Why did Celine Dion represent Switzerland in Eurovision? 1988 triumph revisited as country gets second winner in Nemo Mettler

After 36 years, Switzerland won in Eurovision (Image via Instagram / @nemothings and @celinedion)
After 36 years, Switzerland won in Eurovision (Image via Instagram / @nemothings and @celinedion)

36 years after its last victory, Switzerland won the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest with the aid of Nemo Malmo. The finals took place on May 11, 2024, at the Malmo Arena in Sweden, where Nemo represented Switzerland.

Despite Croatia's close second placement in the final standings, Nemo, the singer and rapper who performed the song The Code, surged ahead in the voting from the outset and maintained the lead throughout.

Nemo became the first Swiss singer to win the competition since Celine Dion won the award in 1988.

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Despite being a French-Canadian artist, Dion represented Switzerland due to several changes in the contest's rules. According to Metro, in 1988, it wasn't mandatory for the artist representing a nation to be a citizen of that nation.


Celine Dion represented Switzerland in Eurovision in 1988 and emerged victorious

Celine Dion was not a Swiss citizen (Image via Instagram/@celinedion)
Celine Dion was not a Swiss citizen (Image via Instagram/@celinedion)

The blockbuster hit song My Heart Will Go On from the 1997 film Titanic catapulted French-Canadian singer Celine Dion to global fame, with millions of CDs sold worldwide.

Her debut English-language album, Unison, was released in 1990. After winning the Swiss national final, she was selected to represent Switzerland at the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin with the song Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi. She won the competition by 1 point over Scott Fitzgerald of the United Kingdom.

Dean Vuletic, the speaker and commentator, elaborated to TIME that it's common for performers to represent their home nations in Eurovision. However, there's no law that says an artist has to be a citizen of the nation they represent.

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Back in 1988, Céline Dion was a little-known French-Canadian singer with little English proficiency. During her appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show in 2013, Dion disclosed that she had received an invitation to represent Switzerland in the contest.

During the episode that aired on November 9, 2013, she admitted that, at first, she didn't get why she had been asked. She said,

"I didn't get it."

She further added,

"So I’m like, what about people in Switzerland? What are they gonna think? 'Where’s she coming from? We don’t even know her!'"
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Dion acknowledged that she had concerns about whether the Swiss people would not be comfortable having a relatively unknown artist represent them. Nevertheless, she took part and ultimately emerged victorious.

Now, 36 years later, Nemo Mettler from Switzerland has won the contest once more.


Nemo Mettler won the 2024 Eurovision on behalf of Switzerland

Nemo of Switzerland emerged victorious in the turbulent and politically charged Eurovision Song Contest.

Nemo is the first non-binary to win the contest (Image via Instagram/@nemothings)
Nemo is the first non-binary to win the contest (Image via Instagram/@nemothings)

According to AFP News, they mixed elements of drum-and-bass, opera, rap, and even rock to create their Eurovision finale performance, titled The Code.

After accepting the Eurovision trophy, Mettler said,

"I hope this contest can live up to its promise and continue to stand for peace and dignity for every person in this world. To know that a song that has changed my life and a song where I just speak about my story has touched so many people and maybe inspired other people to stay true to their story is the most insane thing that has ever happened to me."

Following Nemo, Baby Lasagna, also known as Marko Purisic, of Croatia, secured second place.

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