Cyprus

Christos Mylordou released video of San Aggelos S'agapisa

Christos Mylordou ©  www.eurovisionontop.com

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

Cyprus to choose song internally

Christos Mylordou ©  www.eurovisionontop.com

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

2007 Semi-Final

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Elitsa Todorova, Stoyan Yankulov/Elitsa Todorova

After a disappointing first two years competing in the contest, the Bulgarians came back very strongly to make it third time lucky reaching the final. Elitsa and Stoyans’s chant has a very strong, yet not intrusive production which holds the song together

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

Music/Lyrics:  Kobi Oz/Kobi Oz

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Dimitris Korgialas/Posidona Yiannopoulos

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

 Dmitry KoldunDmitry Koldun Belarus - Dmitry Koldun - Work Your Magic (English)

Music/Lyrics: Phillip Kirkorov/Karen Kavaleryan

Images of James Bond abound as the intro starts. The rock ballad carries punch and is memorable, but the magicians set used in the staging was unnecessary. 

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

Music/Lyrics: Eiríkur Hauksson/Peter Fenner

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

 SophoSopho Georgia - Sopho - My Story (English)

Music/Lyrics: Beqa Japaridzé/Bibi Kvachadze

Georgia’s debut sounds like an offering to the Gods set to a jolly beat. The pace ebbs and flows as the vocal flits between the peaceful and making sure the Gods heard the message.

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

Music/Lyrics: Slaven Knezovic/Milan-Minjo Peric

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Rene Baumann/Axel Breitung

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

 Natalia BarbuNatalia Barbu Moldova - Natalia Barbu - Fight (English)

Music/Lyrics: Alexandru Brasoveanu/Elena Buga

Natalia squeezed into the final by a very small margin. Her rock song was aggressive in nature and performance.

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Ardian Hila/Pandi Laco

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

 DQDQ Denmark - DQ - Drama Queen (English)

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Dado Topic/Dado Topic

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

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

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

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

 Marija ŠerifovićMarija Šerifović Serbia - Marija Šerifović - Molitva (Serbian)

Music/Lyrics: Vladimir Graic, Sasa Milosevic Mare/Vladimir Graic, Sasa Milosevic Mare

Looking like she was on her way to a business meeting, Marija won both the semi-final and the final easily. Molitva is the type of Balkan ballad that has been heard before but is never a chore to hear again and again and again………..

 KabátKabát Czech Republic - Kabát - Malá Dáma (Czech)

Music/Lyrics: Kabát/Kabát

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

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

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

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

 Karolina 2007Karolina Macedonia - Karolina - Mojot Svet (Macedonian)

Music/Lyrics: Grigor Koprov/Ognen Nedelkovski

Karolina put her heart and soul into her performance. In doing so, she added more weight to a song already heavy in quality. Her second Eurovision song, it’s full of power and drama.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 AnonymousAnonymous Andorra - Anonymous - Salvem El Món (Catalan)

Music/Lyrics: Anonymous/Anonymous

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

 Magdi RúzsaMagdi Rúzsa Hungary - Magdi Rúzsa - Unsubstantial Blues (English)

Music/Lyrics: Magdi Rúzsa/Imre Mozsik

Not many expected Magdi to reach the final, never mind qualify with such ease. It’s definitely Blues and it is good to see traditional styles of music can still mix it with the hip young things!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Alenka GotarAlenka Gotar Slovenia - Alenka Gotar - Cvet Z Juga (Slovenia)

Music/Lyrics: Andrej Babic/Andrej Babic

Pop meets opera in a joyous mix that lifts the heart. It is a meeting that, on some levels at least, shouldn’t work, but somehow rarely goes wrong. 

 Kenan DoguluKenan Dogulu Turkey - Kenan Dogulu - Shake It Up Shekerim (English)

Music/Lyrics: Kenan Dogulu/Kenan Dogulu

How did this qualify for the final at all, never mind so easily? It may be contemporary and trendy, but it just sounds silly. 

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

Music/Lyrics: Greg Usek/Austin Howard

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

 Bonaparti.lvBonaparti.lv Latvia - Bonaparti.lv - Questa Notte (Italian)

Music/Lyrics: Kjells Jenstigs/Kjells Jenstigs

Looking very dapper (at least, their top halves did) the multi-national vocal group brought a bit of class to proceedings. Their semi operatic ballad built to a powerful crescendo to leave a lasting and clear impression. 

