||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 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 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 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. 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.
||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.
||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 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 & 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 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 & 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.
||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 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 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 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.
||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!
||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.
||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 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 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 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.
||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 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 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.
||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.