44º Eurovision Song Contest
Take Me To Your Heaven (Charlotte) - Sweden
The 44th Eurovision Song Contest 1999 was held on May 29, 1999 in the Usshishkin Hall at the International Convention Centre in Jerusalem, Israel. The presenters were Yigal Ravid, Dafna Dekel, and Sigal Shahamon. This was the second time that the contest took place outside of Europe. The contest was won by Charlotte Nilsson who was representing Sweden with the song “Take Me To Your Heaven” (originally: Tusen och en natt). Charlotte brought Sweden’s fourth victory adn it was their second win in the 90's after Carola's victory in 1991.
From this year, the long-standing rule that each country had to sing in one of its own national languages was dropped, and it was decided that France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, as the highest-paying European Broadcasting Union subscribers, and tehrefore biggest contributors to the ESC itself would automatically be allowed to participate every year, irrespective of their five-year point average. And so the big-four was created. In fact it would have been the big-five hadn't Italy decided to withdraw from the contest. Also, the requirement of an orchestra was optional and left to the hosts decision. The Israeli broadcaster chose not to use an orchestra, which meant that for the first time in the history of the contest, all entries would perform using a backing track. This change was criticized by two-time Eurovision winner Johnny Logan, who commented that the contest had turned into a giant “karaoke”. But future hosts would follow Israel's example and the orchestra would never return to the ESC
The interval act was last year’s winner, Dana International, who performed her new song “Free”, which caused some controversy in Israel because of the lyrics.The contest ended with all of the participants singing “Hallelujah” – Israel’s winning song in 1979