Sakis Rouvas

A Greek Tragedy for Sakis Rouvas

Sakis Rouvas on Bacchae promotional poster ©  parapolitika.gr

Thanks to his looks, twice entrant and one time Eurovision presenter Sakis Rouvas has often been dubbed a Greek God. Now Sakis is about to actually portray God Dionysus in an upcoming production of ancient Greek tragedy Bacchae.

Alena Lanskaya to represent Belarus at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest

Alena Lanskaya wins 2012 EuroFest

Minutes ago the Belarusians decided that it will be up to Alena Lanskaya to bring the country into the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, something they missed out on last year as the rest of Europe didn't love Belarus just as much as Anastasiya Vinnikova did. Tonight's winner was chosen in a big show featuring a long list of Eurovision performers.

2009 - Final

2009 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
16 May 2009
Contest type: 
Grand Final
Venue: 
Olimpiysky Arena, Moscow, Russia
Broadcaster: 
C1R
Presenter(s): 
Natalya Vodyanova & Andrey Malakhov
About the contest: 

For the first time in 11 years, juries would play a significant part in the voting process. Since 1998, the system of using anonymous juries was replaced by phone and SMS voting from the public in an effort to return to the days when a Eurovision winner had greater credence and topped the charts all over Europe. While this had worked to some extent, concerns were rapidly growing about the apparent surge in neighbourly voting patterns. While these arguments could reasonably be dismissed by a logical look at the facts, the EBU felt they had to do something. Their idea was to reintroduce juries to vote alongside the public phone vote. Instead of the juries being occupied by members of the public, industry professionals were given the job as it was believed they would be more likely to vote on musical merit. This proved to be the case and their votes altered significantly the way the scoreboard would have otherwise looked.

Since the advent of the semi-finals in 2004, the ‘Big 4’ countries of France, Germany, Spain and United Kingdom had automatically been given a place in the final due to the size of their financial contribution to the EBU. This left them open to accusations of not caring too much about the quality of song they selected. However, in 2009, no-one could accuse them of not taking the contest seriously. The French choose the world famous Patricia Kaas to represent them. The BBC persuaded Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber to write the United Kingdom song, while the Spanish went through a lengthy selection process to find their entry. Germany came up with a vibrant swing number and added a touch of glamour to the presentation in the form of burlesque star, Dita von Teese.

Hungary had difficulty selecting its entry. The first song chosen, It's Time to Party sung by Mark Zentai, was later discovered to have been recorded by, of all people, the residents of the Swedish Big Brother house. The second song, Magányos Csónak had no such problems, but the singer, Katya Tompos, had prior engagements and the whole act was withdrawn. It was a case of third time lucky when singer Adok Zoltan was free to go to Moscow with the previously unrecorded and unpublished Dance With Me, which failed to qualify for the final. After all that effort, too!

As usual, a wide range of musical genres was on show in the contest. Viewers were treated to everything from an Elvis impersonator, through to epic ballads, pop/opera, ethnic and rock songs. Norway’s Fairytale is almost beyond pigeon-holing but is probably closest to a folk style. The huge involvement of strings, mostly from Alexander Rybak’s own fiddle, sets it apart. It appealed to public and pros alike, and swept aside the opposition, leaving everyone else in its wake on the way to a record points tally. A third Norwegian victory was never, ever in doubt!

Georgia had demonstrated some reluctance to participate in the 2009 contest, held as it was in Russia, not exactly the favourite country of your average resident of Tblisi! However, the EBU persuaded the Georgian broadcaster to enter a song. The trouble started when the song was chosen. It was called We Don't Wanna Put In and was due to be performed by Stephanie & 3G. The lyrics were deemed too political and provocative by the EBU. Part of the chorus says, “We don’t wanna put in”, which was considered a sly way of saying “We don’t wanna Putin”, who was Russian Prime Minister at the time. The EBU ordered that either the lyrics be changed or a new song selected. The Georgians went for their own option of withdrawing completely.

The scores were allocated in the famous way of 1-8, then 10 and 12. Naturally, all the countries participating in the semi-finals voted in the semi-final they were involved in. Additionally, Germany and United Kingdom voted in the first semi-final, while France, Spain and hosts Russia voted in the second semi-final.  In an interesting twist, the country ranked highest with the back-up jury that hadn’t already qualified for the final via the phone vote was given a wildcard slot. This meant Finland (12th) taking the place of Macedonia (10th) from the first semi-final, and Croatia (13th) qualifying at the expense of Serbia (10th) from the second semi-final.

Trivia: 
Sweden’s Malena Ernman left Moscow briefly to return to Sweden for an engagement that had been arranged prior to her winning the Swedish Melodifestivalen. This is not something that happens often during final preparations for the contest and not everyone was happy that she did it. Her response was “I couldn’t be sure I was going to be in Moscow at this time and I have a family to look after.” Fair enough.
About the songs: 
Sasha SonSasha Son Lithuania - Sasha Son - Love (English/Russian)

Music/Lyrics: Dimitrij Savrov/Dimitrij Savrov

Just about the only thing wrong with this was the brief use of Russian in an attempt to impress the hosts; it was only heard in the contest and doesn’t feature on the studio version. Other than that, Love is a highly appealing, piano-based ballad that has the force to reach into the heart.

 Noa & Mira AwadNoa & Mira Awad Israel - Noa & Mira Awad - There Must Be Another Way (English/Hebrew/Arabic)

Music/Lyrics: Noa, Mira Awad, Gil Dor/Noa, Mira Awad, Gil Dor

Arab joined Jew to sing a song for peace. Some of the usual clichés are avoided, but it would have been impossible to escape all of them.

 Patricia KaasPatricia Kaas France - Patricia Kaas - Et S'il Fallait Le Faire (French)

Music/Lyrics: Fred Blondin/Anse Lazio

Undoubtedly the biggest name in of the 2009 acts, Patricia already had a fan base to rely on. She gave us a good, old-fashioned French ballad with a good, old-fashioned French style performance.

 Malena ErnmanMalena Ernman Sweden - Malena Ernman - La Voix (English/French)

Music/Lyrics: Fredrik Kempe/Fredrik Kempe, Malena Ernman

Malena clearly had a ball during her three minutes and showed the others how to do it! A very good singer and performer who doesn’t take herself too seriously, Malena’s pop/opera song stormed into the final with ease. Quite right too! 

