Cyprus

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.

2003

2003 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
24 May 2003
Venue: 
Skonto Olympic Hall, Riga, Latvia
Broadcaster: 
LTV
Presenter(s): 
Marie N and Renars Kaupers
About the contest: 

It used to be that Turkish entries made up the numbers and not much was expected of them. Appearances in the top 10 were rare and 3rd place in 1997 was the nearest the Turks and come to winning. The United Kingdom had been used to many top 10 finishes in the past, although this had started to change in recent years.

In a sign of the power shift that was taking place in the contest, Turkey won after nearly 30 years of trying, and the United Kingdom joined the ‘nul points’s club. Sertab Erener employed clever but over elaborate choreography to enhance her watered down ethnic pop song. The poor result for Jemini was attributed to a poor vocal performance. It was far from brilliant, but a quick look at the DVD will show that Sertab’s wasn’t much better. She shouted rather than sung but got away with it. Politics has long been accused of being influential in the voting. The evidence shows a somewhat different story. However, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s decision to join America in removing a dangerous dictator in the Middle East had made the United Kingdom quite unpopular and no doubt played a part in the scoreless result. That, coupled with on-stage sound problems which dogged Jemini all week (which LTV technicians were unable or unwilling to solve), all led to a disastrous night for the duo.

On the subject of bad performances, t.A.T.u. were not any better! They had missed rehearsals and press conferences and seemed to be improvising as they ran around the stage. Rumours had even spread that they would perform naked.  This, along with all the other shenanigans pointed to one big publicity stunt. Somehow, their song commanded third place.

Dutch singer, Esther Hart, could have been a very busy lady that night. Not only did she compete in the Dutch selection, she was also due to sing a song in the UK selection as well. After she was chosen to represent The Netherlands, she decided to withdraw from the UK show.

Four years previously, the EBU introduced a rule allowing songs to be sung in any language. The writer of the Belgian song took this to an extreme when he created/made up the language for Sanomi.

Tragedy struck Portuguese singer, Rita Guerra. Just days before the contest, her brother was killed in an accident. She stayed in Riga and showed immense courage in taking to the stage.

Estonian band, Ruffus, finished a disappointing 21st. Some were prepared to let it be, but not everyone. On returning from Riga, lead singer, Vaiko Eplikwas, was in a café when he was attacked in an act of disgust at the poor result.

Ich Troje would represent Poland three years later in Athens.

The voting system remained unchanged again, with all countries awarding 1-8, 10 and 12 points to their top 10.

Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Macedonia and Switzerland all had to take the year off due to previous results not being good enough, while Iceland, Ireland, Macedonia, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Portugal returned to the fray. In addition, the contest welcomed Ukraine to the Eurovision family.

Trivia: 
Ruffus used the contest to re-launch themselves. Even in the Estonian final only a couple of months before, they were still known by their previous name of Claire’s Birthday
About the songs: 
BirgittaBirgitta  Iceland - Birgitta - Open Your Heart (English)

Music/Lyrics: Hallgrimur Oskarsson, Birgitta Haukdal/Hallgrimur Oskarsson

The contest opened with a very positive, uplifting pop song. It certainly would have grabbed the attention of the televoters straight away and it still sounds good years later.

 Alf PoierAlf Poier Austria - Alf Poier - Weil Der Mensch Zählt (German)

Music/Lyrics: Alf Poier/Alf Poier

Oh dear! The rules of the contest stipulate that only six people are allowed on stage, but said nothing about model animals! The presence of these animals indicated that Alf might just possibly not be taking things seriously. The song wavered from quiet to loud and refused to be pigeonholed into any particular style.

 Mickey HarteMickey Harte Ireland - Mickey Harte - We’ve Got The World (English)

Music/Lyrics: Martin Brannigan/Martin Brannigan

The Irish sent a song that has a nice, song-along-in-the-pub quality about it. Mickey even brought along his guitar so he could lead the way.

 Sertab ErenerSertab Erener Turkey - Sertab Erener - Everyway That I Can (English)

Music/Lyrics: Demir Demirkan, Sertab Erener/Demir Demirkan

Some purists may criticise the use of English in the song, but there is no doubt which country it derives from. Turkish traditions abound, even going as far as a belly dancing Sertab. There was some additional choreography with ribbons which was very creative.  

 Lynn ChirchopLynn Chirchop Malta - Lynn Chirchop - To Dream Again (English)

Music/Lyrics: Alfed Zammit/Cynthia Sammut

Lynn started at the piano but was soon on her feet and moving around the stage as she sung her easily digested love song. There will be those that, with some justification, call it trite, but it is inoffensive and harmless. It is also very, very similar to the song that came second for Malta in 2002, yet finished at the opposite end of the scoreboard. 

 Mija MartinaMija Martina Bosnia & Herzegovina - Mija Martina - Ne Brini (Bosnian)

Music/Lyrics: Ines Prajo/Arjana Kunstek

Looking like a lady who is truly over her relationship, Mija belted out this up-tempo, determined pop tune, which very much has an air of defiance about it.    

 Rita GuerraRita Guerra Portugal - Rita Guerra - Deixa-me Sonhar (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Paulo Martins/Paulo Martins

Under the circumstances, Rita was impressively assured as she stood on stage. The emotions within the classic Portuguese ballad were brought out in a controlled, understated fashion. 

 Claudia BeniClaudia Beni Croatia - Claudia Beni - Vise Nisam Tvoja (Croatian/English)

Music/Lyrics: André Babic/André Babic

Sharp production and choreography were key in giving Claudia’s song a very contemporary edge. She was very confident and perhaps just a little bit too relaxed.

 Stelios ConstantasStelios Constantas Cyprus - Stelios Constantas - Feeling Alive (English)

Music/Lyrics: Stelios Constantas/Stelios Constantas

Stelios tried to give the contest a modern sounding euro stomper. Unfortunately, it is more a whimper and also uninspiring.

 LouLou Germany - Lou - Let’s Get Happy (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ralph Siegel/Bernd Meinunger

If the sight of Lou’s flamboyant hair wasn’t enough to cheer anyone not in the mood to smile, then her song certainly would have been!! It’s an out and out catchy foot-tapper for those who like to be unchallenged by their music. 

 t.A.T.u.t.A.T.u. Russia - t.A.T.u. - Ne Ver, Ne Boisia (English)

Music/Lyrics: Veleriy Polienko/Mars Lasar

For reasons best known to themselves, t.A.T.u. hadn’t rehearsed much - and it showed! They ran around the stage as if they were making it up as they went along. Had they not been a big name, the other end of the scoreboard would surely have beckoned. Their song had a very contemporary production but was quite weak. 

 BethBeth Spain - Beth - Dime (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Amaya Martinez/Jesús Maria Pérez

Once Dime is in your head, it is very difficult to move it. It is very infectious and you will find yourself humming it without realising. 

 Lior NarkisLior Narkis Israel - Lior Narkis - Words For Love (Hebrew/English)

Music/Lyrics: Yoni Ro’eh/Yossi Gispan

When you have to resort to cheap gimmicks, you know you are in trouble! The dancers opened their shirts midway through the performance to reveal vests on which the word ‘love’ was written in different languages. The song itself is a bit of a non entity best suited to a couple of slightly mad children’s television presenters. 

 Esther HartEsther Hart The Netherlands - Esther Hart - One More Night (English)

Music/Lyrics: Alan Michael, Tjeerd van Zanen/Alan Michael, Tjeerd van Zanen

Esther was quite rightly voted the best performer of the night by fans. She lifted an otherwise bland, mid-tempo effort to make it sound better than it actually is. 

 JeminiJemini United Kingdom - Jemini - Cry Baby (English)

Music/Lyrics: Martin Isherwood/Martin Isherwood

A now infamous United Kingdom entry! Harshly panned by many, the light pop song is slightly old fashioned, but enjoyable nonetheless. 

 OlexandrOlexandr Ukraine - Olexandr - Hasta La Vista (English)

Music/Lyrics: Tzvika Pik/Mirit Shem-Or

Softly tinkling piano hides the more forceful style that is to follow. Hasta la Vista gives Ukraine a very good debut and hints at what would follow over the years. 

 MandoMando Greece - Mando - Never Let You Go (English)

Music/Lyrics: Mando/Mando

Mando makes the most of the opportunities her song gives her to do lots of emoting. Her voice is full of feeling which gives the ballad more of an appeal than it would have had in the vocal chords of a lesser singer. 

 Jostein HasselgårdJostein Hasselgård Norway - Jostein Hasselgård - I'm Not Afraid To Move On (English)

Music/Lyrics: Arve Furset/Arve Furset

Despite the melancholy air, Jostein’s song is lyrically very positive. It’s one of the best ballads in the contest, but he performs it with very little expression on his face.   

 Louisa BailecheLouisa Baileche France - Louisa Baileche - Monts Et Merveilles (French)

Music/Lyrics: Hocine Hallaf/Hocine Hallaf

The French were on a roll! After two entries which both deserved to win, but only managed top 5, Louisa found herself at the wrong end of the scoreboard with this very melodic tune which flows seamlessly along.

 Ich TrojeIch Troje Poland - Ich Troje - Keine Grenzen - Zadnych Granic (German/Polish)

Music/Lyrics: Andre Franke, Joachim Horn-Benges/Andre Franke, Joachim Horn-Benges, Michael Wisniewski, Jacek Lagwa

Lead singer, Michael Wisniewski, competed with and possibly beat Germany’s Lou in the mad hair stakes. Sung in the unusual combination of Polish and German, no-one can doubt the sincerity of his vocal, which may be a bit too croaky for some. While it didn’t finish overly close to the top, Keine Grenzen will be seen in years to come as one of the best songs of the 2003 contest. 

 F.L.Y.F.L.Y. Latvia - F.L.Y. - Hello From Mars (English)

Music/Lyrics: Martins Freimanis, Lauris Reiniks/Martins Freimanis, Lauris Reiniks

Hindsight is wonderful, but pre-contest, F.L.Y. were seen as potential winners. Maybe this kind of easy pop sound was not something the public wanted to hear anymore and had moved on.

 Urban TradUrban Trad Belgium - Urban Trad - Sanomi

Music/Lyrics: Yves Barbieux/Yves Barbieux

The two female vocalists made lots of hand movements, perhaps in the hope that sign language would help the understanding of Sanomi’s made up language. To compliment the language, there is a new-age atmosphere in the song.   

