For the first time in nearly thirty years, the contest was won by Germany. Famed for its anthemic ballads (usually with an ‘everyone should love everyone else’ type theme) and blatant europop, the song that finally brought success is a stylish, contemporary pop song that would have slotted neatly into the charts without looking out of place. The victory by one of the ‘Big 4’ also put an end to the theory that one of these countries would never win the contest again. It was thought that they were at a great disadvantage, as all of their competitors would already be familiar to the audience.
The process of selecting a song proved drawn out for Belarus and Ukraine. Five piece vocal group, 3+2, were selected by an internal jury to perform a song called Far Away, an up-tempo, rock based number. However, and not for the first time in the history of the former USSR member, the song that as originally selected would not be the one to go to the contest. National broadcaster, BTRC, allowed 3+2 to change the song. The more peaceful and anthemic Butterflies was chosen instead.
The situation in Ukraine was even more complicated. The first singer to be selected was Vasyl Lazarovich with the song, I Love You. However, broadcaster NTU decided that the internal selection process had been unfair and so organised a new final, this time open to a public vote. To say it was organised in a hurry would be an understatement. Writers had only 24 hours to enter a song and the chosen songs were shown on television over the following two nights. This final was won by Alyosha, with a song called Be Free. All was not over yet, as it transpired that Be Free had been on an album that had been released two years previously. Alyosha was allowed to remain as the Ukrainian representative, but with Sweet People. A credible and unlikely 10th place in the final must have made all the effort worthwhile.
Two moments to forget both involved the Russian song. Not many people saw Lost and Forgotten as having the remotest chance of reaching the final. As a result, there was enormous surprise when Russia was revealed as a finalist. What darkened the moment was the booing that emanated from parts of the audience where fans were sitting. Like sulky schoolgirls, they couldn’t let Peter Nalitch enjoy his moment as they indulged in some behaviour more suited to a pantomime. Not content with this, there was more booing, possibly by the same people, when Peter performed in the final itself.
There must have been red faces among the security staff after the Spanish performance. Somehow, a man who seemed to be trying to make a name for himself by interrupting major events, managed to evade security staff and join Daniel Diges and his team on the stage. Fortunately, he wasn’t there to cause harm, only to join in. To Daniels enormous credit, be continued as if nothing had happened, and most viewers probably didn’t realise anything was wrong. In the interests of fairness, Daniel was allowed to perform again after the last song had finished.
In 2009, the EBU had re-introduced the juries to the voting, to work alongside the public televote on a 50/50 basis. This had only been in the final, although a special jury had nominated a wildcard from each semi-final. In 2010, the national juries were present for the semi-finals as well as the final; their votes were combined with the public to produce the 1-8, 10 and 12 points scoring system.
Hungary, Andorra, Czech Republic and Montenegro all withdrew from the contest, while Georgia returned after choosing to sit out in 2009.
Niamh Kavanagh and Feminnem both made their second song contest appearance. Germany’s Lena enjoyed the experience so much (well, she did win, after all) that she asked to sing again in the 2011 contest.