Bulgaria

Video: EuroVisionary talks to Poli Genova

Poli Genova ©  EuroVisionary

Poli Genova tells more about her 2011 Eurovision Song Contest entry Na Inat in this interview where she also reveals that she has been a fan of Blue, the United Kingdom representatives, since she was a little girl. She explains just how she will feel if she manage to beat them.

2009 - 1st Semi-Final

2009 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
12 April 2009
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: 
Andrea DemirovicAndrea Demirovic Montenegro - Andrea Demirovic - Just Get Out of My Life (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ralph Seigel/Bernd Meinunger, José Juan Santana Rodriguez

The Montenegrins turned to prolific Germans, Seigel and Meinunger. They rarely wrote anything as good as this for their own country. It is undemanding, simple and enjoyable pop. 

 Gipsy.czGipsy.cz Czech Republic - Gipsy.cz - Aven Romale (English)

Music/Lyrics: Radoslav Banga/Radoslav Banga

‘Supergipsy’, as he preferred to be known, tried to be a Superhero. It was never going to work, and the Romany influenced song duly failed to score.

 Patrick OuchènePatrick Ouchène

Belgium - Patrick Ouchène - Copycat (English)

Music/Lyrics: Benjamin Schoos/Jacques Duvall

There is always room for a bit of light-hearted fun. Elvis impersonator Patrick claimed in his song that he was the real deal and Elvis Presley was the fake. It made for some amusing lyrics and a few angry Elvis fans, who tried and failed miserably to have the song banned from the competition.  

 Petr ElfimovPetr Elfimov Belarus - Petr Elfimov - Eyes That Never Lie (English)

Music/Lyrics: Petr Elfimov/Valery Prokhozhy

The start of the song is on the hard end of AOR. The tune softens but this beefed up version improves on the one which won the Belarusian final. Qualification for the final certainly looked possible, but in the event, was a long way from becoming a reality. 

 Malena ErnmanMalena 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! 

 Inga & AnushInga & 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. 

 Susanne GeorgiSusanne Georgi Andorra - Susanne Georgi - La Teva Decisió (Get A Life) (English/Catalan)

Music/Lyrics: Edmond Zhulali, Agim Doci/Edmond Zhulali, Agim Doci

The intro is quirky enough to inspire hope for what is to come. The optimism is left unfulfilled as the song becomes more mundane, guitar led MOR.

 LovebugsLovebugs Switzerland - Lovebugs - The Highest Heights (English)

Music/Lyrics: Adrian Sieber, Thomas Rechberger, Florian Senn/Adrian Sieber, Thomas Rechberger, Florian Senn

In an event which is dominated by soloists, a real band doing their thing is always welcome, especially when the song is as good as this. The Highest Heights is mid-tempo, well constructed rock that should easily have made the final. 

 HadiseHadise 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. 

 Noa & Mira AwadNoa & 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.

 Krassimir AvramovKrassimir Avramov Bulgaria - Krassimir Avramov - Illusion (English)

Music/Lyrics: Krassimir Avramov, William Tabanau, Casie Tabanau/Krassimir Avramov, William Tabanau, Casie Tabanau

Krassimir’s soprano voice lends his song an operatic feel. This mixes nicely with the rhythms used to create a sound which fills the room. More people would have liked it than not, but without it having a strong enough appeal. 

 YohannaYohanna 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. 

 Next TimeNext Time Macedonia - Next Time - Neshto Shto Ke Ostane (Macedonian)

Music/Lyrics: Jovan Jovanov, Damjan Lazarov/Elvir Mekic

How annoyed they must have been to find out that they had finished in the top 10 but had not qualified for the final. It could be argued that if the public had put them there, the brothers should have been in the final. It could also be argued that, although their rock song is ok, the final was better without them. 

 ElenaElena 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. 

 Waldo's PeopleWaldo'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. 

 Flor-de-lisFlor-de-lis 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.  

 Chiara Chiara 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. 

 ReginaRegina 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?

2011bg Poli Genova - Na Inat

See video

Poli Genova represented Bulgaria at the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest with her song Na Inat. She couldn't make it to the final as she became 12th in the second semi-final.

2008 - 2nd Semi-Final

2008 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
22 May 2008
Contest type: 
Grand Final
Venue: 
Belgrade Arena, Belgrade, Serbia
Broadcaster: 
RTS
Other shows this year: 
About the contest: 

Had the results of the semi-final voting been released before the final, then few would have predicted Dima Bilan’s victory. Finishing third was not a positive sign, but Dima managed to defy the odds to win the contest at his second attempt. How much the presentation of the song help is a matter for debate. In his first appearance in the contest, a dancer emerged from the piano on stage. This time, he used the talents of international ice-skater, Evgeni Plushenko, in his performance. Those interested in statistics would have noted with interest that Russia’s victory was the eighth time in a row that a country had won for the first time.

Due to the number of countries now taking part in the contest, holding one semi-final was no longer viable. To avoid the all nighter that would have been one semi-final, the EBU decided that there should be two. Press and delegates attending the contest now faced a marathon. In the days before there were semi-finals, rehearsals and preparations lasted one week. Now, with three shows to prepare for, a full two weeks was required to be ready.

The 2008 contest was the year of the novelty song. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, , Ireland, Latvia and Spain all entered songs that were meant for entertainment rather than musical integrity, while some would argue that the Azeri and French songs were in that direction. Bosnia singer, Laka, had a performance that included his sister hanging out the washing and backing singers knitting. The Estonians had three dirty old men dancing in a manner worse than your uncle at a wedding, singing lyrics that made no sense, even to those who spoke any of the three languages used in the song. Ireland was represented by a turkey that was a big star in Irish TV begging Europe to vote for him. Latvia sent a gang of pirates and the Spanish elected a specially created character with his own dance to represent them.

Romanian singers, Nico and Vlad, won their national final, but not the hearts and good wishes of a lot of the public and press. Accusations of plagiarism abounded and there were also claims that Pe-o Margine De Lume had a public performance before the date permitted by the rules laid down by the EBU. Neither accusation could be proved and so no change was necessary or was made by national broadcaster, TVR. 

Austria kept its promise of withdrawing from the contest, but debuts by Azerbaijan and San Marino boosted the number of countries to a new record 43.

In addition to Dima Bilan, Sweden’s Charlotte Perrilli, a former winner herself, was singing her second Eurovision entry.