 RuffusRuffus Estonia - Ruffus - Eighties Coming Back (English)

Music/Lyrics: Vaiko Eplik/Vaiko Eplik

Despite the title, the style is very much happy jazz rather than 1980’s. As jazz is often seen as a mixture of sounds with no obvious connection mixing together, so Ruffus are also jazzy in the composition of the band members.  

 NicolaNicola Romania - Nicola - Don’t Break My Heart (English)

Music/Lyrics: Mihai Alexandru/Nicola

While there is essentially a garage/electro pop style to the Romanian song, there is more than an undercurrent of jungle mixed in. 

 FameFame Sweden - Fame - Give Me Your Love (English)

Music/Lyrics: Calle Kindbom, Carl Lösnitz/Calle Kindbom, Carl Lösnitz

Fame was a male/female duo brought together through the modern phenomenon of the TV talent show. Jessica Andersson was later voted Sweden’s sexiest woman. The song is rooted in the mould of light, easily digested pop.   

 KarmenKarmen Slovenia - Karmen - Nanana (English)

Music/Lyrics: Martin Stibernik/Karmen Stavec

Slovenia failed to take advantage of their favourable draw. Through her previous participation in Slovenian finals, including losing out controversially in 2002, she had proved what she was capable of, and it is much better than obvious rhymes, repetitive lyrics and daft title she gave us here. Perhaps frustration was setting in after her earlier failures and Karmen decided to go right back to basics and attempt something more trite than usual. 

2002

2002 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
25 May 2002
Venue: 
Saku Suurhall, Tallinn, Estonia
Broadcaster: 
ETV
Presenter(s): 
Annely Peebo, Marko Matvere
About the contest: 

There seemed to have been a sub-contest of the previous few years among host broadcasters to see who could find the biggest venue in which to stage the contest. This culminated in Denmark’s DR organising the contest in a covered football stadium in 2001. It was so big that a lot of the performers were lost in the sheer magnitude of the stage and the arena. It was with some relief that Estonia won in Copenhagen as there were no stadiums of that size in Estonia. The Saku Suurhall in Tallinn was a brand new arena, so new in fact, that it was still being built while the Estonians were celebrating their success. This led to concerns that ETV would not be able to organise the contest in time. However, these fears proved unfounded and everything was ready when the delegates arrived in Tallinn for rehearsals.

Broadcasters were finding different methods of searching for a singer and song to represent them in the contest. Instead of simply commissioning a writer or holding a one off show to find the song, Spain’s TVE held what seemed like a never ending process to find their representative. With the birth of the Pop Idol phenomenon, TVE produced a series called Operacion Trionfo. It lasted many, many weeks and involved several aspiring young singers facing the vote of the Spanish public. After what seemed like an eternity, Rosa emerged as the winner, but her chums from the show also went to Tallinn as her backing singers.

The ubiquitous Pop Idol was to be the source of many countries acts over the coming years. Two others singers in the 2002 contest, Jessica Garlick and Malene, found their fame this way and demonstrated the perils of such shows. Most of the contestants have little experience and are suddenly thrust into the limelight having only previously sung in front of the bathroom mirror with a hairbrush. The result leaves the hopes of a nation in the hands of a young, newly discovered singer who finds themselves in front of the biggest television audience anywhere in the world. Jessica proved it can be done, but Malene was less assured. In the past, like a particular song or not, it was sung by an experienced professional and rarely was there a bad performance. The popularisation of the TV talent show changed this and resulted in bad performances slipping in to the contest more frequently.

Latvia won the contest with only their second entry, but it could all have been so different but for a couple of quirks of fate. Latvia was only able to enter the contest thanks to Portugal declining the invitation to take part after the EBU increased the permitted number of entries from the proposed 22 to 24. Having made it to Tallinn, Marie may not have won if the song originally selected to represent Lithuania had not been disqualified. The group B'Avarija won the Lithuanian final with the highly rated We All. There is a very strong possibility that it would have won the contest. However, after B'Avarija’s victory, it was discovered that the song had been publically performed before the date allowed by the rules and so the second placed song, Happy You, travelled to Estonia instead and it finished second last.

Marie’s routine is remembered as a striptease, but is really just a couple of on stage costume changes during which she remained more than sufficiently covered. Elaborate presentations were becoming more and more commonplace in the contest and Marie’s victory led to an even greater emphasis on style, sometimes at the expense of substance.    

While Constantinos was making his second appearance for Cyprus, Karolina was making her first of two for Macedonia. Marie N would follow up her victory in 2002 with the job of co-host in 2003.

Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Macedonia, Romania and Switzerland came back into the contest having missed out the year before. Iceland, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Portugal were left out, although Portugal could have been in the contest had they accepted the EBU’s invitation to take part.

About the songs: 
OneOne  Cyprus - One - Gimme (English)

Music/Lyrics: Georgios Theophanous/Georgios Theophanous

One were a specially formed boy band fronted by 1996 singer, Constantinos. The song is high energy and typical boy band fare and the highly choreographed performance contains no surprises.   

 Jessica GarlickJessica Garlick United Kingdom - Jessica Garlick - Come Back (English)

Music/Lyrics: Martin Baylay/Martin Baylay

Proving that some reality show contestants are actually talented, Jessica (who came fourth in the first series of Pop Idol) gave a very polished and professional performance of a very tidy ballad. The finish in the top 5 (something which was becoming rare for the United Kingdom) was well merited. 

Manuel OrtegaManuel Ortega Austria - Manuel Ortega - Say the Word (English)

Music/Lyrics: Alexander Kahr/Robert Pfluger

With a chorus featuring only seven words repeated over and over again, it would be easy to become bored. Manuel’s engaging performance and the up-tempo, easy nature of the song do enough to maintain interest. Say the Word is one of Austria’s most likeable entries of the time. 

 Michalis RakintzisMichalis Rakintzis Greece - Michalis Rakintzis - S.A.G.A.P.O. (English)

Music/Lyrics: Michalis Rakintzis/Michalis Rakintzis

Think of a song which might have been left to one side by Gary Numan and you have S.A.G.A.P.O. Michalis’ electro tune is quite repetitive by the end. That said, its uniqueness stands out and there is enough to enjoy.  

 RosaRosa Spain - Rosa - Europe's Living A Celebration (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: T Ten, X Ten/T Ten, X Ten

Rosa was backed by her competitors form broadcaster TVE’s Operacion Trionfo selection series, and everyone was determined to party. Given a much needed spark from the original version, the party was very much started by this infectious, uplifting song.  

 Vesna PisarovicVesna Pisarovic Croatia - Vesna Pisarovic - Everything I Want (English)

Music/Lyrics: Milana Vlaovic/Milana Vlaovic

Diminutive Vesna had plenty of vocal power and she belted out a very modern pop tune. It was a clear move away from the traditional Croatian sound which had been the hallmark of Croatian songs in the years before.

 Prime MinisterPrime Minister Russia - Prime Minister - Northern Girl (English)

Music/Lyrics: Kim Breitburg/Karen Kavaleryan, Evgene Fridlyand, Irina Antonyan

Some referred to Prime Minister as a boy band. This was unfair. They were a cut above the usual standard of all male vocal groups. Northern Girl is also superior to the usual boy band pop fodder. It is crisp, melodic and catchy without being childish.

 SahléneSahléne Estonia - Sahléne - Runaway (English)

Music/Lyrics: P. Paulus, I. Laisaar, A. Kotkas/J. Hallas

With a dress that made any red-blooded male in the front row smile broadly, Swedish born Sahléne defended Estonia’s title as if she were a native. Runaway is an acoustic guitar led, up-tempo, jolly pop song worthy of a defending champion.  

 KarolinaKarolina Macedonia - Karolina - Od Nas Zavisi (Macedonian)

Music/Lyrics: N Pereviski-Pere/V. Kisteveski-FrancTzvika

The stage presentation was very striking, befitting of the dramatic elements of the song. These aspects, combined with the short, sharp nature of the melody, added up to a strong package.

 Sarit HadadSarit Hadad Israel - Sarit Hadad - Light A Candle (Hebrew/English)

Music/Lyrics: Tzvika Pik/Yoav Ginai

Having tried various alternatives for the previous few years, Israel returned to the more familiar territory of the anthemic peace ballad. This formula always seems to work, even if the scoreboard doesn’t always reflect this. 

 Francine JordiFrancine Jordi Switzerland - Francine Jordi - Dans Le Jardin De Mon Âme (French)

Music/Lyrics: Francine Lehmann/Francine Lehmann

While Francine’s ballad is gracious enough to pass three minutes with, it wouldn’t be unfair to say that it is predictable to the point where those hearing it for the first time could probably hum along.

 Afro-diteAfro-dite Sweden - Afro-dite - Never Let It Go (English)

Music/Lyrics: Marcos Ubeda/Marcos Ubeda

Swedish up-tempo entries are usually lots of fun. Afro-dite break that particular mould by quickly becoming irritating. 

 LauraLaura Finland - Laura - Addicted To You (English)

Music/Lyrics: Maki Kolehmainen/Janina Frostell, Tracy Lipp

Maki Kolehmainen, the composer, was a member of one of Finland’s most popular bands, Aikakone. While Addicted To You is not in the style that made Aikakone so successful, it is still accessible, chirpy pop. Laura put a lot of gusto into her performance, but the costume designer let the side down. 

 MaleneMalene Denmark - Malene - Tell Me Who You Are (English)

Music/Lyrics: Michael Ronson/Michael Ronson

Malene is another graduate from the X-Factor style reality show. Her nervous face revealed her inexperience and affected her performance. That is a real shame; Tell Me Who You Are is a far above average pop song that begs for the volume to be increased. 

 MajaMaja Bosnia & Herzegovina - Maja - Na Jastuku Za Dvoje (Bosnian)

Music/Lyrics: Dragan Mijatovic/Ruzica Cavic

Ably assisted by a couple of podium dancers, Maja was clearly ready for her big moment. She was as brassy as her backing track and the I Will Survive nature of the lyrics would have appealed to female listeners everywhere. 