 Igor Cukrov feat. AndreaIgor Cukrov feat. Andrea Croatia - Igor Cukrov feat. Andrea - Lijepa Tena (Croatian)

Music/Lyrics: Tonči Huljič/Vjekoslava Huljič

Although scoring almost half the number of Points Serbia scored in finishing 10th, Croatia made the final courtesy of the jury wildcard vote. It is easy to see why those in the business (who seem to use different criteria to the rest of us) would choose it. Lijepa Tena is a gentle ballad with a Balkan style arrangement. 

 Flor-de-lisFlor-de-lis Portugal - Flor-de-lis - Todas As Ruas Do Amor (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Pedro Marques, Paulo Pereira/Pedro Marques

The Fado is Portugal’s most authentic and beautiful style of music, but when the Portuguese want to cheer themselves up, this is the sound that drifts from bars and cafés, and which adds to the happy memories of many holidaymakers. 

 YohannaYohanna Iceland - Yohanna - Is It True? (English)

Music/Lyrics: Oskar Páll Sveinsson, Chris Neil, Tinatin Japaridze/Oskar Páll Sveinsson, Chris Neil, Tinatin Japaridze

This is a wonderful example of how simple presentation can boost a song. Yohanna’s beautiful, sweeping ballad was easily powerful enough to stand out on its own, but superb lighting effects added a thick layer of atmosphere. 

 Sakis Rouvas 2009Sakis Rouvas 2009 Greece - Sakis Rouvas - This Is Our Night (English)

Music/Lyrics: Dimitris Kontopoulos/Graig Porteils, Cameron Giles-Webb

There is no doubt that Sakis is an extremely talented singer with more than his fair share of charisma. All of this is lost with the grotesque over presentation! The choreographer produced what is the epitome of the worst aspect of modern day Eurovision. Even though the semi-finals proved a small hurdle to overcome, This Is Our Night would have finished much higher than it deserved in the final had it not been for the industry dominated juries seeing through the style over substance.

 Inga & AnushInga & Anush Armenia - Inga & Anush - Jan Jan (Armenian)

Music/Lyrics: Mane Hakobyan/Vardan Zadoyan, Avet Barseghyan

Dressed in traditional Armenian costumes which must have been very hot to wear under all those powerful stage lights, the two sisters moved rather robotically and awkwardly. Their song was also in the direction of traditional Armenian, and did better than many anticipated. 

 Anastasia PrikhodkoAnastasia Prikhodko Russia - Anastasia Prikhodko - Mamo (Russian)

Music/Lyrics:  Konstantin Meladzé/ Konstantin Meladzé, Diana Golde

The Russians should be congratulated for this choice of song. After years of sending commercial pop, songs, this is very Russian in sound and has a very emotive and intense atmosphere. This was helped by the inventive video playing in the background of Anastasia gradually aging as she sang with immense emotion to her mother.

 AySel & ArashAySel & Arash Azerbaijan - AySel & Arash - Always (English)

Music/Lyrics: Arash Labaf, Robert Uhlmann, Johan Bejerholm, Marcus Englöf, Alex Papaconstantinou/Arash Labaf, Robert Uhlmann, Elin Wrethov, Anderz Wresthov

As soon as this song was selected as the Azeri entry, it was seen as a contender. The presentation was kept relatively simple, allowing the strength of the song and the vocals to be at the forefront. It worked very well indeed.

 ReginaRegina Bosnia & Herzegovina - Regina - Bistra Voda (Bosnian)

Music/Lyrics: Aleksander Covic/Aleksander Covic

The band claimed that Bistra Voda was not political. The presentation suggested otherwise, but they got away with it. There is a revolutionary and militaristic air to the ballad and there was an abundance of red in the lighting, but it’s not political, ok?

 Nelly CiobanuNelly Ciobanu Moldova - Nelly Ciobanu - Hora Din Moldova (Moldovan)

Music/Lyrics: Veaceslav Danuliuc/Nelly Ciobanu

Of all the songs which qualified from the second semi-final, this was probably the most unpredictable. It’s a joyful journey into the Moldovan national sound, but seemed to introspective for mass appeal. 

 Chiara 2009Chiara 2009 Malta - Chiara - What If We (English)

Music/Lyrics: Marc Paelinck/Gregory Bilsen

This was Chiara’s third appearance in the contest and hopefully her last if past history is anything to go by. Her songs became steadily duller! Like the other two, What If We is a ballad, and it fails to hold the listeners attention for the full duration. 

 Urban SymphonyUrban Symphony Estonia - Urban Symphony - Rändajad (Estonian)

Music/Lyrics: Sven Löhmus/Sven Löhmu

The Estonians made it through to the final for the first time since the semi-finals were introduced, and deservingly so. Rändajad is a folk inspired song with a clear vocal which floats with ease throughout the song. 

 BrinckBrinck Denmark - Brinck - Believe Again (English)

Music/Lyrics: Lars Halvor Jensen, Martin Michael Larsson, Ronan Keating/Lars Halvor Jensen, Martin Michael Larsson, Ronan Keating

How fitting that Brinck sounded like Ronan Keating as Ronan is one of the writers. Imagine the list of winners; 2008 - Believe, 2009 - Believe Again. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, although the rock influenced ballad could have been close.

 Alex Swings Oscar Sings!Alex Swings Oscar Sings! Germany - Alex Swings Oscar Sings! - Miss Kiss Kiss Bang (English)

Music/Lyrics: Alex Christensen/Alex Christensen

The Germans were starting to send swing numbers to the contest quite regularly. This is arguably the best of them. It is very interesting to listen to and quite catchy. Burlesque star, Dita von Teese, was employed to add a bit of glamour, although the intimated striptease failed to materialise. 

 HadiseHadise Turkey - Hadise - Düm Tek Tek (English)

Music/Lyrics: Sinan Akcil/Sinan Akcil, Hadise Acikgöz, Stefaan Fernande

Modern Turkish rhythms and some vibrant choreography virtually guaranteed success for Hadise. All that was needed was a decent performance, which she duly gave. 

 Kejsi TolaKejsi Tola Albania - Kejsi Tola - Carry Me In Your Dreams (English)

Music/Lyrics: Edmond Zhulali/Agim Doci

Albania is usually one of the first countries to choose its song, selecting it through a long established festival about six months before the contest. This year, the time was used wisely to transform an ordinary pop song into an infectious piece of power pop which isn’t easily forgotten. Unfortunately, the dancer in the green all-in-one body suit isn’t easily forgotten either. 

