Croatia

Croatia hope for a celebration on Tuesday

Daria (c) eurovision.tv

The rehearsals finished today with Croatia taking to the stage.  It looks like Celebrate still needs a bit of work, but it has lots going off to keep your interest.

Day 2 - Press Conferences

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After the first day of rehearsals and press conferences yesterday, today saw the remaining countries competing in the first semi-final had their turn to give a first impression. After each act had finished rehearsing, they faced the press for photos and questions.

Will Croatia be celebrating on 10 May?

Daria_first_rehearsal.jpg

The statuesque Daria Kinzer got her first opportunity to Celebrate her song on stage today.  Her song, which has gone through three title changes involved the first long-awaited use of the catwalk.  We hoped she wouldn't break a leg.

2010 - 2nd Semi-Final

2010 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
27 May 2010
Contest type: 
Semi-Final 2
Venue: 
Telenor Arena, Oslo, Norway
Broadcaster: 
NRK
Presenter(s): 
Erik Solbakken, Haddy Jatou N'jie & Nadia Hasnaoui
Other shows this year: 
About the contest: 

For the first time in nearly thirty years, the contest was won by Germany. Famed for its anthemic ballads (usually with an ‘everyone should love everyone else’ type theme) and blatant europop, the song that finally brought success is a stylish, contemporary pop song that would have slotted neatly into the charts without looking out of place. The victory by one of the ‘Big 4’ also put an end to the theory that one of these countries would never win the contest again. It was thought that they were at a great disadvantage, as all of their competitors would already be familiar to the audience.

The process of selecting a song proved drawn out for Belarus and Ukraine. Five piece vocal group, 3+2, were selected by an internal jury to perform a song called Far Away, an up-tempo, rock based number. However, and not for the first time in the history of the former USSR member, the song that as originally selected would not be the one to go to the contest.  National broadcaster, BTRC, allowed 3+2 to change the song. The more peaceful and anthemic Butterflies was chosen instead.

The situation in Ukraine was even more complicated. The first singer to be selected was Vasyl Lazarovich with the song, I Love You. However, broadcaster NTU decided that the internal selection process had been unfair and so organised a new final, this time open to a public vote. To say it was organised in a hurry would be an understatement. Writers had only 24 hours to enter a song and the chosen songs were shown on television over the following two nights. This final was won by Alyosha, with a song called Be Free. All was not over yet, as it transpired that Be Free had been on an album that had been released two years previously. Alyosha was allowed to remain as the Ukrainian representative, but with Sweet People. A credible and unlikely 10th place in the final must have made all the effort worthwhile.

Two moments to forget both involved the Russian song. Not many people saw Lost and Forgotten as having the remotest chance of reaching the final. As a result, there was enormous surprise when Russia was revealed as a finalist. What darkened the moment was the booing that emanated from parts of the audience where fans were sitting. Like sulky schoolgirls, they couldn’t let Peter Nalitch enjoy his moment as they indulged in some behaviour more suited to a pantomime. Not content with this, there was mor

There must have been red faces among the security staff after the Spanish performance. Somehow, a man who seemed to be trying to make a name for himself by interrupting major events, managed to evade security staff and join Daniel Diges and his team on the stage. Fortunately, he wasn’t there to cause harm, only to join in. To Daniels enormous credit, be continued as if nothing had happened, and most viewers probably didn’t realise anything was wrong. In the interests of fairness, Daniel was allowed to perform again after the last song had finished.  

In 2009, the EBU had re-introduced the juries to the voting, to work alongside the public televote on a 50/50 basis. This had only been in the final, although a special jury had nominated a wildcard from each semi-final. In 2010, the national juries were present for the semi-finals as well as the final; their votes were combined with the public to produce the 1-8, 10 and 12 points scoring system.

Hungary, Andorra, Czech Republic and Montenegro all withdrew from the contest, while Georgia returned after choosing to sit out in 2009.

Niamh Kavanagh and Feminnem both made their second song contest appearance. Germany’s Lena enjoyed the experience so much (well, she did win, after all) that she asked to sing again in the 2011 contest.

