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(J): from J'ai Deja Vu Ca Dans Te Yeux to Just Nu

KEY: Winner Runner-up Third-place Top 5 Debut Entry Host Entry Last Place Nul Points

J'AI DEJA VU CA DANS TE YEUX (song) Luxembourg entry, Jerusalem 1979: 13th place (44 pts)
Do you know, there should be a forest of accents above the title of the 1979 Luxembourgeoise entry, but for some reason, between the keyboard and the world wide web, they turn into symbols for a quarter or pictures of skull and crossbones.

So that's why they've been left off and now back to business.

This is the best Eurovision song Carly Simon never wrote. There are hints of Nobody Does It Better in the intro and Jeanne Manson (she's not from Luxembourg) may not have quite the same toothypegs as Ms Simon herself, but she does try to copy her vocal style here and there.

That this song didn't do very well (but it did get 10 from the UK) further supports the theory that truly good songs shouldn't be entered for the ESC, but there is some good news for Jeanne and the composers of this fine song. Anyone fortunate enough to have the right tiles to spell this song's title out in a game of Scrabble is guaranteed at least 86,000 points.

J'AIME LE VIE (song) Belgian entry, Bergen 1986: WINNER (176 pts)
Some very, very naughty ESC fans change the hook line of this song to 'Shake Your Fanny At Me/Shave Your Fanny For Me', although I personally wouldn't stoop to such saucy devilment. Not often, anyway.

Belgium's only winner so far, and the only song ever written that's won the 1986 Eurovision Song Contest, J'aime La Vie traslates as 'I Love Life'.

People in Britain may recall Esther Rantzen re-recording the song in 1987 as J'aime La That's Vie in a tenuous link to her own That's Life show, popular on BBC 1 at the time.

The two songs are quite indistinguishable, although in Esther's version, she does stop half way through so that Doc Cox can shake a rudely shaped vegetable in front of the microphone.

JACQUELINE (singer) French entry, London 1960: WINNER (32 pts)
The first winner with a song that sounds like a Eurovision song, which was, of course, Tom Pillibi for France in 1960.

Jacqueline Boyer was given a chrome-plated vase for her efforts, which beats a unique glass bowl by Susan Nixon any day of the week. Boyer's song was all about a cheeky scoundrel who tells lies, but whom she's secretly in love with. The French have, rather belatedly, decided to try this winning formula one more time, so at some point they will send an American singer known only as 'Monica' to sing Bill Clintonee on their behalf.

JA SZAM SE PLES (song) Yugoslav entry, Brussels 1987: 4th place (92 pts)
They've never heard of plagarism in Yugoslavia, because Novi Fosili's entry for 1987 was/is a big rip-off of Cliff Richard's Do You Wanna Dance (see CLIFF, to understand why no-one ever takes the latter up on this offer), even to the extent of Serbo-Croatifying some of the original lyrics.

The participating jurors in 1987 mustn't have heard of plagarism either, because it finished fourth.

JALISSE (duo) Italian entry, Dublin 1997: 4th place (114 pts)
"Aaaaaah, ah, aaaaaah, ah, ah, aaaaaaaaah, a-a-,aaaaaah..."

No, not the opening to Italy's '97 entry Fiumi Di Parole (performed by Jalisse), but the sound all the anoraks made when Katrina and the Waves romped to victory about two hours later.

JARKKO & LAURA (duo) Finnish entry, Madrid 1969: 12th place (6 pts)
Obviously mistaking the 1969 Eurovision for the World Ice Skating Championship, Jarkko and Laura tried their best to accommodate for their error by attempting to skate-whilst-remaining-quite-still for much of their performance of Kuin Silloin Ennen

Unbeknown to the brave Finns, this had the unenviable side effect of making them look as if they had rickets, and iron supplements arrived by the truckload at Finnish Television for weeks afterwards.

JAVINE (singer) British entry, Kiev 2005: 22nd place (18 pts)
The fourth UK entrant in a row to begin with 'J', Miss Hylton was very poorly treated by the televoters of 2005, finishing third from last with the rather superb 'Touch My Fire'.

Javine is of course remembered for getting her tit oot for the lads during her winning reprise in 'Making Your Mind Up'.

It's a pity she didn't check first which sort of lad stays in on a Saturday night to watch 'Making Your Mind Up'.

JE N'AI QUE MON AME (song) French entry, Copenhagen 2001: 4th place (142 pts)
If it begins 'Je', it must be a French one. And if it's a big Celine-y ballad, it'll get the fans going, don't doubt that for a second.

The slightly bozz-eyed Natasha St Pier would h-rrrrather be dead than lose her soul, meaning that she always checks her life insurance policies before making any impromptu trips to the cobblers.

Finishing fourth made Natasha a national heroine in her homeland. Just the other day she was walking along a row of Parisian street cafes and, in the space of twenty minutes, as many as one person looked over the top of their newspaper at her and nodded slightly. It could have been the light, but we'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

JE SUIS UN VRAI GARCON (song) French entry, Dublin 1994: 7th place (74 pts)
She was either a refugee from the chorus of Les Miserable, or a genuine Parisian street urchin, but Nina Morato was definitely the most original-sounding entrant at the 1994 Eurovision.