In each semi-final, only the countries participating in that semi-final were allowed to vote. The five countries already in the final (the Big 4 plus hosts Serbia) were each allowed to vote in one of the semi-finals. The points system remained as it had been for over 30 years, 1-8, then 10 and 12 to the ten most popular songs in each country.

About the songs: 
EurobandEuroband Iceland - Euroband - This Is My Life (English)

Music/Lyrics: Örlygur Smári/Paul Oscar, Peter Fenner

Possibly the most perfect harmonising ever heard on the Eurovision stage! Euroband seemed a certainty to climb out of their semi-final with such a strong pop/disco track, although voters have turned against this type of song in recent years. It was an up-to-date taste of contests past, and the taste was sweet.  

 Charlotte Perrelli 2008Charlotte Perrelli Sweden - Charlotte Perrelli - Hero (English)

Music/Lyrics: Fredrik Kempe, Bobby Ljunggren/ Fredrik Kempe, Bobby Ljunggren

Charlotte was expected to qualify for the final and she did…just! It is the kind of Swedish schlager that the fans love, but can be a bit hit or miss with the public at large. 

Mor ve ÖtesiMor ve Ötesi Turkey - Mor ve Ötesi - Deli (Turkish)

Music/Lyrics: Kerem Kabadayi, Burak Guven, Kerem, Özyegen, Harun Tekin/Kerem Kabadayi, Burak Guven, Kerem, Özyegen, Harun Tekin

Deli is a solid rock song with a spark of individualism about it. Their performance got the audience to their feet as they continued the lively start to the show.

 Ani LorakAni Lorak Ukraine - Ani Lorak - Shady Lady (English)

Music/Lyrics: Philip Kirkorov/Karen Kavaleryan

Ani gave a supremely confident performance of this near perfect pop song. It was always going to be a contender and so it proved, winning the second semi-final and finishing second in the main event.

 Jeronimas MiliusJeronimas Milius Lithuania - Jeronimas Milius - Nomads In The Night (English)

Music/Lyrics: Vytautas Diskevicius/Jeronimas Milius

The fortnight of rehearsals had clearly taken their toll on Jeronimas’ voice. He was one of the best singers of all those competing but didn’t have the opportunity to show it due to the strain his vocal chords were under. This was a real pity as his ballad is superb, but needed the big notes to be hit.   

 Olta BokaOlta Boka Albania - Olta Boka - Zemrën E Lamë Peng (Albanian)

Music/Lyrics: Adrian Hila/Pandi Laço

Albania’s first five entries had established it as a country to watch for songs of quality, even if they weren’t potential winners. Zemrën E Lamë Peng is a western style ballad sung in Albanian to give it a local flavour. 

 Paolo MeneguzziPaolo Meneguzzi Switzerland - Paolo Meneguzzi - Era Stupendo (Italian)

Music/Lyrics: Vincenzo Incenzo, Paolo Meneguzzi/Vincenzo Incenzo, Paolo Meneguzzi

Paolo was already an established singer, having been in Italy’s Sanremo festival five times (including in 2008) prior to singing for his native country in Eurovision. Many expected his Italian style ballad to do well, but it couldn’t escape the semi-final.   

 Tereza KerndlováTereza Kerndlová Czech Republic - Tereza Kerndlová - Have Some Fun (English)

Music/Lyrics: Stano Simor/Gordon Pogoda

Finishing last on its debut the year before with a rock song sung by a bunch of hairy, growling rockers, the Czech Republic went the other way and entered a pop song sung by a pretty girl. The tactic might have worked had the song not been lightweight and Tereza’s performance not been like a bad karaoke singer.  

 Ruslan AlehnoRuslan Alehno Belarus - Ruslan Alehno - Hasta la Vista (English)

Music/Lyrics: Taras Demchuk/Eleonora Melnik

After it had won the Belarusian final, Hasta la Vista was given something of a makeover and was transformed from a pop to a soft rock song. It’s a strong effort and was highly thought of prior to rehearsals starting.

 Pirates of the SeaPirates of the Sea Latvia - Pirates of the Sea - Wolves of the Sea (English)

Music/Lyrics: Jonas Liberg, Johan Sahlen, Claes Andreasson, Torbjorn Wassenius/Jonas Liberg, Johan Sahlen, Claes Andreasson, Torbjorn Wassenius

It was time for the children’s party when the Latvians bounded on to the stage. It was highly entertaining, but a daft way of trying to win the votes of adults.

 Kraljevi Ulice & 75 CentsKraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents Croatia - Kraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents - Romanca (Croatian)

Music/Lyrics: Niran Hadzi Veljkovic Niran/Hadzi Veljkovic

Many feared that septuagenarian 75 Cents might not live to see the night of the contest. All fears were unfounded, and he lasted long enough to stroll around the stage like a grumpy grandparent, occasionally speaking during intervals in this Croatian café style song.

 Deep Zone & BalthazarDeep Zone & Balthazar Bulgaria - Deep Zone & Balthazar - DJ, Take Me Away (English)

Music/Lyrics: Dian Savov/Dian Savov

Take Me Away starts in hip-hop mode but moves into reggae territory when the vocal starts. The lyrics are repeated several times and wouldn’t have taken very long to learn. All in all, it’s messy and a waste of time. 

 Simon MathewSimon Mathew Denmark - Simon Mathew - All Night Long (English)

Music/Lyrics: Jacob Launbjerg, Svend Gudiksen, Nis Ogvad/Jacob Launbjerg, Svend Gudiksen, Nis Ogvad

While the melody and the arrangement aren’t obviously in that direction, Simon’s voice lends All Night Long a jazz feel. Looking a bit like a reject from a Hovis advert, his performance was strong and very confident.

 Diana GurtskayaDiana Gurtskaya Georgia - Diana Gurtskaya - Peace Will Come (English)

Music/Lyrics: Kim Breitburg, Karen Kavaleryan/Kim Breitburg, Karen Kavaleryan

It seems Political Correctness has reached Eastern Europe. Georgia selected a blind singer with a song about desiring world peace. If this was a tactic, it failed, although it finished higher than it should in both the semi-final and the final.

 CsézyCsézy Hungary - Csézy - Candlelight (English)

Music/Lyrics: Viktor Rakonczai/Imre Mozsik

For the fourth year running, one of the best songs overall finished last in the semi-final. Csézy’s piano based ballad is abundant with class and sophistication. 

