Cyprus

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song, Magányos Csónak had no such problems, but the singer, Katya Tompos, had prior engagements and the whole act was withdrawn. It was a case of third time lucky when singer Adok Zoltan was free to go to Moscow with the previously unrecorded and unpublished Dance With Me, which failed to qualify for the final.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. 

2011cy Christos Mylordos - San Aggelos Sagapisa

See video

Christos Mylordos will be representing Cyprus at the Eurovision Song Contest with his song San Aggelos Sagapisa. Last year Cyprus qualified to the final where they finished 21st.

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. 

Christos Mylordou released video of San Aggelos S'agapisa

Christos Mylordou ©  www.eurovisionontop.com

As the national broadcaster CyBC made an internal choice on their decisions about this year's Eurovision Song Contest, newcomer Christos Mylordou received the honour to represent Cyprus in Düsseldorf. Lately Christos released the video of the song he will sing.

Cyprus to choose song internally

Christos Mylordou ©  www.eurovisionontop.com

Cyprus will choose their song internally for the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest.  Christos Mylordou won the right to represent Cyprus in the talent show, Performance, held in September 2010.

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 Final

2005 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
21 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. 

Songwriting 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: 
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.

 JavineJavine United Kingdom - Javine - Touch My Fire (English)

Music/Lyrics: Javine Hilton, John Themis/Javine Hilton, John Themis

For once, a relatively famous singer stepped forward to represent the United Kingdom. Her song was more Turkish than then Turks own entry, but there was also a very contemporary styling.

 Chiara 2005Chiara 2005 Malta - Chiara - Angel (English)

Music/Lyrics: Chiara Siracusa/Chiara Siracusa

Chiara’s second entry is like her first, a calm, steady ballad which contains no surprises. She wasn’t finished yet! There would be another one like it four years later.

 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. 

 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.

 GülserenGülseren Turkey - Gülseren - Rimi Rimi Ley (Turkish)

Music/Lyrics: Erden Tunç/Göksan Arman

Gülseren was hampered by choreography that required her to dance in one area of the stage, stop, move to another area of the stage and dance some more. There was no fluency to it. The production of the song lacks the pace the melody needs. 

 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.

 Ledina CeloLedina Celo Albania - Ledina Celo - Tomorrow I Go (English)

Music/Lyrics: Adrian Hila/Pandi Laco

The lyrics of the Albanian song are based around a woman talking to her mother the day before her wedding. The song also has a wedding dance feel to it, with the celebratory nature of the arrangement.

 Constantinos ChristoforouConstantinos Christoforou Cyprus - Constantinos Christoforou - Ela Ela (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Constantinos Christoforou/Constantinos Christoforou

It was starting to seem as if there were no other singers in Cyprus. This was Constantinos’ third appearance in ten contests and his second in four. His songs were getting worse! The lyrics are trite and the tune is forgettable. 

 Son de SolSon de Sol Spain - Son de Sol - Brujería (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Alfredo Panebianco/Alfredo Panebianco

It was a good thing there were three of them. The singing is non-stop as soon as the intro is over, pausing only for a very brief instrumental. They would also have been able to deal with the man in large sunglasses lurking in the background.

 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. 

 No NameNo Name Serbia & Montenegro - No Name - Zauvijek Moja (Serbian)

Music/Lyrics: Slaven Knezovic/Milan Peric

Montenegrin boy-band, No Name, were chosen to represent the only two areas of the former Yugoslavia still together, although this wouldn’t last much longer. Zauvijek Moja is a fairly formulaic boy-band ballad, but the choreography was, erm, interesting.  

 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.

 Martin StenmarckMartin Stenmarck Sweden - Martin Stenmarck - Las Vegas (English)

Music/Lyrics: Niklas Edberger, Johan Fransson, Tim Larsson, Tobias Lundgren/Niklas Edberger, Johan Fransson, Tim Larsson, Tobias Lundgren

Unsurprisingly, Las Vegas is a very ‘show time’ type of song. Martin struts around the stage with an attitude suited to the culture of the eponymous city. It might have finished in the bottom six, but it is a good song to listen to. 