The title Je Suis Un Vrai Garcon, of course, translates as I'm Really a Boy.

We can't say too much, but Frances Ruffelle got a real shock when Nina proved this to her backstage.
Note: Mow, Mow, Mow.... Mow.

JE VE DONNER MA VOIX (song) French entry, Jerusalem 1999: 19th place (14 pts)
Deep in the heart of darkest France lurks a sinister black figure known only as Nayah, who would think nothing of eating a live zebra for breakfast and wearing its hide as a skirt at the French national final for the Eurovision Song Contest.

However, zebra hides are mere chicken feed to Nayah. What she wanted more than anything else in the world was a suit stitched together from the skin of various backing singers. To do this, she first had to render them into a petrified state on stage at Eurovision with her scary face (which she did, onstage at Jerusalem '99 during Je Veux Donner Ma Voix) and then sneak them back into her dressing room where she could begin the process.

The first phase worked perfectly. However, she had not bargained on the troublesome presence of Dino and Beatrice's rather large backing singer, who ate all of Nayah's team whilst the French chanteuse was busy sharpening her knives.

So beware my pretties. If you are a backing singer, wander not the streets of Paris on your own, as a sinister black figure still waits on every corner, wishing to unleash her evil will unto you...

JEAN CLAUDE (singer) Luxembourgeois entry, Cannes 1961: WINNER (31 pts) ; Dublin 1981: =11th place (41 pts)

'Blimey, it's Dean Martin,' is what the present author would surely have said if 1961 hadn't been 15 years before he was born. Jean-Claude Pascal isn't Dean Martin of course, but he did bring Luxembourg the first of its five victories in that same year with Nous Les Amourex. Jean-Claude qualified to represent the Grand Duchy because somebody he knew had flown over it once on their way somewhere else. This later became the criteria for selecting all of Luxembourg's potential performers.

Jean-Claude's crap song beat the much better UK entry Are You Sure? by The Allisons 31 votes to 24, even though the Brit Boys were on 21 votes to his 13 with just five more juries to call in. Who says the contest is rigged? He returned in 1981 for the same country with another crap song (about Americans this time, almost as big a mix-up as BACCARA), but got his B-T-M severely whupped by the UK's Bucks Fizz. Hah-hah: Justice!

JEDAN DAN (song) Yugoslav entry, London 1968: =7th place (8 pts)
Mmm, nice boots.

In 1968, Yugoslavia gave Eurovision its most Christmassy-sounding song ever with Jedan Dan. Thirty-odd years on, it's difficult to see why it did so badly, as it does have bags of atmosphere.

One can only assume that it's the v-i-s-i-o-n part of the contest's title which hampered Luci and Hamo's chances in the final shout, as the sight of lots of blokes dressed in 14th Century get-up in the year that the 60s very nearly caught up with the contest, must have had many jurors running off to hide in the bathroom.

It obviously influenced one youthful soul though, as 12 years later, a naive indigenous Sami person re-created the look for Norway. Which was nice of him.

JEMINI (duo) British entry, Riga 2003: 26th/last place (0 pts)
Oh dear.

JENNIE JENNIE (song) Swedish entry, Stockholm 1975: 8th place (72 pts)
So, in 1974, your nation gave the Eurovision Song Contest the one song which could always allow it a smidgin of credibility no matter what came next. You'd have to come up with something pretty big to follow it up when you act as hosts the following year.

So, what did Sweden do? They sent Lars Berghagen with one of the dreariest pieces of pop music ever written.

Here's the hook of the chorus: "Jennie, Jennie (pom-pom) Jennie, Jennie."

Somehow, everybody must have known Waterloo would only ever be a blip on the axis of cheese-l...

JILL (singer) Swedish entry, Birmingham 1998: 10th place (53 pts)
If the song which immediately preceded her on the Birmingham stage (Hemel en Aarde) could have been the theme to Live and Let Die, then Karlekken Ar could have played over the titles of For Your Eyes Only. The English version to this song is apparently in tribute to the late Princess Di, but for a better song with the same theme, can we direct you to Generation Sex by The Divine Comedy?

Jill started the trend for displaying recently deceased poultry on her head, copied by Nayah in '99 and Telma in '00, although in Jill's case, this was due to one of Wolf's wigs falling onto her head during rehearsal. It had been caught up in the roof gantries of the NIA during a previous recording of Gladiators and never been retrieved.

JINXES (often proved correct)
It doesn't matter how good your song or performance is, there are three irrefutable truths where Eurovision jinxes are concerned:

  • 1) Any performer drawn to sing second will NOT win the contest.

    2) Any performer drawn to sing fourth will NOT win the contest (until 2003).

    3) Any performer representing Portugal will NOT win the contest.

JOHNNY (singer) Irish entry, The Hague 1980: WINNER (143 pts) ; Brussels 1987: WINNER (172 pts)

Hey, Mr Eurovision/Sing a song for us/In that jingle-jangle earnest way you usually do

Johnny Logan. Now, there's a thing. Engineered by Irish scientists during World War II (well, they were neutral, so they had to find something scientific to do for six years) with the specific intention of winning song contests, those boys in the lab certainly did their sums right.