 MorenaMorena Malta - Morena - Vodka (English)

Music/Lyrics: Philip Vella, Gerard James Borg/Philip Vella, Gerard James Borg

The fast, impactful pace at the start drops slightly for the vocal, but picks up again for the chorus. It’s slightly untidy, but quite enjoyable.

 Evdokia KadiEvdokia Kadi Cyprus - Evdokia Kadi - Femme Fatale (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Nikos Evaggelou/Nikos Evaggelou

Imagine what you might hear at a Greek wedding, or a restaurant high in the hills of rural Cyprus, and you can imagine Femme Fatale. If it is memorable in any way, it’s for the wrong reasons. 

 Tamara, Vrčak & AdrijanTamara, Vrčak & Adrijan Macedonia - Tamara, Vrčak & Adrijan - Let Me Love You (English)

Music/Lyrics: Rade Vrčakovski/Rade Vrčakovski

The presentation was mercifully less flamboyant than it could have been. A mixture of hip-hop, pop and R ‘n’ B, it is maybe trying too hard to sound modern. The result is unimpressive, but it wasn’t too far from qualifying. 

 Vânia FernandesVânia Fernandes Portugal - Vânia Fernandes - Senhora Do Mar (Negras Águas) (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Andrej Babic/Carlos Coelho

When the Portuguese do a good ballad, they do it very well. It’s not quite Fado, more’s the pity, but it is a welcome return to the Portuguese sound after a few attempts at trying to sound less traditional. 

Poli Genova gets the Bulgarian ticket to Düsseldorf

Poli Genova ©  Last.fm

Following Miro's failure to qualify last year in Oslo, the pressure is on for the Bulgarians to deliver the goods this year. They have placed the task in the hands of Poli Genova to ensure a place in the final in Düsseldorf.

2007 Final

2007 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
12 May 2007
Contest type: 
Grand Final
Venue: 
Hartwall Arena - Helsinki, Finland
Broadcaster: 
YLE
Presenter(s): 
Jaana Pelkonen & Mikko Leppilampi
Other shows this year: 
About the contest: 

Serbia had only been an independent country for less than a year when it won the contest. Opinion is divided as to whether it is the first Serbian entry or not. One side of the argument says that as it had previously been known as Serbia and Montenegro, it wasn’t Serbia’s first entry. The other side of the debate is that as Montenegro was part of the deal, Serbia was, in effect, a new country and so it did win the contest at the first attempt.

This was to be the last contest to have just one semi-final. Under this format, the top 10 countries from the previous year’s contest and the ‘Big 4’ automatically qualified for the final. From 2008, only the ‘Big 4’ and the host country would automatically qualify for the final.

As usual, controversy played a part in the build up to the contest. The lyrics of the Israeli song were considered by many to be political and an attack on the leaders of Iran. However, the lyrics were allowed to go unchanged. Iceland’s Silvia Night got on everyone’s nerves in the days leading up to the contest at her rehearsals, press conferences and generally when she was going around the facilities. It may have just been an act (or it may not) as part of the Silvia Night persona, but her reward was to be booed at the end of her performance.  

As always, there was a variety of songs and performance styles on show. While formal attire was the choice of some, viewers could also enjoy a drag act in the shape of Denmark’s DQ. 

It seemed Austria was gone for good. National broadcaster, ORF, cited recent bad results linked to neighbourly voting as the reason for its absence. Various sources within ORF were quoted as saying "The Song Contest is clearly a sign of the complicated nature of a united Europe.  We've already seen in 2007 that it's not the quality of the song, but the country of origin that determines the decision," and “As long as the  the Song Contest is a political parade ground and not an international entertainment programme, ORF has no desire to send more talent out of Austria to a competition where they have no chances. Should the situation change, we'll be happy to take part again."

While Austria left the scene, it seems with regret, others were keen to join the crowd. The 2007 contest saw debuts from Georgia and the Czech Republic, who participated with differing results.

Trivia: 
One of the ‘advances’ in technology in recent years has been High Definition. The BBC and Sweden’s SVT became the first broadcaster to give viewers to watch the contest in that format. Did anyone notice?
About the songs: 
Marija SesticMarija Sestic 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.

 NASHNASH 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 KoldunDmitry 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. 

 DervishDervish

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 PakarinenHanna 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.

 KarolinaKarolina 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 GotarAlenka 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 RúzsaMagdi 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!

 4Fun4Fun 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! 

 SarbelSarbel 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. 

 SophoSopho 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 ArkThe 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 PicardsLes 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. 

 Bonaparti.lvBonaparti.lv 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. 

 SerebroSerebro 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 CiceroRoger 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 ŠerifovićMarija 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 SerduchkaVerka 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. 

 ScoochScooch 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. 

 TodomondoTodomondo 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 YankulovElitsa 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 DoguluKenan 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. 

 HaykpoHaykpo 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 BarbuNatalia 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.

2007 Semi-Final

2007 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
12 April 2007
Venue: 
Hartwall Arena, Helsinki, Finland
Broadcaster: 
YLE
Presenter(s): 
Jaana Pelkonen & Mikko Leppilampi
Other shows this year: 
About the contest: 

Serbia had only been an independent country for less than a year when it won the contest. Opinion is divided as to whether it is the first Serbian entry or not. One side of the argument says that as it had previously been known as Serbia and Montenegro, it wasn’t Serbia’s first entry. The other side of the debate is that as Montenegro was part of the deal, Serbia was, in effect, a new country and so it did win the contest at the first attempt.

This was to be the last contest to have just one semi-final. Under this format, the top 10 countries from the previous year’s contest and the ‘Big 4’ automatically qualified for the final. From 2008, only the ‘Big 4’ and the host country would automatically qualify for the final.

As usual, controversy played a part in the build up to the contest. The lyrics of the Israeli song were considered by many to be political and an attack on the leaders of Iran. However, the lyrics were allowed to go unchanged. Iceland’s Silvia Night got on everyone’s nerves in the days leading up to the contest at her rehearsals, press conferences and generally when she was going around the facilities. It may have just been an act (or it may not) as part of the Silvia Night persona, but her reward was to be booed at the end of her performance.  

As always, there was a variety of songs and performance styles on show. While formal attire was the choice of some, viewers could also enjoy a drag act in the shape of Denmark’s DQ. 

