||Bosnia and Herzigovina - Marija Sestic - Rijeka Bez Imena (Bosnian)
Music/Lyrics: Aleksandra Milutinovic, Goran Kovačic/Aleksandra Milutinovic, Goran Kovačic
The Bosnian song is a gentle ballad of the type that the former Yugoslav republics seem to pull off with ease. Sensibly, the presentation was kept simple.
||Spain - NASH - I Love You Mi Vida (Spanish)
Music/Lyrics: Antonio Sanchez-Ohlsson, Rebeca Pous del Toro, Thomas G:Son/Antonio Sanchez-Ohlsson, Rebeca Pous del Toro, Thomas G:Son
This is typical boy-band throwaway pop lifted only slightly by small touches of Flamenco guitar and the decision to sing in Spanish.
| Dmitry Koldun
||Belarus - Dmitry Koldun - Work Your Magic (English)
Music/Lyrics: Phillip Kirkorov/Karen Kavaleryan
Images of James Bond abound as the intro starts. The rock ballad carries punch and is memorable, but the magicians set used in the staging was unnecessary.
Ireland - Dervish - They Can't Stop The Spring (English)
Music/Lyrics: John Waters, Tommy Moran/John Waters, Tommy Moran
Popular and experienced folk band, Dervish, was chosen by RTE in an attempt to reverse the recent bad luck of the Irish. The title was borrowed from the Hungarian Revolution. The lilting flute gives the song its atmosphere, but a bit more tempo was needed to make the song appeal more widely.
| Hanna Pakarinen
||Finland - Hanna Pakarinen - Leave Me Alone (English)
Music/Lyrics: Martii Vuorinen, Miika Pakarinen/Martii Vuorinen, Hanna Pakarinen
Sticking with the genre which brought them success the previous year, Finland entered another rock song. That said, this is a more tuned down version of the style, and Hanna didn’t need to wear a mask.
||Macedonia - Karolina - Mojot Svet (Macedonian)
Music/Lyrics: Grigor Koprov/Ognen Nedelkovski
Karolina put her heart and soul into her performance. In doing so, she added more weight to a song already heavy in quality. Her second Eurovision song, it’s full of power and drama.
| Alenka Gotar
||Slovenia - Alenka Gotar - Cvet Z Juga (Slovenia)
Music/Lyrics: Andrej Babic/Andrej Babic
Pop meets opera in a joyous mix that lifts the heart. It is a meeting that, on some levels at least, shouldn’t work, but somehow rarely goes wrong.
| Magdi Rúzsa
||Hungary - Magdi Rúzsa - Unsubstantial Blues (English)
Music/Lyrics: Magdi Rúzsa/Imre Mozsik
Not many expected Magdi to reach the final, never mind qualify with such ease. It’s definitely Blues and it is good to see traditional styles of music can still mix it with the hip young things!
||Lithuania - 4Fun - Love Or Leave (English)
Music/Lyrics: Julija Ritcik/Julija Ritcik
The staging was absolutely right. Lead singer, Julija, sat in front of a screen, behind which the rest of the band were seen in large silhouette. The song needs a few listens to be fully appreciated, but stay with it and you will be handsomely rewarded. Love Or Leave is a gentle, sensitive and atmospheric ballad given its feel by the acoustic guitar. Sublime!
||Greece - Sarbel - Yassou Maria (Greek)
Music/Lyrics: Marcus Englöf, Alex Papakonstantinou/Mack
There was much pouting and posing from Sarbel. His song is a straightforward twist, but as always, there is a Greek element to it. All in all, it is a bit within the ordinary.
||Georgia - Sopho - My Story (English)
Music/Lyrics: Beqa Japaridzé/Bibi Kvachadze
Georgia’s debut sounds like an offering to the Gods set to a jolly beat. The pace ebbs and flows as the vocal flits between the peaceful and making sure the Gods heard the message.
| The Ark
||Sweden - The Ark - The Worrying Kind (English)
Music/Lyrics: The Ark/The Ark
Glam rock comes to Eurovision! The Worrying Kind could very easily have been a hit for Mark Bolan and was highly enjoyable.
