For the second time, the Eurovision champion winner, Ireland, was the host for the event which took place in Dublin. In 1981, the total amount of participating countries was 20 once again equalling the record set three years earlier in Paris. Morocco withdrew after their first participation, and Italy decided to stay at home as well because the interest in the country had diminished. Yugoslavia returned to the contest after five years of absence, so did Israel after the county had missed out on one contest. Finally, Cyprus made its Eurovision debut. It was also the first year Egypt's television viewers could follow the contest live on television.
The opening sequence of the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest showed 'old Ireland' blending into 'modern Ireland'. The sequence ended with a map of Europe on a globe which span round to reveal the Eurovision logo.
The United Kingdom's entry, Making Your Mind Up, by the group Bucks Fizz won the 1981 contest after a close race with Germany's entry, Johnny Blue, performed by Lena Valaitis. Bucks Fizz was formed especially for the Eurovision Song Contest and created one of the most memorable moments in Eurovision history when the two guys in the group ripped off the skirts of the two girls, revealing a shorter skirt underneath. Bucks Fizz continued their career all over Europe with many hit songs during the 1980s, like The Land Of Make Believe and My Camera Never Lies.