It seemed Austria was gone for good. National broadcaster, ORF, cited recent bad results linked to neighbourly voting as the reason for its absence. Various sources within ORF were quoted as saying "The Song Contest is clearly a sign of the complicated nature of a united Europe.  We've already seen in 2007 that it's not the quality of the song, but the country of origin that determines the decision," and “As long as the  the Song Contest is a political parade ground and not an international entertainment programme, ORF has no desire to send more talent out of Austria to a competition where they have no chances. Should the situation change, we'll be happy to take part again."

While Austria left the scene, it seems with regret, others were keen to join the crowd. The 2007 contest saw debuts from Georgia and the Czech Republic, who participated with differing results.

Trivia: 
One of the ‘advances’ in technology in recent years has been High Definition. The BBC and Sweden’s SVT became the first broadcaster to give viewers to watch the contest in that format. Did anyone notice?
About the songs: 
Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan YankulovElitsa 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

 TeapacksTeapacks Israel - Teapacks - Push The Button (Hebrew/English/French)

Music/Lyrics:  Kobi Oz/Kobi Oz

When one of the band members struts around the stage with a mock serious face and a pipe (the type used for smoking, not playing or connecting the plumbing!), you know life isn’t going to be taken too seriously. Teapacks faced criticism for the political nature of their lyrics, but the fun and comedy element of the song helped them get away with it. 

 EvridikiEvridiki Cyprus - Evridiki - Comme Ci, Comme Ça (French)

Music/Lyrics: Dimitris Korgialas/Posidona Yiannopoulos

Taking advantage of the free language rule, the lyrics are entirely in French. Evridiki’s two previous efforts in the contest had been dramatic ethnic Greek songs. This is a Euro disco stomper!

 Dmitry KoldunDmitry 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. 

 Eiríkur HaukssonEiríkur Hauksson Iceland - Eiríkur Hauksson - Valentine Lost (English)

Music/Lyrics: Eiríkur Hauksson/Peter Fenner

What went wrong? Did the over enthusiastic antics of his band put people off? Valentine Lost is a fantastic and powerful rock ballad. There are some good individual lines in the lyrics, but the phrases don’t fit together to form a coherent theme.

 SophoSopho 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.

 Stevan FaddyStevan Faddy Montenegro - Stevan Faddy - Ajde Kroci (Montenegrin)

Music/Lyrics: Slaven Knezovic/Milan-Minjo Peric

Montenegro’s first solo effort as an independent state is quite lame. It’s rock in style but lacks anything to lift it above the other songs of that type in the contest. 

 DJ BoBoDJ BoBo Switzerland - DJ BoBo - Vampires Are Alive (English)

Music/Lyrics: Rene Baumann/Axel Breitung

This was an opportunity lost for Switzerland! Those in the know and the bookmakers were picking this to win but it didn’t even reach the final. The basics were in place; the music set the scene and the lyrics told the story. All that was needed was the right staging, and this is where it went wrong. The required flamboyance and costumes were missing, leaving a feeling similar to being stood up on a date.

 Natalia BarbuNatalia 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.

 Edsilia RombleyEdsilia Rombley The Netherlands - Edsilia Rombley - On Top Of The World (English)

Music/Lyrics: Tjeerd Oosterhuis, Martin Gijzemijter/Tjeerd Oosterhuis, Martin Gijzemijter, Maarten Ten Hove

One of the fan favourites to qualify for the final, Edsilia followed up her fourth place in Birmingham in 1998 with another well performed, well written pop tune, which was given a soul feel by Edsilia’s voice. A place in the final should have been hers.

Frederik NdociFrederik Ndoci  Albania - Aida & Frederik Ndoci - Hear My Plea (Albanian)

Music/Lyrics: Ardian Hila/Pandi Laco

Frederik’s plea was nothing if not heartfelt. Albanian rhythms mixed with his emotional voice to serve up a passionate, although slightly overblown song. 

 DQDQ Denmark - DQ - Drama Queen (English)

Music/Lyrics: Peter Andersen, Simon Munk/Peter Andersen, Claus Christensen

DQ was a surprise winner of the Danish selection given that he only qualified for the Danish final after a ‘contest of the losers’ second chance round. Drama Queen is uplifting and very foot-tappable, but is of the style that no longer scores stacks of points.  

 Dado TopicDado Topic Croatia - Dragonfly feat. Dado Topic - Vjerujem U Ljubav (Croatian)

Music/Lyrics: Dado Topic/Dado Topic

Go into a smoke-filled cabaret club in Zagreb and chances are you will hear this type of jazz/blues song.

 The Jet SetThe Jet Set Poland - The Jet Set - Time To Party (English)

Music/Lyrics: Mateusz Krezan/Kamil Varen, David Junior Serame

Time To Party is an odd mix of r’n’b and soul, slipping between the two styles very suddenly and unexpectedly. The r’n b vocal has the full of attitude delivery which turns off all but the teenagers. 

 Marija ŠerifovićMarija 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………..

 KabátKabát Czech Republic - Kabát - Malá Dáma (Czech)

Music/Lyrics: Kabát/Kabát

The Czech Republic got off to a rather inauspicious start result wise, but results can be deceiving. Malá Dáma is a quality rock song which the lead singer growls through. 

 SabrinaSabrina Portugal - Sabrina - Dança Comigo (vem Ser Feliz) (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Emanuel, Tó Maria Vinhas/Emanuel, Tó Maria Vinhas

Relax, lie back in the sun with a cocktail, put on the headphones and listen to the calming Dança Comigo, and all in the world will be all right.

 Karolina 2007Karolina 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.

 Guri SchankeGuri Schanke Norway - Guri Schanke - Ven A Bailar Conmigo (Norwegian)

Music/Lyrics: Thomas G:Son/Thomas G:Son

Norway went for a cheeky ditty with a carnival atmosphere. It’s light and easy on the ear and did deserve a place in the final. However, it is similar in style to the Portuguese song, which had been heard just a few minutes previously, and this was possibly a factor

 Olivia LewisOlivia Lewis Malta - Olivia Lewis - Vertigo (English)

Music/Lyrics: Philip Vella, Gerald James Borg/Philip Vella, Gerald James Borg

The lively beginning is maintained to create three minutes of continuous, flowing music which is a joy to listen to. Many expected Olivia to be in the final and she deserved to be, but she ended up a long way from it.

 AnonymousAnonymous Andorra - Anonymous - Salvem El Món (Catalan)

Music/Lyrics: Anonymous/Anonymous

If Busted were Andorran, they would have been this band. Salvem El Món is schoolboy rock in that mould, but not as good. 

 Magdi RúzsaMagdi 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!