 Alexander RybakAlexander Rybak Norway - Alexander Rybak - Fairytale (English)

Music/Lyrics: Alexander Rybak/Alexander Rybak

Alexander was the hottest favourite for many years and he never looked as if he would finish outside the top 1! A very lively string introduction paved the way for the optimism that would follow. It appealed to both public and juries, and, in the final at least, was in the lead from start to finish. 

 Svetlana LobodaSvetlana Loboda Ukraine - Svetlana Loboda - Be my Valentine! (Anti-Crisis Girl) (English)

Music/Lyrics: Svetlana Loboda/Yevgeny Matyushenko

Svetlana risked her financial stability to pay for the set she brought with her to Moscow, so perhaps she deserved a place in the final. On purely musical merit, she can count herself fortunate to have made the final with her rock song tinged with Ukrainian influences. The lyrics leave little to the imagination, even if any level of quality is sacrificed in favour of quantity of rhymes.  

 ElenaElena Romania - Elena - The Balkan Girls (English)

Music/Lyrics: Laurentiu Dută, Ovidiu Bistriceanu, Daris Mangal/Laurentiu Dută, Alexandru Pelin

We can all relate to looking forward to the weekend after a week’s hard graft. Elena’s pop song anticipates just such an occasion as well as lots of girly fun with her friends. 

 Jade EwenJade Ewen United Kingdom - Jade Ewen - It’s My Time (English)

Music/Lyrics: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Diane Warren/ Andrew Lloyd Webber, Diane Warren

Hope was high among UK fans as the BBC showed signs of taking the contest seriously. Andrew Lloyd Webber even played piano on stage, which was showing off a bit, but why not? She gave an excellent performance of a song which could have come from a musical (no surprise there, given the composer). The result was the United Kingdom’s first top 5 since 2002.

 Waldo's PeopleWaldo's People Finland - Waldo's People - Lose Control (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ari Lehtonen, Karima/Marko Reijosen, Ari Lehtonen, Karima, Annie Kratz Guta

Given a wildcard entry to the final by the jury, it was going to be interesting to see how the Finns fast paced, clubbing song fared in the final. Badly, as it happens. 

 SorayaSoraya Spain - Soraya  - La Noche Es Para Mí (The Night Is For Me) (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Jason Gill, Dimitri Stassos, Irini Michas/Felipe Pedroso

What went wrong? The song is catchy and modern, the presentation was not over the top by any standard, and last in the running order is supposed to be an advantage. Although the vocal was a little weak, Soraya should still have been challenging for the top 3 given all the ingredients involved. 

2009 - 2nd Semi-Final

2009 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
14 May 2009
Contest type: 
Grand Final
Venue: 
Olimpiysky Arena, Moscow, Russia
Broadcaster: 
C1R
Presenter(s): 
Natalya Vodyanova & Andrey Malakhov
Other shows this year: 
About the contest: 

For the first time in 11 years, juries would play a significant part in the voting process. Since 1998, the system of using anonymous juries was replaced by phone and SMS voting from the public in an effort to return to the days when a Eurovision winner had greater credence and topped the charts all over Europe. While this had worked to some extent, concerns were rapidly growing about the apparent surge in neighbourly voting patterns. While these arguments could reasonably be dismissed by a logical look at the facts, the EBU felt they had to do something. Their idea was to reintroduce juries to vote alongside the public phone vote. Instead of the juries being occupied by members of the public, industry professionals were given the job as it was believed they would be more likely to vote on musical merit. This proved to be the case and their votes altered significantly the way the scoreboard would have otherwise looked.

Since the advent of the semi-finals in 2004, the ‘Big 4’ countries of France, Germany, Spain and United Kingdom had automatically been given a place in the final due to the size of their financial contribution to the EBU. This left them open to accusations of not caring too much about the quality of song they selected. However, in 2009, no-one could accuse them of not taking the contest seriously. The French choose the world famous Patricia Kaas to represent them. The BBC persuaded Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber to write the United Kingdom song, while the Spanish went through a lengthy selection process to find their entry. Germany came up with a vibrant swing number and added a touch of glamour to the presentation in the form of burlesque star, Dita von Teese.

Hungary had difficulty selecting its entry. The first song chosen, It's Time to Party sung by Mark Zentai, was later discovered to have been recorded by, of all people, the residents of the Swedish Big Brother house. The second song, Magányos Csónak had no such problems, but the singer, Katya Tompos, had prior engagements and the whole act was withdrawn. It was a case of third time lucky when singer Adok Zoltan was free to go to Moscow with the previously unrecorded and unpublished Dance With Me, which failed to qualify for the final. After all that effort, too!

As usual, a wide range of musical genres was on show in the contest. Viewers were treated to everything from an Elvis impersonator, through to epic ballads, pop/opera, ethnic and rock songs. Norway’s Fairytale is almost beyond pigeon-holing but is probably closest to a folk style. The huge involvement of strings, mostly from Alexander Rybak’s own fiddle, sets it apart. It appealed to public and pros alike, and swept aside the opposition, leaving everyone else in its wake on the way to a record points tally. A third Norwegian victory was never, ever in doubt!

Georgia had demonstrated some reluctance to participate in the 2009 contest, held as it was in Russia, not exactly the favourite country of your average resident of Tblisi! However, the EBU persuaded the Georgian broadcaster to enter a song. The trouble started when the song was chosen. It was called We Don't Wanna Put In and was due to be performed by Stephanie & 3G. The lyrics were deemed too political and provocative by the EBU. Part of the chorus says, “We don’t wanna put in”, which was considered a sly way of saying “We don’t wanna Putin”, who was Russian Prime Minister at the time. The EBU ordered that either the lyrics be changed or a new song selected. The Georgians went for their own option of withdrawing completely.

The scores were allocated in the famous way of 1-8, then 10 and 12. Naturally, all the countries participating in the semi-finals voted in the semi-final they were involved in. Additionally, Germany and United Kingdom voted in the first semi-final, while France, Spain and hosts Russia voted in the second semi-final.  In an interesting twist, the country ranked highest with the back-up jury that hadn’t already qualified for the final via the phone vote was given a wildcard slot. This meant Finland (12th) taking the place of Macedonia (10th) from the first semi-final, and Croatia (13th) qualifying at the expense of Serbia (10th) from the second semi-final.

