||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 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 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 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 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 & 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.
||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.
||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 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.
||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 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.
||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.
||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 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 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 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.
||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 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 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 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 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.
||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 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 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.