 SergioSergio Belgium - Sergio & the Ladies - Sister (English)

Music/Lyrics: Marc Paelinck/Dirk Paelinck

Every so often, a song has those that love it and those that hate it with very little in-between. Sister is one of those and could have been from the Blues Brothers. One thing everyone can agree on is Sergio’s performance. It was full on and certainly not lacking energy. 

 Sandrine FrançoisSandrine François France - Sandrine François - Il Faut Du Temps (French)

Music/Lyrics: Patrick Bruel, Rick Allison, Marie-Lorence Gros/Patrick Bruel, Rick Allison, Marie-Lorence Gros

The classiest of classy ballads just missed out in Copenhagen the year before, so the French tried the same formula again. In doing so, they raised the bar even higher in terms of quality, but sadly, the result wasn’t what it should have been, a trip to Paris in 2003.

 Corinna MayCorinna May Germany - Corinna May - I Can't Live Without Music (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ralph Seigel/Bernd Meinunger

With not a hint of embarrassment, there is more cheese here than a Swiss dairy! One for the fans only, it is more than a little dated. 

 Buket Bengisu & SaphireBuket Bengisu & Saphire Turkey - Buket Bengisu & Saphire - Leylaklar Soldu Kalbinde (Turkish)

Music/Lyrics: Fani Hodara/Ami Hodara, Figen Cakmak

Leylaklar Soldu Kalbinde is a return to Turkish entries of the 80’s and early 90’s. There is a folk atmosphere but also a lack of punch which comes with their more up-tempo entries. 

 Ira LoscoIra Losco Malta - Ira Losco - 7th Wonder (English)

Music/Lyrics: Philip Vela/Gerard James Borg

With much better ballads to vote for, the 8th wonder is the amount of people who must have voted for Ira. There is too much twee and no grit or substance. 

 Monica Anghel & Marcel PavelMonica Anghel & Marcel Pavel Romania - Monica Anghel & Marcel Pavel - Tell Me Why (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ionel Tudor/Mirela Fugaru

Possibly the two best singers and the most powerful voices in the contest! Feelings of despair abound and Tell Me Why has what every good power ballad has, passion. 

SestreSestre Slovenia - Sestre - Samo Ljubezen (Slovenia)

Music/Lyrics: Robert Pesut, Barbara Pesut/Robert Pesut, Barbara Pesut

What were the Slovenians thinking when they choose this? Quite simply, one of the worst songs in the history of the contest! 

 Marie NMarie N Latvia - Marie N - I Wanna (English)

Music/Lyrics: Marija Naumova/Marija Naumova, Marats Samauskis

Marie started a trend with her family friendly strip style choreography. It spawned imitations for years after. There is no doubt it helped her win. Her song had the necessary catchiness, but needed the boost Marie’s routine gave it to do so well. 

 AivarasAivaras Lithuania - Aivaras - Happy You (English)

Music/Lyrics: Aivaras Stepukonis/ Aivaras Stepukonis

Maybe it was just his natural voice, but Aivaras sounded off-key the whole time. For a song called Happy You, there is an absence of joy, but it is quirky and has enough about it to be entertained by. 

2000

2010 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
13 May 2000
Venue: 
Globen Arena, Stockholm, Sweden
Broadcaster: 
SVT
Presenter(s): 
Kattis Ahlstrom and Anders Lundin
About the contest: 

The second win for Denmark in the contest came as a surprise to everyone. Way down in the betting and not seen by anyone as a potential winner, the Olsen Brothers proved that, in an age where technology and stage presentation were thought to be essential ingredients for success, a song with a strong melody at its heart was all that was needed to rise above the competition.

The Eurovision Song Contest has always been open to any genre of music, and the 45th contest is a prime example of this. Styles included modern pop, folk, Euro pop, melodic MOR, country, calypso, gospel, ballads and fun ‘nonsense’ songs.

Set designers for contests past had the difficult task of designing a stage that would suit every act from soloists to groups, and any style of song. Technological developments were beginning to make the job of a set designer much easier, enabling them to change the scenery for each country. This benefitted the contest by giving each song the setting most appropriate to its needs rather than the same background for ballads and dance songs. This gave a more contemporary look to the event.

Following the trend in pop music at the time, delegations tried to gain an edge over their rivals by creating a memorable and elaborate stage act. This would lead to all kinds of antics in the following years. Viewers in 2000 were treated to, among other things, Germans flashing their underwear, and the Dutch singer in a tent sized coat!

Finland, Macedonia, Romania, Russia and Switzerland were allowed back into the contest after missing out in 1999. They were joined by Latvia, who entered the contest for the first time. Making way for them were Bosnia Herzegovina, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia. Greece could have returned but chose not to.

Roger Pontare, Serafin and Alexandros Panayi (as part of Cypriot duo, Voice) all appeared for the second time in the contest. Ines would return in 2001 as a backing singer for her boyfriend Tanal Padar, who did her that favour this time.

Trivia: 
The title of the Croatian song differed from the one it was given in the Croatian final a couple of months earlier. Kada Zaspu Andeli was always the correct title, but an error meant it was called Ostani when it won the right to represent Croatia.
About the songs: 
Ping PongPing Pong Israel - Ping Pong - Sa'me'akh (Hebrew)

Music/Lyrics: Guy Assif, Roy Arad, Ronen Ben Tal/Guy Assif, Roy Arad, Ronen Ben Tal

Getting the contest off to a somewhat quirky start were the four colourful Israelis. Armed with Israeli and Syrian flags, they waved them enthusiastically like drunk students at karaoke night.   

 Linda WagenmakersLinda Wagenmakers The Netherlands - Linda Wagenmakers - No Goodbyes (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ellert Driessen/John O’Hare

After a thoughtful start, Linda broke free from the large outer section of her dress and her song bursts into life to become a modern disco stomper.

 Nicki FrenchNicki French United Kingdom - Nicki French - Don't Play That Song Again (English)

Music/Lyrics: John Springate, Gerry Shephard/John Springate, Gerry Shephard

Nicki already had a market for her brand of bright and breezy pop. UK fans were hopeful of a good placing, but unfortunately, the rest of Europe didn’t play ball. Perhaps with the more modern pop songs in the contest to vote for, it sounded slightly dated.

 InesInes Estonia - Ines - Once In A Lifetime (English)

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

Country music isn’t something usually associated with Estonia, and here is an example of why! Both song and performance are lacking the zip that seems to be lurking underneath, but is too shy to show itself.

 Sofia MestariSofia Mestari France - Sofia Mestari - On Aura Le Ciel (French)

Music/Lyrics: Pierre Legay/Benoit Heinrich

Sofia looked very nervous on stage, not that it mattered too much. It would have been hard to sell On Aura Le Ciel, it is too limp and unmemorable. Unusually, France held a final to choose it, something that hasn’t happened since. 

 TaxiTaxi Romania - Taxi - The Moon (French)

Music/Lyrics: Lucian Cioargă, Adrain Bortun, George Pătrănoiu, Dan Teodorescu, Georgiana Pană/ Lucian Cioargă, Adrain Bortun, George Pătrănoiu, Dan Teodorescu, Georgiana Pană

Romania were relative newcomers to the contest and it seemed they were struggling to understand what was required to be successful. Taxi’s song is pleasant and credible, but no more than that, just like Romania’s other entries to date. 

 Claudette PaceClaudette Pace Malta - Claudette Pace - Desire (English)

Music/Lyrics: Philip Vela/ Gerard James Borg

Claudette brought a Calypso party to Stockholm! Most viewers will have enjoyed it while it lasted and then moved on.

 CharmedCharmed Norway - Charmed - My Heart Goes Boom (English)

Music/Lyrics: Morten Henroksen/Tore Madsen

The three ladies of Charmed were in perfect harmony as they smiled their way through their uplifting and infectious pop tune. 

 AlsouAlsou Russia - Alsou - Solo (English)

Music/Lyrics: Andrew Lane, Brandon Barnes/Andrew Lane, Brandon Barnes

In the first contest of the 21st century, this would have been a great winner! Everything about it is youthful and fresh. Even finishing second, it ensured the contest continued to sound up to date. 

 Nathalie SorceNathalie Sorce Belgium - Nathalie Sorce - Envie De Vivre (French)

Music/Lyrics: Silvio Pezzuto/Silvio Pezzuto

It was the turn of Belgium to get less than they deserved. The bottom of the scoreboard was far from where Nathalie and her bright, memorable and joyous gospel number deserved to be. She probably would have been higher with the old style jury voting.

 VoiceVoice Cyprus - Voice - Nomiza (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Alexandros Panayi/Alexandros Panayi

Nomiza gets off to a sedate start, and then begins to rumble until it finally explodes to reveal its full potential. Presentation was starting to become more elaborate, and the Cypriots could be accused of over egging it. 

 Einer TelmaEiner Telma Iceland - Einer Augúst Víðisson and Telma - Tell Me (English)

Music/Lyrics: Oggi/Oggi, Sigurdur Orn Jonsson

The Icelandic duet can’t decide if it wants to be a rock or pop song. As a result, despite the sing along quality, it is a difficult song to get into.

 Serafín Zubiri  2000Serafín Zubiri 2000 Spain - Serafín Zubiri - Colgado De Un Sueño (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Jose Maria Puron/Jose Maria Puron

Serafin’s second Eurovision effort is similar in the construction to his first. It is tuneful, nice to listen to and breezes along from start to finish.

 Olsen BrothersOlsen Brothers Denmark - Olsen Brothers - Fly On The Wings Of Love (English)

Music/Lyrics: Jorgen Olsen/Jorgen Olsen

There weren’t many people predicting a Danish win! However, the strength of the melody and effective staging - including the sudden burst of light when the song springs back into life after a brief pause - proved a winning formula, and a worthy one at that.

 Stefan RaabStefan Raab Germany - Stefan Raab - Wadde Hadde Dudde Da (German)

Music/Lyrics: Stefan Raab/Stefan Raab

Stefan wrote the song which gave Guildo Horn the freedom to give his memorable performance in 1998. This time, he stepped up to the mic himself to perform a more restrained, but still fun and frisky song. He mostly raps over a jazzy background. Interesting! 

 Jane BogaertJane Bogaert Switzerland - Jane Bogaert - La Vita Cos'è? (Italian)

Music/Lyrics: Bernie Staub/Tomas Marin

With Italy out of the contest, this would have kept Italian music fans happy while they prayed for a return. It’s not quite got the additional’ something’ that real Italian songs have, but it’s still good enough to shine through.

