When I started writing this post, I thought long and hard about writing about a ‘non-competing act’ at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest – Then I thought…I make the rules. If you missed last week’s edition on Celine Dion you can find it here.
Riverdance was introduced to our screens for the very first time during the interval at the Point Theatre in Dublin….(you know…that bit after everyone has sung when the ‘juries’ decide which next door neighbour they are going to vote for).
The UK entry this year was Frances Ruffelle, who had previously played Eponine in the original west end cast of Les Miserables as well as roles in Starlight Express and Roxy Hart in Chicago. Frances also happens to be the mother of ‘pop- star’ Eliza Doolittle. (Fancy naming your kid after an Audrey Hepburn character in ‘My Fair Lady’ …how very camp).
Frances went on to finish in 10th place with her song ‘Lonely Symphony‘, and the contest was won by Ireland for the third time in a row with Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan’s ‘Rock and Roll Kids‘.
Incidentally this year was the first year that the European juries (still 4 years before tele-voting) ,received the votes via satellite and not over the phone.
During the interval act, Michael Flatley , Joan Butler and a team of leggy Irish jiggers filled the stage with a spectacular show of Irish ballet and tap. This was intended to be a ‘one-off’ performance, however the act really stole the show, forcing it’s composer, Bill Whelan to write an entire production which has gone on to tour the world for the last 22 years. From then on, the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest was famous for one thing…..Riverdance.
Just listen to the pin drop moment before the standing ovation and jubilant cheers!