41º Eurovision Song Contest
The Voice (Eimear Quinn) - Ireland
The 41st Eurovision Song Contest was held on May 18, 1996 at the Oslo Spektrum in Oslo, Norway. The presenters were Ingvild Bryn and Morten Harket. Eimear Quinn from Ireland was the winner of this Eurovision with the song, The Voice. This was a record seventh victory for Ireland, the fourth in five years and the last one to date.
The European Broadcasting Union continued to experiment in their efforts to find a broadly acceptable method of whittling down the large number of potential participating countries to a more realistic figure. This year, they reverted to the pre-qualifying round that had been used for the 1993 contest, but this time not just for the new countries but for them all with just one country, the hosts, exempt from the process.
The pre-qualifier was nothing but a botched job. It was not broadcast in any form, and did not even entail any live performance of the entries. The traditional set of national juries just listened to the studio recordings of each song, and awarded points accordingly. Then they revealed which countries had qualified and which had not, with the precise scores and placings remaining undisclosed.
It was evident that this system was not sustainable. Among other reasons because it meant that several countries had gone through their traditional national selection procedure to come up with an entry only to see their hopes extinguished without even having had the opportunity of presenting the song to an international audience.
It happened that one of countries left out of the final was none other than Germany, the leading financial contributor to the contest. They were much more than aggrieved that their entry was one of the seven cast aside. Germany had participated in every song contest since the first edition and although, officially at least, they did participate this year too, this was the only time in the Eurovision Song Contest history that Germany was not in the show.