Sandra Caldarone (born 15 October 1972), better known as Sandra Kim, is a Belgian singer of Italian descent who won the Eurovision Song Contest 1986 held in Bergen, Norway, on 3 May 1986. She remains the youngest person ever to win the famous contest.
She was born in Montegnée, near Liège, and started singing when she was seven. According to author and historian John Kennedy O'Connor's 2007 book The Eurovision Song Contest - The Official History, at the time of her Eurovision win, she was only 13 years old, despite claiming in the lyrics of her song "J'aime la vie" ("I love life") to be 15.
He notes that the Swiss petitioned to have the song disqualified after her real age was revealed. Sandra also represented Belgium at the Yamaha Music Festival in Tokyo during the autumn of 1986.
In 1994 she married and in 1995 divorced Olivier Gerard. She has been married to Jurgen Delanghe since 2001.
Other under-16s to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest include Jean-Jacques, aged 12 (Monaco 1969) ; Hanne Krogh, aged 15 (Norway 1971); one of the members of Cypriot group Island was aged 11 - they performed Cyprus' first entry in 1981. Gili, the male half of Gili and Galit (Israel 1989) was 11 years old, and in the same year, France sent 12-year-old Nathalie Píque to sing its entry.
The youngest UK contender was 15-year-old Emma Booth from Bridgend, South Wales, who performed "Give A Little Love Back To The World" in 1990.
Love it or loathe it, the Eurovision Song Contest has been around for more than 50 years and is here to stay.
Here are some facts you may - or may not - want to know about this unique event :
The Eurovision Song Contest, which began in 1956, grew out of the San Remo Song Festival
Seven countries - each with 2 songs - took part in the first Grand Prix on Thursday, 24 May 1956 at the Kursaal Theatre, Lugano, Switzerland. In order of appearance, they were: Netherlands; Switzerland; Belgium; Germany; France; Luxembourg; Italy
The UK sent its first entry in 1957 to Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. Sung by Patricia Bredin, it was called "All", and the conductor was Eric Robinson. There was no British entry in 1958, but the UK has been represented since
The UK didn't take part in the first contest (1956) because they missed the deadline, they couldn't decide who to send!
The UK has won on 4 occasions : "Puppet On A String" - Sandie Shaw (1967); "Boom bang-a-bang" - Lulu (joint winner in 1969); "Save Your Kisses For Me" - Brotherhood of Man (1976) and "Making Your Mind Up" - Bucks Fizz (1981). The UK has come second a record 14 times; been placed third twice, and come fourth 5 times. The worst placing for the UK was in 2008 when they received the dreaded 'nil points' ...
Despite only winning 4 times, the UK has to date hosted the most contests. On four of these occasions, Katie Boyle officiated as mistress of ceremonies (1960/63/68 - London; 1974 -Brighton). Other hostesses were Moira Shearer (1972 - Edinburgh); Angela Rippon (1977 - Wembley); and Jan Leeming (1982 - Harrogate). However, Dublin has the honour of hosting more contests than any other city - the Irish capital has staged no fewer than 5 contests (1971/81/88/94/95)
Until his retirement from the show in 2008, Terry Wogan provided the commentary for BBC viewers every year since 1980. He first commentated for BBC Radio listeners in 1971, then transferred to TV for the 1973 and 1978 events, before taking over the TV coverage full time in 1980. Other BBC commentators down the years included Tom Sloan, the late Head of BBC Light Entertainment (1959 and 1961); David Jacobs (1960; 1962-66); Rolf Harris (1967); David Gell (1968-70); Dave Lee Travis (1971); Tom Fleming (1972); David Vine ('74); Pete Murray ('75,'77); Michael Aspel ('76) and John Dunn ('79)
UK contenders in 1984, Belle and The Devotions, were greeted by booing at the end of their song, "Love Games", from some of the audience in Luxembourg because of the hostility in mainland Europe to British soccer hooliganism raging at the time
The UK has twice been pipped at the post by just one point. In 1968, after leading for much of the voting, Cliff Richard with "Congratulations" finally gave way to the Spanish entry, "La La La", sung by Massiel, when the German jury swung the vote at the last minute in favour of the repetitive chorus. Cliff need not have worried, however, since "Congratulations" outsold the winner across Europe - even in Spain ! In 1988, the Yugoslav jury put paid to Scott Fitzgerald's lead with "Go" by awarding Switzerland's Celine Dion enough points to put her one point ahead to clinch the Grand Prix in Dublin with "Ne partez pas sans moi"