2009 - Final

2009 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
16 May 2009
Contest type: 
Grand Final
Venue: 
Olimpiysky Arena, Moscow, Russia
Broadcaster: 
C1R
Presenter(s): 
Natalya Vodyanova & Andrey Malakhov
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: 
Sasha SonSasha Son Lithuania - Sasha Son - Love (English/Russian)

Music/Lyrics: Dimitrij Savrov/Dimitrij Savrov

Just about the only thing wrong with this was the brief use of Russian in an attempt to impress the hosts; it was only heard in the contest and doesn’t feature on the studio version. Other than that, Love is a highly appealing, piano-based ballad that has the force to reach into the heart.

 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.

 Patricia KaasPatricia 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 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! 

 Igor Cukrov feat. AndreaIgor 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. 

 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. 

 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. 

 Sakis Rouvas 2009Sakis 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 & 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. 

 Anastasia PrikhodkoAnastasia 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 & ArashAySel & 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.

 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?

 Nelly CiobanuNelly 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 2009Chiara 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 SymphonyUrban 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. 

 BrinckBrinck 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!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. 

 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. 

 Kejsi TolaKejsi 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 RybakAlexander 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 LobodaSvetlana 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.  

 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. 

 Jade EwenJade 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 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. 

 SorayaSoraya 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. 

Yüksek Sadakat kick off their promo tour with Bosnia & Herzegovina and Azerbaijan

Yüksek Sadakat

Turkish representatives Yüksek Sadakat who were internally chosen by the Turkish broadcaster TRT, set out on the first leg of their promo tour with Bosnia & Herzegovina and Azerbaijan. The group also revealed further information about their promotion schedule.

2009 - 2nd Semi-Final

2009 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
14 May 2009
Contest type: 
Grand Final
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: 
Igor Cukrov feat. AndreaIgor Cukrov feat. Andrea Croatia - Igor Cukrov feat. Andrea - Lijepa Tena (Croatian)

Music/Lyrics: Tonči Huljič/Vjekoslava Huljič

Although scoring almost half the number of Points Serbia scored in finishing 10th, Croatia made the final courtesy of the jury wildcard vote. It is easy to see why those in the business (who seem to use different criteria to the rest of us) would choose it. Lijepa Tena is a gentle ballad with a Balkan style arrangement. 

 Sinéad MulveySinéad Mulvey Ireland - Sinéad Mulvey & Black Daisy - Et Cetera (English)

Music/Lyrics: Niall Mooney, Jonas Gladniokoff, Daniele Moretti, Christina Schilling/Niall Mooney, Jonas Gladniokoff, Daniele Moretti, Christina Schilling

Al girl rock was a new direction for the Irish and it was a worthy effort. Et Cetera lacks the ability to make a big enough impression immediately, despite its sing-along quality. 

 Intars BusulisIntars Busulis Latvia - Intars Busulis - Probka (Russian)

Music/Lyrics:
Karlis Lacis/Janis Elsbergs, Sergej Timofejev

The Latvians also went down the rock route and gave us a song which never a hope of reaching the top 10. Last place was justified for a song that lacks direction at times. This is the only year to date that Russian has been used in a Latvian entry and Moscow was the host city. Definitely not a coincidence! 

 Marko Kon & MilaanMarko Kon & Milaan Serbia - Marko Kon & Milaan - Cipela (Serbian)

Music/Lyrics: Marko Kon, Milaan Nikolic, Aleksander Kobac/Marko Kon, Aleksander Kobac

Although Marko finished 10th, the jury ensured his participation in the contest went no further. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when he found that out! His novelty song has plenty of humour - apparently. Sung in Serbian meant the rest of us didn’t get the joke and could only be entertained by the show he and his friends put on. 

 Lidia KopaniaLidia Kopania Poland - Lidia Kopania - I Don't Wanna Leave (English)

Music/Lyrics: Alex Geringas, Bernd Klimpel, Rike Boomgaarden, Dee Adam/Alex Geringas, Bernd Klimpel, Rike Boomgaarden, Dee Adam

Lidia’s song is not far removed from Iceland’s entry. That won the first semi-final and finished second in the final and this was outside the top 10 and so didn’t make the final. Strange how life goes! I Don't Wanna Leave is a decent ballad that builds when it is supposed to. 

