© Michael Osmenda
A couple of decades ago it was not solely St. Patrick’s day the Irish celebrated heavily, but the Eurovision Song Contest that made the Irish champions for a number of years.
Ireland is still the country which has won the ESC the most frequently – holding seven victories in its hands. The country’s championship though remains accurate only in theory and not in practice anymore.
The 1990s marked a peak season for the Irish in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Between 1992 and 1997 Ireland won the ESC four times. In this time span, when the country did not rank first place, it landed second, as in 1997, or had an Irish performer take on a leading role for another country that won, as it did for Norway in 1995 with Fionnuala Sherry.
For the six ESCs running between 1992 and 1997, Irish entries were awarded “douze points” on 26 occasions. Three votes with 12 points were received in 1992, seven in 1993 and 1996, eight in 1994 and one in 1997. In the past 14 years, since 1998, Ireland has only been awarded “douze points” on four occasions of which two came from the UK.
Similarly to the “douze points” vanishing slowly for Ireland so have the average points per contest decreased. While Ireland scored an average of 169 points in its glory years between 1992 and 1997, an average of only 39 points has been reached since 1998, resulting in an average score of 66.8 points since 1975.
For the ESC years running until 1997 Ireland continuously received four points or more on average from each participating country. But for the eleven following years it has only been the UK that has continued to award Ireland more than four points for its ESC entries.
The UK has not been quite as successful as Ireland in the ESC. Nonetheless, the country can be proud of its results. Of the 55 Eurovision Song Contests the UK participated in, it won five times.
This means the UK holds a victory rate of 8.6%.
The average points the UK has reached between 1975 and 2014 is 56.4.
Unlike Ireland, the UK’s victories were more distributed across the years, with the first victory being in 1967 and the most recent in 1997 – when Ireland scored second.
Since the first Eurovision Song Contest back in 1956, the UK has been a welcoming host to the contest. The UK has hosted the contest eight times so far. The venues were in London, Edinburgh, Brighton, Harrogate and Birmingham.
In 1968 the UK set a milestone in the Eurovision song contest by broadcasting the ESC for the first time in color TV from the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Clearly, Ireland and the UK have not been very lucky within the Eurovision Song Contest for the past 17 years.
This may relate to the European Broadcasting Union having added new rules to the ESC, such as the televoting, the sms-voting, the jury votes and the introduction of semi-finals. Or it may relate to the “easternization” within the ESC, allowing many countries from Eastern Europe to participate.
Nonetheless, considering Ireland’s and the UK’s winning statistics with 48 entries and seven wins, Ireland has a 14.6 % chance of winning the next ESC in Austria, and the UK has a 9.1% chance, resulting from five wins in 55 entries.
Let’s see whether this year the luck of the Irish pulls through or the Empire strikes back.