Unfortunately, a WestWorld-ian defect in Logan's circuitry means he is not capable of independent thought for about three weeks in late April/early May each year. During this time, Logan's Run takes him to TV studios in the four corners of Europe, where his defective wiring will only allow him to say: "I'm very proud to have won Eurovison twice. I'm not biased, but Ireland will win again this year."

Then his creators put him back in his box until roughly the same time the following year, when the cycle can begin again.

JOHNNY BLUE (song) German entry, Dublin 1981: 2nd place (132 pts)
Now, no-one can ever accuse me of being a prude, but this one really takes the knackwurst.

It is ONE thing to try and attract the juries' attentions in 1981 by removing your skirt, but to get up on stage in one of the most Pope-fearing nations in Christendom and sing about the colour of your condoms? Tsk, tsk...

JONSI (singer) Icelandic entry, Istanbul 2004: 19th place (16 pts)
No wonder he didn't win. He was wearing lipstick and hadn't bothered to iron his trousers. Silly boy.

JOSTEIN (singer) Norwegian entry, Riga 2003: 4th place (123 pts)
Norway's answer to both David Cassidy (his hair) and Maria Von Trapp (his day job), Jostein Hasselgard was by far the darkest horse of 2003, finishing a creditable fourth with his winsome wee piano ballad I'm Not Afraid to Move On which he managed to sing for the watching millions in between giving his nursery class their afternoon milk and putting them down for their pre-home time nap.

Being a nursery school teacher means Jostein is an extremely pleasant human being.

He has already given Maltese singer Chiara clearance to re-record the song as an empowering anthem entitled I'm Not Afraid to Wear Stripes.

JULIO (singer) Spanish entry, Amsterdam 1970: =4th place (8 pts)
"Mmm, senoritas. Ding-dong..."
Ladies and gentlemen, pray silence for the Spanish Leslie Phillips.

Julio Iglesias probably never sang Gwendolyne to all the girls he's loved before, but that might be because it brings back painful memories of a powder blue, presumably highly flammable, suit.

1970 was still a long way from Julio's domination of the non-English speaking charts with such classic hits as Segue the Sanguine, and lots of others which I can't quite recall at this present moment. This may explain his selective amnesia over what exactly he was doing on the day of 21 March 1970. We all know he was exuding a strangely tanned presence over a big song contest, but Iglesias still maintains he was limbering up for that summer's national goalie duty. Hmmph. Big wuss.

JUMP THE GUN (group) Irish entry, Dublin 1988: 8th place (79 pts)
Where would the good folk of Eire be without the square faced delight that is Pat Kenny on their national station? There he was in Dublin '88 using all of his rapier wit (about three seconds worth, then) to do the bits between the songs.

It was he who told a watching continent how this group had the honour of representing their country at that year's Eurovision with a song that deserved a lot better than the juries gave it (see, I can be kind about Irish entries). Jump the Gun's song Take Him Home is a tribute to what numerous barmen urge them to do when their manager has had one too many jars in Temple Bar and stands on a table, offering to show the female clientele his elephant impression.

JURIES (now defunct collaborators)
The criteria for Jury Selection was established by the European Broadcasting Union in 1956:

1. All jury members must be over the age of 75.

2. No jury member is allowed to have any concept of what the mass record-buying population across the continent actually wants.

3. All jury members must like dull ballads which aren't very memorable, and preferably those from a country which border with their own.

4. All jury members must be slightly hard of hearing.

5. All jury members must be related to Brendan Graham in some shape or form.

All jury members complying with the above criteria will be provided with a nice cup of tea along with a ball of wool and some knitting needles, so they can work on that nice cardigan for their grandson (who's at university, you know) whilst the nasty rap and disco songs, and boys who used to be girls, are on stage.

JUST A LITTLE BIT (song) British entry, Oslo 1996: 8th place (77 pts)
Aah, for we Brits are naive.

For the first time in a long time, 1996 saw the UK entry receive as much pre-contest attention as the Swedish/Croatian/Dutch et al hopefuls enjoy more or less every year. This inevitably led to the conclusion that there was no way this dubiously talented Australian vocalist, drawn to perform in the jinxiest slot the ESC can offer, was going to walk away with the whole thing.

There's no doubting that Just A Little Bit is a fine piece of disco fluff, if only we'd had a Gloria Gaynor type to belt it out for us. Mind you, post-2000, eighth position sounds like a bronze medal.

And if anyone is wondering what exactly has become of Gina G, she now lends her talents to the style industry, sweeping hair salon floors across West London at two quid an hour, not to mention the occasional slot on Banzai.

JUST NU (song) Swedish entry, The Hague 1980: 10th place (47 pts)
The 1980 Swedish entry has the mildly-distracting distinction of having Benny from ABBA playing synth on the single, no doubt helped by the fact Tomas Ledin - the performer of Just Nu - was a backing singer for the Abbs on their World Tour the previous year.

I hope you found that last paragraph fascinating, because I really can't think of anything else exciting to write in this one.

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