 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.

 GreenjollyGreenjolly Ukraine - Greenjolly - Razom Nas Bahato (Ukrainian)

Music/Lyrics: Roman Kalin, Roman Kostyuk/Roman Kalin, Roman Kostyuk

With Ukraine bubbling with a new sense of national pride, Razom Nas Bahato went down a storm with the locals. Their rap/rock song perhaps wasn’t understood beyond the Ukrainian borders.

 GraciaGracia Germany - Gracia - Run and Hide (English)

Music/Lyrics: David Brandes, Jane Tempest/John O’Flynn

Gracia shared David Brandes and John O’Flynn with the Swiss, whose song they also wrote. He gave Vanilla Ninja the best song of the two by a mile! Run and Hide is tolerable, synth based rock.

 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. 

 Helena PaparizouHelena Paparizou Greece - Helena Paparizou - My Number One (English)

Music/Lyrics: Christos Dantis/Christos Dantis, Natalia Germanou

Helena brought Greece it’s long awaited first win with a strong, modern pop tune. A firm beat runs throughout the song and, as with her 2001 Eurovision song; it retains a Greek flavour while being mainstream. 

 Natalia PodolskayaNatalia Podolskaya Russia - Natalia Podolskaya - Nobody Hurt No One (English)

Music/Lyrics: Victor Drobysh/Mary Applegate, J.P. Chase

What a crafty piece of writing! Using a strong, girl-rock track, the Russians took the opportunity to have a dig at their great political rival, America, by making a girl called Erica the subject of the lyrics, which talks about the culture of out of control violence.

 FeminnemFeminnem Bosnia & Herzegovina - Feminnem - Call Me (English)

Music/Lyrics: Andrej Babic/Andre Babic

This is nothing more than a cheap cash -in on the 50th anniversary of the contest. The lyrics and music make the most of all the available clichés

 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!

 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 their entire soft rock ballad needed.  

 OrtalOrtal France - Ortal - Chacun Pense à Soi (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ortal, Saad Tabainet/Ortal, Saad Tabainet

Ortal’s mid-tempo ditty is light and easy on the ear. It has a slightly unusual construction which isn’t detrimental. However, there is a feeling that something is missing that would have made the song a lot stronger. 

2004 Final

2004 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
15 May 2004
Venue: 
Abdi Ipkeci Sports Centre, Istanbul, Turkey
Broadcaster: 
TRT
Presenter(s): 
Meltem Cumbul & Korhan Abay
Other shows this year: 
About the contest: 

For the first time, the contest was held in Turkey. That would have been a big enough challenge, but TRT also had to do something that no broadcaster had done before, organise two shows. Due to the number of countries now wanting to take part, it was impractical to retain the formula of relegating the worst performing countries each year. The EBU decided that the best way to solve the problem was to have a semi-final. The countries finishing in the top 10 in 2003 and the Big 4 (United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain) automatically qualified for the final and would be joined by the top 10 countries from the semi-final. On the night of the semi-final, the songs qualifying for the final were revealed one by one by being drawn from individual envelopes. 

There were fears that the songs qualifying from the semi-final would have an advantage in the final as viewers would already have heard them and were thought likely to vote for the same song. In the final, six of the top 10 came from the semi-final, and nine of the bottom ten places were filled by songs not in the semi-final. As it was the first year there had been a semi-final, it was too early to assess whether participation in the semi-final was advantageous.  There was also unease about the right of the Big 4 to qualify automatically for the final, but this rule remained in recognition of the large financial contribution made by these countries which enables the contest to exist. 

Some countries had been participating for years without success, but Ukraine won with only its second offering. Interestingly, Ruslana finished second in the semi-final. In the final, the different voting patterns caused by a new set of songs moved her to the top of the scoreboard.

Andorra, Albania, Belarus and Serbia and Montenegro participated for the first time, while Monaco returned after a 25 year absence.