 Alexander RybakAlexander Rybak Norway - Alexander Rybak - Fairytale (English)

Music/Lyrics: Alexander Rybak/Alexander Rybak

Alexander was the hottest favourite for many years and he never looked as if he would finish outside the top 1! A very lively string introduction paved the way for the optimism that would follow. It appealed to both public and juries, and, in thjne final at least, was in the lead from start to finish.

 Christina MetaxaChristina Metaxa Cyprus - Christina Metaxa - Firefly (English)

Music/Lyrics: Nikolas Metaxa/Nikolas Metaxa

Christina’s brother wrote the song and claimed it is about her. The metaphor is a good one, using the behaviour and characteristics of the firefly to describe an individual’s personality. That is the only good thing about this dull balad.

 Kamil Mikulčík & Nela PociskováKamil Mikulčík & Nela Pocisková Slovakia - Kamil Mikulčík & Nela Pocisková - Leť Tmou (Slovak)

Music/Lyrics: Ratislav Dubovsky/Anna Zigová, Petronela Kolevská

At first, this song is just an ordinary love duet. Listen more carefully and a few more times, and you will discover a very interesting and intelligent vocal arrangement to make Leť Tmou more than just a normal love song between man and woman. It sounded much better on the night than previews suggested it would. One of the strongest songs of the night, it deserved better than 18th.

 BrinckBrinck Denmark - Brinck - Believe Again (English)

Music/Lyrics: Lars Halvor Jensen, Martin Michael Larsson, Ronan Keating/Lars Halvor Jensen, Martin Michael Larsson, Ronan Keating

How fitting that Brinck sounded like Ronan Keating as Ronan is one of the writers. Imagine the list of winners; 2008 - Believe, 2009 - Believe Again. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, although the rock influenced ballad could have been close.

 Quartissimo feat. MartinaQuartissimo feat. Martina Slovenia - Quartissimo feat. Martina - Love Symphony (English)

Music/Lyrics: Andrej Babic/Andre Babic

Being drawn in a different semi-final to Sweden was crucial to the chances of both countries as the songs would have appealed to the same demographic and the vote would therefore have been split between them. In the event, Slovenia’s symphonic, less wordy classical piece failed with ease to make the final anyway. The four chaps of Quartissimo played to the camera as well as their instruments as they swaggered around the stage. Martina added the vocals and a bit of glamour.

 Zoli ÁdokZoli Ádok Hungary - Zoli Ádok - Dance With Me (English)

Music/Lyrics: Szabó Zé/Kasai

This was the third song that Hungarian broadcaster MTV put forward and it is probably the best of those choices. It is an up-tempo pop song whose downfall was maybe due to a very similar style singer and song taking to the stage two songs later. The performance was vibrant and colourful, and, looking back, it’s hard to see why it didn’t qualify for the final.

 AySel & ArashAySel & Arash Azerbaijan - AySel & Arash - Always (English)

Music/Lyrics: Arash Labaf, Robert Uhlmann, Johan Bejerholm, Marcus Englöf, Alex Papaconstantinou/Arash Labaf, Robert Uhlmann, Elin Wrethov, Anderz Wresthov

As soon as this song was selected as the Azeri entry, it was seen as a contender. The presentation was kept relatively simple, allowing the strength of the song and the vocals to be at the forefront. It worked very well indeed.

 Sakis Rouvas 2009Sakis Rouvas 2009 Greece - Sakis Rouvas - This Is Our Night (English)

Music/Lyrics: Dimitris Kontopoulos/Graig Porteils, Cameron Giles-Webb

There is no doubt that Sakis is an extremely talented singer with more than his fair share of charisma. All of this is lost with the grotesque over presentation! The choreographer produced what is the epitome of the worst aspect of modern day Eurovision. Even though the semi-finals proved a small hurdle to overcome, This Is Our Night would have finished much higher than it deserved in the final had it not been for the industry dominated juries seeing through the style over substance.

 Sasha SonSasha Son Lithuania - Sasha Son - Love (English/Russian)

Music/Lyrics: Dimitrij Savrov/Dimitrij Savrov

Just about the only thing wrong with this was the brief use of Russian in an attempt to impress the hosts; it was only heard in the contest and doesn’t feature on the studio version. Other than that, Love is a highly appealing, piano-based ballad that has the force to reach into the heart.

