Editorials & Opinion

Withdrawal skandal – Ten Eurovision gems that never happened

10. Ilanit – Balalaika

The selection
Israel was on fire in the 1980s. They ended their debut decade the 70s with two victories, withdrew in 1980 and came back with a seventh place and two runner-ups in 1982 and 1983. Not a bad record, I’d say. So in 1984, they went back to the Eurovision treasure: Ilanit. The singer had already represented Israel twice, coming fourth on their debut in 1973 and then coming eleventh in 1977. Surely this woman had to be able to do the trick and bring Israel another decent result?
What was the skandal?
There was none. As you may have noticed in the past few years, Israel is full of national holidays. They usually ask to perform in one semi or another because the other day would in fact be a holiday. Yep, that also was the case in 1980 and 1984. RTL, the host broadcaster of Eurovision 1984 decided that 5th May would be the perfect day for Eurovision. Sadly for Israel and Ilanit, that day is Yom Hazikaron in Israel: Remembrance Day and thus the Israeli broadcaster decided to withdraw. No Ilanit in Luxembourg, no Balalaika to fight the Golden Shoes…
How would this have done?
Hard to say, as always, but seeing this bouncy little number, I’d say it would have done top ten for sure. If even the worst singer in Eurovision history, Luxembourg’s Sophie Carle, could make it, surely Ilanit could’ve done the same. Would it challenge the Herreys or Linda Martin? Now that is doubtful.

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