 Goran KaranGoran Karan Croatia - Goran Karan - Kada Zaspu Andeli (Croatian)

Music/Lyrics: Zdenco Runjic/Nenad Nincevic

This is what Croatian writers do best. Kada Zaspu Andeli has charm, sincerity and sensitivity. 

 Roger PontareRoger Pontare Sweden - Roger Pontare - When Spirits Are Calling My Name (English)

Music/Lyrics: Peter Dahl, Linda Jansson, Thomas Holmstrand/Peter Dahl, Linda Jansson, Thomas Holmstrand

Looking a fine figure in his traditional Native American costume, Roger stays true to his roots with his powerful and ethnically influenced song about a man’s attachment to his homeland.

 XXLXXL Macedonia - XXL - 100% Te Ljubam (Macedonian)

Music/Lyrics: Dragan Karanfilovski-Bojs/Orce Zafirovski, Davor Jordanovski

XXL were four young girls, and their slightly immature song seemed aimed at a similar age group.

 Nina ÅströmNina Åström Finland - Nina Åström  - A Little Bit  (English) 

Music/Lyrics: Luca Gente/Gerrit Aan’t Goor

The Finns have a habit of choosing the wrong song from their national final. In choosing Nina’s lifeless effort, they did it again. Even the old trick of including various European destinations in the lyrics was tried.

 BrainStormBrainStorm Latvia - BrainStorm - My Star (English)

Music/Lyrics: Reynard Cowper/Reynard Cowper

Latvia almost had a dream debut. Renars Kaupers, Brainstorms lead singer, was an off-beat character on stage and sold the quirky pop song well.

 Pinar AyhanPinar Ayhan Turkey - Pinar Ayhan & S.O.S. Band - Yorgunum Anla  (Turksh)

Music/Lyrics: Suhan Ayhan/Pinar Ayhan, Orkun Yazgan

Showing a softer, more reflective side to Turkish music, Pinar presented a gentle Turkish folk song whose vocals are at their most intense during breaks in the music.

 Eamonn ToalEamonn Toal Ireland - Eamonn Toal - Millennium Of Love (English)

Music/Lyrics: Raymand Smyth, Gerry Simpson/Raymand Smyth, Gerry Simpson

By the end of the week’s celebrations in Stockholm, everyone was very familiar with the Irish entry. Eamonn sang it everywhere he went. No-one asked him to, he did it anyway! Maybe he hoped that familiarity would breed love for his cliché-ridden dirge.  

 The Rounder GirlsThe Rounder Girls Austria - The Rounder Girls - All To You (English)

Music/Lyrics: Dave Moskin/Dave Moskin

The very aptly named Rounder Girls were well co-ordinated in their choreography. Influences of Motown are to the fore, with more than a hint of soul added to the mix.

1999

1999 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
29 May 1999
Venue: 
Israeli Congress Centre, Jerusalem, Israel
Broadcaster: 
IBA
Presenter(s): 
Yigal Ravid, Dafna Dekel and Sigal Shachmon
About the contest: 

Following the introduction of televoting a couple of years earlier, 1999 saw another of the biggest changes in the history of the contest. For the first time since the contest begun 43 years before, an orchestra was not used, with all artists having to rely on a backing track. This would be to the benefit the songs following contemporary trends, whose production values don’t seem to require real instruments, but to the detriment of ballads and other songs whose arrangements add another dimension when the power of an orchestra is utilised.   

Another major rule change was to allow entries to be sung in any language. Previously, all countries had to sing in one of its national languages. The reason for the rule change was to create a more even playing field in recognition of the belief that Ireland, Malta and the United Kingdom were at an unfair advantage singing in the international language of English. This would lead to some unexpected choices in years to come, but most of all to the annoying habit of some songs being sung in two (or sometimes even more) languages as a singer would switch between his/her own language and English.

The only time that Israel had hosted the contest was twenty years earlier. One could be forgiven for thinking that IBA had just used an updated version of the same set from that year. The design of a predominant semi circular structure and idea of the movable parts were very similar.

Since the middle of the decade, the EBU had used a system of relegation to select which countries would compete in the contest the following year as so many now wanted to participate, mostly due to the breakup of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Rather than simply relegate the bottom seven countries as had been happening, each country's five year average score was used instead. An exception was made for France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. As the four biggest contributors to the EBU bank account, and therefore to the cost of the contest each year, they would be allowed to compete every year regardless of their average score.

Controversy stalked the Bosnian entry. Dino and Beatrice only travelled to Jerusalem because the winner of the Bosnian final, Hari Mata Hari, was disqualified. His song, Starc I More, was found to be a cover of a song that he co-wrote and had been released as Sydänveri on an album by Finnish singer Janne Hurme.

Selma made her first of two appearances in the contest, while Doris Dragovic and Darja Svajger had seen it all before.

Latvia had expressed an interest in participating for the first time but decided not to. Hungary declined the offer of the free place, so Portugal made an earlier than expected return to action, along with Austria, Bosnia, Denmark, Iceland and Lithuania. Forced to sit out were Finland, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia and Switzerland.

Trivia: 
So much for peace and unity in Eurovision! The Irish sisters, The Mullans, criticised Sweden’s Charlotte Nilsson, saying she looked like a porn star. The Swedes hit back, describing The Mullans as resembling pregnant nuns.
About the songs: 
Aiste SmilgeviciuteAiste Smilgeviciute Lithuania - Aiste Smilgeviciute - Strazdas (Lithuanian)

Music/Lyrics: Linas Rimsa, Sigitas Geda/Linas Rimsa, Sigitas Geda

The first entry of the night is more like a pagan chant than a song at times. Drums are used effectively to add a bit of bite.

 Vanessa ChinitorVanessa Chinitor Belgium - Vanessa Chinitor - Like the Wind (English)

Music/Lyrics: Wim Claes, Emma Philippa/Wim Claes, Emma Philippa

Two songs in and already we hear the first of the possible winners. The sweeping pan pipes sound beautiful in combination with the strings and the whole thing has impact.

 LydiaLydia Spain - Lydia - No Quiero Escuchar (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Alejandro Carmona, Carlos Lopéz/Fernando Rodriguez, Alejandro Piqueras

When the first impression the audience has is what the singer is wearing, it pays to leave positive or even neutral thoughts. Lydia’s choice of dress fails on both counts! The song she is charged with singing is, by Spanish standards, a rather lacklustre ballad. 

 Doris Dragovic 1999Doris Dragovic Croatia - Doris Dragovic - Marija Magdalena (Croatian)

Music/Lyrics: Tonci Huljic/Vjekoslava/Huljic

Doris’ second tilt at the title is completely different to her first. 13 years earlier. She went up-tempo and much more dramatic. A vocal was included in the backing track, which was against the rules as all vocals have to be sung live on stage. As a result, the EBU deducted 33% of Croatia’s score from the contest. This gave them a lower five year point average, potentially relegating them from future contests. 

 PreciousPrecious United Kingdom - Precious - Say It Again (English)

Music/Lyrics: Paul Varney/Paul Varney

Precious started the decline of the United Kingdom in the contest. Twelfth was the lowest finish for the UK at the time by one of the contests most successful countries. Say It Again is an empty lifeless mixture of soul and pop. Band member, Jenny Frost, went on to be part of successful girl group, Atomic Kitten

 Darja Svajger 1999Darja Svajger Slovenia - Darja Svajger - For A Thousand Years (English)

Music/Lyrics: Primoz Peterca/Primoz Peterca

Here is one of the problems with the free language rule! Darja’s pronunciation isn’t always exact, resulting in ‘eyes’ sounding like ‘arse’. That aside, her second Eurovision song is not unlike her first, a classy but standard ballad that you just know is going to build long before it does. .

 Tugba ÖnalTugba Önal Turkey - Tugba Önal & Grup Mystik - Dön Artik (Turkish)

Music/Lyrics: Erdin Tunc/Erdin Tunc, Canan Tunc

In a contest in which a lot of the entries are uninspiring, Dön Artik is a very welcome inclusion. Its pace and infectious rhythm inject the contest with vitality. 

 Stig André Van EijkStig André Van Eijk Norway - Stig André Van Eijk - Living My Life Without You (English)

Music/Lyrics: Stig André Van Eijk Stig/André Van Eijk

While a contemporary R ‘n’ B sound will be considered by some to be a positive, it is how the song sounds that counts. The best description was given by Radio 2 commentator Ken Bruce, who said “he’s wearing a vest with a picture of a bull on the front, and the song is a bit like something the bull might leave behind.”   

 Trine Jepsen & Michael TeschlTrine Jepsen & Michael Teschl Denmark - Trine Jepsen & Michael Teschl - This Time (I Mean It) (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ebbe Ravn/Ebbe Ravn

Congratulations should be given to anyone still awake at the end. The Danish ballad meanders its way slowly and limply from the start to the finish.

 NayahNayah France - Nayah - Je Veux Donner Ma Voix (French)

Music/Lyrics: Pascal Grazic Pascal Grazic

Celiné Dion returns! Well, nearly. It is easy to imagine the 1988 winner and international superstar applying her talents to the French entry. Nayah controls the stage in Divaesque fashion. 

 MarlayneMarlayne The Netherlands - Marlayne - One Good Reason (English)

Music/Lyrics: Alan Michael, Tjeerd van Zanen/Alan Michael, Tjeerd van Zanen

If 1999 was the start of the British decline, the same could almost be be said of the Dutch. It would be the last time they would be in the top ten for many years. Marlayne’s performance was top notch, but the song, an up-tempo guitar based MOR effort, left her too much to do to finish too high up the scoreboard. 

 Mietek SzczesniakMietek Szczesniak Poland - Mietek (Mieczyslaw) Szczesniak - Przytul Mnie Mocno (Polish)

Music/Lyrics: Seweryn Krajewski/Wojciech Ziembicki

Poland’s ballad is one of the best of the bunch. Remaining engaging throughout, it has a calm, emotional feel.

 Selma BjörnsdóttirSelma Björnsdóttir Iceland - Selma Björnsdóttir - All Out Of Luck (English)

Music/Lyrics: Porvaldur Bjarni Thorvaldsson/Sveinbjörn Baldvinsson

One last hurrah for europop? After Selma’s second place, this style of song went out of fashion in the contest as the public became more and more involved in the voting. 

