United Kingdom

2008 Final

2008 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
24 May 2008
Contest type: 
Grand Final
Venue: 
Belgrade Arena, Belgrade, Serbia
Broadcaster: 
RTS
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: 
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.

 Andy AbrahamAndy Abraham United Kingdom - Andy Abraham - Even If (English)

Music/Lyrics: Andy Abraham, Andy Watkins, Paul Wilson/Andy Abraham, Andy Watkins, Paul Wilson

It was clear from the moment Andy won the British selection that the United Kingdom was heading for the bottom of the scoreboard, again! Andy is an excellent singer and he more than did his bit, but the funk/pop song just wasn’t even close to being good enough.  

 Olta BokaOlta Boka Albania - Olta Boka - Zemrën E Lamë Peng (Albanian)

Music/Lyrics: Adrian Hila/Pandi Laço

Albania’s first five entries had established it as a country to watch for songs of quality, even if they weren’t potential winners.  Zemrën E Lamë Peng is a western style ballad sung in Albanian to give it a local flavour. 

 No AngelsNo Angels Germany - No Angels - Disappear (English)

Music/Lyrics: Remee, Hanne Sorvaag, Thomas Troelsen/Remee, Hanne Sorvaag, Thomas Troelsen

At times, No Angels sounded like a gang of alley cats. They screeched their way through Disappear, a below average pop song that was always going to finish at the wrong end of the scoreboard. 

 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.

 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.   

 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.

 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.  

 Kraljevi Ulice & 75 CentsKraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents Croatia - Kraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents - Romanca (Croatian)

Music/Lyrics: Niran Hadzi Veljkovic Niran/Hadzi Veljkovic
Many feared that septuagenarian 75 Cents might not live to see the night of the contest. All fears were unfounded, and he lasted long enough to stroll around the stage like a grumpy grandparent, occasionally speaking during intervals in this Croatian café style song.

 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. 

 EurobandEuroband Iceland - Euroband - This Is My Life (English)

Music/Lyrics: Örlygur Smári/Paul Oscar, Peter Fenner

Possibly the most perfect harmonising ever heard on the Eurovision stage! Euroband seemed a certainty to climb out of their semi-final with such a strong pop/disco track, although voters have turned against this type of song in recent years. It was an up-to-date taste of contests past, and the taste was sweet.  

 Mor ve ÖtesiMor ve Ötesi Turkey - Mor ve Ötesi - Deli (Turkish)

Music/Lyrics: Kerem Kabadayi, Burak Guven, Kerem, Özyegen, Harun Tekin/Kerem Kabadayi, Burak Guven, Kerem, Özyegen, Harun Tekin

Deli is a solid rock song with a spark of individualism about it. Their performance got the audience to their feet as they continued the lively start to the show.

 Vânia FernandesVânia Fernandes Portugal - Vânia Fernandes - Senhora Do Mar (Negras Águas) (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Andrej Babic/Carlos Coelho

When the Portuguese do a good ballad, they do it very well. It’s not quite Fado, more’s the pity, but it is a welcome return to the Portuguese sound after a few attempts at trying to sound less traditional. 

 Pirates of the SeaPirates of the Sea Latvia - Pirates of the Sea - Wolves of the Sea (English)

Music/Lyrics: Jonas Liberg, Johan Sahlen, Claes Andreasson, Torbjorn Wassenius/Jonas Liberg, Johan Sahlen, Claes Andreasson, Torbjorn Wassenius

It was time for the children’s party when the Latvians bounded on to the stage. It was highly entertaining, but a daft way of trying to win the votes of adults.

 Charlotte Perrelli 2008Charlotte Perrelli 2008 Sweden - Charlotte Perrelli - Hero (English)

Music/Lyrics: Fredrik Kempe, Bobby Ljunggren/ Fredrik Kempe, Bobby Ljunggren

Charlotte was expected to qualify for the final and she did…. just! It is the kind of Swedish schlager that the fans love, but can be a bit hit or miss with the public at large.

 Simon MathewSimon Mathew Denmark - Simon Mathew - All Night Long (English)

Music/Lyrics: Jacob Launbjerg, Svend Gudiksen, Nis Ogvad/Jacob Launbjerg, Svend Gudiksen, Nis Ogvad

While the melody and the arrangement aren’t obviously in that direction, Simon’s voice lends All Night Long a jazz feel. Looking a bit like a reject from a Hovis advert, his performance was strong and very confident.

