4 April – One day there will be a big bang

Would you ever like to be the cause of a rule change? As we know, our favourite TV show often tweaks its rules. But these are not because of one person – they’re usually to change voting, or maybe due to technological improvements.

In the 1990s, the contest was expanding, and the EBU had the headache of how to stop the main event running to four hours. Cue the semi-final in 1996. The hosts went through, with 29 countries competing for 22 places. Seven acts would not make it to Oslo, one of whom was today’s birthday boy Leon (né Jürgen Göbel) from Germany. Many were baffled as to why he missed out when others made it in. Anyway, Germany were not happy, and being a big audience and a big contributor, a deal was made that a number of big spenders would get to do their stuff in the Saturday night final every year. No bloodbaths of semi-finals for them, oh dear me no. So Leon’s little hiccup got a rule change. And not many people can say that.

Leon is 55 today.

Frohe Geburtstag, Leon!

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