 Marlain AngelidouMarlain Angelidou Cyprus - Marlain Angelidou - Tha'nai Erotas (Cyprus)

Music/Lyrics: Giorgios Kallis, Andreas Karanicolas/Giorgios Kallis, Andreas Karanicolas

Our second Marlain, although with a different spelling. Every year the contest throws up an astonishing result, and this year was the turn of Cyprus to suffer. Deserving of a much higher placing,  Tha'nai Erotas is fast and very catchy. 

 Charlotte NilssonCharlotte Nilsson Sweden - Charlotte Nilsson - Take Me To Your Heaven (English)

Music/Lyrics: Lars Diedricson/Gert Lengstrand, Marcos Ubeda

Elements of the piano arrangement conjure up memories of Sweden’s most famous winner. Like Waterloo, it is very upbeat, memorable and adds touches of saxophone to provide a little quirkiness.

 Rui BandeiraRui Bandeira Portugal - Rui Bandeira - Como Tudo Começou (Portugal)

Music/Lyrics: Jorge do Carmo/To Andrade

Moving away from a traditional Portuguese sound, Rui’s song is a soft rock, MOR number that quickly becomes uninteresting. 

 The MullansThe Mullans Ireland - The Mullans - When You Need Me (English)

Music/Lyrics: Bronagh Mullan/Bronagh Mullan

Ireland had by now started a run of sending sub-standard, plodding ballads to the contest. A complete lack of charisma from the two sisters didn’t help. 

 Bobbie SingerBobbie Singer Austria - Bobbie Singer - Reflection (English)

Music/Lyrics: Dave Moskin/Dave Moskin

Bobby’s young voice sounds a bit too twee for some, but will probably sound cute to others. As for the song, it is buried in the crowd and has nothing to lift it.

 EdenEden Israel - Eden - Yom Huledeth (Hebrew, English)

Music/Lyrics: Jeki Oved, Yaakov Lymai, Gabriel Butler/Jeki Oved, Yaakov Lymai, Moshe Datz

As it turned out, the hosts had a good draw. Following rather drab entries, Eden’s chirpy song and energetic dancing brought the show back to life. 

 Times 3Times 3 Malta - Times 3 - Believe 'n Peace (English)

Music/Lyrics: Chris Scicluna/Moira Stafrace

The three Maltese starlets posed and smiled a lot. Despite being rather repetitive towards the end, the youthful pop sound of Believe 'n Peace would have already hooked those who like it without winning new fans.

 SürprizSürpriz Germany - Sürpriz - Reise Nach Jerusalem - Kudüs'e Seyahat (German, Turkish, English, Hebrew)

Music/Lyrics: Ralph Siegel/Bernd Meinunger

Cynics could have a field day with this one. A Turkish group representing Germany with Turkish flavoured song whose title includes the name of the host city. There was even room in the lyrics for a burst of Hebrew. Siegel and Meinunger at their most desperate! 

 Dino and BeatriceDino and Beatrice Bosnia & Herzegovina - Dino and Beatrice - Putnici (Bosnian, French)

Music/Lyrics: Dino Dervishalidovic/Dino Dervishalidovic

How the Bosnians must have wished their original choice could have been there! They were left with their hopes in the hands of daft, disorganised sounding ditty whose only saving grace was the occasional interjection by the fiddle. 

 Evelin SamuelEvelin Samuel Estonia - Evelin Samuel and Camille - Diamond Of Night (English)

Music/Lyrics: Priit Paajusaar, Glen Pilvre/Kaari Sillamaa

Rumour has it that Estonia would have won if only juries had been used. Thank the Lord for televoting then! Some of the previous songs seemed to be designed to send viewers to sleep. Anyone still awake would surely have been finished off by Evelin’s dreary lullaby. 

Planned Eurovision Concert Cancelled at the Eleventh Hour

Jan  Johansen  ©  hd.se

The excitement was no doubt huge for many when an invitation for an upcoming Eurovision concert was sent to their mailbox from the Norwegian Eurovision Fan Club, OGAE Norway. Excitement quickly turned to disappointment however, when it was announced on Friday that the event organiser had no choice but to pull the plug on the imminent concert.

1998

1998 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
9 May 1998
Contest type: 
Grand Final
Venue: 
National Indoor Arena, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Broadcaster: 
BBC
Presenter(s): 
Ulrika Jonsson and Terry Wogan
About the contest: 

Following the limited introduction of public televoting the year before, 1998 saw a big expansion of that system of voting with almost every country adopting this way of awarding its points. Only those countries not technically able to use such a system continued with juries. In case of problems, even the countries using televoting had a jury as a backup. The dangers of televoting became clear when a campaign in Germany in support of Guildo Horn sent Germans abroad so they could vote for him in an effort to boost his placing.

Another landmark event involved the orchestra. Ever since the first contest in 1956, an orchestra had been used to provide a totally live musical experience. This contest would be the last time an orchestra was needed; some countries even used a backing track instead anyway.

Dana International was the subject of much discussion a long time before boarding the plane to Birmingham. He/she became the first transsexual Eurovision singer, a fact which caused much controversy but it seems no publicity is bad publicity.

One of the most remembered events of the show was host Ulrika Jonsson’s apparent faux-pas when she was talking with 1957 winner, Corry Brokken, who was giving the Dutch results. Ulrika was heard to comment that Corry had won the contest a long time ago, the insinuation being that Corry was getting on a bit. In fact, what happened was that Corry herself made that comment but, as the audience were cheering her loudly, Ulrika repeated it knowing that no-one would have heard what Corry said.

Danijela and José Cid (as part of Portuguese group, Alma Lusa) were both making their second appearances in the contest, while Chiara and Edsilia Rombley would be seen again in future years, as would winner, Dana International..

Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Denmark, Russia and Iceland missed out on participation as their average points over the previous five contests was less than all other countries. This allowed room for Belgium, Finland, Israel, Romania and Slovakia to return from a forced absence in 1997. Italy’s withdrawal meant Macedonia could make it’s debut.

Trivia: 
Greek composer, Yiannis Malachias, had some very particular ideas about how he wanted his song to some across on screen. To that end, he made a nuisance of himself to the organisers. So much so, that, after being warned about his conduct, he was stripped of his accreditation, leaving him unable to enter the NIA.
About the songs: 
DanijelaDanijela Croatia - Danijela - Neka Mi Ne Svane (Croatian)

Music/Lyrics: Petar Graso, Remi Kasinoti/Petar Graso, Remi Kasinoti

Conductor: Stjepan Kalogjera

Danijela was the lead singer of Magazin when they represented Croatia three years earlier. Now a solo artist, her tender ballad builds steadily while remaining calm throughout. It will always be a fan favourite. 

 DionysiaDionysia Greece - Dionysia and Thalassa Group - Mia Krifi Evaisthissia (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Yiannis Malachias/Yiannia Valvis

Conductor: n/a

Greek entries usually sound distinctive because of the unique sound of Greek music. This time, a more cosmopolitan rock sound was tried but, while Dionysia’s performance was genuine, the song just wasn’t strong enough to score heavily. 

 Marie-LineMarie-Line France - Marie-Line - Où Aller (French)

Music/Lyrics: Marie-Line Marolany/Marie-Line Marolany

Conductor:  n/a

African rhythms had brought France some success early in the decade. The formula was tried again in an effort to lift them above some of the lower placings they had experienced since then.

 Mikel HerzogMikel Herzog Spain - Mikel Herzog - ¿Qué Voy A Hacer Sin Ti? (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Alberto Estébanez/Mikel Herzog

Conductor: Alberto Estébanez

While this is a song worth listening to, it lacks the punch of other Spanish entries, a bit Spanish ballad by numbers.

 GunvorGunvor Switzerland - Gunvor - Lass Ihn (German)

Music/Lyrics: Gunvor Guggisberg, Egon Egemann/Gunvor Guggisberg

Conductor: n/a

The last song that involved Egon Egemann was very strings based with emphasis on his solo violin. The same formula is applied here to less effect and a worse result. With more countries using televoting instead of juries, it was never going to be the favourite song of enough viewers to get many votes, and ended up with no points at all. 

 Katarína HasprováKatarína Hasprová Slovakia - Katarína Hasprová - Modlitba (Slovakian)

Music/Lyrics: Gabriel Dusík/Anna Wepperyová

Conductor: Vladimir Valovic

Katarina looked very graceful in her long, black evening dress. Her song is just as graceful and is a well constructed ballad which never goes over the top.

 SixteenSixteen Poland - Sixteen - To Takie Proste (Poland)

Music/Lyrics: Jaroslaw Pruszkowski/Olga Pruszkowska

Conductor: Wiesiek Pieregorolka

Just when you think the Polish song is going to limp along from beginning to end, it comes to life for the instrumental. That point comes a bit too late in the song to change the minds of those already turned off by it. 

 Dana InternationalDana International Israel - Dana International - Diva (Hebrew)

Music/Lyrics: Tzvika Pik/Yoav Ginai

Conductor: Tzvika Pik

Did all the publicity help Dana to win? This one was the complete opposite of the sweet innocent Dana who had brought Ireland its first victory in 1970. The styling and the song were loaded with camp, and if leaving a lasting impression became important with the advent of televoting, Diva certainly does that. 

 Guildo HornGuildo Horn Germany - Guildo Horn - Guildo Hat Euch Lieb (German)

Music/Lyrics: Stefan Raab/Stefan Raab

Conductor: Stefan Raab

The stage simply wasn’t big enough for Guildo! His performance took him into the audience and up the scaffolding at the side of the stage. Within the crazyness of the song were hints of jazz and blues, though they easily missed in the fun of it all.

 ChiaraChiara Malta - Chiara - The One That I Love (English)

Music/Lyrics: Jason Paul Cassar/Sunny Aquilina

Conductor: n/a

This is the first of Chiara’s three appearances in the contest and she laid down a marker for what was to follow; a gentle, inoffensive ballad which came closest to giving her a win.

 CharlieCharlie Hungary - Charlie - A Holnap Már Ném Lesz Szomorú (Hungarian)

Music/Lyrics: István Lehr/Horváth

Conductor: Miklós Malek

Perhaps fed up with putting in a lot of effort for little reward, this was to be the last song Hungary entered for seven years. Charlie’s dreary blues number was never going to encourage viewers to reach for a pen to write down the phone number. 