Up until 1960, the UK elimination heats were known as the Festival Of British Popular Songs, which involved knock-out rounds culminating in the UK final at the end of the series. In 1961, it was renamed A Song For Europe, and for the next 3 years, various famous names competed, sponsored by their respective record companies (who would actually submit the songs), and the regional juries would decide the winner. From 1964 until 1975, the Head of BBC Light Entertainment selected one artist or group to perform all the contenders (usually 6), and the viewing public would decide the winner by a postal vote. These were showcased on the major TV variety shows of the day. In 1976, the BBC decided to return to the previous format of different artists for each song and the regional jury system, the latter of which was discontinued in 1987. In 1988, the UK entry was decided by a viewersÌ telephone vote, which still continues today. From 1992 until 1994, one singer was selected by the BBC to perform all 8 prospective Eurovision entries, and this year there was a return to the 8 different acts format. There were more changes in 1996 when the Great British Song Contest was shown in two parts: a semi-final with 8 songs and a telephone vote. The top 4 songs were seen again in The Great British Song Contest final, when the winner was chosen, again by a telephone vote
There are no figures for the total viewing audience in the early years, but during the last few years, the total world viewing ratings are estimated by the EBU as being between 400 and 600 million. The largest single audience with 75 million tuning in was in the former Soviet Union
Non-participating countries either showing the Contest live or by deferred relay in recent years include Australia, New Zealand, Korea, USA, Canada, Jordan, Egypt, Hong Kong and India
The Eurovision Song Contest favours female soloists. Of the 40 Contests, 25 of them have been won by the ladies (including the 4 winners in 1969) ! The first group to win was, of course, Abba, in 1974. In 1994, a new category of winner was added to the list - the male duo. Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan swept the board with "Rock 'n' Roll Kids" for Ireland
Sandie Shaw won in 1967 singing in bare feet. Spain's Remedios Amaya did the same in 1983, and scored zero, and Dutch female quartet Frizzle Sizzle followed suit in 1986 and came 13th
Participating countries may choose singers irrespective of nationality. Luxembourg frequently borrow singers from neighbouring countries. Nana Mouskouri from Greece represented the Grand Duchy in 1963, so too did Vicky Leandros on 2 occasions. The Greek singer came 4th with "L'amour est bleu" in 1967, and went on to win 5 years later with "Apres toi". Irish singer Geraldine was a Luxembourg representative in 1975, as were Spanish duo, Baccara, in 1978. Australia's Gina G represented the UK
The composer with the most entries over the years is German Ralph Siegel, who together with Bernd Meinunger, wrote the German entries of 1979, 1980, 1981, 1987, 1988, 1992 and 1994. This collaboration finally proved successful in 1982 when 17-year-old Nicole ran away with the Grand Prix with their "Ein bisschen Frieden". Siegel and Meinunger also co-wrote the Luxembourg entries in 1980 and 1985, and Siegel collaborated on the 1974 Luxembourg entry, as well as German entries in 1957, 1976 and 1990. The composer with the most UK entries is Paul Curtis (1975/84/90/91), the most successful of which was "Let Me Be The One", performed by The Shadows
Ireland tops the winners' table with 6 victories, followed by France and Luxembourg with 5 each. Regular participating countries still waiting for their first victory include Finland (first entry in 1961); Portugal (first entry in 1964); Greece (first entry in 1974); and Iceland (first entry in 1986)
Norway became famous for getting "nul points", having done so 3 times (1963, 1978 and 1981), and got an undeserved reputation for having awful songs as a result. But the Norwegians are not alone - other countries to achieve the big zero are: Finland (1963/65/82); Austria (1962/88/91); Spain (1962/65/83); Belgium (1962/65); Germany (1964/65); Switzerland (1964/67); Netherlands (1962/63); Turkey (1983/87); Sweden (1963); Portugal (1964); Monaco (1966); Italy (1966); Luxembourg (1970); Iceland (1989) and Lithuania (1994). Norway finally managed to win the Contest in 2009.
