Poland

Krajowe Eleminacije 2011 - Get To Know the Participants

Marcin Mrozinski ©  Charlotte Jensen, EuroVisionary

Poland will select its entry on Monday night. There are ten songs competing to succeed last year's Polish representative, Marcin Mroziński, and to give Poland its first win. EuroVisionary gives you an insight into the hopeful singers and groups.

2008 - 1st Semi-Final

2008 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
20 May 2008
Venue: 
Belgrade Arena, Belgrade, Serbia
Broadcaster: 
RTS
Presenter(s): 
Jovana Janković & Željko Joksimović
Other shows this year: 
About the contest: 

Had the results of the semi-final voting been released before the final, then few would have predicted Dima Bilan’s victory. Finishing third was not a positive sign, but Dima managed to defy the odds to win the contest at his second attempt. How much the presentation of the song help is a matter for debate. In his first appearance in the contest, a dancer emerged from the piano on stage. This time, he used the talents of international ice-skater, Evgeni Plushenko, in his performance. Those interested in statistics would have noted with interest that Russia’s victory was the eighth time in a row that a country had won for the first time.

Due to the number of countries now taking part in the contest, holding one semi-final was no longer viable. To avoid the all nighter that would have been one semi-final, the EBU decided that there should be two. Press and delegates attending the contest now faced a marathon. In the days before there were semi-finals, rehearsals and preparations lasted one week. Now, with three shows to prepare for, a full two weeks was required to be ready.

The 2008 contest was the year of the novelty song. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, , Ireland, Latvia and Spain all entered songs that were meant for entertainment rather than musical integrity, while some would argue that the Azeri and French songs were in that direction. Bosnia singer, Laka, had a performance that included his sister hanging out the washing and backing singers knitting. The Estonians had three dirty old men dancing in a manner worse than your uncle at a wedding, singing lyrics that made no sense, even to those who spoke any of the three languages used in the song. Ireland was represented by a turkey that was a big star in Irish TV begging Europe to vote for him. Latvia sent a gang of pirates and the Spanish elected a specially created character with his own dance to represent them.

Romanian singers, Nico and Vlad, won their national final, but not the hearts and good wishes of a lot of the public and press. Accusations of plagiarism abounded and there were also claims that Pe-o Margine De Lume had a public performance before the date permitted by the rules laid down by the EBU. Neither accusation could be proved and so no change was necessary or was made by national broadcaster, TVR. 

Austria kept its promise of withdrawing from the contest, but debuts by Azerbaijan and San Marino boosted the number of countries to a new record 43.

In addition to Dima Bilan, Sweden’s Charlotte Perrilli, a former winner herself, was singing her second Eurovision entry.

In each semi-final, only the countries participating in that semi-final were allowed to vote. The five countries already in the final (the Big 4 plus hosts Serbia) were each allowed to vote in one of the semi-finals. The points system remained as it had been for over 30 years, 1-8, then 10 and 12 to the ten most popular songs in each country.

About the songs: 
Stefan FilipovićStefan Filipović Montenegro - Stefan Filipović - Zauvijek Volim Te (Montenegrin)

Music/Lyrics: Grigor Koprov/Ognen Nedelkovski

Zauvijek Volim Te has all the characteristics of Montenegro’s entry from 2007. That didn’t escape the semi-final either.

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

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

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

 KreisiraadioKreisiraadio Estonia - Kreisiraadio - Leto Svet (Serbian, Estonian, German)

Music/Lyrics: Priit Pajusaar, Glen Pilvre, Peeter Oja, Hannes Võrno, Tarmo Leinatamm/ Priit Pajusaar, Glen Pilvre, Peeter Oja, Hannes Võrno, Tarmo Leinatamm

The multi language song included lyrics in the language of the host nation. Three dodgy looking characters (including one straight out of a Harry Enfield ‘Scousers’ sketch) tried and failed to produce comedy. They just looked ridiculous as they marched around the stage. Even the introduction of ladies bearing little more than the flags they were holding couldn’t improve the appeal of this sub reggae number.

 Geta BurlacuGeta Burlacu Moldova - Geta Burlacu - A Century Of Love (English)

Music/Lyrics: Oleg Baraliuc/Viorica Demici

Laid back jazz was the order of the day for Moldova. Perhaps for moral support, perhaps to add a bit extra to the romantic style, Geta was joined on stage by her boyfriend. 

