5 June – If they take your hand, they are looking for some company

It must be good to be in at the start of something. In years to come, you can tell your family you were there, and part of it. This particular ‘thing’ is the expansion of our favourite TV show.

The expansion didn’t start in 2016, or 2008, or even 2004. In 1993 (yes, that far back), east was no longer east and west was no longer west. We had a preselection to whittle down the record number of applications for the contest. And in deepest Ireland we got the first ever Grand Final of 25 songs. Opening this groundbreaking event was today’s birthday boy Enrico Ruggeri. We know the Italians have had a prickly relationship with the contest, but a song about the sun of Europe was very appropriate for this new era. With such a big event, it might have been expected that first on wasn’t going to win. But Enrico can go down in history as being the first performer of the greater contests.

Enrico is 66 today.

Buon compleanno, Enrico!