Trivia: 
Sweden’s Malena Ernman left Moscow briefly to return to Sweden for an engagement that had been arranged prior to her winning the Swedish Melodifestivalen. This is not something that happens often during final preparations for the contest and not everyone was happy that she did it. Her response was “I couldn’t be sure I was going to be in Moscow at this time and I have a family to look after.” Fair enough.
About the songs: 
Igor Cukrov feat. AndreaIgor Cukrov feat. Andrea Croatia - Igor Cukrov feat. Andrea - Lijepa Tena (Croatian)

Music/Lyrics: Tonči Huljič/Vjekoslava Huljič

Although scoring almost half the number of Points Serbia scored in finishing 10th, Croatia made the final courtesy of the jury wildcard vote. It is easy to see why those in the business (who seem to use different criteria to the rest of us) would choose it. Lijepa Tena is a gentle ballad with a Balkan style arrangement. 

 Sinéad MulveySinéad Mulvey Ireland - Sinéad Mulvey & Black Daisy - Et Cetera (English)

Music/Lyrics: Niall Mooney, Jonas Gladniokoff, Daniele Moretti, Christina Schilling/Niall Mooney, Jonas Gladniokoff, Daniele Moretti, Christina Schilling

Al girl rock was a new direction for the Irish and it was a worthy effort. Et Cetera lacks the ability to make a big enough impression immediately, despite its sing-along quality. 

 Intars BusulisIntars Busulis Latvia - Intars Busulis - Probka (Russian)

Music/Lyrics:
Karlis Lacis/Janis Elsbergs, Sergej Timofejev

The Latvians also went down the rock route and gave us a song which never a hope of reaching the top 10. Last place was justified for a song that lacks direction at times. This is the only year to date that Russian has been used in a Latvian entry and Moscow was the host city. Definitely not a coincidence! 

 Marko Kon & MilaanMarko Kon & Milaan Serbia - Marko Kon & Milaan - Cipela (Serbian)

Music/Lyrics: Marko Kon, Milaan Nikolic, Aleksander Kobac/Marko Kon, Aleksander Kobac

Although Marko finished 10th, the jury ensured his participation in the contest went no further. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when he found that out! His novelty song has plenty of humour - apparently. Sung in Serbian meant the rest of us didn’t get the joke and could only be entertained by the show he and his friends put on. 

 Lidia KopaniaLidia Kopania Poland - Lidia Kopania - I Don't Wanna Leave (English)

Music/Lyrics: Alex Geringas, Bernd Klimpel, Rike Boomgaarden, Dee Adam/Alex Geringas, Bernd Klimpel, Rike Boomgaarden, Dee Adam

Lidia’s song is not far removed from Iceland’s entry. That won the first semi-final and finished second in the final and this was outside the top 10 and so didn’t make the final. Strange how life goes! I Don't Wanna Leave is a decent ballad that builds when it is supposed to. 

 Alexander RybakAlexander Rybak Norway - Alexander Rybak - Fairytale (English)

Music/Lyrics: Alexander Rybak/Alexander Rybak

Alexander was the hottest favourite for many years and he never looked as if he would finish outside the top 1! A very lively string introduction paved the way for the optimism that would follow. It appealed to both public and juries, and, in thjne final at least, was in the lead from start to finish.

 Christina MetaxaChristina Metaxa Cyprus - Christina Metaxa - Firefly (English)

Music/Lyrics: Nikolas Metaxa/Nikolas Metaxa

Christina’s brother wrote the song and claimed it is about her. The metaphor is a good one, using the behaviour and characteristics of the firefly to describe an individual’s personality. That is the only good thing about this dull balad.

 Kamil Mikulčík & Nela PociskováKamil Mikulčík & Nela Pocisková Slovakia - Kamil Mikulčík & Nela Pocisková - Leť Tmou (Slovak)

Music/Lyrics: Ratislav Dubovsky/Anna Zigová, Petronela Kolevská

At first, this song is just an ordinary love duet. Listen more carefully and a few more times, and you will discover a very interesting and intelligent vocal arrangement to make Leť Tmou more than just a normal love song between man and woman. It sounded much better on the night than previews suggested it would. One of the strongest songs of the night, it deserved better than 18th.

 BrinckBrinck Denmark - Brinck - Believe Again (English)

Music/Lyrics: Lars Halvor Jensen, Martin Michael Larsson, Ronan Keating/Lars Halvor Jensen, Martin Michael Larsson, Ronan Keating

How fitting that Brinck sounded like Ronan Keating as Ronan is one of the writers. Imagine the list of winners; 2008 - Believe, 2009 - Believe Again. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, although the rock influenced ballad could have been close.

 Quartissimo feat. MartinaQuartissimo feat. Martina Slovenia - Quartissimo feat. Martina - Love Symphony (English)

Music/Lyrics: Andrej Babic/Andre Babic

Being drawn in a different semi-final to Sweden was crucial to the chances of both countries as the songs would have appealed to the same demographic and the vote would therefore have been split between them. In the event, Slovenia’s symphonic, less wordy classical piece failed with ease to make the final anyway. The four chaps of Quartissimo played to the camera as well as their instruments as they swaggered around the stage. Martina added the vocals and a bit of glamour.

 Zoli ÁdokZoli Ádok Hungary - Zoli Ádok - Dance With Me (English)

Music/Lyrics: Szabó Zé/Kasai

This was the third song that Hungarian broadcaster MTV put forward and it is probably the best of those choices. It is an up-tempo pop song whose downfall was maybe due to a very similar style singer and song taking to the stage two songs later. The performance was vibrant and colourful, and, looking back, it’s hard to see why it didn’t qualify for the final.

 AySel & ArashAySel & Arash Azerbaijan - AySel & Arash - Always (English)

Music/Lyrics: Arash Labaf, Robert Uhlmann, Johan Bejerholm, Marcus Englöf, Alex Papaconstantinou/Arash Labaf, Robert Uhlmann, Elin Wrethov, Anderz Wresthov

As soon as this song was selected as the Azeri entry, it was seen as a contender. The presentation was kept relatively simple, allowing the strength of the song and the vocals to be at the forefront. It worked very well indeed.

 Sakis Rouvas 2009Sakis Rouvas 2009 Greece - Sakis Rouvas - This Is Our Night (English)

Music/Lyrics: Dimitris Kontopoulos/Graig Porteils, Cameron Giles-Webb

There is no doubt that Sakis is an extremely talented singer with more than his fair share of charisma. All of this is lost with the grotesque over presentation! The choreographer produced what is the epitome of the worst aspect of modern day Eurovision. Even though the semi-finals proved a small hurdle to overcome, This Is Our Night would have finished much higher than it deserved in the final had it not been for the industry dominated juries seeing through the style over substance.