In 1992, for the first time, the top 3 placed entries were all original English-language songs: Ireland, UK and Malta
Nonsensical song titles include: Voi-Voi (Norway: 1960); Ringe-Dinge (Netherlands: 1967); Boum badaboum (Monaco: 1967); La La La (Spain: 1968); Boom bang-a-bang (UK 1969); Tom Tom Tom (Finland: 1973); Ding Dinge Dong (Netherlands: 1975); Sing Sang Song (Germany: 1976); Pump-Pump (Finland: 1976); Boom Boom Boomerang (Austria: 1977); Dai-Li-Dou (Portugal: 1978); Boom Boom (Denmark: 1978); A-Ba-Ni-Bi (Israel: 1978); Hey Nana (Belgium: 1979); Humanahum (France: 1981); Bem-Bom (Portugal: 1982); Diggi-Loo, Diggi-Ley (Sweden: 1984); Didai Didai Dai (Turkey: 1985); Ol» Ol»! (Israel: 1985); Boogaloo (Sweden: 1987); Yamma-Yamma (Finland: 1992); Diri-Diri (Greece: 1994)
Other typical titles include Addio Addio (Italy: 1962); Bonjour, Bonjour (Switzerland: 1969); Adieu (Norway: 1982); Halo Halo (Yugoslavia: 1982); Hallo Hallo (Denmark: 1990); Stop (Greece: 1987); Go (UK 1988)
Famous people sung about at Eurovision include Marlene Dietrich in the song Marlene (Monaco 1970); Mata Hari (Norway 1976); Casanova (Norway 1977); Beatles (Sweden 1977); Charlie Chaplin (Greece 1978); Socrates (Greece 1979 and Iceland 1988); Samson (Belgium 1981); Romeo (Norway 1986); Valentino (Spain 1986)
"La la la" became somewhat over-used when Spain's winning 1968 entry contained 138 "la"s'; Ireland's 1982 entry, Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, contained 111, while the 1974 Irish entry, Cross Your Heart, contained 78
When 18-year-old Dana won the 1970 Contest for Ireland, she beat established singers Mary Hopkin (UK - placed second) and Julio Iglesias (Spain - placed joint fourth)
Ireland's Johnny Logan is the only person have won 3 Eurovision Song Contests: as singer of What's Another Year? (1980); as singer and composer of Hold Me Now (1987); and as composer of Why Me?, sung by Linda Martin (1992)
Ireland broke all records when it completed the hat-trick on home soil, bringing the total number of wins to 6. France and Luxembourg previously held the record with 5 wins each, before Ireland equalised in 1993. Ireland are also the first country to host the Contest on consecutive occasions, and Dublin the first city (as well the Point Theatre, the first venue) to stage it 2 years in succession
1995 was Ireland's anniversary year it celebrated: (a) the staging this year of the 40th Contest; (b) the 30th anniversary of their first Eurovision entry, and (c) the 25th anniversary of their first victory
More countries opted to send their first entry to Eurovision whenever the contest was staged in Ireland. In 1971, Malta took part for the first time in Dublin; in 1981, Cyprus made their debut there; in 1993, the 3 former Yugoslav republics: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia, sent entries under their new banner to Millstreet, Co. Cork; and last year - yet again in Dublin - 7 former Eastern bloc countries, including three from the former Soviet Union, made their debut: Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia and Slovakia were the latest nations to join the fray
By sheer co-incidence, a strange Eurovision pattern emerges regarding the winning countries since 1989: in 1989 Yugoslavia wins for the first (and only) time; in 1990 Italy wins for the second time; in 1991Sweden wins for the third time; in 1992 Ireland wins for the fourth time; in 1993 Ireland wins for the fifth time and in 1994 Ireland wins for the sixth time !
The longest Eurovision song title is "Man Gewohnt Sich So Schnell an das Schone" (Germany: 1964 - containing 34 letters), which scored zero. The shortest titles with just 2 letters each are: Si (Italy: 1974); El (Spain: 1982); Hi (Israel: 1983); Go (UK: 1988)
Political and protest songs are not popular with the Eurovision audiences. Norway's anti-nuclear entry, Samiid êdnan (Land of the Sami people), took 16th place in 1980, while Finland's 1982 entry, Nuku pommiin (Bomb extinction), scored no points! The UK's environmental contribution was in 1990: Give A Little Love Back To The World came 6th. However, at the other end of the scale, Ein bisschen Frieden (A Little Peace), Germany's 1982 entry sung by Nicole, was a runaway winner - 61 points clear of the runner-up!
In April 1974, a military coup was planned in Portugal, and the trigger for action was the broadcast of its Eurovision entry that year, E depois do adeus, sung by Paulo de Carvalho, on national radio. The following year, the Portuguese entry was the aptly titled Madrugada (April Dawn), sung by Duarte Mendes, then a serving officer with the Portuguese army
The Italians (in 1981, 1982 and 1986) and the French (in 1982) pulled out of the contest because they were discontented with the standard of music. However, after a public outcry and pressure from their respective music industries, both nations relented. Italy also decided to opt out in 1994, and again this year alongside Luxembourg. In 1974, France - having already selected its entry, La vie vingt-cinq ans, to be sung by Dani - withdrew during the week of the contest in Brighton as a mark of respect for President Georges Pompidou, whose death had just been announced