 Vili ResnikVili Resnik Slovenia - Vili Resnik - Naj Bogovi Slisijo (Slovenian)

Music/Lyrics: Matjaz Vlasic/Ursa Vlasic

Conductor: Mojmir Sepe

The tone is set immediately. Tinkling piano gives way to acoustic guitar before Vili’s angst filled voice takes over to tell the story in this wonderful, emotive ballad.

 Dawn MartinDawn Martin Ireland - Dawn Martin - Is Always Over Now? (English)

Music/Lyrics: Gerry Morgan/Gerry Morgan

Conductor: Noel Kelehan

While the melody of the Irish song is reasonably memorable, there isn’t really enough in the arrangement to support it. Consequently, Is Always Over Now? struggles to move away from the start line.

 Alma LusaAlma Lusa Portugal - Alma Lusa - Se Eu Te Pudesse Abraçar (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: José Cid/José Cid

Conductor: Mike Sergeant

José Cid, who wrote and performed Portugal’s 1980 entry, returned as part of the specially formed Alma Lusa. Together they gave us another very jolly ditty and chirpy performance.

 Malina OlinescuMalina Olinescu Romania - Malina Olinescu - Eu Cred (Romanian)

Music/Lyrics: Adrian Romcescu/Liliana Stefan

Conductor:

The 15th song of the night bowls along efficiently, and while it never sparkles, Eu Cred does enough (just) to keep the listener interested. It isn’t often that a singer is alone on the Eurovision stage, but Malina coped well without support from backing singers.

 ImaaniImaani United Kingdom - Imaani - Where Are You? (English)

Music/Lyrics: Scott English, Simon Stirling/Scott English, Simon Stirling

Conductor: James McMillan

Not for the first time, the United Kingdom entered the most contemporary song of the contest. It’s a pop song that has aged well and bears repeated hearing. It is also worth saying Imaani executed her duties as ‘host singer’ very professionally, dealing well with the demands made on her time.

 Michael HajiyanniMichael Hajiyanni Cyprus - Michael Hajiyanni - Genesis (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Michael Hajiyanni/Zenon Zindilis

Conductor: Costa Cacoyannis

Bursts of brass create an epic feel to the song, while the Greek language gives it the sound of a prayer to the Gods.  

 Edsilia RombleyEdsilia Rombley The Netherlands - Edsilia Rombley - Hemel En Aarde (Dutch)

Music/Lyrics: Eric van Tijn, Jochem Fluitsma/Eric van Tijn, Jochem Fluitsma

Conductor: Dick Bakker

It had been 23 years since the last Dutch victory. They must have fancied their chances of breaking that run with Edsilia’s modern and catchy song. Her performance was also worthy of the top spot.

 Jill JohnsonJill Johnson Sweden - Jill Johnson - Kärleken Är (Swedish)

Music/Lyrics: Bobby Ljunggren, Hakan Almquist/Ingela ‘Pling’ Forsman

Conductor: Anders Berglund

Jill sang a tender and sensitive ballad in a way that suggested she didn’t have a nervous bone in her body. In doing so, she pitched her performance at exactly the right level for the song.

 Mélanie CohlMélanie Cohl Belgium - Mélanie Cohl - Dis Oui (French)

Music/Lyrics: Philippe Swan/Philippe Swan

Conductor: n/a

The Belgians tried a young singer with the cute factor in the hope of achieving their second win. Her funk tinged pop song was a pre-contest favourite.

 EdeaEdea Finland - Edea - Aava (Finnish)

Music/Lyrics: Alexi Ahoniemi/Alexi Ahoniemi

Conductor: Olli Ahvenlahti

Bravely having a go with something a bit different, Finland entered a song which can best be described as earthy and sounding like something Enya might come up with if she was feeling energetic.

 Lars A. FredriksenLars A. Fredriksen Norway - Lars A. Fredriksen - Alltid Sommer (Norwegian)

Music/Lyrics: David Eriksen, P K Ottestad/Linda Andernach Johannesen

Conductor: Geir Langslet

Despite the amount of percussion, Alltid Sommer still sounds slightly limp and laboured. Lars did his best and was rewarded with a generous place in the final scoreboard.

 Koit ToomeKoit Toome Estonia - Koit Toome - Mere Lapsed (Estonian)

Music/Lyrics: Maria Rahula, Tomi Rahula/Peter Pruuli

Conductor: Heiki Vahar

Koit remained seated at the piano for the whole performance. He probably had difficulty summoning up enough energy as his song is a rather uninspired, lifeless ballad. 

 TüzmenTüzmen Turkey - Tüzmen - Unutamazsin (Turkish)

Music/Lyrics: Erdinc Tunc/Canan Tunc

Conductor: Ümit Eroglu

Think of Turkish music and you think of high tempo, ethnically flavoured tunes. Unutamazsin is a welcome break from that style, and the piano based ballad is proof that the Turks can also do sensitive and emotional. 

 Vlado JanevskiVlado Janevski Macedonia - Vlado Janevski - Ne Zori, Zoro (Macedonian)

Music/Lyrics: Grigor Koprov/Vlado Janevski

Conductor: Alexandar Dzambazov

As well as performing Macedonia’s debut, Vlado co-wrote it as well. Self belief was not lacking in him but in fairness, his Balkan ballad still sounds good many years after. As an added bonus, the English version is good as well, succeeding where many fail in having a sensible lyric.

1997

1997 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
3 May 1997
Contest type: 
Grand Final
Venue: 
Point Theatre, Dublin, Ireland
Broadcaster: 
RTE
Presenter(s): 
Ronan Keating and Carrie Crowley
About the contest: 

Sixteen years after Bucks Fizz made waves by ripping off their skirts (at least, the girls did!) Katrina and her own Waves achieved what could be described as a comprehensive victory finishing 70 points ahead of Ireland in second place. Her total of 227 points was the highest ever scored at the time. She was probably the most familiar face of all the performers in the contest thanks to her hit from several years earlier, Walking on Sunshine.

Yet again, RTE choose the Point Theatre in Dublin as the venue, thus it became the venue to host more contest than any others. 

Of all the artists, Alma Cardzic, Maarja-Liis Ilus and Sebnem Paker had already experienced the Eurovision stage.  Jalisse would try unsuccessfully to represent San Marino in 2008.

Returning from a three year sabbatical was Italy, who was joined back in the fold by Denmark, Germany, Hungary and Russia. Belgium, Finland and Slovakia suffered an enforced absence after being relegated by their low placings the year before.

In a bit of a coup for RTE, Ronan Keating agreed to co-host the contest, although one of the perks of this was that Boyzone were allowed to the publicity of performing the interval act.

The voting system changed for the first time in 22 years. While the points awarded by each country remained as before, 1-8, then 10 and 12, five countries decided to give the responsibility to the public via a phone vote. This system would become more popular with more countries doing it this way until it became the norm for all participating countries. The difference which televoting would make became clear when Iceland’s Paul Oscar received all but two of his 18 points from countries using the televoting system.

Trivia: 
Germany’s Bianca Shomburg was heard backstage to warm up in a way that would not have inspired confidence in any of her supporters. She chose to get the vocal chords working by singing her song, but replacing the word Zeit with sh@&#.
About the songs: 
Chara KonstantinouChara Konstantinou Cyprus - Chara and Andreas Konstantinou - Mana Mou (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Constantina Constantinou/Constantina Constantinou

Conductor: Stavros Lantsias

The contest got off to a cracking start! Siblings Chara and Andreas had an up-tempo number with an infectious rhythm driving the whole song. They and the backing singers clearly enjoyed themselves. 

 Sebnem Paker 1997Sebnem Paker 1997 Turkey - Sebnem Paker and Group Etnic - Dinle (Turkish)

Music/Lyrics: Levent Coker/Mehtap Alnitenmiz

Conductor: Levent Coker

To avoid relegation from the contest, Turkey had to score 113 points, more than it had ever scored before. It was a wonderful moment when that was achieved with this unmistakably ethnic piece of uplifting pop.

 Tor EndresenTor Endresen Norway - Tor Endresen - San Francisco (Norwegian)

Music/Lyrics: Tor Endresen, Arne Myksvoll/Tor Endresen, Arne Myksvoll

Conductor: Geir Langslet

Poor old Tor! He entered the Norwegian selection many times and when he finally won and went to the contest, he scored nothing. Although his guitar based mid-tempo MOR song deserved at least a few, this type of song was starting to sound a bit dated. 

 Bettina SoriatBettina Soriat Austria - Bettina Soriat - One Step (German)

Music/Lyrics: Marc Berry, Ina Siber/Marc Berry

Conductor: n/a

Bettina featured in George Nußbaumer’s backing group in 1996. Her song is jazz/funk influenced and while it is mainly in German, it features several words in English.

 Marc RobertsMarc Roberts

Ireland - Marc Roberts - Mysterious Woman (English)

Music/Lyrics: John Farry/John Farry

Conductor: n/a

The history books could have easily shown yet another victory for Ireland. Mysterious Woman is a well constructed and very engaging ballad which Marc delivered very well. 

 Tanja RibicTanja Ribic Slovenia - Tanja Ribic - Zbudi Se (Slovenian)

Music/Lyrics: Saso Lobic/Zoran Predin

Conductor: Mojmir Sepe

Slovenia was one of the relative newcomers to the contest and this was arguably its best up to then. It’s a classy ballad during which Tanja stands fairly still and waves her arms slowly in the air in a manner that could have looked silly, but actually succeeded in fitting in with the mood of the song.

 Barbara BertaBarbara Berta Switzerland - Barbara Berta - Dentro Di Me (Italian)

Music/Lyrics: Barbara Berta/Barbara Berta

Conductor: Petro Damiani

If the Swiss thought that his song was going to be a contender, they were always heading for disappointment. While not horrible to listen to, it is too easily forgotten, not a good sign when some of the scores would be decided by members of the public!

 Mrs. EinsteinMrs. Einstein The Netherlands - Mrs. Einstein - Niemand Heeft Nog Tijd (Dutch)

Music/Lyrics: Ed Hooijmans/Ed Hooijmans

Conductor: Dick Bakker

The experience of Mrs. Einstein shone through as they gave a very relaxed and professional performance of their up-tempo, old fashioned foot tapper.