 Sasha SonSasha Son Lithuania - Sasha Son - Love (English/Russian)

Music/Lyrics: Dimitrij Savrov/Dimitrij Savrov

Just about the only thing wrong with this was the brief use of Russian in an attempt to impress the hosts; it was only heard in the contest and doesn’t feature on the studio version. Other than that, Love is a highly appealing, piano-based ballad that has the force to reach into the heart.

 Nelly CiobanuNelly Ciobanu Moldova - Nelly Ciobanu - Hora Din Moldova (Moldovan)

Music/Lyrics: Veaceslav Danuliuc/Nelly Ciobanu

Of all the songs which qualified from the second semi-final, this was probably the most unpredictable. It’s a joyful journey into the Moldovan national sound, but seemed to introspective for mass appeal. 

 Kejsi TolaKejsi Tola Albania - Kejsi Tola - Carry Me In Your Dreams (English)

Music/Lyrics: Edmond Zhulali/Agim Doci

Albania is usually one of the first countries to choose its song, selecting it through a long established festival about six months before the contest. This year, the time was used wisely to transform an ordinary pop song into an infectious piece of power pop which isn’t easily forgotten. Unfortunately, the dancer in the green all-in-one body suit isn’t easily forgotten either. 

 Svetlana LobodaSvetlana Loboda Ukraine - Svetlana Loboda - Be my Valentine! (Anti-Crisis Girl) (English)

Music/Lyrics: Svetlana Loboda/Yevgeny Matyushenko

Svetlana risked her financial stability to pay for the set she brought with her to Moscow, so perhaps she deserved a place in the final. On purely musical merit, she can count herself fortunate to have made the final with her rock song tinged with Ukrainian influences. The lyrics leave little to the imagination, even if any level of quality is sacrificed in favour of quantity of rhymes.  

 Urban SymphonyUrban Symphony Estonia - Urban Symphony - Rändajad (Estonian)

Music/Lyrics: Sven Löhmus/Sven Löhmu

The Estonians made it through to the final for the first time since the semi-finals were introduced, and deservingly so. Rändajad is a folk inspired song with a clear vocal which floats with ease throughout the song. 

 The ToppersThe Toppers The Netherlands - The Toppers - Shine (English)

Music/Lyrics: Gordon Heuckeroth/Gordon Heuckeroth

The Toppers had a change of personnel after broadcaster NOS had chosen them to represent their country. Gerard Joling, who represented his homeland in the 1988 contest, left and was replaced so they could remain a trio. It is the kind of high-tempo, high camp that only appeals to a certain section of the contest’s fan base, who were surprised when they didn’t qualify for the final. The rest saw it coming a mile away. 

2004 Final

2004 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
15 May 2004
Venue: 
Abdi Ipkeci Sports Centre, Istanbul, Turkey
Broadcaster: 
TRT
Presenter(s): 
Meltem Cumbul & Korhan Abay
Other shows this year: 
About the contest: 

For the first time, the contest was held in Turkey. That would have been a big enough challenge, but TRT also had to do something that no broadcaster had done before, organise two shows. Due to the number of countries now wanting to take part, it was impractical to retain the formula of relegating the worst performing countries each year. The EBU decided that the best way to solve the problem was to have a semi-final. The countries finishing in the top 10 in 2003 and the Big 4 (United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain) automatically qualified for the final and would be joined by the top 10 countries from the semi-final. On the night of the semi-final, the songs qualifying for the final were revealed one by one by being drawn from individual envelopes. 

There were fears that the songs qualifying from the semi-final would have an advantage in the final as viewers would already have heard them and were thought likely to vote for the same song. In the final, six of the top 10 came from the semi-final, and nine of the bottom ten places were filled by songs not in the semi-final. As it was the first year there had been a semi-final, it was too early to assess whether participation in the semi-final was advantageous.  There was also unease about the right of the Big 4 to qualify automatically for the final, but this rule remained in recognition of the large financial contribution made by these countries which enables the contest to exist. 

Some countries had been participating for years without success, but Ukraine won with only its second offering. Interestingly, Ruslana finished second in the semi-final. In the final, the different voting patterns caused by a new set of songs moved her to the top of the scoreboard.

Andorra, Albania, Belarus and Serbia and Montenegro participated for the first time, while Monaco returned after a 25 year absence.

Although none of the singers on show had been in the contest before, Lena Philipsson, Jari Sillanpää and Ivan Mikulic had all been trying for a long time, racking up many entries in their respective national finals. Sakis Rouvas was making the first of three appearances, including one as host.

Instead of a new logo every year, it was decided that there should be a standard logo for all future contests, the words ‘Eurovision Song Contest’ with the ‘v’ of Eurovision in the shape of a heart with the flag of the host country covering it.

Another ‘first’ for the contest was the release of a DVD of the whole event shortly afterwards. A CD containing all the songs participating in the semi-final and the final was also released, but this was available before the contest.

For both the semi-final and the final, the scoring was done by a public phone vote, with the traditional points system of 1-8, 10 and 12 being awarded to the ten songs with the highest number of votes.  All 36 countries taking part in the contest were able to vote in both the semi-final and the final.

Trivia: 
While the release of the DVD had not happened before, it was not the first time an album of the songs had been made available. From 1986 to 1991, an unofficial album was put together for commercial release. National broadcasters were not obliged to give permission for their song to be included on the album. This led to some songs missing all together, or even cover versions being included instead of the authentic recording.
About the songs: 
RamonRamon Spain - Ramón - Para Llenarme De Ti (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Kike Santander/Kike Santander

There is plenty of flamenco guitar to add flavour, but the Spanish entry is a bit flat and doesn’t contain the vitality it should.

 Tie BreakTie Break Austria - Tie Break - Du Bist (German)

Music/Lyrics: Peter Zimmermann /Peter Zimmermann

All the boy band stereotypes are followed with a typical ballad that is only good for the last dance in a club.

 Knut Anders SørumKnut Anders Sørum Norway - Knut Anders Sørum - High (English)

Music/Lyrics: Thomas Thörnholm, Lars Andersson/Dan Attlerud

One of many solo male performers with a soft rock song. To be fair, this is the best of this particular bunch.

