"J'aime la vie" (French pronunciation: [ʒɛm la vi], I Love Life) was the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 1986, performed for Belgium by Sandra Kim. Belgium had finished the 1985 Contest in last place, and thus achieved the rare turnaround from last to first in the space of one year. The song also marks the only time to date that Belgium has won the Contest. The song was also released on Kim's album J'aime la vie in 1986.
Performed in French, the song is a positive one, dealing with the pleasure to be had in life.
During Preview Week, Kim sang the song with the common theme of "things she likes" intact throughout. In the video, she does many things which she finds enjoyable, which include partaking in physical education class, hanging out with friends, listening to her Walkman, buying a big ice cream cone, and performing a choreographed dance in an exercise studio.
The video was reconstructed scene by scene some 25 years later as a commercial for the insurancy company Delta Lloyd. The new and old videos were then shown side by side.
In the lyrics, Kim describes herself as being "fifteen", although she was later proven to be only thirteen at the time of her performance. She thus remains the youngest ever Eurovision winner and one of the youngest-ever performers at the Contest. Her record is unlikely to be challenged, as the Contest rules were changed to specify that performers must turn at least 16 in the year that they perform. According to author and historian John Kennedy O'Connor in his book The Eurovision Song Contest - The Official History, the Swiss (who had placed 2nd) petitioned to have the Belgian win nullified after Kim's age was revealed.
Kim, herself of Italian descent, also recorded her winning entry in Italian (with the same title as the original French, "J'aime la vie") and English ("Crazy of Life").
In a 2006 online interview with 12points.be, Kim was asked if she sings "J'aime la vie" "with pleasure" at concerts and events now, to which she responded, "Not always." She then said, "It's a little girl's song, with little girl's lyrics, with a young adolescent's atmosphere. Nowadays, singing "J'aime la vie"...do you like life every day? Me neither." She does however continue to perform the song, and in 2007 one of the performances was televised live on Norwegian TV.