Apart from the dozens competing performances on stage, the Eurovision Song Contest has included a number of different acts on stage filling the most popular televised music event worldwide with further interesting material. One of the most interesting kinds of acts are the opening acts that indicate the beginning of each edition introducing the viewers in the host country’s culture.

In previous posts we made flashbacks to the interval acts  of the contest (part 1, part 2, part 3) , which are an integral feature of all Eurovision editions, from far back in 1956. However it’s not the same story when it comes to opening acts , which started appearing progressively in the 60’s and mostly from the 70’s and on.  However, still in these past times not all editions of the Eurovision Song Contest included opening acts as they did interval acts . The opening acts started becoming an established part of the show after the new millennium as the contest started evolving in a full televised show.

The opening acts consist of the same elements as those of the interval acts, since we usually see latest winners perform the previous year’s winning song or new work of their’s, past hosts that perform on stage, videos introducing the host country’s culture and tradition and all kinds of music dancing shows. A slight difference that one might outline, is that the objective of opening acts is more narrow then the interval acts, since the first ones mostly intend to welcome the viewers in the edition’s atmosphere or just remind them of the last winner. On the contrary, interval acts especially the latest years aim to entertain the audience and keep it company until the of voting lines close.

So lets start our flashback on the Eurovision opening acts from the 70’s to reach progressively in this first tribute, the year 2002. 

Initially the opening acts didn’t attract so mush attention and were brought neutral feelings by including either a performance by a choir or showed different kind of attractions from the host country.

Opening acts like this we saw back in 1961 and 1970:

1977: A flight and tour over the 4 regions that form the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). In a Europe that started to develop in a more interactive environment.

1979: Jerusalem’s story emphasizing its sacredness for Christianity .

1982: An introducing video demonstrating in various languages the question where Harrogate is located, the place hosting the 27th edition of the Contest . Later on the attendance of the audience is demonstrated on screen.

1983: Hostess Marlene Charell  introduces  the 20 contestants and invites them on stage.

1984: Conductor Pierre Cao and  RTL orchestra presented to the audience an orchestral version of the winning  ESC entries up to 1983 while an introductory video of Luxembourg’s sights is displayed on screen. Later on that year’s hostess  Désirée Nosbusch welcomes the people to the contest.

From  1985 more attention is given on having on stage past eurostars . Several of them come on stage to present their new piece of work or last year’s winners comeback performing their winning entries. 

1985: The popular Swedish singer  Lill Lindfors and hostess for that year’s edition performs «My Joy Is Building Bricks Of Music». She had participated herself in the Eurovision Song Contest back in 1966 representing her country alongside with Svante Thuresson and their song Nygammal Vals, which achieved a 2nd placing.

1986: Another past ESC participant, Åse Kleveland  was the hostess of this year’s contest in Norway and she performs on stage the song  Welcome To Music. She had represented her country in 1966 with her entry «Intet er nytt under solen», finishing in the 3rd place.

1987: Moving in the same direction, female singers appear presenting the show. This time it was popular Viktor Lazlo’s turn to open the show with her hit  Breathless.

1988:  Johnny Logan performs his winning song  Hold Me Now, turned to be worldwide hit ballad.

1989: The worldwide diva,  Celine Dion, at her first steps after her ESC victory, performance once more her winning entry Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi and her new universal hit Where Does My Heart Beat Now.

1990: A short video of a tour  in Zagreb, the city of music.

1991: Host Toto Cutugno, who was the previous year’s winner, performs his winning entry Insieme while his co hostess  Gigliola Cinquetti the song Non ho l’età. Gigliola had participated in 1974 achieving a 2nd place with the song Si. Well known singer and dancer Sara Carlson, appears on a taped video.

1992: Last year’s winner Carola performs her new piece of work,  All The Reasons To Live. She will represent Sweden again in Athens , 2006 achieving a 5th place with  Invincible.

1993: The story of Eochaid & Etain. According to the Celtic middle age tradition and mythology Eochaid was the Great King of whole Ireland and had a sacred feature.  Etain was a goddess of Irish mythology and was married to Eochaid. In the video we see her name being connected with her capacity to transform herself to a horse.

1995: A video tribute to the 40 years of Eurovision history.

1996: Norwegian artist and host of the night  Morten Harket performs his single Heaven’s Not For Saint.

1997: A presentation of old and modern Birmingham.

1999: A taped video of people coming to Jerusalem. That’s when the two hostesses of the night, Dafna Dekel and Sigal Shachmon appear .

2001: last year’s winners , Olsen Brothers sing again their winning entry  Fly On The Wings Of Love and their new single Walk Right Back. Remarkable fact that the duo has made 5 more attempts to represent the country while Jorgen himself another three times without success.

2002: The duo Tanel Padar and Dave Benton return on stage to perform their winning song Everybody.

Which ones you didn’t know of and which opening act from above is your favorite?

Stay tuned on the INFE Network for the second part of our tribute to opening acts the years during which the Eurovision Song Contest has grown and become the most popular TV music contest . 

Source: INFE Greece – Giannis Kostikas