Although none of the singers on show had been in the contest before, Lena Philipsson, Jari Sillanpää and Ivan Mikulic had all been trying for a long time, racking up many entries in their respective national finals. Sakis Rouvas was making the first of three appearances, including one as host.

Instead of a new logo every year, it was decided that there should be a standard logo for all future contests, the words ‘Eurovision Song Contest’ with the ‘v’ of Eurovision in the shape of a heart with the flag of the host country covering it.

Another ‘first’ for the contest was the release of a DVD of the whole event shortly afterwards. A CD containing all the songs participating in the semi-final and the final was also released, but this was available before the contest.

For both the semi-final and the final, the scoring was done by a public phone vote, with the traditional points system of 1-8, 10 and 12 being awarded to the ten songs with the highest number of votes.  All 36 countries taking part in the contest were able to vote in both the semi-final and the final.

Trivia: 
While the release of the DVD had not happened before, it was not the first time an album of the songs had been made available. From 1986 to 1991, an unofficial album was put together for commercial release. National broadcasters were not obliged to give permission for their song to be included on the album. This led to some songs missing all together, or even cover versions being included instead of the authentic recording.
About the songs: 
RamonRamon Spain - Ramón - Para Llenarme De Ti (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Kike Santander/Kike Santander

There is plenty of flamenco guitar to add flavour, but the Spanish entry is a bit flat and doesn’t contain the vitality it should.

 Tie BreakTie Break Austria - Tie Break - Du Bist (German)

Music/Lyrics: Peter Zimmermann /Peter Zimmermann

All the boy band stereotypes are followed with a typical ballad that is only good for the last dance in a club.

 Knut Anders SørumKnut Anders Sørum Norway - Knut Anders Sørum - High (English)

Music/Lyrics: Thomas Thörnholm, Lars Andersson/Dan Attlerud

One of many solo male performers with a soft rock song. To be fair, this is the best of this particular bunch.

 Jonatan CerradaJonatan Cerrada France - Jonatan Cerrada - A Chaque Pas (French)

Music/Lyrics: Jonatan Cerrada, Benjamin Robbins, Steve Balsamo /Jonatan Cerrada, Benjamin Robbins, Steve Balsamo

Whose idea was it to have the lady on stilts on stage? It was a very bad move which took the focus away from Jonatan and his ballad, which is pleasant, but nothing more. He gave it his all, though, both vocally and with his facial expressions.

 Željko JoksimovićŽeljko Joksimović Serbia and Montenegro - Željko Joksimović - Lane Moje (Serbian)

Music/Lyrics: Željko Joksimović/Leontina Vukomanovic

Other former Yugoslav republics had been competing in the contest for about ten years, but Serbia and Montenegro had stayed away until now. On this evidence, we have been deprived of some great songs. Lane Moje is an instant classic, a Balkan ballad with a poetic beauty. 

 Julie & LudwigJulie & Ludwig Malta - Julie & Ludwig - On Again... Off Again (English)

Music/Lyrics: Philip Vella/Gerard James Borg

There is much to enjoy about the Maltese entry. The tune is joyful and memorable, Julie’s performance is perky and when the song ends, you want to hear it again. 

 Re-unionRe-union The Netherlands - Re-union - Without You (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ed van Otterdijk/Angeline van Otterdijk

Shock was the first emotion felt when this was announced a qualifier. Another of the soft rock ballads (although sung by a duo rather than a solo male), it’s also rather dull.

 MaxMax Germany - Max - Can't Wait Until Tonight (English)

Music/Lyrics: Stefan Raab/Stefan Raab

Stefan Raab’s previous two Eurovision songs (1998 and 2000) had a jazz edge to them, and his third continues that pattern. It’s mostly a soft rock ballad and is unremarkable and lacks an ability to linger in the memory.

 Anjeza ShahiniAnjeza Shahini Albania - Anjeza Shahini - The Image Of You (English)

Music/Lyrics: Edmond Zhulali/Agim Doçit

Every expense was spared on the presentation. No-one should complain that it was left to Anjeza and her backing singers to sell Albania’s first entry, an up-tempo, feel good number whose success surprised many.

