|Igor 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 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 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 & 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 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 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 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 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.
||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. 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 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 & 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.