Eurovision Song Contest 1988

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Eurovision Song Contest 1988
ESC 1988 logo.png
Final30 April 1988
VenueRDS Simmonscourt Pavilion,
Ballsbridge, Dublin, Ireland
Musical directorNoel Kelehan
Directed byDeclan Lowney
Executive supervisorFrank Naef
Executive producerLiam Miller
Host broadcasterRaidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ)
Opening act"Hold Me Now" performed by Johnny Logan
Interval act"Don't Go" performed by Hothouse Flowers Edit this at Wikidata
Number of entries21
Debuting countriesNone
Returning countriesNone
Non-returning countries Cyprus
  • Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988Netherlands in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988Switzerland in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988Monaco in the Eurovision Song ContestLuxembourg in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988Denmark in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988Malta in the Eurovision Song ContestAustria in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988France in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988Yugoslavia in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988Morocco in the Eurovision Song ContestCyprus in the Eurovision Song ContestIceland in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988A coloured map of the countries of Europe
    About this image
         Participating countries     Countries that participated in the past but not in 1988
Voting systemEach country awarded 12, 10, 8-1 point(s) to their 10 favourite songs
Nul points in final Austria
Winning song  Switzerland
"Ne partez pas sans moi"
1987 ← Eurovision Song Contest → 1989

The Eurovision Song Contest 1988 was the 33rd edition of the annual Eurovision Song Contest. It took place in Dublin, Ireland, following Johnny Logan's win at the 1987 contest with the song "Hold Me Now". Organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and host broadcaster Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ), the contest was held at the RDS Simmonscourt on 30 April 1988 and was hosted by Irish broadcaster Pat Kenny and the Miss Ireland 1980 Michelle Rocca, marking the first time since the 1979 contest that two presenters had hosted the contest.

Twenty-one countries took part, after an initial plan of twenty-two, as Cyprus' song was disqualified for breaching the contest's rules by being published a few years earlier, in an attempt to represent the country at a prior edition of the contest. The Cypriot song had been drawn to be performed 2nd in the running order.

The winner was Switzerland with the song "Ne partez pas sans moi", performed by Canadian singer Céline Dion and composed by Atilla Şereftuğ with lyrics in French by Nella Martinetti. Switzerland beat the United Kingdom by just one point in the last vote to win the title. The victory helped launch Céline Dion's international career, subsequently leading her to become one of the best-selling artists of all time.


RDS Simmonscourt – host venue of the 1988 contest.

Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. The contest took place at the Simmonscourt Pavilion of the Royal Dublin Society, which was normally used for agricultural and horse shows. The same venue had hosted the 1981 contest. The staging of the contest in Dublin in 1988 formed part of Dublin's year long celebration of 1000 years since it was established by Scandinavian settlers in 988.


Graphic design[edit]

Host broadcaster RTÉ employed Declan Lowney, who was notable for being a director of music videos and youth programming, as director for this edition, in order to revamp the contest to attract and sustain a younger audience. The traditional scoreboard was replaced with two giant Vidiwalls located on either side of the stage, which also projected live images of the performers from the green room where the competitors set during the votes announcements, and a new computer-generated scoreboard was used.

The stage itself, conceived by Paula Farrell under chief production designer Michael Grogan, was also the largest and most elaborate ever constructed for the Eurovision Song Contest. To compensate for the fact that the vast stage took up most of the room in what is really an average size exhibition hall, the director deliberately darkened the hall where the audience was located and refused to use wide angled shots of the audience, in order to create the illusion of the venue being bigger than it actually was.

The Postcards featured the participants doing things in Ireland from culture, to tradition, to sports or sightseeing.

Lowney was also the director of the show's interval act, introduced after the competing songs and before the votes announcement. The interval act was a video of the popular Irish rock group Hothouse Flowers, which was filmed in eleven countries around Europe and was the most expensive music video ever produced in Ireland at the time.

Voting segment[edit]

Each country had a jury who awarded 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 point(s) for its top ten songs. The number of jury members changed this year from 11 which had been the limit since 1975 to 16 which would be used until 1996 when some countries abolished it after the contest in favour of televoting and fully after 1997.

This edition features one of the closest and most fickle-ending votes in the history of the contest. With three countries left to vote, the UK was well in the lead with 133 points against Switzerland's 118. With the third last country, France, only awarding Switzerland one point, the UK looked certain of victory, as even if Switzerland scooped the two final 12s, the UK would only need to gather eleven points from three juries combined to be unbeatable. However, France didn't award the UK any points, and the following country, Portugal, gave the UK a meagre three points while giving the maximum 12 to Switzerland, making the contest blown open between the two countries until the end of the voting.

With the conclusion of voting from the penultimate jury, the UK was holding a five-point lead over Switzerland. As the final jury, that of Yugoslavia, began to award its points in the customary ascending order, a lot of excitement-sighs were heard from the audience to see how the two rivals for victory would fare. Switzerland was the first to be named with six points, edging it into a one-point lead over the UK. After earlier strong votes from most countries to the UK, it seemed highly likely that the UK would be given one of the higher remaining set of points. However, as Yugoslavia announced its seven, eight, ten and twelve points, it transpired that it had awarded the UK no points at all (12 points from Yugoslavia went to France), [a] and Switzerland was left with its one-point lead to savour a dramatic triumph.