 RuslanaRuslana Ukraine - Ruslana - Wild Dances (Ukrainian/English)

Music/Lyrics: Ruslana/Oleksandr Ksenofontov

The bookies had Ruslana at 25/1 at one point. Had they not heard it first? It stood out as an obvious winner with its infectious rhythm and driving beat. A well choreographed routine did her chances no harm either. 

 Ivan MikulicIvan Mikulic Croatia - Ivan Mikulic - You Are The Only One (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ivan Mikulic/Dusko Grubolovic, Marina Mudrinic

It would have been a scandal if Ivan had been left out of the final. Croatian ballads don’t come much more charming, tender or romantic than this. 

 DeenDeen Bosnia & Herzegovina - Deen - In The Disco (English)

Music/Lyrics: Vesna Pisarovic/Vesna Pisarovic

With more camp than Milletts, Deen took to the stage with (and the clue is in the title) a disco number. The choreography gave him ample opportunity to show off his dancing skills, doing as much work as the backing dancers. This is always risky when there is a song to sing, but he pulled it off.

 XandeeXandee Belgium - Xandee - 1 Life (English)

Music/Lyrics: Marc Paelinck/Dirk Paelinck

It was time to get up and dance, although judging by the number of points it received, most people must have got up and put the kettle on. Such a low placing was undeserved for her club anthem, which is a far superior song to many that scored more heavily. 

 Julia SavichevaJulia Savicheva Russia - Julia Savicheva - Believe Me (English)

Music/Lyrics: Maxim Fadeev/Brenda Loring

Fans of Scottish band Texas will probably have liked the Russian entry. Youthful Julia was let down by the stage presentation, which involved some downright weird and unsuitable choreography and equally unsuitably attired backing dancers. 

 Tose ProeskiTose Proeski Macedonia - Tose Proeski - Life (English)

Music/Lyrics: Jovan Jovanov/Damjan Lazarev, Irena Dukic

Tose was a very popular young singer whose life was tragically cut short in 2007 in a car accident. He left us this happy memory of him, a dramatic song with a punchy performance.

 Sakis RouvasSakis Rouvas Greece - Sakis Rouvas - Shake It (English)

Music/Lyrics: Nikos Terzis/Nextarios Tyrakis

Like him or hate him, no-one can deny that Sakis is an accomplished performer. His commercial Greek ditty was always going to be popular. 

 JónsiJónsi Iceland - Jónsi - Heaven (English)

Music/Lyrics: Sveinn Rúnar Sigurdsson/Magnús Thor Sigmundsson

Unusually, the title doesn’t appear anywhere in the lyrics. It’s one of the many soft rock ballads sung by a male in the 2004 contest.

 Chris DoranChris Doran Ireland - Chris Doran - If My World Stopped Turning (English)

Music/Lyrics: Brian McFadden, Jonathan Shorten/Brian McFadden, Jonathan Shorten

Written by Westlife’s Brian McFadden, the Irish song could easily have made up the numbers on one of their albums. It’s a ballad by numbers so beloved by Westlife and their fans, but rather dull for everyone else. 

 Blue CaféBlue Café Poland - Blue Café - Love Song (English)

Music/Lyrics: Pawel Rurak-Sokal/Tatiana Okupnik

Poland went into the contest with a mid-tempo, funk tune. Lead singer Tatiana Okupnik’s voice is certainly unique, but it does sound a little unnatural. 

 James FoxJames Fox United Kingdom - James Fox - Hold On To Our Love (English)

Music/Lyrics: Gary Miller, Tim Woodcock/Gary Miller, Tim Woodcock

In a different year, with fewer males singing soft rock ballads, James would have finished higher. In the event, even with a reasonable draw and despite a superior performance, the public had so many of that genre of song to vote for, that not enough votes went his way.  