 MiodioMiodio San Marino - Miodio - Complice (Italian)

Music/Lyrics: Francesco Sancisi/Nicola della Valle

It must have been tempting for the San Marinese to play safe and opt for an Italian style big ballad. Perhaps wanting to have their own identity, they sent a fine rock ballad.

 IshtarIshtar Belgium - Ishtar - O Julissi

Music/Lyrics: Michel Vangheluwe/Michel Vangheluwe

For the second time, Belgium’s was in a made up language. It’s a cheerful little ditty which could have been sung by a medieval minstrel in the court of a king.

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

Music/Lyrics: Govher Hasanzadeh/Zahra Badalbeyli

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

 Rebeka DremeljRebeka Dremelj Slovenia - Rebeka Dremelj - Vrag Naj Vzame (Slovenian)

Music/Lyrics: Josip Miani-Pipi/Amon

If ever presentation could be blamed for a song failing, this is it! Rebeka’s hugely enjoyable, up-tempo pop song was ruined by the bondage style stage show. A run-of-the-mill presentation would have seen Slovenia in the final. Finishing only one place out of the qualifying places, the phrase ‘if only’ comes to mind.

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

Music/Lyrics: Mira Craig/Mira Craig

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Isis Gee/Isis Gee

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

 Dustin the TurkeyDustin the Turkey Ireland - Dustin the Turkey - Irelande Douze Pointes (English)

Music/Lyrics: Darren Smith, Simon Fine, Dustin The Turkey/Darren Smith, Simon Fine, Dustin The Turkey

Could the nation that gave us Johnny Logan, Linda Martin and Niamh Kavanagh really have sunk this low? Dustin was a very popular character on Irish TV, but the joke was never going to translate well as he gave reasons why everyone should vote for Ireland (“We’re sorry for Riverdance”). Funny if you are a native speaker, but childish to a foreigner. 

 GiselaGisela Andorra - Gisela - Casanova (English)

Music/Lyrics: Jordi Cubino/Jordi Cubino

A first appearance in the final for Andorra seemed unlikely, especially given the daft wasp antennae type headwear Gisela was sporting. As a song in its own right, it’s likeable; however, it has nothing about it to make it the favourite of enough people to give it sufficient points. 

 LakaLaka

Bosnia and Herzigovina - Laka - Pokušaj (Bosnian)

Music/Lyrics: Elvir Lakovic Laka/Elvir Lakovic Laka

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

 SirushoSirusho Armenia - Sirusho - Qele, Qele (Armenian)

Music/Lyrics: H A der -Hovagimian/Sirusho

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

 HindHind The Netherlands - Hind - Your Heart Belongs To Me (English)

Music/Lyrics: Hind Laroussi Tahiri, Tjeerd van Zanen & Bas van den Heuvel/Hind Laroussi Tahiri, Tjeerd van Zanen

Finally, it looked as if one of the contests longest serving participants might reach the final. It was one of the strongest songs in what was considered to be the weaker of the semi-finals. It didn’t quite happen for Hind and her African tinged, lively effort.

 TeräsbetoniTeräsbetoni Finland - Teräsbetoni - Missä Miehet Ratsastaa (Finnish)

Music/Lyrics: J. Ahola/J. Ahola

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

 Nico & VladNico & Vlad Romania - Nico & Vlad - Pe-o Margine De Lume (Romanian)

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

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

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

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

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

 KalomiraKalomira Greece - Kalomira - Secret Combination (English)

Music/Lyrics: Konstantinos Pantzis/Poseidon Yannopoulos

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

Poland countdowns for Krajowe Eliminacje 2011

Marcin Mrozinski at 2010, Oslo

Polish national broadcaster TVP, reveals further details about the participants' names and their songs in the media for their national selection which is called Krajowe Eliminacje.

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 Semi-Final

2005 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
19 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. 

Song writing 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: 
Global.KrynerGlobal.Kryner Austria - Global.Kryner - Y Así (English)

Music/Lyrics: Christof Spörk, Edi Köhldorfer/Christof Spörk

Yes it’s different, but the oompah band style is messy and the brief yodel adds nothing positive.

