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The 1988 Eurovision Song Contest is best remembered for one of the most thrilling voting moments in the history of the competition and for launching a legend; Céline Dion. 

Modernising Eurovision

The 1988 Eurovision Song Contest was hosted in Dublin for the third time, 21 countries competed for the trophy. Host broadcaster RTE introduced a modern set, at that point the largest in the history of the contest. Two giant video walls and a computerised scoreboard were also unveiled. At the time, it was a ground breaking production and set the standard for future editions of the contest.

Denmark was represented the group Hot Eyes who performed in the contest for the third time. Lead singer Kirsten was heavily pregnant at the time and gave birth just three weeks after the contest.

And finally... France!

The 1988 Eurovision Song Contest is best remembered for one most exciting voting sequences in the history of the contest. Switzerland's entry Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi performed by Céline Dion beat the runner-up, the United Kingdom's Scott Fitzgerald by just a single point. Before the last vote, the UK entry was leading with 136 points to Switzerland's 131. Yugoslavia, the last country to vote, gave six points to Switzerland whilst failing to award any points to the UK entry. Yugoslavia's 12 points went to France after one of the tensest moments ever seen in the Eurovision Song Contest.

For Céline Dion, winning the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest was a turning point in her international career. Whilst she was known in Canada and France before 1988, the Eurovision Song Contest gave her the elevate her career to new heights. Shortly after she won the Eurovision Song Contest she began work on her debut English language album, Unison.  

Facts and figures

  • The 1988 Eurovision Song Contest also saw another star of the future take to the stage; Lara Fabian who represented Luxembourg. The Belgian-born singer went on to forge a hugely successful career and in 2000 she reached number one on the Billboard charts in the United States with I Will Love Again.
  • Cyprus decided to withdraw as their entry was not in-line with the rules of the contest - it had previously been published.
  • The venue of the 1988 contest was the same as in 1981, but this time RTÉ managed to create a very special stage that created the illusion of depth, making the stage appear bigger than it actually was.
  • For the first time ever a computerised scoreboard was used instead of the mechanical ones used in previous contests.