Eurovision 2000: Denmark’s Olsen Brothers in focus

A surprising victory that came just at the right time for Denmark. 20 years later, the Danish 2000 winner ‘Fly On The Wings Of Love’ still spread love and enjoyment among Eurovision fans. A few are immune however, it seems.

‘If Denmark didn’t receive a good result at the Eurovison Song Contest in 2000, the country would pull out’. Reliable sources has it that the Danish broadcaster was very far in their withdrawal plans. Naturally they all fell to the ground when Olsen Brothers took home a very surprising victory from the contest in Stockholm.

At the Danish national final, the song was performed in Danish under the name Smuk Som Et Stjerneskud (Beautiful as a shooting star). It wasn’t initially written for the Danish final. At a meeting at their record company discussing potential songs for the coming album, a secretary hummed the song. The brothers heard that, and realised that this was too catchy not to submit for the national final. They did, won, and made it to the Eurovision Song Contest.

It wasn’t until the dress rehearsal, media started talking about a possible Danish victory. The duo consisting of the two brothers Jørgen and Niels ‘Noller’ Olsen was not the standard receipe for Eurovision succes and not even the many Danish fans had predicted this.

Denmark received the mximum 12 points from eight countries: Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Russia, Sweden and United Kingdom. After the victory, Jørgen said that to him, the highlight of the evening wasn’t the victory, but the 12 points from United Kingdom. The country that had fostered The Beatles had him as their favourite, and that was the highest acknowledgement he could get.

Fly On The Wings Of Love – opinions from fans

In order to find out what Eurovision fans today think of this Danish entry from 2000, we asked our Eurovision Fan Panel. It includes team members as well as fans from all over the world.

🇦🇺 Vivienne F. – This is one of my all time favourites. When I first heard it back in 2000 I felt it to be too middle of the road for me but over the years I’ve come to appreciate it more and more. I love the clapping and some parts sound a bit like a Flamenco. I think the best part is when they sing, ‘she’s the greatest love I’ve ever had’, then fly on the wings of love. That was a magic combination. Such a beautiful matter of fact love song without being too emotional.

🇩🇰 Tina M. – Fly On The Wings Of Love with the Olsen Brothers must be the ultimate Eurovision song. The song starts quietly and then is built up to the piece of music by the chorus, that really gets the whole song up to a new level. I can only say that I not only believe that this song was a worthy winner but also it is in the top 3 of all winning songs over the years. A timeless and amazing song that I like. – 9/10

🇨🇴 🇫🇮 Alvaro S. – I do not particularly like the winners from the first half of the 00s decade but Fly On The Wings Of Love is an exception. It is simple yet sweet and easy to remember. Gotta love it.

🇳🇱 Eric O. – Oh, I LOVE THIS SONG!!! This duo really made a simple, but oh so catchy love song, that really deserved winning. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see the full show that year as Dutch TV stopped the broadcast due to the fireworks accident in the Netherlands, that caused many casualties, so I only found out the day after. It is still one of my favourite songs. And what a big surprise we got in 2016 before the Grand Final in Stockholm, when the Olsen Brothers performed their song one more time for the in-house audience only. Too bad that only one of them could perform at Het Grote Songfestivalfeest in Amsterdam last December, due to illness of the other. It was still a blast!

🇬🇧 Michael O. – Well I do remember being very disappointed when this won, though there is no denying this is a pretty catchy song. The backing group were the highlight here. The song has slightly grown on me through time.

🇩🇰 Charlotte J. – A well deserved, but also surprising first place. My math skills proved to be bad as I was trying to keep track of the points during the points announcement. Constantly trying to figure out, how many more points we needed… I was terrible at it. As it was clear that Denmark had won, I was more or less in shock. People have told me that it wasn’t possible to communicate with me for 5-10 minutes. As I came to reality, I was naturally very happy. I love the song – it’s catchy, easy to sing a long to, simple, yet not easy.

🇹🇷 Gunec G. – First winner of the new millennium. It was a good feeling to see Denmark win after all these years. I love the country sound of Olsen brothers. The song is catchy and happy. I like it.

🇳🇴 Robert I. – I know many people will disagree with me, but I find this song really irritating. This is one of the worst Eurovision entries that I know of. The melody is very basic, and even though basic songs can be catchy, this one is totally not. It’s repetitive and it seems like it never ends. The vocals remind me of the sounds sheep make. The only positive thing I can say about it is that the title is good – in Danish. ‘Smuk Som Et Stjerneskud’, (Beautiful as a shooting star).

🇬🇧 Paul G. – Not my favourite winner. In my opinion there were better songs in 2000. For me Estonia should have won and Denmark the following year!

Enjoy Olsen Brothers’ performance from the 2000 Eurovision Song Contest in the embedded video. Below the video, you can read more about them.

Olsen Brothers – a mini biography

Brødrene Olsen as they are called in Denmark is a household name in their native country – also well before they won the Eurovision Song Contest. As a matter of fact, that victory, sort of gave new life to a long career that had been slightly falling in the years before.

The two brothers with the last name Olsen are born in 1950 and 1954 with Jørgen being the oldest of the two. Though they have been a duo for many years, Jørgen has always been a kind of front man. Niels, often just called by the nickname Noller, has as it appears been quite happy to stand a bit in the shadow of his older brother. Together they have however achieved a career many musicians in Denmark envy them.

In 1965, the two brothers aged 11 and 15 years old formed their first band The Kids. They became an instant succes and already in the first year, the two young boys played as warm-up band for British rockband The Kinks at a concert in the Danish capital, Copenhagen. Through the years, the brothers have almost always sticked together. In 1971, they both starred in the musical Hair, and in 1972, the Olsen Brothers were formed. The first album just titled Olsen became the best selling album in Denmark of that time. Since that album, the duo has been a household name in Denmark.

Over the years, the duo has participated six times in the Danish national final, Dansk Melodi Grand Prix – and aside from that, Jørgen has solo taken part three times.

In December 2019, it was announced that the younger brother Niels ‘Noller’ Olsen sadly was diagnosed with cancer in the brain. In order to spend his time with family and friends, the two brothers will no longer perform together. Jørgen will continue solo.

9 national final appearances by Olsen Brothers or Jørgen Olsen solo:

    • 1978: San Francisco finished second in Dansk Melodi Grand Prix
    • 1979: Dans Dans Dans finished 8th in Dansk Melodi Grand Prix
    • 1980: Laila finished 5th in Dansk Melodi Grand Prix
    • 1986: Fællessang I Parken finished outside top 5 in Dansk Melodi Grand Prix. 6-10th places not announced
    • 1989: Fugle (Jørgen solo) finished 3rd in Dansk Melodi Grand Prix
    • 1990: Berlin (Jørgen solo) finished 3rd in Dansk Melodi Grand Prix
    • 2000: Smuk Som Et Stjerneskud won Dansk Melodi Grand Prix and few months later also Eurovision Song Contest under the English title Fly On The Wings Of Love
    • 2005: Little Yellow Radio finished 2nd in Dansk Melodi Grand Prix
    • 2007: Vi Elsker Bare Danske Piger (Jørgen solo) finished 7th in Dansk Melodi Grand Prix
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