Participating countries[edit]

Twenty-one countries took part, after an initial plan of twenty-two, as Cyprus was disqualified after it had already submitted an entry. Cypriot broadcaster CyBC had selected the song 'Thimame' sung by Yiannis Dimitrou, and at a late stage saw that the song was ineligible to represent them as it had been entered into the Cypriot selection for the 1984 contest, where it had finished in 3rd place. This was classed as a breach of the Cypriot rules of selecting their entry at this time as well as an infringement of the Eurovision Song Contest rules. It was a very late decision as the song was already drawn to perform second in the contest, advertised in the Radio Times information about the preview programme of the contest, and appears as song number two in accordance to its initial performance draw, on the record release "Melodi Grand Prix 1988" – the compilation disc of the contest's entries.[1]

This was the second victory for Switzerland at the Eurovision Song Contest after winning the first edition in 1956. It also remains the last time a song in French has won the contest, the language having dominated the event in earlier years.

The contest helped launch an international career for two artists, the winner for Switzerland Céline Dion and Luxembourg's representative Lara Fabian. French-Canadian Céline Dion was only famous in the French-speaking world at the time of the contest. Shortly afterwards she started recording songs in English to great worldwide success.[2] Belgian-Canadian Lara Fabian started a successful career after the contest with becoming established in various countries worldwide, with a mainly French-sung repertoire.[2] The UK entry was written and composed by Julie Forsyth, the daughter of the entertainer Bruce Forsyth who was present. When interviewed afterwards he was particularly annoyed at the Dutch jury not having given a vote to the UK, as they had done some work there.


Each performance had a conductor who was maestro to the orchestra, except for Iceland and Italy. Unlike in most years, the conductors took their bows after each song, not before.[3][1]

Prior to Cyprus' disqualification, John Themis was set to conduct and additionally play the guitar solo.

Returning artists[edit]

Bold indicates a previous winner.

Artist Country Previous year(s)
Hot Eyes  Denmark 1984, 1985
Boulevard  Finland 1987 (as backing group for Vicky Rosti)
Yardena Arazi  Israel 1976 (as part of Chocolate, Menta, Mastik), 1979 (as presenter)[b]
Reuven Gvirtz (backing singer) 1979 (as part of Milk and Honey)
Yehuda Tamir (backing singer)
Dora  Portugal 1986
Tommy Körberg  Sweden 1969
MFÖ  Turkey 1985

Participants and results[edit]

Order Country Artist Song Language[4][5] Place[6] Points
01  Iceland Beathoven "Þú og þeir (Sókrates)" Icelandic 16 20
02  Sweden Tommy Körberg "Stad i ljus" Swedish 12 52
03  Finland Boulevard "Nauravat silmät muistetaan" Finnish 20 3
04  United Kingdom Scott Fitzgerald "Go" English 2 136
05  Turkey MFÖ "Sufi" Turkish 15 37
06  Spain La Década "La chica que yo quiero (Made in Spain)" Spanish 11 58
07  Netherlands Gerard Joling "Shangri-La" Dutch 9 70
08  Israel Yardena Arazi "Ben Adam" (בן אדם) Hebrew 7 85
09   Switzerland Céline Dion "Ne partez pas sans moi" French 1 137
10  Ireland Jump the Gun "Take Him Home" English 8 79
11  Germany Maxi and Chris Garden "Lied für einen Freund" German 14 48
12  Austria Wilfried "Lisa Mona Lisa" German 21 0
13  Denmark Hot Eyes "Ka' du se hva' jeg sa'?" Danish 3 92
14  Greece Afroditi Frida "Clown" (Κλόουν) Greek 17 10
15  Norway Karoline Krüger "For vår jord" Norwegian 5 88
16  Belgium Reynaert "Laissez briller le soleil" French 18 5
17  Luxembourg Lara Fabian "Croire" French 4 90
18  Italy Luca Barbarossa "Vivo (Ti scrivo)" Italian 12 52
19  France Gérard Lenorman "Chanteur de charme" French 10 64
20  Portugal Dora "Voltarei" Portuguese 18 5
21  Yugoslavia Srebrna krila "Mangup" (Мангуп) Serbo-Croatian 6 87