 Gerli PadarGerli Padar Estonia - Gerli Padar - Partners In Crime (English)

Music/Lyrics: Hendrik Sal-Saller, Berit Veiber/Hendrik Sal-Saller, Berit Veiber

The sister of 2001 winner, Tanal Padar, Gerli went for the family double with an, at times, intense pop song with a strong beat. She didn’t come close to achieving the highs of her brother, failing to escape the semi-final.   

 The KMG'sThe KMG's Belgium - The KMG's - Love Power (English)

Music/Lyrics: Paul Curtiz/Paul Curtiz, Wakas Ashiq

While Love Power is a credible effort musically with its soul/funk influences, what counts in a contest is how broad the appeal is. In this case, it would never have been broad enough. That said, it will age better than most. 

 Alenka GotarAlenka 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. 

 Kenan DoguluKenan 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. 

 Eric PapilayaEric Papilaya Austria - Eric Papilaya - Get A Life - Get Alive (English)

Music/Lyrics: Greg Usek/Austin Howard

Many thought this would be Austria’s last entry, as national broadcaster, ORF, showed no interest to enter again. Something changed within the company, and Austria returned four years later in 2011. It has a positive message to a rock soundtrack. 

 Bonaparti.lvBonaparti.lv 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. 

2006 Semi-Final

2006 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
18 May 2006
Venue: 
Olympic Indoor Hall, Athens, Greece
Broadcaster: 
ERT
Presenter(s): 
Maria Menounos & Sakis Rouvas
About the contest: 

There had been a joke among followers of the contest that was based on a series of unlikely, if not impossible events which gradually built up the levels of ridiculousness and climaxing with Hell freezing over and Finland winning the Eurovision Song Contest. In 2006, Hell didn’t freeze, but Finland did win the contest. Not only did it win, but the points total was huge and easily the largest number accumulated by any country at that point in the history of the contest. Some say Lordi owe their victory partly to Norwegian rockers, Wig Wam, who proved that rock could do well in the contest when they came 9th in 2005 and in the process, made rock familiar to Eurovision viewers. If this is true, that should not take away Lordi’s achievement. There were still some that believed in the myth that europap ruled the contest and that ‘proper’ music didn’t have a place. While that view was always wrong, Lordi smashed that myth once and for all. Not only that, they also proved that you don’t need your neighbours to vote for you. While they received good scores from their fellow Scandinavians, the Finns would have won even if they had received no points at all from these countries.

As usual, controversy was not far away. First of all, the Slovenian song, Mr. Nobody, was accused of plagiarism. Austrian singer and 1990 Eurovision representative, Simone, had already released a song called Santa Maria, which had more than a passing resemblance to Mr. Nobody. However, no complaint from the writers of Santa Maria was received by the EBU, and an investigation ruled that the similarities were not close enough to warrant disqualification.

If that wasn’t enough, down the coast in Serbia and Montenegro, trouble brewed at the national final. The Serbians and Montenegrins submitted half the songs each to compete in the final. Boy band, No Name, from Montenegro won the right to go to the contest for a second time. However, the Serbs were not happy as the voting revealed that, while the Serbian juries had voted for Montenegrin songs as well as their ‘own’, Montenegrin juries awarded points mostly to ‘their own’. After much speculation and discussion between the two broadcasting companies, no compromise could be reached and so Serbia and Montenegro was a late withdrawal from the contest. Soon after, the two nations agreed to go their separate ways and became independent countries, adding to the increasing list of participants, which brought about a change in the format in 2008.

United Kingdom rapper, Daz Sampson, was a bundle of energy as he bounced on to the stage at the start of his song and appeared to be giving his performance a little bit too much zest. The reasons became apparent soon after the contest was over. His father had passed away a couple of weeks before and Daz had kept it to himself so as not to bring extra attention on himself or be accused of trying to win sympathy votes. During his performance, a lot of emotions must have been coming to the surface so his exuberance can be forgiven.

Armenia joined the Eurovision club, while Austria, Serbia and Montenegro and Hungary withdrew. There were plenty of familiar faces on show in 2006. Carola, Fabrizio Faniello, Eddie Butler (as part of Eden in 1999) and Anna Vissi were all old hands. Dima Bilan made the first of two very successful appearances in the contest.

Trivia: 
Finnish rockers, Lordi, wanted pyrotechnics to be part of their stage show. Finnish broadcaster YLE isn’t one of the richest of Europe’s television companies, but Finnish rock festivals raised enough money for the spectacular that was witnessed on stage.
About the songs: 
AndréAndré Armenia - André - Without Your Love (English)

Music/Lyrics: Armen Martirosjan/Catherine Bekian

The contest’s newest recruit goes down the commercial pop route with its first song, but maintains (in parts) an element of the ethnic Armenian sound. Over elaborate staging with some ill designed furniture took away some of the potential the song had for success.  

 Mariana PopovaMariana Popova Bulgaria - Mariana Popova - Let Me Cry (English)

Music/Lyrics: José Manuel Alfonso, Elvis Veiguinha/José Manuel Alfonso, Elvis Veiguinha

The Bulgarians kept the presentation simple, opting to give Mariana little choreography and her dancers more traditional dance steps as they moved around her. Given the average nature of the song, perhaps a dash more complexity was needed to attract votes. 

 Andej DejanAndej Dejan Slovenia - Andej Dejan - Mr. Nobody (English)

Music/Lyrics: Matjaž Vlasič/Ursa Vlasič

Having survived possible disqualification for plagiarism, Andej looked as if he had anticipated not being allowed to perform and hadn’t gone to the trouble of brushing his hair! His song starts slowly and quietly, but soon develops into a strong, toe-tapping pop song, during which he has the opportunity to flirt with five lovelies.  

 JenniferJennifer Andorra - Jennifer - Sense Tu (Catalan)

Music/Lyrics: Rafa Artesero/Rafa Artesero

Prior to the contest, this was a song that easily sounded strong enough to for a final berth. However, whoever designed the costumes made sure this wouldn’t happen. Using the lingerie section of a department store as inspiration made all on stage look ridiculous and scuppered any chances Andorra had of qualifying for the final for the first time.  

 Polina SmolovaPolina Smolova Belarus - Polina Smolova - Mum (English)

Music/Lyrics: Sergey Sukhomlin/ Andrey Kostiugov

Polina would have been a bit disappointed had her pop/rock song missed out on a place in the final by a small margin. However, her 22nd place was surely a huge shock for her and many others. Her routine was very energetic and would have made her very warm, even though she was wearing very little anyway.