 Jonatan CerradaJonatan Cerrada France - Jonatan Cerrada - A Chaque Pas (French)

Music/Lyrics: Jonatan Cerrada, Benjamin Robbins, Steve Balsamo /Jonatan Cerrada, Benjamin Robbins, Steve Balsamo

Whose idea was it to have the lady on stilts on stage? It was a very bad move which took the focus away from Jonatan and his ballad, which is pleasant, but nothing more. He gave it his all, though, both vocally and with his facial expressions.

 Željko JoksimovićŽeljko Joksimović Serbia and Montenegro - Željko Joksimović - Lane Moje (Serbian)

Music/Lyrics: Željko Joksimović/Leontina Vukomanovic

Other former Yugoslav republics had been competing in the contest for about ten years, but Serbia and Montenegro had stayed away until now. On this evidence, we have been deprived of some great songs. Lane Moje is an instant classic, a Balkan ballad with a poetic beauty. 

 Julie & LudwigJulie & Ludwig Malta - Julie & Ludwig - On Again... Off Again (English)

Music/Lyrics: Philip Vella/Gerard James Borg

There is much to enjoy about the Maltese entry. The tune is joyful and memorable, Julie’s performance is perky and when the song ends, you want to hear it again. 

 Re-unionRe-union The Netherlands - Re-union - Without You (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ed van Otterdijk/Angeline van Otterdijk

Shock was the first emotion felt when this was announced a qualifier. Another of the soft rock ballads (although sung by a duo rather than a solo male), it’s also rather dull.

 MaxMax Germany - Max - Can't Wait Until Tonight (English)

Music/Lyrics: Stefan Raab/Stefan Raab

Stefan Raab’s previous two Eurovision songs (1998 and 2000) had a jazz edge to them, and his third continues that pattern. It’s mostly a soft rock ballad and is unremarkable and lacks an ability to linger in the memory.

 Anjeza ShahiniAnjeza Shahini Albania - Anjeza Shahini - The Image Of You (English)

Music/Lyrics: Edmond Zhulali/Agim Doçit

Every expense was spared on the presentation. No-one should complain that it was left to Anjeza and her backing singers to sell Albania’s first entry, an up-tempo, feel good number whose success surprised many.

 RuslanaRuslana Ukraine - Ruslana - Wild Dances (Ukrainian/English)

Music/Lyrics: Ruslana/Oleksandr Ksenofontov

The bookies had Ruslana at 25/1 at one point. Had they not heard it first? It stood out as an obvious winner with its infectious rhythm and driving beat. A well choreographed routine did her chances no harm either. 

 Ivan MikulicIvan Mikulic Croatia - Ivan Mikulic - You Are The Only One (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ivan Mikulic/Dusko Grubolovic, Marina Mudrinic

It would have been a scandal if Ivan had been left out of the final. Croatian ballads don’t come much more charming, tender or romantic than this. 

 DeenDeen Bosnia & Herzegovina - Deen - In The Disco (English)

Music/Lyrics: Vesna Pisarovic/Vesna Pisarovic

With more camp than Milletts, Deen took to the stage with (and the clue is in the title) a disco number. The choreography gave him ample opportunity to show off his dancing skills, doing as much work as the backing dancers. This is always risky when there is a song to sing, but he pulled it off.

 XandeeXandee Belgium - Xandee - 1 Life (English)

Music/Lyrics: Marc Paelinck/Dirk Paelinck

It was time to get up and dance, although judging by the number of points it received, most people must have got up and put the kettle on. Such a low placing was undeserved for her club anthem, which is a far superior song to many that scored more heavily. 

 Julia SavichevaJulia Savicheva Russia - Julia Savicheva - Believe Me (English)

Music/Lyrics: Maxim Fadeev/Brenda Loring

Fans of Scottish band Texas will probably have liked the Russian entry. Youthful Julia was let down by the stage presentation, which involved some downright weird and unsuitable choreography and equally unsuitably attired backing dancers. 

 Tose ProeskiTose Proeski Macedonia - Tose Proeski - Life (English)

Music/Lyrics: Jovan Jovanov/Damjan Lazarev, Irena Dukic

Tose was a very popular young singer whose life was tragically cut short in 2007 in a car accident. He left us this happy memory of him, a dramatic song with a punchy performance.

 Sakis RouvasSakis Rouvas Greece - Sakis Rouvas - Shake It (English)

Music/Lyrics: Nikos Terzis/Nextarios Tyrakis

Like him or hate him, no-one can deny that Sakis is an accomplished performer. His commercial Greek ditty was always going to be popular. 

 JónsiJónsi Iceland - Jónsi - Heaven (English)

Music/Lyrics: Sveinn Rúnar Sigurdsson/Magnús Thor Sigmundsson

Unusually, the title doesn’t appear anywhere in the lyrics. It’s one of the many soft rock ballads sung by a male in the 2004 contest.

 Chris DoranChris Doran Ireland - Chris Doran - If My World Stopped Turning (English)

Music/Lyrics: Brian McFadden, Jonathan Shorten/Brian McFadden, Jonathan Shorten

Written by Westlife’s Brian McFadden, the Irish song could easily have made up the numbers on one of their albums. It’s a ballad by numbers so beloved by Westlife and their fans, but rather dull for everyone else. 

 Blue CaféBlue Café Poland - Blue Café - Love Song (English)

Music/Lyrics: Pawel Rurak-Sokal/Tatiana Okupnik

Poland went into the contest with a mid-tempo, funk tune. Lead singer Tatiana Okupnik’s voice is certainly unique, but it does sound a little unnatural. 

 James FoxJames Fox United Kingdom - James Fox - Hold On To Our Love (English)

Music/Lyrics: Gary Miller, Tim Woodcock/Gary Miller, Tim Woodcock

In a different year, with fewer males singing soft rock ballads, James would have finished higher. In the event, even with a reasonable draw and despite a superior performance, the public had so many of that genre of song to vote for, that not enough votes went his way.  

 Lisa AndreasLisa Andreas Cyprus - Lisa Andreas - Stronger Every Minute (English)

Music/Lyrics: Mike Connaris/Mike Connaris

Lisa was plucked from her regular life in Kent, The Garden of England, to sing from the country of her ancestors. Despite her voice cracking briefly at the end, her performance of this gentle, understated ballad was very good; especially considering the arrangement is quietly in the background. 

 AthenaAthena Turkey - Athena - For Real (English)

Music/Lyrics: Gökhan Özoguz, Hakan Özoguz/Gökhan Özoguz, Hakan Özoguz

The hosts selected popular Turkish band, Athena, to defend their honour. It was certainly different, possibly the first time Ska had been heard in the contest. There was also some rock thrown into the mix.

