Those were the words that came out of my mouth during Spain’s performance from the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a figure dressed in black come onto stage and took part in the choreography.  As he ran off stage, I motioned to my friend, Michael, who nonchalantly replied, “Saw what?” followed by “Oh…” as we watched the uninvited “back-up dancer,” later revealed to be Spaniard Jimmy Jump, get escorted away by security. 


My thoughts were confirmed when host Nadia Hasnaoui announced a few performances later that Spain would be allowed to perform again after all the other acts.  Despite the second performance, I was impressed by the Spanish delegation to keep their cool despite the presence of the “7th performer.”  At one point, I almost swore that I saw Diges chuckle to himself over what happened! 


One can never know what to expect at the Eurovision Song Contest.  Although 2010 is one of the more memorable stage screw-ups, there have been others that have occurred over the past 25 years.  Some were easily noticeable.  Some were very slight.  And some came under media and fan scrutiny!



SPAIN 1990

Spain 1990 Eurovision Song contest

The 1990 Eurovision Song Contest got off to a particularly shaky start.  Spanish entry Azucar Moreno were the first to perform and after a slight delay, the backing track began.  The two members seemed a bit confused but carried on with the choreography, until it became clear that they had missed their cue because the backing track was not started at the proper spot.  Unlike Diges, the ladies from Azucar Moreno were clearly annoyed and walked off stage.  The music stopped and the confused audience waited.  Luckily, the ladies returned and the performance of “Bandido” went on as planned.  They ended up finishing a respectable 5th place.


If you search for the biography of Eduardo Leiva at http://andtheconductoris.eu/ , you can learn more about what happened, from his perspective!


CLIP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htXKfmjdIRo




Although Wikipedia states this occurring, I’m skeptical as I could not find information elsewhere.  However, please feel to read on, and judge for yourself… Supposedly, during Carola’s winning performance of “Fångad Av En Stormvind,” the sound system in the venue broke down.  As a result, the audience could not hear her sing.  Luckily for viewers, the song was broadcast without problems.  More importantly, luckily for Carola, the viewers could hear her give the memorable performance that gave Sweden’s its third of five wins.


CLIP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d14Y62WBei4




Before televoting occurred in Eurovision, scoring relied on national juries.  As still done today, the juries would watch the dress rehearsals the day before so that votes could be tabulated by the live show.  In 1994, Poland took part in the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time and brought superstar Edyta Gorniak to Ireland.  However, in the dress rehearsal, Gorniak sang the second verse of her song, “To Nie Ja” in English.  Rules at the time stated that a song must be sung in its country’s official language.  Uproar ensued and six countries demanded that Poland be disqualified.  However, the rules required that over half of the countries participating had to file a complaint.  As they were well below the required 13, Poland got away with a 2nd place finish. 


CLIP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N32ALgfahQ0




Croatia is remembered as one of the few countries that was ever punished by the EBU despite still being able to compete in that year’s Eurovision Song Contest.  At the1999 Eurovision Song Contest, DorisDragović’s song, “Marija Magdalena,” featured a backing track thatincluded pre-recorded male vocals.  According to Eurovision rules, all backing vocals had to be performed live on stage with the main performer(s).  The EBU did not alter Croatia’s 4th place result.  However, they reduced its score by 1/3 for the calculation of five-year averages that determined participation in future contests.  In retrospect, this punishment was not too severe as Croatia was still able to participate in the next 5 Eurovision Song Contests.


CLIP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckxB61up1IM




This was one stage screw-up unbeknownst to me, until fellow blogger Matt commented on this in last week’s article.  Estonia hosted the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest and as usual, the loudest cheers came when host country representative Sahlene took the stage.  However, stage staff accidentally switched Sahlene’s mic to backup so for the first minute, the voices of the backup singers overpowered that of Sahlene’s.  Luckily, this mistake was quickly rectified, and Sahlene went on to finish 3rd.


CLIP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqnfOleVOqQ




One of the more entertaining moments of the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest and in particular, Switzerland’s entry that year was when Piero Esteriore accidentally hit himself in the face with his microphone.  I would have expected that the televoters in at least one country would have awarded Switzerland one point over that!


CLIP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUX3_0KM7fc (hits self in the face at 0:40)




There were numerous complains of bad sound quality.  This was most evident in the semi-finals when Portugal’s 2B performed “Amar.”  There were a couple times I could hear squeaking from their shoes.  Things were not looking good for Kiev but thankfully, these sound quality issues were resolved by the finals. 


CLIP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pzw-CFAoZ_w




Although Jade Ewen gave the UK their best placing since 2002, most will remember “It’s My Time” for the moment when Jade got too close to a violinist’s bow.  The bow hit Jade’s microphone which then promptly hit Jade’s face.  Although this could have been a humiliating moment in Jade Ewen’s career, Jade did not flinch at all and continued through her performance respectably!


CLIP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBykhFyy-ZE (pelted with bow at 1:03)




Loreen’s stage screw-up was missed by most, as most do no watch the dress rehearsals.  However, thanks to the power of YouTube, everyone can relive the moment when a piece of “snow” got caught in Loreen’s mouth, causing her to stop singing and cough it out.  It was quite the hideous moment and one that could have proven disastrous.  Nevertheless, the jury still awarded Loreen with a 1st place finish, and helped Sweden gain their 5th Eurovision victory.


CLIP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74jVC-Gh0As (cough at 2:13)



These 10 stage screw-ups are only a small selection of what issues have arisen at the Eurovision Song Contest.  Don’t even get me started on the broadcasting issues that have occurred (Italy 1958, Slovenia 2004) or have been rumored to have occurred (the first acts of 2011’s first semi-final).  What were your favorite or most memorable stage screw-ups in the Eurovision Song Contest?

Author: Zach

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