 LauraLaura Lithuania - Laura and the Lovers - Little By Little (English)

Music/Lyrics: Bobby Ljungr, Billy Butt/Bobby Ljungr, Billy Butt

The presentation was a little amateurish and Laura wasn’t the best of singers, but despite finishing last, her song was strong enough to deserve a place in the final. It’s a bit rock for children and perhaps that was the problem. 

 2B2B Portugal - 2B - Amar (Portuguese/English)

Music/Lyrics: Jose de Ponte, Alexandre Honrado, Ernesto Leite/Jose de Ponte, Alexandre Honrado, Ernesto Leite

2B were a male/female duo. The chanted verse leads to a big chorus. The chances of qualifying were reduced by the manic yet static choreography.

 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.

 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 all their soft rock ballad needed.  

 Lise DarlyLise Darly Monaco - Lise Darly - Tout De Moi (French)

Music/Lyrics: Phil Bosco/Phil Bosco

Even employing the services of the Paris Symphony Orchestra couldn’t lift Lise into the final. Her majestic ballad clearly went straight over the heads of most viewers. 

 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. 

 Angelica AgurbashAngelica Agurbash Belarus - Angelica Agurbash - Love Me Tonight (English)

Music/Lyrics: Nikos Terzis/Nektarios Tyrakis

Although Angelica won the Belarusian final with a different song, Boys and Girls, she was allowed to choose another song in order to make her feel happier about her chances. The song she settled for is a slightly camp disco anthem.

 Glennis GraceGlennis Grace The Netherlands - Glennis Grace - My Impossible Dream (English)

Music/Lyrics: Robert D Fisher/Bruce Smith

The Martin Luther-King style ‘I have a dream’ at the beginning sets the tone very early. Whitney Houston would perhaps have used My Impossible Dream to fill an album, but there isn’t enough punch that epic ballads must have. 

 SelmaSelma Iceland - Selma - If I Had Your Love (English)

Music/Lyrics: Thorvaldur Bjarni Thorvaldsson, Vignir SnærVigfússon/Thorvaldur Bjarni Thorvaldsson, Vignir SnærVigfússon

On the strength of her 1999 success, many expected Selma to qualify for the final. Past glories mean nothing to a voting public who probably didn’t remember her, and this pop song just wasn’t strong enough.   

 Nuno ResendeNuno Resende Belgium - Nuno Resende - Le Grand Soir (French)

Music/Lyrics: Alec Mansion, Frédéric Zeitoun/Alec Mansion, Frédéric Zeitoun

Belgium chose Portuguese Nuno to represent them with a rather sub-standard, French style ballad. It’s all right at the beginning but starts dragging towards the end.  

 SuntribeSuntribe Estonia - Suntribe - Let's Get Loud (English)

Music/Lyrics: Sven Löhmus/Sven Löhmus

The unusual sight of five ladies behind turntables greeted viewers when the camera focused on the Estonians. There are sections of their pop/rock song that suited these props, but they look out of place for most of the song.

 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.

 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. 

 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.

 Geir RönningGeir Rönning

Finland - Geir Rönning - Why? (English)

Music/Lyrics: Mika Toivanen/Mika Toivanen

Geir’s heartfelt ballad wonders why there is so much bad in the world instead of complete harmony. He sings with immense feeling, but it was never going to reach the final.

 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.

 Marian van de WalMarian van de Wal Andorra - Marian van de Wal - La Mirada Interior (Catalan)

Music/Lyrics: Rafa Tanit/Daniel Aragay, Rafa Fernández

Beneath the strong rhythm is a well constructed song that perhaps needed a bit more grit to win enough votes from the public. The costumes of the backing dancers had the look of ‘been worn in the jungle for some time’ about them. 

 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!

 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. 

 KaffeKaffe Bulgaria - Kaffe - Lorraine (English)

Music/Lyrics: Vesselin Ivanov/ Vesselin Ivanov, Ovin Pavlov

It was always going to be difficult for Kaffe to reach the final. Their smooth jazz number is musically credible and sophisticated, but not instant enough to fare well in a competition of this nature. When the 2005 contest is listened to in years to come, Lorrraine will have aged better than many.

