Croatia

1st Semi-Final - A prediction

Another Eurovision year is building to a climax, with the first semi-final only a day away. Money has been wagered and arguments made as to which songs will make it through to the final. Here is my guide to the likely winners and losers.

Day 5 - Press Conferences

Georgia Press Conference ©  eurovision.tv

The first round of rehearsals finished, today, it was time for the first 13 acts of the first semi-final to rehearse for the final time before the first run through of the semi-final itself on Monday. After each performer had come off stage, they held another press conference.

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

Image1.jpg

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

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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.

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