 JalisseJalisse Italy - Jalisse - Fuimi di Parole (Italian)

Music/Lyrics: Fabio Ricci/Alessandra Drusian, Carmen di Domenico

Conductor: Lucio Fabbri

After a gap of four years, Italy returned for one year only. Almost as if Italian broadcaster RAI wanted to show Europe what it was missing, they sent a shortened version of the Sanremo winner and finished a creditable fourth. What a shame Italy hasn’t been seen in the contest since.

 Marcos LlunasMarcos Llunas Spain - Marcos Llunas - Sin Rencor (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Marcos Llunas/Marcos Llunas

Conductor: Toni Xucla

Spain does sincerity in music very well. Marcos sang like he meant it to lift an already high quality, very Spanish ballad.

 Bianca ShomburgBianca Shomburg Germany - Bianca Shomburg - Zeit (German)

Music/Lyrics: Ralph Siegel/Bernd Meinunger

Conductor: n/a

Another Siegel and Meinunger song and all the usual trademarks of their ballads are there. Bianca herself didn’t look too convinced of its merits. 

 Anna Maria JopekAnna Maria Jopek Poland - Anna Maria Jopek - Ale Jestem (Polish)

Music/Lyrics: Tomasz Lewandowski/Magda Czapinska

Conductor: Krzesimir Debski

With only three previous entries in the contest, Poland was already proving itself to be a strong competitor. Ale Jestem in no way lets the side down. It’s full of life, moves freely along and importantly, is very memorable.

 Maarja-Liis IlusMaarja-Liis Ilus Estonia - Maarja-Liis Ilus - Keelatud Maa (Estonian)

Music/Lyrics: Harmo Kallaste/Kaari Sillamaa

Conductor: Tarmo Leinatamm

Maarja-Liis was making her second consecutive appearance in the contest, having been in Oslo the year before, when she performed a duet. As then, this song is a ballad that is pleasant, if not gripping. 

 Alma CardzicAlma Cardzic Bosnia and Herzegovina - Alma Cardzic - Goodbye (Bosnian)

Music/Lyrics: Milic Vukasinovic, Sinan Alimanovic/Milic Vukasinovic

Conductor: Sinan Alimanovic

This was also the second appearance in the contest for Alma. Despite the title, this is a cheerier effort with an often repeated refrain.

 Célia LawsonCélia Lawson Portugal - Célia Lawson - Antes Do Adeus (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Thilo Krassman/Rosa Lobato de Faria

Conductor: Thilo Krassman

With the Blues Brothers cousins muttering in the background, Celia was never likely to be the first Portuguese singer to win the contest. The song is too bland and doesn’t go anywhere.

 BlondBlond Sweden - Blond - Bara Hon Älskar Mig (Swedish)

Music/Lyrics: Stephan Berg/Stephan Berg

Conductor: Curt-Eric Holmquist

Having tried (with some success) slow ballads for the previous three years, Sweden sent the type of song it is loved for; unashamedly upbeat and extrovert, Bara Hon Älskar Mig will certainly get the party started.

 Marianna ZorbaMarianna Zorba Greece - Marianna Zorba - Horepse (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Emmanouil Manousselis/Emmanouil Manousselis

Conductor: Anacreon Papageorgiou

Horepse was a late replacement as the Greek entry, and it shows. While it is not a bad song, it does sound under prepared.

 Debbie ScerriDebbie Scerri Malta - Debbie Scerri - Let Me Fly (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ray Agius/Ray Agius

Conductor: Ray Agius

This is one of Malta’s better efforts. Debbie’s song flows effortlessly along and ups the ‘oomph’ just at the right time. The percussion section is put to good use.

 VIPVIP Hungary - VIP - Miert Kell, Hogy Elmenj? (Hungarian)

Music/Lyrics: Viktor Rakonczai/Krisztina Bokor Fekete

Conductor: Peter Wolf

Boy bands were fashionable at the time. VIP and their song are an example of the worst of this ‘genre’, bland, irritating and empty. It sounds like it has lasted more than the regulation three minutes long before the three minutes are up! 

 Alla PugachovaAlla Pugachova Russia - Alla Pugachova - Primadonna (Russian)

Music/Lyrics: Alla Pugachova/Alla Pugachova

Conductor: Rutgar Gunnarsson

Alla, the wife of 1994 Russian singer, Philipp Kirkorov, was given the opportunity for a suitably over the top performance for her big, show style song, and it is safe to say that she took full advantage!

 Kølig KajKølig Kaj Denmark - Kølig Kaj - Stemmen I Mit Liv (Danish)

Music/Lyrics: Lars Pedersen/Thomas Lægard

Conductor: Jan Glæsel

Kølig’s ode to the lady working on the telephone exchange is only the second rap song the contest has heard. His manic performance detracted slightly from what is quite a likeable entry. 

 FannyFanny France - Fanny - Sentiments Songes (French)

Music/Lyrics: Jean-Paul Dréau/Jean-Paul Dréau

Conductor: Régis Dupré

For someone so young, her performance was very relaxed. Her song is also very laid back and relaxed, perhaps a bit too laid back to have enough impact on the scoreboard.

 ENIENI Croatia - ENI - Probudi Me (Croatian)

Music/Lyrics: Davor Tolja/Alida Sarar

Conductor:  n/a

Four piece girl group ENI were very colourful and energetic as they performed their modern pop song. Although the look and sound were modern, it comes across as a bit amateurish. 

 Katrina and The WavesKatrina and The Waves United Kingdom - Katrina and The Waves - Love Shine A Light (English)

Music/Lyrics: Kimberley Rew/Kimberley Rew

Conductor: Don Airey

Katrina and friends scored what was at the time the highest number of points ever! Having won a low key national final, they headed to Dublin as one of the favourites. Love Shine A Light is a big anthem and was given a big performance by American Katrina. Both the televoters and juries loved it!

 Paul OscarPaul Oscar Iceland - Paul Oscar - Minn Hinsti Dans (Icelandic)

Music/Lyrics: Paul Oscar, Trausti Haraldsson/Paul Oscar

Conductor: Szymon Kuran

Without doubt, the most contemporary song of the contest, Paul gave us a high-tech trance song. His blonde, leggy dancers guaranteed the sexiest performance of the night.

1996

1996 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
18 May 1996
Venue: 
Specktrum, Oslo, Norway
Broadcaster: 
NRK
Presenter(s): 
Morten Harket and Ingvild Bryn
About the contest: 

Since 1993, a country had to finish outside the bottom seven to qualify for the next contest. The EBU experimented with a new system in 1996. All countries had to submit their songs for a pre-selection round. The songs were listened to (not watched) by juries in each country and 23 made it to Oslo. It was a strange way of selecting the songs and there was bound to be controversy.  Those in the know were tipping Germany’s Blauer Planet sung by Leon to win the whole thing, but shockwaves reverberated through Europe when news broke that Leon did not even get through the pre-selection round. Delhusa Gjon from Hungary can also count himself unlucky not to go to Oslo. The experiment didn’t last long and relegation was brought back to determine the participants for the 1997 contest.

A new touch was added to the usual postcard introduction for each song. A member of the Government of each country appeared at the end of the film to wish the act good luck.

The scoreboard was given an overhaul. The traditional on stage scoreboard visible to all was replaced by a virtual scoreboard seen only on television screens. Even presenter Ingvild had to have a screen in front of her so she knew what was going on while she was calling in the votes.

While the scoreboard was innovative, the result was familiar, with Ireland surprising many (well, everyone really) by winning for the fourth time in five years.

While the scoring system remained the same as it had been for years, with each country awarding points from 1-8, then 10 and 12, it was to be the last year that juries were exclusively used. The following year would see the introduction, at least in part, of televoting.

NRK gave the stage a Norwegian feel with a set that was designed to look like an oil rig. The oil rig idea didn’t stop there. The theme included the members of the orchestra wearing hard hats during the show, an idea that was quickly dropped when the producers realised just how silly that looked in practice.

Constantinos, Sebnem Paker and Maarja-Liis Ilus would all be seen again in other contests. In fact, Sebnem and Maarja-Liis couldn’t wait and entered again the following year. Elisabeth Andreasson and Marianna Efstratiou were old hands by now at the Eurovision game.  Elisabeth was singing her fourth song in the contest. Lúcia Moniz went on to be Colin Firth’s love interest in the film Love Actually.

Trivia: 
Brief though it was, the dress worn by Gina G would have been even shorter had it not been for her Gran. She thought the dress was a little on the short side, and so added a couple of rows herself.
About the songs: 
Sebnem PakerSebnem Paker Turkey - Sebnem Paker - Besinçi Mevsim (Turkish)

Music/Lyrics: Levent Coker/Selma Cuhaci

Conductor: Levent Coker

In her first of two successive contest appearances, Sebnem sang a laid back, smooth Turkish song, ably assisted by a violin and an accordion. 

 Gina GGina G United Kingdom - Gina G - Just A Little Bit (English)

Music/Lyrics: Simon Tauber, Steve Rodway/Simon Tauber, Steve Rodway

Conductor: Ernie Dunstall

Wearing a dress made by her Gran, Australian born Gina injected a bit of life early in the show. Easily the most contemporary song for years, it could be argued that the international success of the song provided a springboard for a more modern look and feel to contests in the future. 

 Antonio CarbonellAntonio Carbonell Spain - Antonio Carbonell - Ay, Qué Deseo! (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Ketama/Ketama

Conductor: Eduardo Leiva

For many, this is one of the surprising qualifiers for the 1996 contest. It doesn’t get much more Spanish than this; a strong voice dominating a Flamenco rhythm.  

 Lúcia MonizLúcia Moniz Portugal - Lúcia Moniz - O Meu Coração Não Tem Cor (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Pedro Osório/Jose Fanha

Conductor: Pedro Osório

Portugal’s entry is just as ethnic as the Spanish song which preceded it, but is more digestible. Lucia was never seen without a smile on her face around Oslo, and her performance was suitably chirpy. She would be seen soon afterwards as Colin Firth’s intended in the romantic comedy, Love Actually.

 ConstantinosConstantinos Cyprus - Constantinos - Mono Gia Mas (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Andreas Georgiallis/Rodoulla Papalambrianou

Conductor: Stavros Lantsias

This is the first of Constantinos’ four (although he’s still trying for more!) appearances. It’s a tender ballad which he sang from the heart.