Points allocated to the winning song from Switzerland
Voting results[7][8]
Total score
United Kingdom
Iceland 20 1 4 4 1 2 8
Sweden 52 3 2 8 5 8 12 1 3 10
Finland 3 3
United Kingdom 136 1 5 10 12 10 10 5 7 10 10 10 6 5 12 8 12 3
Turkey 37 4 1 5 1 8 8 4 6
Spain 58 2 5 2 6 8 1 8 2 6 6 8 4
Netherlands 70 6 6 7 7 2 6 12 12 5 7
Israel 85 6 6 4 6 3 10 1 5 2 3 10 5 3 10 10 1
Switzerland 137 7 12 5 10 10 8 10 4 10 12 10 8 4 1 7 1 12 6
Ireland 79 7 2 3 2 12 6 4 7 6 7 7 5 4 5 2
Germany 48 8 5 1 3 5 6 6 4 2 8
Austria 0
Denmark 92 10 3 4 1 12 6 1 4 4 12 10 7 12 6
Greece 10 3 7
Norway 88 5 8 7 12 7 1 8 1 3 5 7 3 4 7 10
Belgium 5 5
Luxembourg 90 4 10 12 7 5 12 12 1 2 2 6 8 2 4 3
Italy 52 8 4 7 8 2 5 3 2 8 5
France 64 2 3 8 2 2 3 3 7 3 5 1 2 10 1 12
Portugal 5 4 1
Yugoslavia 87 12 6 1 8 7 12 2 3 4 12 4 7 6 3

12 points[edit]

Below is a summary of all 12 points in the final:

N. Contestant Nation(s) giving 12 points
3  Denmark  Austria,  France,  Netherlands
 Luxembourg  Finland,  Ireland,   Switzerland
  Switzerland  Germany,  Portugal,  Sweden
 United Kingdom  Belgium,  Italy,  Turkey
 Yugoslavia  Denmark,  Iceland,  Israel
2  Netherlands  Greece,  Luxembourg
1  France  Yugoslavia
 Ireland  Spain
 Norway  United Kingdom
 Sweden  Norway


Each country announced their votes in the order of performance. The following is a list of spokespersons who announced the votes for their respective country.


National broadcasters were able to send a commentary team to the contest, in order to provide coverage of the contest in their own native language.

Broadcasters and commentators in participating countries
Country Broadcaster(s) Commentator(s) Ref(s)
 Austria FS1 Ernst Grissemann [de] [18]
Hitradio Ö3 Hans Leitinger [de]
 Belgium RTBF1 French: Pierre Collard-Bovy [19]
BRT TV1 Dutch: Luc Appermont [20]
RTBF La Première French: Patrick Duhamel [fr] and Stéphane Dupont
BRT Radio 2 Dutch: Julien Put [nl] and Herwig Haes
 Denmark DR TV Jørgen de Mylius [21]
DR P3 Poul Birch Eriksen [dk]
 Finland YLE TV1 Erkki Pohjanheimo [22]
YLE 2-verkko TBC
 France Antenne 2 Lionel Cassan [fr] [19]
France Inter Julien Lepers
 Germany Erstes Deutsches Fernsehen Nicole and Claus-Erich Boetzkes [23]
Deutschlandfunk/NDR Radio 2 Peter Urban
 Greece ET1 Dafni Bokota [24]
ERA 1 Dimitris Konstantaras [el]
 Iceland Sjónvarpið Hermann Gunnarsson [9]
 Ireland RTÉ 1 Mike Murphy
RTÉ Radio 1 Larry Gogan
 Israel Israeli Television No commentator
Reshet Gimel Yigal Ravid
 Italy Rai Tre Daniele Piombi [25]
Rai Radio 2 Antonio De Robertis
 Luxembourg RTL Télévision French: Valérie Sarn [fr] [19]
RTL plus German: Oliver Spiecker
RTL André Torrent [fr]
 Netherlands Nederland 3 Willem van Beusekom [26]
Radio 3 Ben Cramer
 Norway NRK John Andreassen [27]
NRK P2 Leif Erik Forberg
 Portugal RTP1 Margarida Mercês de Melo [16]
 Spain TVE 2 Beatriz Pécker [es] [28]
 Sweden TV2 Bengt Grafström [10]
SR P3 Kalle Oldby [10]
  Switzerland TV DRS German: Bernard Thurnheer [de]
TSR French: Serge Moisson [fr] [29]
TSI Italian: Ezio Guidi [it] [30]
 Turkey TV1 Bülend Özveren [31]
TRT Radyo 3 Şebnem Savaşçı
 United Kingdom BBC1 Terry Wogan [32][1]
BBC Radio 2 Ken Bruce [1]
 Yugoslavia TVB 1 Serbo-Croatian: Mladen Popović
TVZ 1 Serbo-Croatian: Oliver Mlakar
TVL 1 Slovene: Marjeta Keršič Svetel
Broadcasters and commentators in non-participating countries
Country Broadcaster(s) Commentator(s) Ref(s)
 Australia SBS TV Unknown
 Cyprus RIK Dafni Bokota


  1. ^ Yugoslavia, as being the last jury to announce its votes, had caused the same situation to happen when after their voting UK lost to Spain by 1 point in the 1968 contest
  2. ^ With this, she became the first person to compete in the contest after hosting an earlier edition; before her, there were few competitors that hosted later editions of the contest.


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  32. ^ Eurovision Song Contest 1988 BBC Archives

External links[edit]