Cookie Fonster Critiques Eurovision 1959: A Step Up in Stage Design

Intro Post

< 1958 Review | 1959 Review | 1960 Review >


Eurovision 1959 was hosted in Cannes, France, at the time the southernmost host city. I find it weird that France has only hosted three Eurovisions, the next in 1961 and the last in 1978. France has won Eurovision five times, but one was a four-way tie where the Netherlands hosted next year, and one was after they had hosted last year and three years ago, so the UK hosted next time instead. The UK has filled in as a host country five times, the Netherlands once, but never France. That feels odd for a big-name country, doesn’t it?

In the last contest of the 1950’s, eleven countries competed for the throne. The United Kingdom returned, beginning its ongoing streak of perfect attendance, while Luxembourg skipped. Monaco, another country that usually didn’t send its own residents, was the only newcomer. At the time, my oldest grandparent was 20 years old, and I believe he got married that year. They’re still married today.

The stage of 1959 had revolving doors to show backdrops representing each country, which is a step up in flashiness, or should I say Eurovisioniness, from previous years. These backdrops were used to introduce every contestant and their country, like a predecessor to the flag parades we know today, and every singer performed in front of their backdrop. It was also the only contest where the top three winners all performed at the end.

One more fun fact: 8 out of 11 songs this year are in Germanic languages, and three are in German—more than any other language. Even though I can speak French too, German is a cooler language and more personal to me. Ich hoffe ganz arg, dass die nächste Eurovision wieder Musik auf Deutsch hat.

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Cookie Fonster Analyzes Eurovision 1958: The First “Wait, That Was Eurovision?”

Intro Post

< 1957 Review | 1958 Review | 1959 Review >


The third Eurovision Song Contest set a number of firsts. For one, it’s the first Eurovision hosted in the country that won last time (Hilversum, Netherlands). This tradition would be followed about 75% of the time from 1958 to 1980, continuously from 1981 to 2022, and broken again in 2023. It’s the first Eurovision to feature Sweden, one of the contest’s power players. Since the UK skipped out that year, Sweden’s presence kept the number of countries at ten, and the number of songs in English at zero. It was the first Eurovision where the song length rule was enforced, specifically 3:30 minutes. And finally, it’s the first Eurovision to produce a song more famous than the contest itself—a song that makes people narrow their eyes and say “wait… that was from Eurovision?!

When reading about Eurovision 1958, I constantly encounter Italy’s iconic entry, but I want to give every song from this contest a chance. Does this Eurovision have some gems hidden in Italy’s shadow? We’ll find out together.

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Cookie Fonster Judges Eurovision 1957: Say Hi to Three New Guys

Intro Post

< 1956 Review | 1957 Review | 1958 Review >


Hosted in Frankfurt, Germany, the second Eurovision Song Contest had a few differences from the first. Each country sent only one song, duets were now allowed, the video footage was successfully preserved, and three new countries joined: Austria, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. The first two had stretches of absence due to poor results, but the UK has had perfect attendance since 1959—for better and for worse.

During the first few years of Eurovision, one of the biggest points of excitement must have been finding out which countries would join next. Indeed, at least one country joined every year from 1957 to 1961. This era is long over; since 2008, almost every country under the most generous definition of “European” has participated at least once. The only ones that haven’t are disputed regions, microstates, dependent territories, and Kazakhstan.

One more odd fact about Eurovision 1957 is that people didn’t need to wait a year after the last one; only about nine months, since it was held on March 3. However, the contest’s date would gradually shift until it was in May once more.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Every MLP Episode Part 75: To Where and Back Again, Part 1 + 2

Introduction / Navigation

< Part 74 | Part 75 | Part 76 >

Season 6, Episodes 25-26

I wanted to start my Eurovision blog post series so badly, but I had promised myself I would finish this little order of business first. It turned out to take, well… longer than expected. Because I wanted to start my Eurovision blog post series so badly! Still, I promise this review will be a fun one.