 Sanda LadosiSanda Ladosi Romania - Sanda Ladosi - I Admit (English)

Music/Lyrics: George Popa/Irina Gligor

Underpinned by the rhythm of Flamenco guitar, there is also a very contemporary touch to what is ultimately a pop song. Did Sanda arrive at the Abdi Ipkeci Sports Centre late? It looked as if she didn’t have time to change into her outfit, instead taking to the stage in what looked like her underwear!

 Lena PhilipssonLena Philipsson Sweden - Lena Philipsson - It Hurts (English)

Music/Lyrics: Thomas Orup Eriksson/Thomas Orup Eriksson

Lena had been waiting for the chance for one of her songs to be in the contest for years. When her opportunity arrived, she didn’t waste it. Performing on her own, she filled the stage with her all round talents. It’s not quite in the Swedish schalger mould, but it’s not far off. 

2004 Semi-Final

2004 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
12 May 2004
Venue: 
Abdi Ipkeci Sports Centre, Istanbul, Turkey
Broadcaster: 
TRT
Presenter(s): 
Meltem Cumbul & Korhan Abay
Other shows this year: 
About the contest: 

For the first time, the contest was held in Turkey. That would have been a big enough challenge, but TRT also had to do something that no broadcaster had done before, organise two shows. Due to the number of countries now wanting to take part, it was impractical to retain the formula of relegating the worst performing countries each year. The EBU decided that the best way to solve the problem was to have a semi-final. The countries finishing in the top 10 in 2003 and the Big 4 (United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain) automatically qualified for the final and would be joined by the top 10 countries from the semi-final. On the night of the semi-final, the songs qualifying for the final were revealed one by one by being drawn from individual envelopes. 

There were fears that the songs qualifying from the semi-final would have an advantage in the final as viewers would already have heard them and were thought likely to vote for the same song. In the final, six of the top 10 came from the semi-final, and nine of the bottom ten places were filled by songs not in the semi-final. As it was the first year there had been a semi-final, it was too early to assess whether participation in the semi-final was advantageous.  There was also unease about the right of the Big 4 to qualify automatically for the final, but this rule remained in recognition of the large financial contribution made by these countries which enables the contest to exist. 

Some countries had been participating for years without success, but Ukraine won with only its second offering. Interestingly, Ruslana finished second in the semi-final. In the final, the different voting patterns caused by a new set of songs moved her to the top of the scoreboard.

Andorra, Albania, Belarus and Serbia and Montenegro participated for the first time, while Monaco returned after a 25 year absence.

Although none of the singers on show had been in the contest before, Lena Philipsson, Jari Sillanpää and Ivan Mikulic had all been trying for a long time, racking up many entries in their respective national finals. Sakis Rouvas was making the first of three appearances, including one as host.

Instead of a new logo every year, it was decided that there should be a standard logo for all future contests, the words ‘Eurovision Song Contest’ with the ‘v’ of Eurovision in the shape of a heart with the flag of the host country covering it.

Another ‘first’ for the contest was the release of a DVD of the whole event shortly afterwards. A CD containing all the songs participating in the semi-final and the final was also released, but this was available before the contest.

For both the semi-final and the final, the scoring was done by a public phone vote, with the traditional points system of 1-8, 10 and 12 being awarded to the ten songs with the highest number of votes. All 36 countries taking part in the contest were able to vote in both the semi-final and the final.

Trivia: 
While the release of the DVD had not happened before, it was not the first time an album of the songs had been made available. From 1986 to 1991, an unofficial album was put together for commercial release. National broadcasters were not obliged to give permission for their song to be included on the album. This led to some songs missing all together, or even cover versions being included instead of the authentic recording.
About the songs: 
Jari SillanpääJari Sillanpää Finland - Jari Sillanpää - Takes 2 To Tango (English)

Music/Lyrics: Mika Toivanen/Sillanpää

Jari’s voice was bound to sell his song well, but it was never going to be enough to lift the modern tango tune into the top 10.

 Aleksandra & KonstantinAleksandra & Konstantin Belarus - Aleksandra & Konstantin - My Galileo (English)

Music/Lyrics: Aleksandra Kirsanova, Konstantin Drapezo/Alexey Solomakha

Belarus was the first of the debutants and it wasn’t a promising start! Aleksandra’s southern American drawl didn’t suit the folk nature of the song, while Konstantin looked like he felt surplus to requirements. 

 Piero EsteriorePiero Esteriore Switzerland - Piero Esteriore & the MusicStars - Celebrate (English)

Music/Lyrics: Greg Manning/Greg Manning

Poor Piero!! He became the first person to score no points in a semi-final. In truth, it was what the song deserved. The lyrics are worse than corny and the tune is nonexistent. 

 Fomins & KleinsFomins & Kleins Latvia - Fomins & Kleins - Dziesma Par Laimi (Latvian)

Music/Lyrics: Guntars Racs/Tomass Kleins

In a move that demonstrated you can stage a song effectively without going over the top, they used two drummers and gave them some choreography to emphasise the strong beat. It worked really well, and it’s a pity that the accessible rock song wasn’t rewarded with a place in the final. 

 David D'orDavid D'or Israel - David D'or - Le'ha'amin (Hebrew/English)

Music/Lyrics: David D'or/David D'or

Were his trousers too tight? David’s remarkable soprano voice certainly caught everyone’s attention and added an extra layer to what otherwise would be a grand and worthy, though run of the mill, Israeli anthem. He can count himself unlucky to just miss the final in 11th place. 

 Marta RoureMarta Roure Andorra - Marta Roure - Jugarem A Estimar-nos (Catalan)

Music/Lyrics: Jofre Bardagi/Jofre Bardagi

Andorran broadcaster, RTVA, bravely decided to use the nations own language when, it would be argued by some, more points would have been gained using French or Spanish, also widely spoken in Andorra. We’ll never know if the use of one of those languages would have lifted the mid-tempo, repetitive plodder the necessary eight places it would have needed to reach the final. 

 SofiaSofia Portugal - Sofia - Foi Magia (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Paulo Neves/Paulo Neves

Since 1999 (with the exception of 2003), Portugal had been suffering a drop in quality as they tried to move away from the Portuguese sound to something more commercial and European. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present Foi Magia!