 Donna and JosephDonna and Joseph Ireland - Donna and Joseph McCaul - Love? (English)

Music/Lyrics: Karl Broderick/Karl Broderick

Donna and Joe are siblings. Donna was clearly the more accomplished performer, but boy was Joe determined to enjoy himself! He bounded around the stage like a spring lamb enjoying the sunshine. The duo’s song is chirpy and enjoyable, while the presentation throws in a bit of sexy Irish dancing to remind viewers of Ireland’s glory days.

 Omar NaberOmar Naber Slovenia - Omar Naber - Stop (English)

Music/Lyrics: Omar Naber/Urse Vlasič

Stop starts in quiet, reflective fashion, builds a bit with the introduction of an electronic drum (never a good move) before building into a rock song. 

 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.

 Ivan & DelfinIvan & Delfin Poland - Ivan & Delfin - Czarna Dziewczyna (Polish/Ukrainian)

Music/Lyrics: Lukasz Lazer/Ivan Komarenko, Pawel Radziszewski

Ivan and Delfin travelled to Kiev with a gipsy folk song, complete with accordion. It would have had its fans, but is too niche to have enough of them to make a difference. In fact, it was a bit surprising that they got as close as they did to qualifying for the final.

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. 

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. 

2001

2001 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
12 May 2001
Venue: 
Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark
Broadcaster: 
DR
Presenter(s): 
Natasja Crone-Back and Soren Pilmark
About the contest: 

It must have seemed like a good idea at the time! Someone somewhere made the decision to allow the hosts to speak in rhymes. While it may have seemed a good idea to those sitting in a meeting room in the offices of DR, it just didn’t work in practice. Not helped by static delivery, the rhymes soon became irritating and a big turn-off.

Swedish broadcaster SVT set a new record for the live audience the previous year, DR broke that record again by hosting the contest in a football stadium. To eliminate the danger of singing in the rain, the stadium had a roof built on to it. The stage and audience area were massive! As a result, some of the acts almost disappeared. The presence of a bar in the auditorium meant that viewers were able to see members of the audience walking constantly to and fro.

It seemed that broadcasters were trying to outdo each other by organising the contest in a bigger venue year on year. One of the positive consequences of the Estonian win was that a more suitably sized venue would have to be used in 2002 due to the absence of any very large arenas in Estonia.  

The 2001 contest was full of surprises. Prior to the contest, no-one talked of Estonia as a potential winner, while Norway was the choice of those placing an each way bet. By the end of the night, Estonia had themselves a reasonably comfortable win while Norway was holding an inquest into what went wrong.

On returning home from Copenhagen, Tanel and Dave didn’t record together again. Tanel should have been set for a glittering career. He was an Estonian folk hero now and was young with many years of recording ahead of him. Unfortunately, an old-fashioned dispute with his record company left him unable to capitalise on his win.

Helena, lead singer of Greek group Antique, would return to the contest four years later and win. Malta’s Fabrizio Faniello would also make a return to the contest with somewhat less success. Tanel Padar was a backing singer girlfriend Ines in Stockholm the previous year, and she returned the compliment for him.

Bosnia, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia all returned to the contest while Austria Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Macedonia, Romania and Switzerland were forced to take a break due to their records over the last five contests.

Trivia: 
In 2001, the thing that drew the biggest headlines in host country, Denmark was what happened after the show. Danish broadcaster, DR, was made aware of what British commentator Terry Wogan had said during the live show. He is love and hated for his often satirical comments and this year he called the hosts, Søren Pilmark and Natasja Crone, for Doctor Death and the Tooth Fairy. That was too much for DR who asked for an official apology and though it is mentioned that it took several years they finally got it. Since that day Terry Wogan has been referring to Denmark as the country he can’t visit without wearing a plastic bag over his head as otherwise he will be publicly lynched.
About the songs: 
MichelleMichelle The Netherlands - Michelle - Out On My Own (English)

Music/Lyrics: André Remkes, Dirk Vermeij/André Remkes, Dirk Vermeij

Mournful strings mark the start of the opening song, although the theme - breaking free and living life as you want to - is a positive one. Mournful becomes determination by the end, although the subdued atmosphere remains.