(As of this post’s publication, my first Eurovision review is out, but I wrote it after finishing this post.)

Season 6 Episode 25: To Where and Back Again, Part 1

In five words: Starlight faces changelings’ great revenge.

Premise: Starlight Glimmer has returned from a trip to her old village to find out changelings have kidnapped her friends, so she gathers an entourage of supporting characters to save the day.

Detailed run-through:

Typical of Starlight Glimmer episodes, we begin with a calm slice-of-life scene where she and Twilight Sparkle reflect on how far their relationship has come, plus some goofy Spike gags. Their calm reflections are broken when Spike notices something strange incoming:

Twilight, Spike, and Starlight are bowing down to our true lord and savior.

This is the entire purpose of the season 6 finale: for the queen of all things good in this world, Derpy Hooves, to crash into Twilight’s castle and deliver a letter to Starlight. Everything else is an irrelevant afterthought, including all the boxes of books she crashes into. Clearly, Derpy used this method of delivery to make sure the letter would end up in Starlight’s hooves, not Twilight’s. She knows Twilight can be self-absorbed and assume all letters are meant for her, and she knows a letter to Starlight might contain something extremely private. If all characters were as thoughtful and forward-thinking as Derpy Hooves… I would say that would be great, but it would make the show completely boring. There can only be one best pony, and her name is Derpy.

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Cookie Fonster Reviews Eurovision 1956: Humble Beginnings Shrouded in Mystery

< Intro Post | 1956 Review | 1957 Review >

Note: I wrote this post after finishing my review of the season 6 finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. That will come out Friday morning!


The first ever Eurovision Song Contest, then known as the Grand Prix of the Eurovision Song Competition (French: Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson Européenne), was held exactly 67 years before the day I am writing these words—on May 24, 1956. It boggles my mind how long Eurovision has existed. The contest is 44 years older than me, and it was first held when my grandparents were teenagers. Two grandparents who lived in Germany and might have known of the contest; two grandparents who lived in the United States and probably had no way to know it existed.

There are innumerable ways the Eurovision of then differed from the Eurovision of today. Imagine if you could tell a European in 1956 that people all over the world can watch the contest using telephones, or that the contest has so many countries that it now spans five days, or that Australia is now a competitor. But what I find most striking is how much of the first contest is lost to the sands of time. We don’t know any rankings besides the winner, we don’t know who most of the commentators are, we don’t know if some contestants are still alive*… but most importantly, we don’t even have video footage of the contest, except the winning song’s reprise. I wonder if anyone in 1956 was a huge enough Eurovision nerd to keep track of all information on the contest they could, then preserved the papers they wrote it on when the Internet age began? If anyone like that is alive today, their claims would be hard to prove.

Putting aside the incredible evolution of technology, here are some basic facts about Eurovision 1956. It was broadcast on radio and TV, though most people consumed it via radio. It was hosted near the center of the seven participating countries in Lugano, Switzerland, and in an excellent example of early installment weirdness, each country sent two songs. It’s one of two Eurovision Song Contests with no songs in English; half the songs were in French, and the others were in German, Dutch, and Italian.

Now what are we waiting for? Eurovision 1956 review, let’s begin! I’ll list the songs in order of broadcast.

* French Wikipedia claims Mony Marc is dead, while Spanish Wikipedia claims she’s alive. Perhaps because little is known about her, she has no English Wikipedia article.

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Progress on my next MLP post (To Where and Back Again)

Yesterday, I finished reviewing To Where and Back Again, Part 1, and now I’m about to start part 2. Once that’s done, I’ll write my recap of the season of course. I plan to release the post on May 26, keeping my pattern of releasing MLP posts on Fridays. You may ask: why has this taken so long? That’s a fair question, and the honest answer is I’m getting burnt out.