 Luiz EjlliLuiz Ejlli Albania - Luiz Ejlli - Zjarr E Ftohtë (Albanian)

Music/Lyrics: Klodian Qafoku/Dr. Flori

After singing their first two entries in English, the Albanians opted for their own language and a style much closer to home. A sensible move as the Albanian language is more effective than English would have been.

 Kate RyanKate Ryan Belgium - Kate Ryan - Je T'adore (English)

Music/Lyrics: Kate Ryan, Niklas Bergwall, Niclas Kings, Lisa Greene/Kate Ryan, Niklas Bergwall, Niclas Kings, Lisa Greene

Open mouths all round among the fans when the top 10 was revealed and Kate wasn’t in it! Her Europop tune would fill any dance floor, but was about ten years out of date.

 Brian KennedyBrian Kennedy Ireland - Brian Kennedy - Every Song Is A Cry For Love (English)

Music/Lyrics: Brian Kennedy/Brian Kennedy

Determined to reverse declining fortunes, the Irish sent one of their most popular singers with a song he wrote himself. The tactic worked, just, as he finished in the last qualifying place in the semi. It is a ballad in a class above those which had seen Ireland at the wrong end of the scoreboard in recent times. 

 Annet ArtaniAnnet Artani Cyprus - Annet Artani - Why Angels Cry (English)

Music/Lyrics: Petros Yiannaki/Petros Yiannaki

Annet was wasting her time travelling to Kiev. She was never going to reach the final with this badly constructed, badly sung, self-indulgent nonsense. 

 Séverine FerrerSéverine Ferrer Monaco - Séverine Ferrer - La Coco-dance (French)

Music/Lyrics: J.Woodfeel, Iren Bo/J.Woodfeel, Iren Bo

Calypso is always a welcome sound, bringing with it a cheerful, optimistic feeling.  La Coco-dance is pleasant enough but doesn’t exploit the potential it had to really stand out.

 Elena RisteskaElena Risteska Macedonia - Elena Risteska - Ninanajna (Macedonia/English)

Music/Lyrics: Darko Dimitrov/Rade Vrčakovski

If Elena’s modern pop song was going to reach the final, it was probably going to be a close call. So it turned out to be, as she accrued just enough points, even though Ninanajna is a bit of the boring side.

 Ich Troje  2006Ich Troje 2006 Poland - Ich Troje - Follow My Heart (Polish/English)

Music/Lyrics: André Franke/Michal Wisniewski, Jacek Lagwa, Real McCoy

Pre contest, this looked like a nailed on certainty to be one of the lucky ten. However, the strange choice of costume and weird hair colour must have put off a lot of viewers. A travesty really, as this is one of the best songs in the contest.

 Dima BilanDima Bilan Russia - Dima Bilan - Never Let You Go (English)

Music/Lyrics: Alexandr Lunyov/Karen Kavaleryan, Irina Antonyan

A classic case of over-the-top presentation! Dima had a strong and contemporary pop song that would not be out of place in the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, so someone decided to insert a dancer emerging from the piano into the staging. The Russian delegation got into trouble when Dima’s position in the running order was clearly visible on his vest, making it easier for viewers to remember which number to vote for. This was seen as unfair, but it didn’t stop the same thing happening in the final.

 Sibel TüzünSibel Tüzün Turkey - Sibel Tüzün - Superstar (Turkish)

Music/Lyrics: Sibel Tüzün/Sibel Tüzün

This song wouldn’t have made Sibel a ‘superstar’. It’s a rather lacklustre Turkish pop song with an over-long instrumental section. In fact, when the vocals start again, it catches the listener by surprise.   

 Tina KarolTina Karol Ukraine - Tina Karol - Show Me Your Love (English)

Music/Lyrics: José Manuel Alfonso, Elvis Weiguinha/José Manuel Alfonso, Elvis Weiguinha

Tina looked completely at home on stage. Her relaxed approach and natural talent did a very good job of selling her pop song with a Balkan flavour. 

 LordiLordi Finland - Lordi - Hard Rock Hallelujah  (English)

Music/Lyrics: Lordi/Lordi

Complete with monster costumes (which Lordi were never seen without), the audience witnessed something it hadn’t seen before. It wasn’t hard rock by purists’ standards, but was closer to it than had been seen in the contest before. Pyrotechnics abounded, even spraying from the guitars towards the songs climax. 

 TrebleTreble The Netherlands - Treble - Amambanda 

Music/Lyrics: Caroline Hoffmann, Nina van Dijk, Djem van Dijk/Caroline Hoffmann, Nina van Dijk, Djem van Dijk

The Dutch trio (two of whom are sisters) deserved far better than they received. Amambanda is actually a bright, lively and very likeable tune which should have challenged for a place in the final.

 LT UnitedLT United Lithuania - LT United - We Are The Winners (English)

Music/Lyrics: Andrius Mamontovas, Saulius Urbonavicius/Andrius Mamontovas, Saulius Urbonavicius

There is almost a football chant feel to the Lithuanian song. Very much an outsider before the contest, its zany, cocky nature clearly appealed to some. 

 NonstopNonstop Portugal - Nonstop - Coisas De Nada (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: José Manuel Alfonso, Elvis Weiguinha/José Manuel Alfonso, Elvis Weiguinha

Another bad day for a costume designer! The leotards and headgear looked ridiculous together. The arrangement of the song is like those that were often found in Portuguese finals in the 1990’s, but only ever in songs that made up the numbers and never actually won. The result this time says everything.  

 Carola 2006Carola 2006 Sweden - Carola - Invincible (English)

Music/Lyrics: Thomas G:son, Bobby Ljunggren, Henrik Wikström/Thomas G:son, Carola Häggkvist

Old favourite and ex winner Carola came back for a third time with another infectious tune. It’s not the best example of Swedish schlager, but is a credible example of why Sweden is among the favourite Eurovision countries of most fans. 

 SandraSandra Estonia - Sandra - Through My Window (English)

Music/Lyrics: Jana Hallas/Pearu Paulus, Ilmar Laisaar, Alar Kotkas

Since winning the contest in 2001, Estonia had really improived the quality of its entries. Through My Window is a case in point, being a breezy, catchy and enjoyable piece of up-tempo pop.