TwoTrickyTwoTricky Iceland - TwoTricky - Angel (English)

Music/Lyrics: Einar Bardarson, Magnus Thor Sigmundsson/Einar Bardarson

The Icelandic duo changed the atmosphere with a chirpy little pop song. The lead singer was up for the challenge, giving a very enthusiastic performance.

 NinoNino Bosnia & Herzegovina - Nino - Hano (Bosnian/English)

Music/Lyrics: Nino Prses/Nino Prses

Looking like Ali G in his orange clothes and sunglasses, it would have been easy to dismiss Nino immediately. However, those giving him a chance saw a serious young man deliver his message in a quiet song with a minimal, modern arrangement that never hints at a sudden burst of energy.  

 Haldor LægreidHaldor Lægreid Norway - Haldor Lægreid - On My Own (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ole Henrik Antonsen, Tom Steinar Hansen/Ole Henrik Antonsen, Tom Steinar Hansen, Ole Jörgen Olser

Before the song really starts, viewers are treated to a shot of Haldor’s frilly shirt. What a shame! His song is a big musical style epic which should have been competing for victory. 

 Tal SondakTal Sondak Israel - Tal Sondak - Ein Davar (Hebrew)

Music/Lyrics: Yair Klinger/Shimrit Orr

After an excursion into the zany the previous year, Israel returned to the more familiar territory of ethnic, up-tempo sing along. However, it lacks the energy usually associated with this type of song.  

Mumiy TrollMumiy Troll Russia - Mumiy Troll - Lady Alpine Blue (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ilia Lagoutenko/Ilia Lagoutenko

Something different can sometimes mean difficult to listen to. Not this time. Lead singer Ilya Lagutenko is strangely hypnotising after the harpsichord intro has drawn in the listener. 


FriendsFriends
Sweden - Friends - Listen To Your Heartbeat (English)

Music/Lyrics: Henrik Stensson, Thomas G:son/Henrik Stensson, Thomas G:son

Abba returns! The Swedes probably tire of all their Eurovision acts and songs being compared to the contests most famous and successful export. If so, they should stop sending songs like this. Although wonderful in its own right, it is very much in the free flowing Abba style. The band is even fronted by two ladies, one blonde and one, you guessed it, brunette.

SkampSkamp Lithuania - Skamp - You Got Style (English)

Music/Lyrics: Victor Diavara/Erica Jennings, Vilius Alesius, Victor Diavara

There is not much style here, unless you think the 1970’s were the height of fashion. With flares and odd colour combinations to the fore, Skamp confidently performed their funk based tune. There was even room for a little rap to add a modern touch. 

Arnis MednisArnis Mednis  Latvia - Arnis Mednis - Too Much (English)

Music/Lyrics: Arnis Mednis/Gustavs Terzens, Arnis Mednis

With tongue firmly in cheek, Arnis sings about the perils of cheating on the bride-to-be. It’s an enjoyable three minutes of pop with a touch of rock thrown in to add a bit of weight.

VannaVanna Croatia - Vanna - Strings Of My Heart (English)

Music/Lyrics: Tonci Huljic/Vjekoslava Huljic, Boytronic

Vanna had given birth just weeks earlier and was looking fabulous for it! Classical mixes with a contemporary pop beat very successfully.

MTMMTM Portugal - MTM - Só Sei Ser Feliz Assim (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Marco Quelhas/Marco Quelhas

Musically, this was another drop in standard for Portugal after their relegation from the 2000 contest, although the plea for racial harmony would have appealed to some. Credit should be given for sticking to their own language, even if the message may have been lost as a result.

Gary O'ShaughnessyGary O'Shaughnessy  Ireland - Gary O'Shaughnessy - Without Your Love (English)

Music/Lyrics: Pat Sheridan/Pat Sheridan

Another Irish entry and another dreary ballad that passes by unnoticed in the background. Gary looked very smug for someone much more likely to finish last than first.

 David CiveraDavid Civera Spain - David Civera - Dile Que La Quiero (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Alejandro Abad/Alejandro Abad

David’s song seemed destined to be heard in clubs all over the Costas with his commercial, summertime sound. There were ‘we’re all going on a summer holiday’ type smiles all round.

