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Following Céline Dion's victory the preceding year in Dublin, Switzerland staged the Eurovision Song Contest in Lausanne. 22 countries participated in the 1989 Eurovision Song Contest.

Switzerland hosted the very first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956 but did not host again until 1989. Céline Dion opened the show with a shortened reprise of her winning song from 1988, Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi and also performed her new English language single, Where Does My Heart Beat Now. The song would go on to be her first major hit in the United States.

True to form, Italy sent its biggest stars to Eurovision. This year it was the turn of Fausto Leali and Anna Oxa who had won the festival of San Remo some weeks prior to the Eurovision Song Contest. Germany and Austria's entries were both written by German pop titan, Dieter Bohlen. Bohlen became famous in Germany in the 1980's as one half of the duo Modern Talking. Since then, he has gone on to have a successful career as one of the country's most successful pop producers and also became a judge in the German version of Pop Idol.

The Swiss entry Viver Senza Tei by the group Furbaz was the first entry ever to be sung in Romansch, one of the four official languages of Switzerland.

Yugoslavia wins - just in time

Yugoslavia's win in 1989 came as a surprise to many. Rock Me by the group Riva was performed last on the night and in a year of many ballads the uptempo track stood out. Yugoslavia won the Eurovision Song Contest just in time. By 1989 cracks were beginning to appear in the country and Yugoslavia disintegrated into war in the following years. 

Facts and figures

  • The French participant, Nathalie Pâque, was just 11 years old and Israel's singer, Gili Netanel, was just one year older which led to a change of rules. Performers had to be 16 years old in the year of the contest.
  • The tie-break rule was also adapted; the country with the most 12 points would be declared the winner. If a tie remained then the country with the most 10 points would be declared the winner.