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Republic of Ireland "The Voice"
Eimear Quinn - The Voice.jpg
Eurovision Song Contest 1996 entry
Country Ireland
Artist(s) Eimear Quinn
Language English
Composer(s) Brendan Graham
Lyricist(s) Brendan Graham
Conductor Noel Kelehan
Finals performance
Final result 1st
Final points 162
Appearance chronology
◄ Dreamin' (1995)   
Mysterious Woman (1997) ►

"The Voice" was the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 1996, performed in English by Eimear Quinn representing Ireland. The music and lyrics were composed by Brendan Graham, who also composed the Irish winner from the 1994 Contest. The victory, which was Ireland's fourth in five years, was their seventh Contest victory, which remains a record for the most contests won by a single country.

Quinn was a student at the Cork School of Music when she was approached by RTÉ to represent Ireland at Eurovision. It placed first in a field of 23 with 162 points, easily defeating the song "I evighet" by Elisabeth Andreassen of Norway. It was awarded the maximum douze points by seven countries: Turkey, Switzerland, Estonia, Slovenia, Netherlands, Poland and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The top song from the qualifying round, from Sweden, collapsed to finish third in the final.

Lyrically, it is a very Celtic-inspired song, with the singer portraying herself as "the voice" which watches over the world, describing "her" effects on the elements, such as the wind, the seasons, in a similar way to Mother Nature. It is of a folk style and is sung at a very high pitch. Quinn was accompanied by traditional Irish percussion, woodwind and string instruments.

The jury decision 1996 Contest was greeted with dismay amongst the public opinion of the audience, which began to leave the arena once the count had become a foregone conclusion.[citation needed] As a result of the differences between public and jury opinion,[citation needed] partial televoting was introduced for the following year's contest.

The song was performed seventeenth on the night (following Belgium's Lisa del Bo with "Liefde is een kaartspel" and preceding Finland's Jasmine with "Niin kaunis on taivas").

Quinn again performed the song as an interval act during the Congratulations 50th anniversary concert in Copenhagen in 2005.

The song was succeeded as Contest winner in 1997 by Katrina and the Waves representing the United Kingdom with "Love Shine a Light". It was succeeded as Irish representative at the 1997 Contest by Marc Roberts with Mysterious Woman.

Most recently it has appeared on the second album of Celtic Woman, sung by Lisa Kelly.


Preceded by
"Nocturne" by Secret Garden
Eurovision Song Contest winners
Succeeded by
"Love Shine a Light" by Katrina and the Waves


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