followed by “Love Shine a Light” (UK 1997) sung by the co-host, Katrina Leskanich, who came out with flag holders of all the nations who ever participated in Eurovision.

Throughout the telecast, a number of highlights segments were presented which showed montages of various Eurovision performances which were either interesting, notable or unorthodox. There were 6 assortments, which were under the categories described by the hosts as ‘past winners’, ‘political, daring, larger than life’, ‘cute men’, ‘unforgettable interpretation of dance’, ‘girlpower’ and ‘close/narrow second-place finishers’. A number of high-profile Eurovision artists returned to help introduce and present the show, these were: Carola Häggkvist, Massiel, Dana International, Birthe Wilke, Anne-Marie David, Sandra Kim, Elisabeth Andreassen, Hanne Krogh, Olsen Brothers,Emilija Kokić, Marie Myriam, Sertab Erener, Elena Paparizou, Nicole & Hugo, Cheryl Baker and Lys Assia. Cliff Richardand Nicole gave pre-recorded messages as they were unable to attend.

During the show, there were many presentations by various guest artists during the voting and tallying period. These consisted of the Finnish shouting choir Mieskuoro Huutajat, Riverdance (the 1994 interval act), Ronan Keating (the 1997 co-host), and Johnny Logan, singing his new single When a Woman Loves a Man, as well as an appearance by the Belgian duo of 1973, Nicole & Hugo.

There were three medleys, consisting of performances of past Eurovision songs. The first consisted of : Dana International, singing Parlez-vous Francais (originally performed by Baccara for Luxembourg in Eurovision Song Contest 1978); Carola Haggkvist, singing Främling (1983, 3rd place); Alsou, singing Solo (2000, 2nd); Fabrizio Faniello, singing Another Summer Night (2001 9th); Marie Myriam, singing L’Amour est bleu (originally performed byVicky Leandros for Luxembourg in 1967); Richard Herrey, singing “Let Me Be the One” (originally performed by The Shadows for United Kingdom in 1975; and Thomas Thordarson, singing Vi Maler Byen Rød (originally performed byBirthe Kjær for Denmark in 1989).

The second consisted of: Gali Atari, singing Hallelujah (1979, winner); Bobbysocks, singing La Det Swinge (1985, winner); Anne-Marie David, singing Après Toi (originally sung by Vicky Leandros for Luxembourg in 1972, winner); Lys Assia, singing Refrain (1956, winner), Sandra Kim singing Non ho l’Eta (originally sung by Gigliola Cinquetti forItaly in 1964, winner) and Bucks Fizz singing Making your Mind Up (1981).

The final medley was sung by Eimear Quinn, Charlie McGettigan, Jakob Sveistrup and Linda Martin, the Eurovision winners of 1996, 1994 and 1992, and (in Sveistrup’s case), the 2005 Danish representative. All four acted as backup singers during the show.

Results: Both juries and televoting were used at Congratulations; both having an equal influence over the vote. In the first round of voting, the number of songs was reduced to five. Each country awarded points from one to eight, then ten and finally twelve for their ten most popular songs. Unlike in the Contest proper, viewers were allowed to vote for songs which had represented their country. The top five songs were then subjected to another round of voting, where only six points and above were awarded. The voting was conducted in private, and the results were not announced until after the show. The song with the most points in the second round was the winner.

Although the results of the voting is known, the full voting has not been released by the EBU to date.

International broadcasts and voting: A total of thirty-four countries broadcast the event, but only thirty-two participated in the voting. Countries that broadcast the contest live and were allowed to vote were: Andorra (RTVA), Austria (ÖRF), Belgium (VRT, RTBF), Bosnia and Herzegovina (PBSBiH), Croatia (HRT), Cyprus (CyBC), Denmark (DR), Finland (YLE), Germany (ARD, WDR), Greece (ERT), Hungary (MTV), Iceland (RÚV), Ireland (RTÉ), Israel (IBA), Latvia (LTV), Lithuania (LRT), Macedonia (MKRTV), Malta (PBS), Monaco (TMC), The Netherlands (TROS), Norway (NRK), Poland (TVP), Portugal (RTP), Romania (TVR), Russia (C1R), Serbia and Montenegro (RTS, RTCG), Slovenia (RTVSLO), Spain (TVE), Sweden (SVT),  Switzerland (SRG SSR idée suisse), Turkey (TRT) e Ukraine (NTU).

Countries that broadcast the contest delayed and therefore lost the right to vote were: Albania e Armenia.

Countries that have previously competed but were not involved with the broadcast or voting of the contest: Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Moldova, Morocco, Slovakia e United Kingdom.

The BBC, RAI and France Télévisions chose not to broadcast the event. Søren Therkelsen, the commissioning editor of the event, said he was “disappointed” at the broadcasters’ decision not to transmit the show.

International countries that broadcast the contest: Australia.