Natasha Saint-PierNatasha Saint-Pier France - Natasha Saint-Pier - Je N'ai Que Mon Ame (French/English)

Music/Lyrics: Jill Kapler/Jill Kapler

When the French get it right, they get it very right! Not many countries do emotional ballads as well as the French.  In a first for a French entry, Natasha sang one of the choruses in English, a move that caused much controversy in France

Sedat YüceSedat Yüce  Turkey - Sedat Yüce - Sevgiliye Son (Turkish/English)

Music/Lyrics: Semih Guneri/Nurdan Guneri, Figen Cakmak

A very self assured (some might say overly so) looking Sedat even found time for a wink at the camera as he sang one of Turkey’s slower and calmer entries.

Lindsay D.Lindsay D.  United Kingdom - Lindsay D. - No Dream Impossible (English)

Music/Lyrics: Russ Ballard, Chris Winter/Russ Ballard, Chris Winter

No Dream Impossible wants to be a club anthem and almost succeeds. There is always a danger that songs written for clubs will lose something when performed live, and that happened here. There is some rapping in the middle which lost some of its impact due to a similar interjection during the Lithuanian song.   

Nusa DerendaNusa Derenda Slovenia - Nusa Derenda - Energy (English)

Music/Lyrics: Matjaz Vlasic/Lucienne Lonchina

Another club anthem, but one that loses nothing in the live environment. A symphonic edge adds depth to the song.  

PiasekPiasek  Poland - Piasek - 2 Long (English)

Music/Lyrics: Robert Cjojnacki/Piasek

The intro gives the impression that a swing number is on its way. However, once the vocals begin, there is more of a pop feel, but with bursts of brass to wake anyone tempted to doze off. And there would have been a few!

MichelleMichelle  Germany - Michelle - Wer Liebe Lebt (German/English)

Music/Lyrics: Gino Trovatello, Matthias Stingl/Eva Richter

This is what the Germans are known and (by some) loved for. It is an anthemic call for unity, certainly not the first time the Germans have sent a song with this theme. 

Tanel Padar, Dave BentonTanel Padar, Dave Benton  Estonia - Tanel Padar, Dave Benton & 2XL - Everybody (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ivar Must/Maian-Anna Kärmas

Not even the Estonians saw the win coming! They broke out of the slow ballad habit which had followed them through most of their entries to date. Instead, they sent a sing along with a hard edge sung by two guys with an on-stage chemistry. 

Fabrizio FanielloFabrizio Faniello  Malta - Fabrizio Faniello - Another Summer Night (English)

Music/Lyrics: Paul Abela/Georgina Abela

If viewers were already looking forward to their holiday after hearing the Spanish song, then Fabrizio would have raised the anticipation to a higher level with his even more summary, light tune.

AntiqueAntique  Greece - Antique - Die For You (Greek/English)

Music/Lyrics: Nikos Tersis/Antonis Pappas

Success was virtually guaranteed for the Greeks. The writer of the music, Nikos Tersis, managed to maintain a very Greek atmosphere while making Die For You quite cosmopolitan, contemporary, credible up-tempo pop song. The end result is very, very catchy.

Rollo & KingRollo & King  Denmark - Rollo & King - Never Ever Let You Go (English)

Music/Lyrics: Soren Poppe/Stefan Nielsen

With the rare use of the harmonica and the toe-tapping, easy to hum melody, it is easy to imagine every busker in Copenhagen singing it. Judging by the result, they would have made plenty of money.  

1999

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 LydiaLydia Spain - Lydia - No Quiero Escuchar (Spanish)

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Tonci Huljic/Vjekoslava/Huljic

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Paul Varney/Paul Varney

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Primoz Peterca/Primoz Peterca

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Ebbe Ravn/Ebbe Ravn

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Pascal Grazic Pascal Grazic

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Seweryn Krajewski/Wojciech Ziembicki

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Porvaldur Bjarni Thorvaldsson/Sveinbjörn Baldvinsson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Jorge do Carmo/To Andrade

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Bronagh Mullan/Bronagh Mullan

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Dave Moskin/Dave Moskin

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Chris Scicluna/Moira Stafrace

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Ralph Siegel/Bernd Meinunger

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Dino Dervishalidovic/Dino Dervishalidovic

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

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

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

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

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