Now, don’t get me wrong. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is a wonderful show that means the world to me. But like any ambitious project I do, there’s ebb and flow to my motivation. I’ve learned from experience that when I think I need a break from a project, I should do it before I strain myself too hard, to prevent what happened with my Homestuck posts in late 2016 to early 2017. If you don’t know, during that period of my Homestuck posts, my motivation was crumbling but I tried desperately to keep writing them, and I succumbed to burnout so extreme that I paused the post series for almost two years. I don’t want something like that to happen again.

I’m already pushing myself a little to reach the end of season 6, because it’s so much more satisfying to reach an elegant stopping point than an awkward one. The best way for me to conquer burnout on a project is to start or resume a different project—in this case, my Eurovision blog post series. And like all my ambitious projects, the starting phase has me overwhelmingly excited to dive right in, but I always need to plan it out first. In retrospect, my Homestuck blog post series was a major learning experience for what I should and shouldn’t do with projects, especially how to deal with burnout.

I’ll see you soon! It’s possible my first few Eurovision posts will come out before my review of To Where and Back Again, but I won’t start writing them until I finish that review. That’s what I promised myself.

My quick thoughts on Eurovision 2023

I just got done watching my first Eurovision Song Contest live! The finals just happened, and Sweden won as I expected but didn’t hope. My favorite this year was Finland. As promised, I will now discuss what it was like watching it.

It was super fun!!! As cheesy as a lot of the show was, it was also oddly charming and served as a great way to root for countries and banter about music. I watched the contest through the Swedish broadcast, which is one of the few that makes the stream publicly viewable worldwide. I will definitely continue watching it in the future; maybe next time, I’ll try using a VPN to catch the German or French broadcast, which would be a cool opportunity to sharpen my skills in their languages. I discussed the contest live on a Discord server focused on… sigh… Homestuck. Yes, everything in my life comes back to Homestuck, whether I like it or not, but that’s beside the point.

I won’t review every song in this post; that’ll be after I have reviewed every contest from 1956 to 2022, probably at least a year from now. I suspect that by then, I’ll write sprawling, overly detailed paragraphs about every song. For now, enjoy some quick and loose thoughts about the highlights!

Semifinal 1 (non-qualifiers)

  • Latvia deserved better and should have qualified. However, I mentally prepared myself for the likelihood that their gorgeous indie rock song in unusual time signatures wouldn’t, because it’s pretty niche. Why do they have so much bad luck lately? They haven’t qualified once since 2016.
  • Otherwise, all the songs from semifinal 1 that didn’t qualify are ones that I expected not to qualify, though I did enjoy Malta’s a lot. The qualification I least expected was Switzerland, who had a tacky ballad about war that felt rather impersonal.

Semifinal 2 (non-qualifiers)

  • Greece’s performance was unintentionally funny. It was a 16-year-old boy singing melodramatic English lyrics about how depressing his life supposedly is, but contradictory to the text, he danced like a goofy teenager at a party. It was pretty adorable.
  • I knew from the start San Marino wouldn’t qualify because their lyrics are bizarre animal metaphors for sex. Shame, because I genuinely like their rock song.
  • For this semifinal, I had predicted which songs wouldn’t qualify. I got five out of six right; I predicted Cyprus wouldn’t qualify, but they qualified and Iceland didn’t. Not bad, I’d say!