 Hari Mata HariHari Mata Hari Bosnia and Herzegovina - Hari Mata Hari - Lejla (Bosnian)

Music/Lyrics: Zeljko Joksimovic/Fahrudin Pecikoza, Dejan Ivanovic

The beautiful, almost poetic Lejla glides along effortlessly. The use of ethnic Bosnian sounds gives the song a focus, while the whole package provides one of Bosnia’s best entries to date.

Silvia NightSilvia Night Iceland - Silvia Night - Congratulations (English)

Music/Lyrics: Porvaldur Bjarni Porvaldsson/Agústa Eva Erlendsdóttir, Gaukur Ulfarsson

It isn’t often a singer gets booed off stage at Eurovision, but Silvia’s antics in the week had clearly got on everyone’s nerves. Depending on your point of view, Congratulations is either funny or silly, tacky or high camp.

2005 Semi-Final

2005 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
19 May 2005
Contest type: 
Grand Final
Venue: 
Palats Sportu, Kyiv, Ukraine
Broadcaster: 
NTU
Presenter(s): 
Masha & DJ Pasha
Other shows this year: 
About the contest: 

When Ruslana won the contest in Istanbul in 2004, no-one foresaw the political upheaval that would change the face of Ukraine so dramatically. Only a few months before the contest was due to take place, the people of Ukraine took part in what became known as the ‘Orange Revolution’ which saw dramatic changes in the landscape of Ukrainian politics. For a time, there was doubt that the contest could even take place in the country at all. However, the newly installed leaders were determined not to allow the opportunity to show the new Ukraine to the world evaporate. Every effort was made to make it easy for the EBU to sanction Ukraine’s hosting of the contest, even temporarily suspending visa requirements to enter the country.

The 2005 contest was a very special one; it was the 50th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest. It had come a long way in those 50 years. For instance, the first contest saw only seven countries travel to Switzerland, 2005 saw 39 delegations make their way to Kiev. The milestone was marked with a special televised show hosted by Denmark in October of the same year.

Greece won the contest after 31 years of trying. Throughout the 70’s 80’s and 90’s it had been one of the ‘also ran’s’, rarely competing for top spot. However, in the dawn of the new millennium, when the balance of power in the contest started to shift towards the newer and previously less successful countries, Greece had started to edge ever nearer the elusive win.

While Greece was competing in the contest for the 31st time, 2005 saw first time entries from Bulgaria and Moldova. Lebanon registered to participate and even got as far as selecting a song, Aline Lahoud with Quand Tout S'enfuit. However, when it became apparent that the Lebanese broadcaster had no intention of showing the Israeli entry, in line with the country’s constitution, it had no choice but to withdraw and not take part. 

Song writing partners David Brandes and John O’Flynn were kept busy in the build up to the contest. Not only did they write the Swiss song, they also had a hand in the German song. In fact, David Brandes was the major contributor to Vanilla Ninja’s debut album. The album is full of good songs, and German singer Gracia must have cursed him for giving her such a dud when he had so many better songs available. 

Elena Paparizou, Chiara, Selma and Constantinos were all familiar faces to Eurovision fans, while Feminnem were making the first of two appearances, which were for different countries. Zdob si Zdub also made the first of two visits to the contest, each for Moldova. Serbia and Montenegro’s No Name would have returned to the contest in 2006 had in-fighting between the two soon to be separate nations meant a withdrawal from that contest.

The voting system was the very well established system of awarding points from 1 - 8, then 10 and 12. All 39 countries voted in the semi-final and the final.

About the songs: 
Global.KrynerGlobal.Kryner Austria - Global.Kryner - Y Así (English)

Music/Lyrics: Christof Spörk, Edi Köhldorfer/Christof Spörk

Yes it’s different, but the oompah band style is messy and the brief yodel adds nothing positive.

 LauraLaura Lithuania - Laura and the Lovers - Little By Little (English)

Music/Lyrics: Bobby Ljungr, Billy Butt/Bobby Ljungr, Billy Butt

The presentation was a little amateurish and Laura wasn’t the best of singers, but despite finishing last, her song was strong enough to deserve a place in the final. It’s a bit rock for children and perhaps that was the problem. 

 2B2B Portugal - 2B - Amar (Portuguese/English)

Music/Lyrics: Jose de Ponte, Alexandre Honrado, Ernesto Leite/Jose de Ponte, Alexandre Honrado, Ernesto Leite

2B were a male/female duo. The chanted verse leads to a big chorus. The chances of qualifying were reduced by the manic yet static choreography.

 Zdob si ZdubZdob si Zdub Moldova - Zdob si Zdub - Boonika Bate Toba (Moldovan)

Music/Lyrics: Zdob si Zdub/Zdob si Zdub

Moldova’s debut featured Granny gently rocking to and fro in her chair. Suddenly, tired of taking it all in, up she gets and starts banging her drum, as the translated title demands. All this is set to a rock soundtrack.

 Walter & KazhaWalter & Kazha Latvia - Walter & Kazha - The War Is Not Over (English)

Music/Lyrics: Mărtins Freimanis/Mărtins Freimanis

Simplicity was the order of the day for Latvia. Walter & Kazha sat on stools strumming their guitars before (predictably) dispensing with the instruments to stand. It was all their soft rock ballad needed.  

 Lise DarlyLise Darly Monaco - Lise Darly - Tout De Moi (French)

Music/Lyrics: Phil Bosco/Phil Bosco

Even employing the services of the Paris Symphony Orchestra couldn’t lift Lise into the final. Her majestic ballad clearly went straight over the heads of most viewers. 

 Shiri MaymonShiri Maymon Israel - Shiri Maymon - Hasheket Shenish'ar (Hebrew/English)

Music/Lyrics: Pini Aronbayev/Pini Aronbayev, Eyal Shachar

It doesn’t get much better than this! While there had been many epic, anthemic ballads from Israel before, Hasheket Shenish'ar has extra passion, emotion and soul about it that lifts it above the rest. 

 Angelica AgurbashAngelica Agurbash Belarus - Angelica Agurbash - Love Me Tonight (English)

Music/Lyrics: Nikos Terzis/Nektarios Tyrakis

Although Angelica won the Belarusian final with a different song, Boys and Girls, she was allowed to choose another song in order to make her feel happier about her chances. The song she settled for is a slightly camp disco anthem.

 Glennis GraceGlennis Grace The Netherlands - Glennis Grace - My Impossible Dream (English)

Music/Lyrics: Robert D Fisher/Bruce Smith

The Martin Luther-King style ‘I have a dream’ at the beginning sets the tone very early. Whitney Houston would perhaps have used My Impossible Dream to fill an album, but there isn’t enough punch that epic ballads must have. 