 Julie & LudwigJulie & Ludwig Malta - Julie & Ludwig - On Again... Off Again (English)

Music/Lyrics: Philip Vella/Gerard James Borg

There is much to enjoy about the Maltese entry. The tune is joyful and memorable, Julie’s performance is perky and when it ends, you want to hear it again. 

 MaryonMaryon Monaco - Maryon - Notre Planète (French)

Music/Lyrics: Philippe Bosco/Philippe Bosco

Maybe in an attempt to sound modern and up to date, Monaco’s first entry for 25 years is accompanied by a dance beat. It would have sounded better as a ballad. 

 Sakis RouvasSakis Rouvas Greece - Sakis Rouvas - Shake It (English)

Music/Lyrics: Nikos Terzis/Nextarios Tyrakis

Like him or hate him, no-one can deny that Sakis is an accomplished performer. His commercial Greek ditty was always going to be popular. 

 RuslanaRuslana Ukraine - Ruslana - Wild Dances (Ukrainian/English)

Music/Lyrics: Ruslana/Oleksandr Ksenofontov

The bookies had Ruslana at 25/1 at one point. Had they not heard it first? It stood out as an obvious winner with its infectious rhythm and driving beat. A well choreographed routine did her chances no harm either. 

 Linas and SimonaLinas and Simona Lithuania - Linas ir Simona - What's Happened To Your Love (English)

Music/Lyrics: Michalis Antonio, Linas Adomaitis/Camden MS

Linus wore a shirt with a flashing heart adorned on it. He seemed really proud of it, but it looked ridiculous! His duet with Simona started badly with a rasping trumpet, and doesn’t improve when it develops a touch of jazz.

 Anjeza ShahiniAnjeza Shahini Albania - Anjeza Shahini - The Image Of You (English)

Music/Lyrics: Edmond Zhulali/Agim Doçit

Every expense was spared on the presentation. No-one should complain that it was left to Anjeza and her backing singers to sell Albania’s first entry, an up-tempo, feel good number whose success surprised many. 

 Lisa AndreasLisa Andreas Cyprus - Lisa Andreas - Stronger Every Minute (English)

Music/Lyrics: Mike Connaris/Mike Connaris

Lisa was plucked from her regular life in Kent, The Garden of England, to sing from the country of her ancestors. Despite her voice cracking briefly at the end, her performance of this gentle, understated ballad was very good; especially considering the arrangement is quietly in the background. 

 Tose ProeskiTose Proeski Macedonia - Tose Proeski - Life (English)

Music/Lyrics: Jovan Jovanov/Damjan Lazarev, Irena Dukic

Tose was a very popular young singer whose life was tragically cut short in 2007 in a car accident. He left us this happy memory of him, a dramatic song with a punchy performance.

 PlatinPlatin Slovenia - Platin - Stay Forever (English)

Music/Lyrics: Simon Gomilsek/Diana Lecnik

Surely the Slovenians didn’t expect to qualify for the final with this package! The song is tuneless and Diana can’t sing to save her life. 

 NeiokõsõNeiokõsõ Estonia - Neiokõsõ - Tii (English)

Music/Lyrics: Priit Pajusaar, Glen Pilvre/Aapo Ilves

With a manic chap, who banged the drums (hard) with his bare hands, for protection, the quintet of Estonian ladies walked in formation while sharing vocal duties in their sprightly folk song.  

 Ivan MikulicIvan Mikulic Croatia - Ivan Mikulic - You Are The Only One (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ivan Mikulic/Dusko Grubolovic, Marina Mudrinic

It would have been a scandal if Ivan had been left out of the final. Croatian ballads don’t come much more charming, tender or romantic than this. 

 Tomas ThordarsonTomas Thordarson Denmark - Tomas Thordarson - Shame On You (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ivar Lind Greiner/Ivar Lind Greiner

Tomas was sporting a pair of shoes which turned into roller skates, allowing him to whizz around the stage. The camera managed to keep up with him. His mid-tempo MOR song was worthy of a place in the final. Maybe the striking red suit put people off.

 Željko JoksimovićŽeljko Joksimović Serbia and Montenegro - Željko Joksimović - Lane Moje (Serbian)

Music/Lyrics: Željko Joksimović/Leontina Vukomanovic

Other former Yugoslav republics had been competing in the contest for about ten years, but Serbia and Montenegro had stayed away until now. On this evidence, we have been deprived of some great songs. Lane Moje is an instant classic, a Balkan ballad with a poetic beauty. 

 DeenDeen Bosnia & Herzegovina - Deen - In The Disco (English)

Music/Lyrics: Vesna Pisarovic/Vesna Pisarovic

With more camp than Milletts, Deen took to the stage with (and the clue is in the title) a disco number. The choreography gave him ample opportunity to show off his dancing skills, doing as much work as the backing dancers. This is always risky when there is a song to sing, but he pulled it off.

 Re-unionRe-union The Netherlands - Re-union - Without You (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ed van Otterdijk/Angeline van Otterdijk

Shock was the first emotion felt when this was announced a qualifier. Another of the soft rock ballads (although sung by a duo rather than a solo male), it’s also rather dull.

Sha-la-lie – you either love it or hate it

Sieneke - Sha La Lie - Ik Ben Verfiefd ©  nrgymusic

Despite several jokes and nasty comments about the national selection Sieneke’s Sha-la-lie – Ik Ben Verliefd is now at the top of the Dutch single chart. The Dutch entry for the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest has turned out to be a love it or hate it song. The Danish entry for the 2009 Contest is still on the chart in the Netherlands - in a Dutch version.

The Full Results: Saved by the Jury

2009 Eurovision logo © eurovision.tv

The results of both semifinals have now been released by the EBU. They make interesting reading. The jury overturned the telephone vote to save countries in each of the semifinals. Quite annoying if your country finished 10th in the phone vote.

Eurovision Song Contest 2009: The Day the Music Triumphed

Alexander Rybak {Copyright:Charlotte Jensen, EuroVisionary}

In a contest which nobody could call close, Norway won the 54th Eurovision Song Contest in the Olympiyskiy Arena in Moscow. He scored a record 387 points, leaving him a long way in front of Iceland and Azerbaijan in second and third places respectively.

Video: Sakis and Svetlana Loboda performs at 2nd semi-final qualifiers press conference

See video

At the press conference for the ones qualifying from the second semi-final Sakis Rouvas and Svetlana Loboda gave each their little performance. Together with 8 other acts they both qualified from Thursday's second semi-final.

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