  • Austria was a big fan favorite, singing about the unrecognition and low payment that songwriters face with exactly the right balance between comedy and bitterness. And yet, they scored around the middle in finals.
  • Portugal’s song was a lot of fun! It feels so extremely Portuguese to the core, with a characteristic Hispanic sound plus lyrics clearly in a Portuguese cadence. Mimicat is a great performer who never broke character once in the song—impressive because once she thanked the audience, she was audibly overflowing with nervousness. How did she keep her composure through the performance?
  • In contrast, Poland’s song is obnoxious generic radio pop music with a grating voice, my least favorite of the contest. I don’t know how the fuck it made it into the contest, but I had prepared myself for its qualification. Shows the value of pessimism!
  • I had prepared myself for Sweden being the winner, again so that I wouldn’t be too disappointed if it happened, which it did. That’s why I’m not that pissed off about it like so many fans are. “Tattoo” is an alright, marketable EDM song, and Loreen will go down in history as the first woman to win the contest twice…
  • … but I think Finland, the runner-up, will go down in history even more. They sent a masterful rap song reminiscent of Gangnam Style, and it was entirely in Finnish!!! Keep in mind that the winner of a Eurovision contest won’t always become its most iconic song. Think of the gorgeous classic “Eres tú” from 1973, the legendary “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” from 2007, “Run Away” from 2010 which became an Internet meme, and “Snap” from 2022, a super-popular radio song. I think Käärijä’s “Cha Cha Cha” will remain a beloved Eurovision classic for years if not decades to come. I hope this makes people who wanted Finland to win feel better—I wanted them to win too.
  • Czechia’s song was awesome too! I love how multilingual it is, and the chorus in Ukrainian is my favorite part.
  • When Belgium qualified to the finals, I screamed “YES!” louder than I have in years. Their song is so catchy, uplifting, and fun to sing along to with a great 90’s vibe, and I was worried it wouldn’t perform well since I saw people call it “dated”. It was a pleasant surprise to see it reach the top half in finals!
  • Norway’s representative, Alessandra, was really funny and cute. She made some goofy gestures pointing at herself in the interludes between songs, as if to say “vote for me! I know I’m your favorite anyway.” Her song was cool too.
  • OK, now here’s what I am pissed off about. HOW DID GERMANY GET LAST PLACE AGAIN WHEN THEY ACTUALLY SENT A GOOD SONG THIS TIME????? They deserved so much better! I know Germany has had a rough track record for the past decade or so, but this year they sent a total hard rock banger! And it got last place in the finals anyway for some stupid reason! Regardless of the bad results, this song makes me proud to be (half) German. Lord of the Lost, ihr wart wunderbar.
  • Israel’s song would have been my favorite when I was a teenager. I find it extremely cheesy, but undeniably fun, and that dance break made my jaw drop both times.
  • In Eurovision, Slovenia seems like the kind of country that doesn’t care about winning, but does care about having fun and showcasing their culture. This year, they sent a charismatic rock band of five guys in their 20s who like to party. Among the boys, they win the cuteness prize. Their song was entirely in Slovenian, intending to adapt it into a language of entertainment that everyone can understand, and it worked so perfectly! It’s a blast to listen to and always puts a smile on my face. I wish Germany in Eurovision was more like Slovenia.
  • Holy mother fuck, Croatia’s song was unhinged in the most wonderful way. Their song is shameless political satire in their own language, by a bunch of middle-aged guys who take pride in the outlandish and controversial. Also, the 3D animated ŠČ! on the backing screen absolutely KILLS me.

Who I voted for, if you’re curious

This was the first time people outside of participating countries got to vote, and as an American, I seized the opportunity. Each person got a maximum of 20 votes to spread across contestants, costing a euro per vote. I only used all 20 votes in the finals.

  • Semifinal 1: Latvia 2 votes, Portugal 1 vote, Czechia 1 vote, Finland 1 vote (I felt Latvia needed a little boost.)
  • Semifinal 2: Belgium 3 votes, Slovenia 3 votes, Australia 1 vote (Oh yeah, Australia sent a surprising banger too. I think they’ll stay in Eurovision for the foreseeable future.)
  • Finals: Germany 5 votes, Slovenia 5 votes, Finland 5 votes, Belgium 5 votes (You can sense my increasing investment in this contest from the increasing number of votes I sent each time.)

Concluding thoughts

Well, not so much concluding thoughts as introductory thoughts, since this is the beginning of my journey through Eurovision history.

Every year of Eurovision, there is something, or rather many different things, that fans are going to get salty about, and I’m not immune to that. While I had prepared myself for Sweden winning, an outcome I didn’t want, I did NOT prepare myself for Germany getting last in the finals. Still, I’m going to handle this salt like a mature adult would. *ahem*

I got so mad, was gonna cuss the jury out outside my house for everyone to see.