2006 Semi-Final

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Armen Martirosjan/Catherine Bekian

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Matjaž Vlasič/Ursa Vlasič

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

 JenniferJennifer Andorra - Jennifer - Sense Tu (Catalan)

Music/Lyrics: Rafa Artesero/Rafa Artesero

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Sergey Sukhomlin/ Andrey Kostiugov

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Klodian Qafoku/Dr. Flori

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Brian Kennedy/Brian Kennedy

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Petros Yiannaki/Petros Yiannaki

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Darko Dimitrov/Rade Vrčakovski

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Sibel Tüzün/Sibel Tüzün

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

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

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

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

 LordiLordi Finland - Lordi - Hard Rock Hallelujah  (English)

Music/Lyrics: Lordi/Lordi

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

 TrebleTreble The Netherlands - Treble - Amambanda 

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

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

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

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

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

 NonstopNonstop Portugal - Nonstop - Coisas De Nada (Portuguese)

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

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

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

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

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

 SandraSandra Estonia - Sandra - Through My Window (English)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2005 Final

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the songs: 
NOXNOX Hungary - NOX - Forogj Világ (Hungarian)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Chiara Siracusa/Chiara Siracusa

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Christian Faur/Christian Faur

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

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

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

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

 GülserenGülseren Turkey - Gülseren - Rimi Rimi Ley (Turkish)

Music/Lyrics: Erden Tunç/Göksan Arman

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Zdob si Zdub/Zdob si Zdub

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Adrian Hila/Pandi Laco

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Constantinos Christoforou/Constantinos Christoforou

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Alfredo Panebianco/Alfredo Panebianco

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Slaven Knezovic/Milan Peric

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Dragan Vučic/Ognen Hedelkovski

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

 GreenjollyGreenjolly Ukraine - Greenjolly - Razom Nas Bahato (Ukrainian)

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

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

 GraciaGracia Germany - Gracia - Run and Hide (English)

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics:  Franjo Valentic/Boris Novkovic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Andrej Babic/Andre Babic

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

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

Music/Lyrics: David Brandes/John O’Flynn

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Mărtins Freimanis/Mărtins Freimanis

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

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

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

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

2004 Final

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Kike Santander/Kike Santander

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Peter Zimmermann /Peter Zimmermann

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Željko Joksimović/Leontina Vukomanovic

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Philip Vella/Gerard James Borg

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Ed van Otterdijk/Angeline van Otterdijk

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Stefan Raab/Stefan Raab

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Edmond Zhulali/Agim Doçit

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Ruslana/Oleksandr Ksenofontov

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Vesna Pisarovic/Vesna Pisarovic

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

 XandeeXandee Belgium - Xandee - 1 Life (English)

Music/Lyrics: Marc Paelinck/Dirk Paelinck

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Maxim Fadeev/Brenda Loring

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Nikos Terzis/Nextarios Tyrakis

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

 JónsiJónsi Iceland - Jónsi - Heaven (English)

Music/Lyrics: Sveinn Rúnar Sigurdsson/Magnús Thor Sigmundsson

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Pawel Rurak-Sokal/Tatiana Okupnik

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Mike Connaris/Mike Connaris

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

 AthenaAthena Turkey - Athena - For Real (English)

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: George Popa/Irina Gligor

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Thomas Orup Eriksson/Thomas Orup Eriksson

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

2004 Semi-Final

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Mika Toivanen/Sillanpää

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Greg Manning/Greg Manning

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Guntars Racs/Tomass Kleins

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Jofre Bardagi/Jofre Bardagi

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

 SofiaSofia Portugal - Sofia - Foi Magia (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Paulo Neves/Paulo Neves

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Philip Vella/Gerard James Borg

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

 MaryonMaryon Monaco - Maryon - Notre Planète (French)

Music/Lyrics: Philippe Bosco/Philippe Bosco

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Nikos Terzis/Nextarios Tyrakis

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Ruslana/Oleksandr Ksenofontov

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Edmond Zhulali/Agim Doçit

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Mike Connaris/Mike Connaris

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

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

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

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

 PlatinPlatin Slovenia - Platin - Stay Forever (English)

Music/Lyrics: Simon Gomilsek/Diana Lecnik

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

 NeiokõsõNeiokõsõ Estonia - Neiokõsõ - Tii (English)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Ivar Lind Greiner/Ivar Lind Greiner

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Željko Joksimović/Leontina Vukomanovic

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Vesna Pisarovic/Vesna Pisarovic

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Ed van Otterdijk/Angeline van Otterdijk

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

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.

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