| Les Fatals Picards
||France - Les Fatals Picards - L'amour à La Française (French/English)
Music/Lyrics: Ivan Callot, Laurent Honel, Jean-Marc Sauvagnargues, Yves Giraud, Paul Léger/Ivan Callot, Laurent Honel, Jean-Marc Sauvagnargues
It is hard to decide whether this is a serious or novelty song. The verse is quiet and reflective, but the chorus is manic.
||Latvia - Bonaparti.lv - Questa Notte (Italian)
Music/Lyrics: Kjells Jenstigs/Kjells Jenstigs
Looking very dapper (at least, their top halves did) the multi-national vocal group brought a bit of class to proceedings. Their semi operatic ballad built to a powerful crescendo to leave a lasting and clear impression.
||Russia - Serebro - Song #1 (English)
Music/Lyrics: Maxim Fadeev/Daniil Babitchev
The lyrics are rather risqué in places but the tone is defintaely pop in attitude. It takes girl power to a different level.
| Roger Cicero
||Germany - Roger Cicero - Frauen Regieren Die Welt (German)
Music/Lyrics: Matthias Hass/Frank Ramond
When they aren’t big-ballading or inane Euro-popping, the Germans are capable of providing something unusual. It happened here with Roger’s swing number of 1950’s America.
| Marija Šerifović
||Serbia - Marija Šerifović - Molitva (Serbian)
Music/Lyrics: Vladimir Graic, Sasa Milosevic Mare/Vladimir Graic, Sasa Milosevic Mare
Looking like she was on her way to a business meeting, Marija won both the semi-final and the final easily. Molitva is the type of Balkan ballad that has been heard before but is never a chore to hear again and again and again………..
| Verka Serduchka
||Ukraine - Verka Serduchka - Dancing Lasha Tumbai (Russian/German/English)
Music/Lyrics: Andrei Danilko/Andrei Danilko
Verka looked like the 1970’s incarnation of Elton John, but on a bad day. It is a song that divides opinion, being seen as a harmless bit of fun and nonsense, or simply nonsense and nothing more than irritating. Just listened to, it’s probably the latter, but if heard while also watching the performance too, it edges towards the former.
||United Kingdom - Scooch - Flying The Flag (For You) (English)
Music/Lyrics: Russ Spencer, Morten Schjolin, Andrew Hill, Paul Tarry/Russ Spencer, Morten Schjolin, Andrew Hill, Paul Tarry
What were the British public thinking when they choose this? It would be good for nothing more than a children’s party, the problem is that there is more innuendo than The Benny Hill Show, with none of the subtlety or amusement.
||Romania - Todomondo - Liubi, Liubi, I Love You (French/English/Italian/Romania/Russian/Spanish)
Music/Lyrics: Marian Bogdan Tascău/Marian Bogdan Tascău, Vlad Cretu, Ghedi Kamara
The Romanian song is odd but memorable, for all the wrong reasons. It is quite Romanian, having more than a bit of Romany about the music and melodic style. These traditions were evident in the presentation.
| Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankulov
||Bulgaria - Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankulov - Water (Bulgarian)
Music/Lyrics: Elitsa Todorova, Stoyan Yankulov/Elitsa Todorova
After a disappointing first two years competing in the contest, the Bulgarians came back very strongly to make it third time lucky reaching the final. Elitsa and Stoyans’s chant has a very strong, yet not intrusive production which holds the song together.
| Kenan Dogulu
||Turkey - Kenan Dogulu - Shake It Up Shekerim (English)
Music/Lyrics: Kenan Dogulu/Kenan Dogulu
How did this qualify for the final at all, never mind so easily? It may be contemporary and trendy, but it just sounds silly.
||Armenia - Hayko - Anytime You Need (English)
Music/Lyrics: Hayko, Karen Kavaleryan/Hayko, Karen Kavaleryan
For their second entry, the Armenians went down the ballad route. It’s a very good one that Hayko did full justice to. The ‘tree’ prop could have been left out, but fortunately, it didn’t serve as a distraction.
| Natalia Barbu
||Moldova - Natalia Barbu - Fight (English)
Music/Lyrics: Alexandru Brasoveanu/Elena Buga
Natalia squeezed into the final by a very small margin. Her rock song was aggressive in nature and performance.