  • Opening Medley: The Netherlands 1975, Israel 1978, France 1991, Germany 1979, United Kingdom 1997
  • Winners of Eurovision: Switzerland 1956, Netherlands 1959, Denmark 1963, Austria 1966, Spain 1969, Ireland 1970, Luxembourg 1973, France 1977, United Kingdom 1981, Sweden 1984, Ireland 1993, Norway 1995, Sweden 1999, Latvia 2002
  • Unforgettable performances: Norway 1980, United Kingdom 1981, 1985: Host Lill Lindfors suffering a wardrobe malfunction live in the show, Germany 2000, Belgium 1980, Israel 2000, Ukraine 2005, Latvia 2002, Slovenia 2002, Iceland 1997, Norway 2005, Finland 1976, Belgium 1973, Austria 1981, Israel 1987, Yugoslavia 1991, Sweden 2000, Switzerland 1979, France 1994, Germany 1998, Moldova 2005, Austria 2003, Denmark 1957
  • Men in Eurovision: France 1961, Spain 1962, Belgium 1969, Norway 1968, Spain 1970, Finland 1967, The Netherlands 1982, United Kingdom 1962, Italy 1965, Israel 1974, Belgium 1973, Belgium 1974, Luxembourg 1976, Austria 1957, Italy 1980, Ireland 1966, Sweden 1980, Austria 1959, Russia 1995, Denmark 1980, Austria 1991, Iceland 1986, Malta 1975
  • Dancing in Eurovision: Germany 1959, Belgium 1983, Denmark 1966, Turkey 1987, Germany 1977, United Kingdom 1982, Austria 1977, Luxembourg 1978, Germany 1979, Austria 1982, Spain 1977, Denmark 1981, Belgium 1973, United Kingdom 1983, Denmark 1983, Sweden 1985, Portugal 1982, Norway 1986, Ireland 1969, Greece 2002, France 2004, Yugoslavia 1983, United Kingdom 1987, Greece 2004, The Netherlands 1966
  • Women in Eurovision: Sweden 1963, Spain 1961, Spain 1990, Germany 1975, The Netherlands 1993, Greece 1991, Spain 1983, United Kingdom 1996, Russia 1997, Norway 1966, Monaco 1967, Portugal 1969, Spain 1965, Croatia 2002, Greece 2003, Belgium 1973, Norway 1976, France 1967, Italy 1992, Croatia 1999, Portugal 1966, Monaco 1971, The Netherlands 1965, Portugal 1988
  • Eurovision Favourites: Luxembourg 1978: Parlez-vous français? (English version) by Dana International, Sweden 1983 Främling by Carola, Russia 2000 Solo by Alsou, Malta 2001 Another Summer Night by Fabrizio Faniello, Luxembourg 1967 L’amour est bleu by Marie Myriam, United Kingdom 1975 Let Me Be the One by Richard Herrey (of Herreys), Denmark 1989 Vi maler byen rød by Tomas Thordarson
  • Eurovision Winners Medley: Israel 1979: Hallelujah (English version) by Gali Atari (of Milk and Honey), Norway 1985: La det swinge by Bobbysocks!, Luxembourg 1972: Après toi by Anne-Marie David, Switzerland 1956: Refrain by Lys Assia, Italy 1964: Non ho l’età by Sandra Kim, United Kingdom 1981: Making Your Mind Up byBucks Fizz (Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and Shelley Preston)
  • Second Places: France 1976, United Kingdom 1972, United Kingdom 1961, Spain 1979, Germany 1987, France 1991, Germany 1981, Israel 1982, Switzerland 1963, Spain 1995, Switzerland 1958, Iceland 1999, France 1990, Sweden 1966, Denmark 2001, Norway 1996
  • Medley ‘Backing vocals’: Ireland 1996: The Voice by Eimear Quinn, Ireland 1994: Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids by Charlie McGettigan & Jakob Sveistrup, Denmark 2005: Talking to You by Jakob Sveistrup, Ireland 1992: Why Me? by Linda Martin

Commentators: Albania – Leon Menkshi, Andorra – Meri Picart, Austria – Andi Knoll, Belgium – André Vermeulen & Anja Daems (VRT), Viktor Lazlo & Yves Barbieux (RTBF), Bosnia and Herzegovina – Dino Merlin, Croatia – Emilija Kokić, Cyprus – Evi Papamichail, Denmark – Nicolai Molbech, Estonia – Marko Reikop, Finland – Jaana Pelkonen & Heikki Seppälä (YLE TV2), Germany – Peter Urban, Greece – Elizabeth Filipouli, Iceland – Gísli Marteinn Baldursson, Ireland – Marty Whelan, Israel – No commentator, Latvia – Marie N, Malta – No commentator, Monaco – Bernard Montiel & Églantine Emeyé, The Netherlands – Willem van Beusekom, Norway – Jostein Pedersen, Poland – Artur Orzech, Portugal – Eládio Clímaco, Russia – Yelena Batinova, Serbia and Montenegro – Duška Vučinić-Lučić (RTS1) / TBC (TVCG), Slovenia – Andrej Hofer, Spain – Beatriz Pécker & José María Íñigo, Sweden – Pekka Heino, Switzerland – Sandra Studer (SF) / Serge Moisson(TSR) / Sandy Altermatt (RTSI), Turkey – Bülend Özveren, Ukraine – Pavlo Shylko