Wanted to trash their cars, tell the Eurovision fans how cruel they were to Germany…

Instead, I wrote a blog.

OK, in all seriousness, it was tons of fun to follow Eurovision for the first time, and I think I’ll have to accept it as my latest obsession. After all, I have over 60 blog posts about the contest to write! Surely this can’t be bad… right? …


We’ll see, OK? We’ll see.

Quick little announcement about my Eurovision blog post series

For starters: I AM SO HAPPY THAT BELGIUM QUALIFIED FOR THE FINALS!!! I was worried that my boy Gustaph wouldn’t make it, but when he did… that was the loudest “YES” I had screamed in years.

Anyway, once Eurovision this year ends, I will make a quick little blog post describing what it was like watching my very first Eurovision Song Contest. This is so that I don’t have to wait a year or more before I write a blog post about Eurovision 2023. I will write a full review of the contest, song by song, once I’ve written posts about Eurovision 1956 to 2022. By then, my thoughts are sure to be a little different from today.

(Oh god. I’m really turning into a Eurovision nerd. What the fuck is wrong with me.)

(Uh… I promise I’ll make time to write my review of the MLP season 6 finale before I get too absorbed in the Eurovision posts.)

I had my first ever dream about Eurovision last night

All I remember in the dream was that I was in a train and learned Slovenia’s song “Carpe Diem” didn’t qualify for the finals. This is a scary realization: I am now enough of a Eurovision fan that I have dreams about it. They’ll probably be more common once I start my Eurovision blog post series, after the finals.

(By the way, Slovenia will obviously make it to the finals, and we’ll find that out in about three hours. They’re one of the most well-liked songs this year.)

Introducing my Eurovision blog post series!

After having finished a huge blog post series analyzing Homestuck, and soon to finish season 6 in a blog post series reviewing My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, I’m going to start my third large-scale blog post series: reviews of every song in the Eurovision Song Contest, year by year. Basically, it’s an annual contest where a variety of mostly European countries each send a song to perform live, hosted in whichever country won last year—2023 is an exception due to the war in Ukraine. The contest is filled with controversy and drama, but it has an enthusiastic fandom that embraces all the absurdity.

But why would I, an American who barely even heard of Eurovision until last year, do such a thing?

Because I think it’ll be fun. Every Eurovision fan outside of Europe, kind-of-maybe-European countries, Israel, and Australia has a different story for how they got into it, and I got interested through music mashups. After a certain YouTube channel released a lot of mashups on the day of Eurovision finals last year, I went on tons of Wikipedia and later YouTube spirals about the contest because I have heard so many crazy things about it. It turns out this song contest, dating back to 1956, is an absolute rabbit hole! It has everything from spectacularly creative bangers to the dullest pop music of the time period. Everything from serious, heartfelt ballads to indescribably goofy dance songs that you’ll only hear in Eurovision. I also find it super interesting how the languages used have evolved over time and per country, so the contest perks up my inner language nerd.

In addition, despite living in the United States all my life, the contest has a mainstay country that I can call mine: Germany. It’s where my mother was born and raised, I can speak their language well, and I even own a German passport. In the contest, Germany has had an extremely mixed track record and only two victories, but they’ve loyally participated since the beginning. (Also, why haven’t they sung in German since 2007?! It’s the most spoken native language in Europe behind Russian, for crying out loud.)

After we find out the winner of the 2023 contest next week—my top picks are Finland, Slovenia, and Germany, but my honest prediction is Sweden—I’ll get right to it and review each song in the 1956 contest! I won’t have a consistent schedule, but the posts should come quickly at first. Knowing how my prior post series have gone, it’s safe to say my Eurovision posts will start off short and simple but gradually get overwhelmingly detailed, and I’ll eventually wish my early posts were more thorough and resist the urge to remake them. I also predict that my Eurovision post series will go through lots of pauses and take a year at least. Once I’m caught up with the present, I’m not sure if I want to review every contest annually from here on out. We’ll see what happens!

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