 Lisa AndreasLisa Andreas Cyprus - Lisa Andreas - Stronger Every Minute (English)

Music/Lyrics: Mike Connaris/Mike Connaris

Lisa was plucked from her regular life in Kent, The Garden of England, to sing from the country of her ancestors. Despite her voice cracking briefly at the end, her performance of this gentle, understated ballad was very good; especially considering the arrangement is quietly in the background. 

 AthenaAthena Turkey - Athena - For Real (English)

Music/Lyrics: Gökhan Özoguz, Hakan Özoguz/Gökhan Özoguz, Hakan Özoguz

The hosts selected popular Turkish band, Athena, to defend their honour. It was certainly different, possibly the first time Ska had been heard in the contest. There was also some rock thrown into the mix.

 Sanda LadosiSanda Ladosi Romania - Sanda Ladosi - I Admit (English)

Music/Lyrics: George Popa/Irina Gligor

Underpinned by the rhythm of Flamenco guitar, there is also a very contemporary touch to what is ultimately a pop song. Did Sanda arrive at the Abdi Ipkeci Sports Centre late? It looked as if she didn’t have time to change into her outfit, instead taking to the stage in what looked like her underwear!

 Lena PhilipssonLena Philipsson Sweden - Lena Philipsson - It Hurts (English)

Music/Lyrics: Thomas Orup Eriksson/Thomas Orup Eriksson

Lena had been waiting for the chance for one of her songs to be in the contest for years. When her opportunity arrived, she didn’t waste it. Performing on her own, she filled the stage with her all round talents. It’s not quite in the Swedish schalger mould, but it’s not far off. 

2004 Semi-Final

2004 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
12 May 2004
Venue: 
Abdi Ipkeci Sports Centre, Istanbul, Turkey
Broadcaster: 
TRT
Presenter(s): 
Meltem Cumbul & Korhan Abay
Other shows this year: 
About the contest: 

For the first time, the contest was held in Turkey. That would have been a big enough challenge, but TRT also had to do something that no broadcaster had done before, organise two shows. Due to the number of countries now wanting to take part, it was impractical to retain the formula of relegating the worst performing countries each year. The EBU decided that the best way to solve the problem was to have a semi-final. The countries finishing in the top 10 in 2003 and the Big 4 (United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain) automatically qualified for the final and would be joined by the top 10 countries from the semi-final. On the night of the semi-final, the songs qualifying for the final were revealed one by one by being drawn from individual envelopes. 

There were fears that the songs qualifying from the semi-final would have an advantage in the final as viewers would already have heard them and were thought likely to vote for the same song. In the final, six of the top 10 came from the semi-final, and nine of the bottom ten places were filled by songs not in the semi-final. As it was the first year there had been a semi-final, it was too early to assess whether participation in the semi-final was advantageous.  There was also unease about the right of the Big 4 to qualify automatically for the final, but this rule remained in recognition of the large financial contribution made by these countries which enables the contest to exist. 

Some countries had been participating for years without success, but Ukraine won with only its second offering. Interestingly, Ruslana finished second in the semi-final. In the final, the different voting patterns caused by a new set of songs moved her to the top of the scoreboard.

Andorra, Albania, Belarus and Serbia and Montenegro participated for the first time, while Monaco returned after a 25 year absence.

Although none of the singers on show had been in the contest before, Lena Philipsson, Jari Sillanpää and Ivan Mikulic had all been trying for a long time, racking up many entries in their respective national finals. Sakis Rouvas was making the first of three appearances, including one as host.

Instead of a new logo every year, it was decided that there should be a standard logo for all future contests, the words ‘Eurovision Song Contest’ with the ‘v’ of Eurovision in the shape of a heart with the flag of the host country covering it.

Another ‘first’ for the contest was the release of a DVD of the whole event shortly afterwards. A CD containing all the songs participating in the semi-final and the final was also released, but this was available before the contest.

For both the semi-final and the final, the scoring was done by a public phone vote, with the traditional points system of 1-8, 10 and 12 being awarded to the ten songs with the highest number of votes. All 36 countries taking part in the contest were able to vote in both the semi-final and the final.