 Miriam ChristineMiriam Christine Malta - Miriam Christine - In A Woman's Heart (English)

Music/Lyrics: Paul Abela/Alfred Sant

Conductor: Paul Abela

The tune is a happy one, but the lyric - about a relationship gone wrong - isn’t. Her performance was merry and the song is one of the best from the small island.

 Maja BlagdanMaja Blagdan Croatia - Maja Blagdan - Sveta Ljubav (Croatian)

Music/Lyrics: Zrinko Tutic/Zrinko Tutic

Conductor: Alan Bejlinski

Maja brought her experience to bear as she filled the stage on her own for her performance of her big Croatian ballad. Some of the big notes were challenging, but she was up to the task.

 George NußbaumerGeorge Nußbaumer Austria - George Nußbaumer - Weil's Dr Guat Got (Voralbergian)

Music/Lyrics: George Nußbaumer/George Nußbaumer, Michael W Krausz

Conductor: Michael W Krausz

The Austrian song is in the minority Voralbergian language, the only time it has been heard in Eurovision. The song is a very cheerful gospel number that had them clapping in the aisles. 

 Cathy LeanderCathy Leander Switzerland - Cathy Leander - Mon Coeur L'aime (French)

Music/Lyrics: Regis Mounir/Regis Mounir

Conductor: Rui Reis

Switzerland’s song is an under-rated ballad that deserved a higher placing. Kathy’s voice reflected the nature of the lyric as she yearns for someone she can’t have.

 Marianna EfstratiouMarianna Efstratiou Greece - Marianna Efstratiou - Emis Forame To Himona Anixiatika (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Costas Bigalis/Iro Trigoni

Conductor: Michalis Rozakis

Percussion instruments provide an interesting intro and gave a sense of anticipation of what may follow. What does follow is an upbeat, flowing tune which Marianne performs very well. 

 Ivo Linna and Maarja-Liis IlusIvo Linna and Maarja-Liis Ilus

Estonia - Ivo Linna and Maarja-Liis Ilus - Kaelakee Hääl (Estonian)

Music/Lyrics: Prit Pajusaar/Kaari Sillamaa

Conductor: Tarmo Leinatamm

At first glance, a young Maarja-Liis and a not so young Ivo might seem an odd combination for a duet. However, it is suitable given the lyrics; a young girl uncertain in the world and the voice of experience giving advice.

 Elisabeth Andreasson 1996Elisabeth Andreasson 1996 Norway - Elisabeth Andreasson - I Evighet (Norwegian)

Music/Lyrics: Torhild Nigar/Torhild Higar

Conductor: Frode Thingnaes

Rumoured to be one of the songs rejected by NRK for the 1991 national final that never was, I Evighet is a lilting, flute inspired ballad. With Elisabeth at the microphone, it was always going to be up there at the end

 Dan Ar BrazDan Ar Braz France - Dan Ar Braz et l'Héritage des Celtes - Diwanit Bugale (Breton)

Music/Lyrics: Dan Ar Braz/Dan Ar Braz

Conductor: Fiachra Trench

Although his song is in Breton, Dan employed the services of two British ladies for the main vocals. Diwanit Bugale is a gentle lullaby that was never going to win, but wasn’t destined to finish last either. 

 ReginaRegina Slovenia - Regina - Dan Najlepših Sanj (Slovenian)

Music/Lyrics: Aleksander Kogoj/Aleksander Kogoj

Conductor: Jozé Privsek

Regina’s dress was made by an old lady she met in a rural Slovenian village who offered it to her to wear in Oslo. The clarinet dominates the instrumental parts. 

 Maxine and Franklin BrownMaxine and Franklin Brown The Netherlands - Maxine and Franklin Brown - De Eerste Keer (Dutch)

Music/Lyrics: Piet Souer/Peter van Asten

Conductor: Dick Bakker

There is an abundance of na-na-na's at the beginning, but don’t let that put you off! After that, the song develops into a likeable, mid-tempo song that stays in the memory.  Little Maxine may well have needed physiotherapy for her neck, such was the height difference in height between herself and Franklin.

 Lisa del BoLisa del Bo Belgium - Lisa del Bo - Liefde Is Een Kaartspel (Flemish)

Music/Lyrics: John Terra/Daniel Dittmar

Conductor: Bob Porter

As with their Dutch neighbours before them, there are na-na-na’s aplenty at the start. Despite the dodgy opening, the overall effect of the song is pure, unashamed, unadulterated feel good fun! 

 Eimear QuinnEimear Quinn Ireland - Eimear Quinn - The Voice (English)

Music/Lyrics: Brendan Graham/Brendan Graham

Conductor: Noel Kelehan

What a shock! No-one predicted yet another Irish win. It was written by the man who had written Ireland’s 1994 winner. It’s a very Irish folk song. When asked who or what ‘The Voice’ belonged to, Brendan said it was up to the listener to decide. Had the current televoting system been in place, Eimear would have been nowhere near the top of the scoreboard. Definitely a case of the luck of the Irish!

 JasmineJasmine Finland - Jasmine - Niin Kaunis On Taivas (Finnish)

Music/Lyrics: Timo Niemi/Timo Niemi

Conductor: Olli Ahvenlahti

Jasmine’s stylists had given her a formal look, which was inappropriate and looked odd! A casual approach for her gentle folk song would have been more in line with Jasmine’s youth and bubbly personality, and would have distracted less from a very pleasant tune.  

 Anna MjöllAnna Mjöll Iceland - Anna Mjöll - Sjúbídú (Icelandic)

Music/Lyrics:  Anna Mjöll Olafsdottir, Olafur Gaukur/Anna Mjöll Olafsdottir, Olafur Gaukur

Conductor: Olafur Gaukur

Jazz loving Anna Mjöll sung a tribute to the genre and its most famous exponents. It’s very laid back and relaxing. 

 Kasia KowalskaKasia Kowalska Poland - Kasia Kowalska - Chce Znac Swój Grzech (Polish)

Music/Lyrics: Robert Amirian/Kasia Kowalska

Conductor: Wiesiek Pieregorolka

There is drama by the bucket load in Kasia’s song and performance. Strong piano and short bursts of strings are to the fore in the arrangement.

 Amila GlamocakAmila Glamocak Bosnia and Herzegovina - Amila Glamocak - Za Na u Ljubav (Bosnian)

Music/Lyrics: Adrian Bajramoviv, Sinan Alimanovic/Adrian Bajramoviv, Sinan Alimanovic

Conductor: Sinan Alimanovic

After Poland came another song full of passion, if not too much excitement. Za Nasu Ljubav never quite takes off.

 Marcel PalonderMarcel Palonder Slovakia - Marcel Palonder - Kým Nás Má (Slovakian)

Music/Lyrics: Juraj Burian/Juraj Burian

Conductor: Juraj Burian

Like the Bosnian song before it, the Slovakian song struggles to get going and it is difficult to stop one’s mind wandering to other things before the end. 

 One More TimeOne More Time Sweden - One More Time - Den Vilda (Swedish)

Music/Lyrics: Peter Grönvall/Nanne Grönvall

Conductor: Anders Berglund

This was one of the favourites going into the contest. In fact, it was revealed afterwards that it had won the pre-selection round. It’s a haunting piece of music, not unlike the type of song that has brought Enya big hits.

 

 

So, those are the songs that made it, but what about the ones that didn't? Did they get what they deserved or were any of them denied a rightful place in Oslo?

Dorthe Andersen & Martin LoftDorthe Andersen & Martin Loft Denmark - Dorthe Andersen & Martin Loft - Kun Med Dig (Danish)

Music/Lyrics: Jascha Richter/Keld Heick

As the songs were heard in alphabetical order, the Danish song would have been the sixth to fall on the ears of the listening juries. There was not a chance that it would stand out enough to qualify. it’s a ballad that fails to get off the ground and fails to hold ones attention for long enough.

 LeonLeon Germany - Leon - Blauer Planet (German)

Music/Lyrics: Hanne Haller/Hanne Haller

The failure of Germany to qualify left NRK with less money to spend, as Germany is one of the biggest financial contributors to the EBU. Its omission is one of the biggest mysteries in the history of the contest. There is lots of energy and pace which combine with a very contemporary sound to create a song that many fans can still sing many years later.

 Delhusa GjonDelhusa Gjon Hungary - Delhusa Gjon - Fortuna (Hungarian)

Music/Lyrics: Delhusa Gjon/Delhusa Gjon

A real travelogue from the Hungarians! Almost every capital city in Europe gets a mention and why not? It worked for the Irish in 1990 so why not now? Unfortunately, it didn’t! Even so, it would have been worthy of a place in the final line up. Delhusa’s at times big ballad is strong enough not to need a live performance to enhance it, although it does sound better in Hungarian than English. He can feel aggrieved at not qualifying, far worse songs made it through.

 Galit BellGalit Bell Israel - Galit Bell - Shalom Olam (Hebrew)

Music/Lyrics: Doron VitenBerg/Eyal Madani

The mistake the Israelis made was to submit the live version of the audio for the pre-selection. Galit sounded as if she was stretching her voice too much and the up-tempo song sounds messy. Maybe the studio version would have impressed more.

 Kaliopi GrilKaliopi Gril Macedonia - Kaliopi Gril - Samo Ti (Macedonian)

Music/Lyrics: Kaliopi Gril/Kaliopi Gril

Here is one that would have benefited from a live performance. It would have given Kaliopi the chance to put across the emotion her voice portrays. From the audio, she could come across to some as simply screeching aimlessly. That is unfair as there is clearly emotion behind the vocal. 

 No Image availableNo Image available Romania - Monica Anghel & Sincron - Ruga Pentru Pacea Lumii (Romanian)

Music/Lyrics:

It is possible to feel sorry for the Romanians being forced to stay at home. Theirs is a strong ballad which Monica would have given full justice to given the opportunity to perform it live. 

 Andrej KosinskijAndrej Kosinskij Russia - Andrej Kosinskij - Ja, Eto Ja (Russian)

Music/Lyrics: Andrej Kosinskij/Nikolaj Denisov

Andrej sounds very like Mick Hucknall and the song is not a million miles away from something you would find on a Simply Red album. It is jazzy in feel and no-one can be surprised that he didn’t need to book a flight to Norway.

 

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