The Toppers

Burning desire released from Jeroen van der Boom

Jeroen van der Boom - Vurig Verlangen - Single cover

He represented the Netherlands at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest as a part of The Toppers, but Jeroen van der Boom continues with his succesful solo career. The second single from his forthcoming album, produced in Sweden, has just been released.  

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. 

3JS will not be fighting alone in Düsseldorf

3JS on stage ©  Songfestival.nl
Year after year Medias are wondering when the Dutch broadcaster decides to pull the plug on their Eurovision Song Contest participation. The country has failed to reach the final the past six years making it one of the least successful countries nowadays. This evening the pressure was on the population and the jury to choose the right song.

What went wrong for the Netherlands?

Dutch flag

Or maybe I should ask “what keeps going wrong for the Netherlands?” since they have failed to reach the final in the past six years. We can’t accuse them of not trying different things as they do try various genres. They just don’t seem to be able to get it right no matter what they do.

“On again, off again... like the rhythm of rain....

Gerard Joling and Gordon fighting

...We need to decide, find an end to this game.” First they were three, then they were still three, although with a change in line-up, then they were two, then three again and now they are four! The Dutch soap opera called The Toppers have had yet another chapter written to it.

De Toppers after Moscow: Gerard Joling to replace Gordon?

De Toppers ©  Charlotte Jensen, EuroVisionary

The Dutch soap opera about De Toppers, who represented the Netherlands at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, continues. Gerard Joling left the extravagant trio, got replaced by Jeroen van der Boom and now rumours indicate that he might be coming back – to replace Gordon who was the reason he left in the first place!

Dutch medias discussing names for 2010

The Toppers didn't manage to bring the Neterlands to the final © Charlotte Jensen, EuroVisionary

It didn’t take long before the Dutch medias started discussing who should try to do what has failed for Glennis Grace, Treble, Edsilia Rombley, Hind and now also De Toppers: bring the Netherlands into the Eurovision Song Contest final.

2009nl The Toppers - Shine

See video

The Toppers will be representing The Netherlands at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest with this song called Shine. Last year The Netherlands  didn't manage to qualify for the final putting extra pressure on The Toppers to do so this year.

The Toppers started their way to Moscow

The Toppers on the way to Moscow © TROS

A series of documentaries following The Toppers way to Moscow was aired last night. Weekly programs will take the viewers behind the scenes in the preparations for doing well at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. First episode showed how difficult it is for the new Topper, Jeroen van der Boom to fit in.

Can three overweight middle aged men be good for my health?

I was asked how I can enjoy three middle age overweight men dressed in colourful suits singing a song that won't go down in history as something to remember, but that is what I like about De Toppers. It is fun and not too serious! I am ready for two weeks of fun with these guys in Moscow - and me and three guys might even me good for my health! 

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