 SelmaSelma Iceland - Selma - If I Had Your Love (English)

Music/Lyrics: Thorvaldur Bjarni Thorvaldsson, Vignir SnærVigfússon/Thorvaldur Bjarni Thorvaldsson, Vignir SnærVigfússon

On the strength of her 1999 success, many expected Selma to qualify for the final. Past glories mean nothing to a voting public who probably didn’t remember her, and this pop song just wasn’t strong enough.   

 Nuno ResendeNuno Resende Belgium - Nuno Resende - Le Grand Soir (French)

Music/Lyrics: Alec Mansion, Frédéric Zeitoun/Alec Mansion, Frédéric Zeitoun

Belgium chose Portuguese Nuno to represent them with a rather sub-standard, French style ballad. It’s all right at the beginning but starts dragging towards the end.  

 SuntribeSuntribe Estonia - Suntribe - Let's Get Loud (English)

Music/Lyrics: Sven Löhmus/Sven Löhmus

The unusual sight of five ladies behind turntables greeted viewers when the camera focused on the Estonians. There are sections of their pop/rock song that suited these props, but they look out of place for most of the song.

 Wig WamWig Wam Norway - Wig Wam - In My Dreams (English)

Music/Lyrics: Trond ‘Teeny’ Holter/Trond ‘Teeny’ Holter

From the opening refrain of ‘come on, come on, come on’, Norway’s experienced rockers hook everyone close enough to hear - and that would have been a very large radius! Hard enough for fans of proper rock, but also accessible for everyone else, the contest needed a song like this.

 Luminita AnghelLuminita Anghel Romania - Luminita Anghel & Sistem - Let Me Try (English)

Music/Lyrics: Christian Faur/Christian Faur

The presentation, particularly the use of props such as metal barrels as drums, was very irritating at times and distracted from the song. That was a pity, as Let Me Try is a strong, up-tempo song in its own right. Having won the semi-final, it could have won the final without all the mucking around. 

 NOXNOX Hungary - NOX - Forogj Világ (Hungarian)

Music/Lyrics: Harmath Szabolcs, Villa Attila/Harmath Szabolcs, Villa Attila

NOX brought Hungary back to the contest after a seven year absence - and what a return! It is vibrant, full of style and energy and very, very infectious. The choreography did its job of selling the song without taking over.

 Geir RönningGeir Rönning

Finland - Geir Rönning - Why? (English)

Music/Lyrics: Mika Toivanen/Mika Toivanen

Geir’s heartfelt ballad wonders why there is so much bad in the world instead of complete harmony. He sings with immense feeling, but it was never going to reach the final.

 Martin VucicMartin Vucic Macedonia - Martin Vucic - Make My Day (English)

Music/Lyrics: Dragan Vučic/Ognen Hedelkovski

For many, this was a surprise finalist. The Balkan pop song was considered too lightweight and weak in comparison to its competitors. It took more than neighbourly voting to help it qualify, and worse songs than his found themselves needed on the day of the final.

 Marian van de WalMarian van de Wal Andorra - Marian van de Wal - La Mirada Interior (Catalan)

Music/Lyrics: Rafa Tanit/Daniel Aragay, Rafa Fernández

Beneath the strong rhythm is a well constructed song that perhaps needed a bit more grit to win enough votes from the public. The costumes of the backing dancers had the look of ‘been worn in the jungle for some time’ about them. 

 Vanilla NinjaVanilla Ninja Switzerland - Vanilla Ninja - Cool Vibes (English)

Music/Lyrics: David Brandes/John O’Flynn

After scoring no points in the semi-final the year before, Switzerland came back with a potential winner! Estonian girl rock band, Vanilla Ninja, sounded good and looked the part in a contest where rock was a more common genre than ever before. Cool Vibes explodes into life, grips the listener tightly and never lets go until it’s good and ready. Great stuff!

 Boris NovkovicBoris Novkovic Croatia - Boris Novkovic feat. Lado Members - Vukovi Umiru Sami (Croatian)

Music/Lyrics:  Franjo Valentic/Boris Novkovic

After many attempts as a singer or writer, Boris finally won the chance to represent his country. His ballad is reflective and is given a haunting touch with the effective use of the flute. 

 KaffeKaffe Bulgaria - Kaffe - Lorraine (English)

Music/Lyrics: Vesselin Ivanov/ Vesselin Ivanov, Ovin Pavlov

It was always going to be difficult for Kaffe to reach the final. Their smooth jazz number is musically credible and sophisticated, but not instant enough to fare well in a competition of this nature. When the 2005 contest is listened to in years to come, Lorrraine will have aged better than many.

 Donna and JosephDonna and Joseph Ireland - Donna and Joseph McCaul - Love? (English)

Music/Lyrics: Karl Broderick/Karl Broderick

Donna and Joe are siblings. Donna was clearly the more accomplished performer, but boy was Joe determined to enjoy himself! He bounded around the stage like a spring lamb enjoying the sunshine. The duo’s song is chirpy and enjoyable, while the presentation throws in a bit of sexy Irish dancing to remind viewers of Ireland’s glory days.

 Omar NaberOmar Naber Slovenia - Omar Naber - Stop (English)

Music/Lyrics: Omar Naber/Urse Vlasič

Stop starts in quiet, reflective fashion, builds a bit with the introduction of an electronic drum (never a good move) before building into a rock song. 

 Jakob SveistrupJakob Sveistrup Denmark - Jakob Sveistrup - Talking To You (English)

Music/Lyrics: Jacob Launbjerg, Andreas Morck Jacob Launbjerg, Andreas Morck

There is the merest hint of reggae about the Danish song. The performance was designed to give the backing singers plenty to think about.

 Ivan & DelfinIvan & Delfin Poland - Ivan & Delfin - Czarna Dziewczyna (Polish/Ukrainian)

Music/Lyrics: Lukasz Lazer/Ivan Komarenko, Pawel Radziszewski

Ivan and Delfin travelled to Kiev with a gipsy folk song, complete with accordion. It would have had its fans, but is too niche to have enough of them to make a difference. In fact, it was a bit surprising that they got as close as they did to qualifying for the final.

The Semi-Final Results

Tom Dice © EuroVisionary.com

Shortly after Lena had been declared the winner of the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest, the EBU released the results of the two semi-finals.

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