As all of the top three countries from 1962 kindly declined (rude!) the organisation of the 1963 contest it fell into the lap of Auntie Beeb who was all too keen to show off her new television studios at Shepherd’s Bush. She did it in a most peculiar way, which resulted in what is likely to be the most bizarre ESC in history. Accompanied by the most talked about voting scandal in the age before Malta.
With one studio filled with the audience, the scoreboard and the lovely Katie Boyle and another one with the orchestra and the performers there was quite a peculiar atmosphere down there in London. No whiff of live excitement but a rather classic tv show perspective, and at times it resembled more of a prerecorded show than a live spectacle. Not helping those rumours is the performance by none other than the British performer who seemed to lipsync for his life, assisted by equally enthusiastic lipsyncing backing … eum … vocals. Or perhaps we just had to get used to the fact there were no microphones to be seen.
The first traces of visual effects left their marks, supporting the eventual winner of the contest in the form of hippie whirlwinds. Italy had a more classic approach with giant posters of beautiful young women whose sole function was to emphasise the stallion that was Emilio Pericoli. This piece of sexism still managed to reach third place, start frowning…now. Still, Pericoli brought a welcome touch of suave to the contest, a concept which countries like Belgium (again!!) and Yugoslavia still did not seem to grasp. Spain made a move in the wrong direction while the French went further along the melancholic path it had chosen succesfully the year before.
The women in the contest were either brilliant or a total bore. Much to my surprise three out of four Scandinavian countries fall into the latter category, accompagnied by Nana Mouskouri (who sounded as much as a nun as she looked like one) and the Austrian bore in a killer dress. The Dutch Annie managed to make me love one of those early childish songs, so well done to her, and the Swiss Esther Ofarim must have made half of the European women watching at the time reaching for the kleenex box with her dramatic rendition. Monaco’s Françoise Hardy would soon be known all over Europe for her frail yet sexy image and immediately won me over with her natural charm.
So Denmark managed to sweep the victory from underneath the nose of Switzerland thanks to some Norwegian neighbourly winking, causing an outrage for many. I think it’s well deserved and the Swiss should suck it as they won quite unrightfully the very first year.
These are the votes of the Dimivision jury:
1 point: Spain
2 points: Finland
3 points: Italy
4 points: Germany
5 points: United Kingdom
6 points: France
7 points: Netherlands
8 points: Monaco – L’amour s’en va
The lovely magnetic Françoise Hardy manages to captivate the attention without slipping once, just by being her natural self while bringing a simple but effective lullaby. Love.
10 points: Switzerland – T’en vas pas
Barbra, can you hear me? A tad too old skool for me but sung beautifully by the Israeli singer. Haunting.
12 points: Denmark – Dansevise
Inspite of, and not thanks to, the visual effects this is without a shadow of a doubt the best of the bunch. I’ll be striking another note in the years to come, but it’s bliss to hear that electric guitar that so brilliantly sets the mood. The Danes aren’t the most esthetic performers in the show, but boy do they deliver. Fabulous, this.
Which still isn’t enough to get those Dutch from the top spot, but the Danes are the first to score a second victory in Dimivision’s book! Who’d have thought!!
1 Netherlands 51
2 France 44 (1)
3 United Kingdom 42 (1)
4 Denmark 40 (2)
5 Italy 38 (1)
6 Switzerland 36
7 Sweden 34
8 Monaco 32
9 Germany 31 (1)
10 Luxembourg 30 (1)
Isn’t it about time we had another big hit, by the way?