 Nelly CiobanuNelly Ciobanu Moldova - Nelly Ciobanu - Hora Din Moldova (Moldovan)

Music/Lyrics: Veaceslav Danuliuc/Nelly Ciobanu

Of all the songs which qualified from the second semi-final, this was probably the most unpredictable. It’s a joyful journey into the Moldovan national sound, but seemed to introspective for mass appeal. 

 Kejsi TolaKejsi Tola Albania - Kejsi Tola - Carry Me In Your Dreams (English)

Music/Lyrics: Edmond Zhulali/Agim Doci

Albania is usually one of the first countries to choose its song, selecting it through a long established festival about six months before the contest. This year, the time was used wisely to transform an ordinary pop song into an infectious piece of power pop which isn’t easily forgotten. Unfortunately, the dancer in the green all-in-one body suit isn’t easily forgotten either. 

 Svetlana LobodaSvetlana Loboda Ukraine - Svetlana Loboda - Be my Valentine! (Anti-Crisis Girl) (English)

Music/Lyrics: Svetlana Loboda/Yevgeny Matyushenko

Svetlana risked her financial stability to pay for the set she brought with her to Moscow, so perhaps she deserved a place in the final. On purely musical merit, she can count herself fortunate to have made the final with her rock song tinged with Ukrainian influences. The lyrics leave little to the imagination, even if any level of quality is sacrificed in favour of quantity of rhymes.  

 Urban SymphonyUrban Symphony Estonia - Urban Symphony - Rändajad (Estonian)

Music/Lyrics: Sven Löhmus/Sven Löhmu

The Estonians made it through to the final for the first time since the semi-finals were introduced, and deservingly so. Rändajad is a folk inspired song with a clear vocal which floats with ease throughout the song. 

 The ToppersThe Toppers The Netherlands - The Toppers - Shine (English)

Music/Lyrics: Gordon Heuckeroth/Gordon Heuckeroth

The Toppers had a change of personnel after broadcaster NOS had chosen them to represent their country. Gerard Joling, who represented his homeland in the 1988 contest, left and was replaced so they could remain a trio. It is the kind of high-tempo, high camp that only appeals to a certain section of the contest’s fan base, who were surprised when they didn’t qualify for the final. The rest saw it coming a mile away. 

2011hr Daria Kinzer - Celebrate

See video

Daria Kinzer represented Croatia at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest with her song Celebrate. She couldn't qualify to the final as she became 15th in the first semi-final.

2008 Final

2008 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
24 May 2008
Contest type: 
Grand Final
Venue: 
Belgrade Arena, Belgrade, Serbia
Broadcaster: 
RTS
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: 
Nico & VladNico & Vlad Romania - Nico & Vlad - Pe-o Margine De Lume (Romanian)

Music/Lyrics: Andrei Tudor/Andreea Andrei, Adina Şuteu

Having survived the plagiarism controversy when they won the Romanian final, Nico and Vlad took to the Belgrade stage with a rather dreary, lifeless and, at times, untidy ballad.

 Andy AbrahamAndy Abraham United Kingdom - Andy Abraham - Even If (English)

Music/Lyrics: Andy Abraham, Andy Watkins, Paul Wilson/Andy Abraham, Andy Watkins, Paul Wilson

It was clear from the moment Andy won the British selection that the United Kingdom was heading for the bottom of the scoreboard, again! Andy is an excellent singer and he more than did his bit, but the funk/pop song just wasn’t even close to being good enough.  

 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. 

 No AngelsNo Angels Germany - No Angels - Disappear (English)

Music/Lyrics: Remee, Hanne Sorvaag, Thomas Troelsen/Remee, Hanne Sorvaag, Thomas Troelsen

At times, No Angels sounded like a gang of alley cats. They screeched their way through Disappear, a below average pop song that was always going to finish at the wrong end of the scoreboard. 

 SirushoSirusho Armenia - Sirusho - Qele, Qele (Armenian)

Music/Lyrics: H A der -Hovagimian/Sirusho

Despite a ropey performance in the semi-final, Sirusho, one of the big favourites going into the contest, made it into the final easily. The vocals in the final were much better and her very strong, up-tempo pop song deserved to do well.

 LakaLaka Bosnia and Herzigovina - Laka - Pokušaj (Bosnian)

Music/Lyrics: Elvir Lakovic Laka/Elvir Lakovic Laka

Oh to be a fly on the wall in the Laka household while he was growing up! He was joined on stage by his equally mad sister, who hung out the washing while he sang. The song goes where it wants to and is an acquired taste.   

