ESC 1962: Overview and Song Rankings

Perhaps given Luxembourg is nowhere near the coast and only has a small river running through the city centre, the hosts opted for an opening shot from the top of the building where the contest was being held of the city at night. The smallest country to ever host the contest, it’s no surprise that the venue had a much lower capacity (300) than previous years. Eurovision is for countries both great and small. It never felt like the venue was that much smaller given the tighter camera angles. This contest was well-run with a no-nonsense format. The host came out, did the housekeeping, said “good evening” in all the languages of the participating nations, and then the show began. No awkward contestant introductions, just straight to the acts. This was a welcome change of pace and set the tone for the entire contest.

I came in expecting to be annoyed again by Finland‘s song with its irritating bird noises, but I was taken off-guard by how well Marion Rung performed it, especially given her age (16) and lack of experience. This definitely moved it up a few places in my ranking.

The Eurovision swan song for Fud Leclerc of Belgium was another good performance of a lacklustre song. The dramatic ending felt forced, but I guess Leclerc bowed out of Eurovision with a bang (even if his final score would be a whimper).

Spain‘s entry was one I liked a fair bit going in, but the live performance didn’t really do much for it either way. It was uneven, and ran out of steam towards the end.

Once again, a good song is ruined by unnecessary vocals. I expected to be putting Sweden near the top of my ranking, but my heart sank when Inger Berggren started scatting along with the trumpets in the instrumental sections of the song. It was completely unnecessary and made me cringe. Sometimes you just leave the camera on the orchestra and let the music speak for itself.

Normally I would run away from the kind of schlager song Germany brought along this year, but it’s hard not to like something unpretentious like this when others were disappointing.

Like Jacqueline Boyer for France two years ago, you can’t deny skill and talent when it’s so obvious. Isabelle Aubret is clearly a natural performer and didn’t require grand gestures or props to convey her message and sell it to the judges.

In my opinion, they saved the best for last this time, with Monaco bringing back François Deguelt to go one better than his last attempt at the contest. He delivered a masterclass in restraint and yet also exuded forcefulness in his performance of what sadly would be his last appearance at the contest.

This year’s interim act was several minutes of mostly physical humour from French clown Achille Zavatta who trips over as he comes on stage, attempting to add his own song to the tally board. When this is unsuccessful, he steals a clarinet from the orchestra and then goofs around for the next few minutes. I was ready to move on a couple of minutes before the end of his set, but it was a nice change from just having the orchestra play something from the classical canon instead.

This was the year that the 3-2-1 voting system was introduced. Instead of each juror having their own vote their marks were pooled and ranked, meaning that there would no longer be the wild swings that resulted from one country suddenly giving 7+ of their 10 votes to a single song. This made the count less exciting but more consistent and overall it was an improvement, even if France won by a large margin and thus the result was pretty clear a few countries before the end.

My ranking:

1) Monaco — “Dis rien” by François Deguelt
2) France — “Un premier amour” by Isabelle Aubret
3) Germany — “Zwei kleine Italiener” by Conny Froboess
4) Spain — “Llámame” by Victor Balaguer
5) Switzerland — “Le retour” by Jean Philippe
6) Finland — “Tipi-tii” by Marion Rung
7) The Netherlands — “Katinka” by De Spelbrekers
8) United Kingdom — “Ring-A-Ding Girl” by Ronnie Carroll
9) Sweden — “Sol och vår” by Inger Berggren
10) Yugoslavia — “Ne pali svetla u sumrak” by Lola Novaković
11) Italy — “Addio, addio” by Claudio Villa
12) Norway — “Kom sol, kom regn” by Inger Jacobsen
13) Belgium — “Ton nom” by Fud Leclerc
14) Denmark — “Vuggevise” by Ellen Winther
15) Luxembourg — “Petit bonhomme” by Camillo Felgen
16) Austria — “Nur in der Wiener Luft” by Eleonore Schwarz