Trivia: 
While the release of the DVD had not happened before, it was not the first time an album of the songs had been made available. From 1986 to 1991, an unofficial album was put together for commercial release. National broadcasters were not obliged to give permission for their song to be included on the album. This led to some songs missing all together, or even cover versions being included instead of the authentic recording.
About the songs: 
Jari SillanpääJari Sillanpää Finland - Jari Sillanpää - Takes 2 To Tango (English)

Music/Lyrics: Mika Toivanen/Sillanpää

Jari’s voice was bound to sell his song well, but it was never going to be enough to lift the modern tango tune into the top 10.

 Aleksandra & KonstantinAleksandra & Konstantin Belarus - Aleksandra & Konstantin - My Galileo (English)

Music/Lyrics: Aleksandra Kirsanova, Konstantin Drapezo/Alexey Solomakha

Belarus was the first of the debutants and it wasn’t a promising start! Aleksandra’s southern American drawl didn’t suit the folk nature of the song, while Konstantin looked like he felt surplus to requirements. 

 Piero EsteriorePiero Esteriore Switzerland - Piero Esteriore & the MusicStars - Celebrate (English)

Music/Lyrics: Greg Manning/Greg Manning

Poor Piero!! He became the first person to score no points in a semi-final. In truth, it was what the song deserved. The lyrics are worse than corny and the tune is nonexistent. 

 Fomins & KleinsFomins & Kleins Latvia - Fomins & Kleins - Dziesma Par Laimi (Latvian)

Music/Lyrics: Guntars Racs/Tomass Kleins

In a move that demonstrated you can stage a song effectively without going over the top, they used two drummers and gave them some choreography to emphasise the strong beat. It worked really well, and it’s a pity that the accessible rock song wasn’t rewarded with a place in the final. 

 David D'orDavid D'or Israel - David D'or - Le'ha'amin (Hebrew/English)

Music/Lyrics: David D'or/David D'or

Were his trousers too tight? David’s remarkable soprano voice certainly caught everyone’s attention and added an extra layer to what otherwise would be a grand and worthy, though run of the mill, Israeli anthem. He can count himself unlucky to just miss the final in 11th place. 

 Marta RoureMarta Roure Andorra - Marta Roure - Jugarem A Estimar-nos (Catalan)

Music/Lyrics: Jofre Bardagi/Jofre Bardagi

Andorran broadcaster, RTVA, bravely decided to use the nations own language when, it would be argued by some, more points would have been gained using French or Spanish, also widely spoken in Andorra. We’ll never know if the use of one of those languages would have lifted the mid-tempo, repetitive plodder the necessary eight places it would have needed to reach the final. 

 SofiaSofia Portugal - Sofia - Foi Magia (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Paulo Neves/Paulo Neves

Since 1999 (with the exception of 2003), Portugal had been suffering a drop in quality as they tried to move away from the Portuguese sound to something more commercial and European. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present Foi Magia!

 Julie & LudwigJulie & Ludwig Malta - Julie & Ludwig - On Again... Off Again (English)

Music/Lyrics: Philip Vella/Gerard James Borg

There is much to enjoy about the Maltese entry. The tune is joyful and memorable, Julie’s performance is perky and when it ends, you want to hear it again. 

 MaryonMaryon Monaco - Maryon - Notre Planète (French)

Music/Lyrics: Philippe Bosco/Philippe Bosco

Maybe in an attempt to sound modern and up to date, Monaco’s first entry for 25 years is accompanied by a dance beat. It would have sounded better as a ballad. 

 Sakis RouvasSakis Rouvas Greece - Sakis Rouvas - Shake It (English)

Music/Lyrics: Nikos Terzis/Nextarios Tyrakis

Like him or hate him, no-one can deny that Sakis is an accomplished performer. His commercial Greek ditty was always going to be popular. 

 RuslanaRuslana Ukraine - Ruslana - Wild Dances (Ukrainian/English)

Music/Lyrics: Ruslana/Oleksandr Ksenofontov

The bookies had Ruslana at 25/1 at one point. Had they not heard it first? It stood out as an obvious winner with its infectious rhythm and driving beat. A well choreographed routine did her chances no harm either. 

