Skip to main content

Eurovision history: Age is just a number

16 April 2015 at 16:31 CEST

In the newly released book The Eurovision Song Contest: The Official Celebration Book!, which you can already buy in the Eurovision Shop, the author John Kennedy O'Connor takes a look at some of the most interesting stories throughout the history of the contest.

Have a look at some of the stories from the book showing how age does not matter at the world’s biggest stage!

The competition for the oldest participant

"Until 2008, 56-year-old Lale Andersen was Eurovision’s oldest performer. She was outstripped by almost 20 years in 2008, when a 75-year-old Croatian, 75 Cents, teamed up with Kraljevi Ulice to earn 21st place in Belgrade with Romanca (Romance). 75 Cents was a mere youngster compared to who was to follow. Even 76-year-old Engelbert Humperdinck was denied the record when he entered the contest for the UK in 2012."

Popular grannies

Briefly, a group of grannies from central Russia held the record for being Eurovision’s oldest participants. Buranovskiye Babuskhi, the sextet of septuagenarians, had attempted to represent Russia at Eurovision two years before, ending 2nd in the domestic heat.

Their story of forming a choir and entering Eurovision merely to fund their local church eventually won international recognition and next time around, their song Party For Everybody easily won their national contest and headed to Baku as the firm favourite. There the grannies finished 2nd, a long way behind the Swedish victor and they returned to their church.

Youngest ever winner

Sandra Kim, the Belgian singer of Italian ancestry, represented French-speaking Belgium in 1986, claiming to be 15 years old when she performed J’Aime La Vie (I Love Life) in Bergen. She even stated her age in the song’s lyric.

However, all was not what it seemed and it later emerged that young Sandra was even younger. She was only 13 years of age. The deception led to Swiss TV (whose song had placed 2nd) petitioning for her disqualification, but to no avail. Sandra retained her title and, under current contest rules, will always retain her record of youngest ever winner.

These stories and much more you can find the book - order it in the official shop now!