||Lithuania - Aiste Smilgeviciute - Strazdas (Lithuanian)
Music/Lyrics: Linas Rimsa, Sigitas Geda/Linas Rimsa, Sigitas Geda
The first entry of the night is more like a pagan chant than a song at times. Drums are used effectively to add a bit of bite.
| Vanessa Chinitor
||Belgium - Vanessa Chinitor - Like the Wind (English)
Music/Lyrics: Wim Claes, Emma Philippa/Wim Claes, Emma Philippa
Two songs in and already we hear the first of the possible winners. The sweeping pan pipes sound beautiful in combination with the strings and the whole thing has impact.
||Spain - Lydia - No Quiero Escuchar (Spanish)
Music/Lyrics: Alejandro Carmona, Carlos Lopéz/Fernando Rodriguez, Alejandro Piqueras
When the first impression the audience has is what the singer is wearing, it pays to leave positive or even neutral thoughts. Lydia’s choice of dress fails on both counts! The song she is charged with singing is, by Spanish standards, a rather lacklustre ballad.
| Doris Dragovic
||Croatia - Doris Dragovic - Marija Magdalena (Croatian)
Music/Lyrics: Tonci Huljic/Vjekoslava/Huljic
Doris’ second tilt at the title is completely different to her first. 13 years earlier. She went up-tempo and much more dramatic. A vocal was included in the backing track, which was against the rules as all vocals have to be sung live on stage. As a result, the EBU deducted 33% of Croatia’s score from the contest. This gave them a lower five year point average, potentially relegating them from future contests.
||United Kingdom - Precious - Say It Again (English)
Music/Lyrics: Paul Varney/Paul Varney
Precious started the decline of the United Kingdom in the contest. Twelfth was the lowest finish for the UK at the time by one of the contests most successful countries. Say It Again is an empty lifeless mixture of soul and pop. Band member, Jenny Frost, went on to be part of successful girl group, Atomic Kitten
| Darja Svajger
||Slovenia - Darja Svajger - For A Thousand Years (English)
Music/Lyrics: Primoz Peterca/Primoz Peterca
Here is one of the problems with the free language rule! Darja’s pronunciation isn’t always exact, resulting in ‘eyes’ sounding like ‘arse’. That aside, her second Eurovision song is not unlike her first, a classy but standard ballad that you just know is going to build long before it does. .
| Tugba Önal
||Turkey - Tugba Önal & Grup Mystik - Dön Artik (Turkish)
Music/Lyrics: Erdin Tunc/Erdin Tunc, Canan Tunc
In a contest in which a lot of the entries are uninspiring, Dön Artik is a very welcome inclusion. Its pace and infectious rhythm inject the contest with vitality.
| Stig André Van Eijk
||Norway - Stig André Van Eijk - Living My Life Without You (English)
Music/Lyrics: Stig André Van Eijk Stig/André Van Eijk
While a contemporary R ‘n’ B sound will be considered by some to be a positive, it is how the song sounds that counts. The best description was given by Radio 2 commentator Ken Bruce, who said “he’s wearing a vest with a picture of a bull on the front, and the song is a bit like something the bull might leave behind.”
| Trine Jepsen & Michael Teschl
||Denmark - Trine Jepsen & Michael Teschl - This Time (I Mean It) (English)
Music/Lyrics: Ebbe Ravn/Ebbe Ravn
Congratulations should be given to anyone still awake at the end. The Danish ballad meanders its way slowly and limply from the start to the finish.
||France - Nayah - Je Veux Donner Ma Voix (French)
Music/Lyrics: Pascal Grazic Pascal Grazic
Celiné Dion returns! Well, nearly. It is easy to imagine the 1988 winner and international superstar applying her talents to the French entry. Nayah controls the stage in Divaesque fashion.
||The Netherlands - Marlayne - One Good Reason (English)
Music/Lyrics: Alan Michael, Tjeerd van Zanen/Alan Michael, Tjeerd van Zanen
If 1999 was the start of the British decline, the same could almost be be said of the Dutch. It would be the last time they would be in the top ten for many years. Marlayne’s performance was top notch, but the song, an up-tempo guitar based MOR effort, left her too much to do to finish too high up the scoreboard.
