Cookie Fonster Examines Eurovision 1963: A Narrow Nordic Victory

Intro Post

< 1962 Review | 1963 Review | 1964 Review >


If you thought the whole point of music concerts was to see the singer in person, Eurovision 1963 would beg to differ. For some reason, the singers performed in one room, while the audience watched the shows on a screen in a different room. This apparently caused rumors that the performances were pre-recorded, even though with the technology of that time, that sounded like more trouble than just broadcasting them live.

For the second time, the United Kingdom substituted for a multi-time Eurovision winner: France, which had just celebrated its third victory and didn’t want to host again. Once again, the contest took place in London, specifically the BBC Television Centre. After the bare bones staging in the last two years, Eurovision 1963 returned to fanciful stage shenanigans. This is clear as soon as the singers are all introduced, where they’re backed by recursive mirrors. Too bad the audience didn’t get to see them in color!

The voting system of 1963 was adjusted from last year. This time, countries sent five to one points for their top five songs, which decreased bias towards the second half.

Oh yeah, I guess I’m watching with Dutch commentary again! I can’t speak Dutch, but it’s close enough to German that I can understand some of it. We’re now 60 years till we’ve caught up with the present, which means my grandparents were roughly as old back then as I am today. (I know their years of birth, and one was slightly older than me, the other three slightly younger.)

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Cookie Fonster Dissects Eurovision 1962: A Jury with the Memory of a Goldfish

Intro Post

< 1961 Review | 1962 Review | 1963 Review >


Hosted in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, this edition of Eurovision was remarkably similar to the last one. It had the same 16 countries, marking the first Eurovision with the exact same country lineup as last year, and the votes were again skewed towards late entries. The biggest difference is that the voting system was simplified. This time, the juries gave three, two, and one points to their top three favorite songs respectively. If I was a Eurovision fan back then, I would’ve been a little peeved at this change, but I would understand that it was probably done to speed up the process of tallying votes.

This contest had three singers return from 1960, one of whom also performed in 1958 and 1956. One singer returned from 1959 but for a different country. It looks like this contest will be a similar experience to 1961, except I’ll be listening to Dutch commentary this time.

One more amusing observation: The French-speaking presenter said early on, “Luxembourg, la cœur de l’Europe, va battre ce soir.” (Luxembourg, the heart of Europe, will beat this evening.) Poland’s national selection since 2022 would object to this designation, since its name claims that they’re the heart of Europe. The only explanation is that Europe had a disastrous heart transplant last year.

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Cookie Fonster Explores Eurovision 1961: Big Guys Join, the Little Guy Wins

Intro Post

< 1960 Review | 1961 Review | 1962 Review >


Eurovision 1961 was hosted in Cannes, France, in the exact same building as 1959. This time, I watched a recording from the Dutch channel NOS with its post-2005 logo, but the commentary was in English. I couldn’t make out every word of the commentary, which makes me feel better about my skills in other languages. This Eurovision was hosted during a massive rainstorm, and the commentator says it’s fitting for the tension each country is facing—exactly the sort of humor that British commentary is famed for. We get a little tour of the building before starting the contest, which would become the norm in modern Eurovision.

Sixteen countries participated in this contest, making it the first one with more songs than 1956’s fourteen. It had all countries from 1960, plus three new ones: Finland, Spain, and Yugoslavia. Spain is the biggest mainstay of these; they’re one of the big guys, always eager to showcase their musical identity. They haven’t tasted victory since the four-way win in 1969, a year after their only solo win, but they’ve come close many times. Finland had terrible luck when the language rule was enforced, and they only won in 2006 with the perfect combo of absurd costumes and banger music. However, they earned second place in 2023 with their own language, which I think is awesome.

Yugoslavia is the only country that has won Eurovision (in 1989) but no longer exists. They’re also the only Slavic country to participate during the Cold War. Though Yugoslavia is no more, its successor states (especially Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia) have a knack for embracing their own culture and sense of humor, unlike some countries in Eurovision. Not all former Yugoslav countries have been as successful—Bosnia and Herzegovina is clogged by financial problems, and Montenegro is best known for their infamous 2012 entry, “Euro Neuro”.

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Cookie Fonster Discusses Eurovision 1960: New Decade, Same Old-Timey Spirit

Intro Post

< 1959 Review | 1960 Review | 1961 Review >

So far, I’ve published a Eurovision review every other day, but the next one might break the pattern. This is because I’ve started having more to say about every song, and the number of songs has increased. And because I’m soon to start a piano teaching side job at a music store.


If a country wins Eurovision multiple times in short succession, they often get hesitant to host it again. This happened with Eurovision 1960: the Netherlands declined hosting again due to expense, so the good old dependable BBC filled in, hosting in London, England. In all but one case, the UK swooped in to host an unwilling or unable country. In fact, of the nine times the UK has hosted Eurovision, five were in place of a different winner.

Luxembourg rejoined this Eurovision, and Norway joined for the first time, making a total of 13 countries. To this day, Norway is a Eurovision mainstay that has only missed two Eurovisions, and they have a respectable three victories. However, Luxembourg was a bigger Eurovision powerhouse in the 60’s to 80’s, with an impressive five wins. The winner of this contest repeated history: just like two years ago, France won a year after the Netherlands. By then, a lot of fans must have wished other countries could get a chance. They’d get their wish soon enough.

This was the first Eurovision where jury members got to hear songs in advance, specifically in the rehearsals. I presume it made them more set on winners once it was voting time.

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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.