 BoazBoaz Israel - Boaz - The Fire In Your Eyes (Hebrew/English)

Music/Lyrics: Dana International/Dana International, Shai Kerem

The distinctive sound of Hebrew may lead to feelings of déjà-vu, but that should not take anything away from Boaz’s very strong vocal and strong, anthemic ballad.

 TeräsbetoniTeräsbetoni Finland - Teräsbetoni - Missä Miehet Ratsastaa (Finnish)

Music/Lyrics: J. Ahola/J. Ahola

Perhaps not wanting to fix something that wasn’t broken, the Finns stuck to the rock formula that had proved successful for them two years previously. It was good, but maybe a bit laboured to have mass appeal.  

 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.

 Isis GeeIsis Gee Poland - Isis Gee - For Life (English)

Music/Lyrics: Isis Gee/Isis Gee

Isis was striking to look at, although not necessarily for the right reasons! Her performance of a gentle ballad was competent, although a little automatic. Poland making it into the final was, strangely, both surprising and not unexpected. 

 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.  

 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.

 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. 

 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.

 Charlotte Perrelli 2008Charlotte Perrelli 2008 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.

 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.

 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.

 Sébastien TellierSébastien Tellier France - Sébastien Tellier - Divine (English)

Music/Lyrics: Sébastien Tellier/Sébastien Tellier, Amandine de la Richardière

Divine caused a bit of a storm in France as it became the first French entry to be completely in English without a word of French. Its style is 1980’s synth pop, but one look at the backing singers would make you forget all that. They were dressed identically to  Sébastien, even to the extent of sporting long wigs and beards - yes, even the girls!

 Elnur & SamirElnur & Samir Azerbaijan - Elnur & Samir - Day After Day (English)

Music/Lyrics: Govher Hasanzadeh/Zahra Badalbeyli

Azerbaijan debuted with something out of the Rocky Horror Show. There is more drama and over the top acting than a Christmas episode of Eastenders, and more shouting too. 

 KalomiraKalomira Greece - Kalomira - Secret Combination (English)

Music/Lyrics: Konstantinos Pantzis/Poseidon Yannopoulos

The modern Greek pop sound was starting to become predictable as it was very much the style of most Greek entries at that time. Kalomira’s version is no more than acceptable. 

 Rodolfo ChikilicuatreRodolfo Chikilicuatre Spain - Rodolfo Chikilicuatre - Baila El Chiki Chiki (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Rodolfo Chikilicuatre/Rodolfo Chikilicuatre

Of all the novelty songs in the 2008 contest, this is arguably the best. A hit on-line in the first part of the Spanish selection process, it is easy to sing along with despite being in Spanish, and the Rodolfo character is amusing. 

 Jelena TomaševićJelena Tomašević Serbia - Jelena Tomašević feat. Bora Dugic - Oro (Serbian)

Music/Lyrics: Zeljko Joksimovic/Dejan Ivanovic

The hosts made a strong case for winning again with a classically Serbian ballad. There could have been more lyrics rather than the use of nuna-nej, but that doesn’t detract from Oro’s overall beauty. 

 Dima Bilan 2008Dima Bilan 2008 Russia - Dima Bilan - Believe (English)

Music/Lyrics: Dima Bilan, Jim Beanz/Dima Bilan, Jim Beanz

Dima’s second entry was favourite with the bookies almost from the start. Like his first effort, Believe is very contemporary pop’ like his first effort, the presentation was much too gimmicky!  

 MariaMaria Norway - Maria - Hold On Be Strong (English)

Music/Lyrics: Mira Craig/Mira Craig

Maria was one of the favourites, but after nine of the qualifiers had been announced ‘at random’ at the end of the semi-final, there was no sign of Norway. Cheers all round then, when the last computerised envelope said Norway, and Maria’s ballad about waiting for ‘the one’ rightly made it to the final.

Daria Kinzer to fly the flag for Croatia in Düsseldorf

Dora (c) HRT

Dora came to a thrilling finish tonight, as Daria Kinzer was picked to represent her country in Germany in May.  The televoters of Croatia have chosen Lahor to be the song to hopefully carry them to success.

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