| Mietek Szczesniak
||Poland - Mietek (Mieczyslaw) Szczesniak - Przytul Mnie Mocno (Polish)
Music/Lyrics: Seweryn Krajewski/Wojciech Ziembicki
Poland’s ballad is one of the best of the bunch. Remaining engaging throughout, it has a calm, emotional feel.
| Selma Björnsdóttir
||Iceland - Selma Björnsdóttir - All Out Of Luck (English)
Music/Lyrics: Porvaldur Bjarni Thorvaldsson/Sveinbjörn Baldvinsson
One last hurrah for europop? After Selma’s second place, this style of song went out of fashion in the contest as the public became more and more involved in the voting.
| Marlain Angelidou
||Cyprus - Marlain Angelidou - Tha'nai Erotas (Cyprus)
Music/Lyrics: Giorgios Kallis, Andreas Karanicolas/Giorgios Kallis, Andreas Karanicolas
Our second Marlain, although with a different spelling. Every year the contest throws up an astonishing result, and this year was the turn of Cyprus to suffer. Deserving of a much higher placing, Tha'nai Erotas is fast and very catchy.
| Charlotte Nilsson
||Sweden - Charlotte Nilsson - Take Me To Your Heaven (English)
Music/Lyrics: Lars Diedricson/Gert Lengstrand, Marcos Ubeda
Elements of the piano arrangement conjure up memories of Sweden’s most famous winner. Like Waterloo, it is very upbeat, memorable and adds touches of saxophone to provide a little quirkiness.
| Rui Bandeira
||Portugal - Rui Bandeira - Como Tudo Começou (Portugal)
Music/Lyrics: Jorge do Carmo/To Andrade
Moving away from a traditional Portuguese sound, Rui’s song is a soft rock, MOR number that quickly becomes uninteresting.
| The Mullans
||Ireland - The Mullans - When You Need Me (English)
Music/Lyrics: Bronagh Mullan/Bronagh Mullan
Ireland had by now started a run of sending sub-standard, plodding ballads to the contest. A complete lack of charisma from the two sisters didn’t help.
| Bobbie Singer
||Austria - Bobbie Singer - Reflection (English)
Music/Lyrics: Dave Moskin/Dave Moskin
Bobby’s young voice sounds a bit too twee for some, but will probably sound cute to others. As for the song, it is buried in the crowd and has nothing to lift it.
||Israel - Eden - Yom Huledeth (Hebrew, English)
Music/Lyrics: Jeki Oved, Yaakov Lymai, Gabriel Butler/Jeki Oved, Yaakov Lymai, Moshe Datz
As it turned out, the hosts had a good draw. Following rather drab entries, Eden’s chirpy song and energetic dancing brought the show back to life.
| Times 3
||Malta - Times 3 - Believe 'n Peace (English)
Music/Lyrics: Chris Scicluna/Moira Stafrace
The three Maltese starlets posed and smiled a lot. Despite being rather repetitive towards the end, the youthful pop sound of Believe 'n Peace would have already hooked those who like it without winning new fans.
||Germany - Sürpriz - Reise Nach Jerusalem - Kudüs'e Seyahat (German, Turkish, English, Hebrew)
Music/Lyrics: Ralph Siegel/Bernd Meinunger
Cynics could have a field day with this one. A Turkish group representing Germany with Turkish flavoured song whose title includes the name of the host city. There was even room in the lyrics for a burst of Hebrew. Siegel and Meinunger at their most desperate!
| Dino and Beatrice
||Bosnia & Herzegovina - Dino and Beatrice - Putnici (Bosnian, French)
Music/Lyrics: Dino Dervishalidovic/Dino Dervishalidovic
How the Bosnians must have wished their original choice could have been there! They were left with their hopes in the hands of daft, disorganised sounding ditty whose only saving grace was the occasional interjection by the fiddle.
| Evelin Samuel
||Estonia - Evelin Samuel and Camille - Diamond Of Night (English)
Music/Lyrics: Priit Paajusaar, Glen Pilvre/Kaari Sillamaa
Rumour has it that Estonia would have won if only juries had been used. Thank the Lord for televoting then! Some of the previous songs seemed to be designed to send viewers to sleep. Anyone still awake would surely have been finished off by Evelin’s dreary lullaby.