 Linas and SimonaLinas and Simona Lithuania - Linas ir Simona - What's Happened To Your Love (English)

Music/Lyrics: Michalis Antonio, Linas Adomaitis/Camden MS

Linus wore a shirt with a flashing heart adorned on it. He seemed really proud of it, but it looked ridiculous! His duet with Simona started badly with a rasping trumpet, and doesn’t improve when it develops a touch of jazz.

 Anjeza ShahiniAnjeza Shahini Albania - Anjeza Shahini - The Image Of You (English)

Music/Lyrics: Edmond Zhulali/Agim Doçit

Every expense was spared on the presentation. No-one should complain that it was left to Anjeza and her backing singers to sell Albania’s first entry, an up-tempo, feel good number whose success surprised many. 

 Lisa AndreasLisa Andreas Cyprus - Lisa Andreas - Stronger Every Minute (English)

Music/Lyrics: Mike Connaris/Mike Connaris

Lisa was plucked from her regular life in Kent, The Garden of England, to sing from the country of her ancestors. Despite her voice cracking briefly at the end, her performance of this gentle, understated ballad was very good; especially considering the arrangement is quietly in the background. 

 Tose ProeskiTose Proeski Macedonia - Tose Proeski - Life (English)

Music/Lyrics: Jovan Jovanov/Damjan Lazarev, Irena Dukic

Tose was a very popular young singer whose life was tragically cut short in 2007 in a car accident. He left us this happy memory of him, a dramatic song with a punchy performance.

 PlatinPlatin Slovenia - Platin - Stay Forever (English)

Music/Lyrics: Simon Gomilsek/Diana Lecnik

Surely the Slovenians didn’t expect to qualify for the final with this package! The song is tuneless and Diana can’t sing to save her life. 

 NeiokõsõNeiokõsõ Estonia - Neiokõsõ - Tii (English)

Music/Lyrics: Priit Pajusaar, Glen Pilvre/Aapo Ilves

With a manic chap, who banged the drums (hard) with his bare hands, for protection, the quintet of Estonian ladies walked in formation while sharing vocal duties in their sprightly folk song.  

 Ivan MikulicIvan Mikulic Croatia - Ivan Mikulic - You Are The Only One (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ivan Mikulic/Dusko Grubolovic, Marina Mudrinic

It would have been a scandal if Ivan had been left out of the final. Croatian ballads don’t come much more charming, tender or romantic than this. 

 Tomas ThordarsonTomas Thordarson Denmark - Tomas Thordarson - Shame On You (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ivar Lind Greiner/Ivar Lind Greiner

Tomas was sporting a pair of shoes which turned into roller skates, allowing him to whizz around the stage. The camera managed to keep up with him. His mid-tempo MOR song was worthy of a place in the final. Maybe the striking red suit put people off.

 Željko JoksimovićŽeljko Joksimović Serbia and Montenegro - Željko Joksimović - Lane Moje (Serbian)

Music/Lyrics: Željko Joksimović/Leontina Vukomanovic

Other former Yugoslav republics had been competing in the contest for about ten years, but Serbia and Montenegro had stayed away until now. On this evidence, we have been deprived of some great songs. Lane Moje is an instant classic, a Balkan ballad with a poetic beauty. 

 DeenDeen Bosnia & Herzegovina - Deen - In The Disco (English)

Music/Lyrics: Vesna Pisarovic/Vesna Pisarovic

With more camp than Milletts, Deen took to the stage with (and the clue is in the title) a disco number. The choreography gave him ample opportunity to show off his dancing skills, doing as much work as the backing dancers. This is always risky when there is a song to sing, but he pulled it off.

 Re-unionRe-union The Netherlands - Re-union - Without You (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ed van Otterdijk/Angeline van Otterdijk

Shock was the first emotion felt when this was announced a qualifier. Another of the soft rock ballads (although sung by a duo rather than a solo male), it’s also rather dull.

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