 Diana GurtskayaDiana Gurtskaya Georgia - Diana Gurtskaya - Peace Will Come (English)

Music/Lyrics: Kim Breitburg, Karen Kavaleryan/Kim Breitburg, Karen Kavaleryan

It seems Political Correctness has reached Eastern Europe. Georgia selected a blind singer with a song about desiring world peace. If this was a tactic, it failed, although it finished higher than it should in both the semi-final and the final.

 Ani LorakAni Lorak Ukraine - Ani Lorak - Shady Lady (English)

Music/Lyrics: Philip Kirkorov/Karen Kavaleryan

Ani gave a supremely confident performance of this near perfect pop song. It was always going to be a contender and so it proved, winning the second semi-final and finishing second in the main event.

 Sébastien TellierSébastien Tellier France - Sébastien Tellier - Divine (English)

Music/Lyrics: Sébastien Tellier/Sébastien Tellier, Amandine de la Richardière

Divine caused a bit of a storm in France as it became the first French entry to be completely in English without a word of French. Its style is 1980’s synth pop, but one look at the backing singers would make you forget all that. They were dressed identically to  Sébastien, even to the extent of sporting long wigs and beards - yes, even the girls!

 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. 

 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. 

 Rodolfo ChikilicuatreRodolfo Chikilicuatre Spain - Rodolfo Chikilicuatre - Baila El Chiki Chiki (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Rodolfo Chikilicuatre/Rodolfo Chikilicuatre

Of all the novelty songs in the 2008 contest, this is arguably the best. A hit on-line in the first part of the Spanish selection process, it is easy to sing along with despite being in Spanish, and the Rodolfo character is amusing. 

 Jelena TomaševićJelena Tomašević Serbia - Jelena Tomašević feat. Bora Dugic - Oro (Serbian)

Music/Lyrics: Zeljko Joksimovic/Dejan Ivanovic

The hosts made a strong case for winning again with a classically Serbian ballad. There could have been more lyrics rather than the use of nuna-nej, but that doesn’t detract from Oro’s overall beauty. 

 Dima Bilan 2008Dima Bilan 2008 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!  

 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.

Blue to perform at Malta final

Blue ©  www.aceshowbiz.com

The 2011 United Kingdom representatives, Blue, will be the special guests at the Malta national final on Saturday.  They will also perform a little sample of their Eurovision song, I Can.

Poll: How will Blue do at the Eurovision Song Contest?

Blue
BBC have chosen the boyband Blue to represent them at the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest in May. This has been met with mixed feelings, but what do you think? How will Blue do at the contest?

Hurts Submit a Song for Russia

Hurts

British band, Hurts, have submitted a song for selection to be Russia’s entry in the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest in Germany in May. It was revealed in a very modern way.

BBC Announce Blue as UK 2011 Eurovision Act

Blue

Following a rather mysterious announcement via Twitter earlier tonight, the BBC have revealed that for the first time since 1994, they have made an internal selection in choosing the United Kingdom entry for the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest.

2007 Final

2007 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
12 May 2007
Contest type: 
Grand Final
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: 
Marija SesticMarija Sestic Bosnia and Herzigovina - Marija Sestic - Rijeka Bez Imena (Bosnian)

Music/Lyrics: Aleksandra Milutinovic, Goran Kovačic/Aleksandra Milutinovic, Goran Kovačic

The Bosnian song is a gentle ballad of the type that the former Yugoslav republics seem to pull off with ease. Sensibly, the presentation was kept simple.

 NASHNASH Spain - NASH - I Love You Mi Vida (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Antonio Sanchez-Ohlsson, Rebeca Pous del Toro, Thomas G:Son/Antonio Sanchez-Ohlsson, Rebeca Pous del Toro, Thomas G:Son

This is typical boy-band throwaway pop lifted only slightly by small touches of Flamenco guitar and the decision to sing in Spanish. 

 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. 

 DervishDervish

Ireland - Dervish - They Can't Stop The Spring (English)

Music/Lyrics: John Waters, Tommy Moran/John Waters, Tommy Moran

Popular and experienced folk band, Dervish, was chosen by RTE in an attempt to reverse  the recent bad luck of the Irish. The title was borrowed from the Hungarian Revolution. The lilting flute gives the song its atmosphere, but a bit more tempo was needed to make the song appeal more widely.  

 Hanna PakarinenHanna Pakarinen Finland - Hanna Pakarinen - Leave Me Alone (English)

Music/Lyrics: Martii Vuorinen, Miika Pakarinen/Martii Vuorinen, Hanna Pakarinen

Sticking with the genre which brought them success the previous year, Finland entered another rock song. That said, this is a more tuned down version of the style, and Hanna didn’t need to wear a mask.

 KarolinaKarolina 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.

 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. 

 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!

 4Fun4Fun Lithuania - 4Fun - Love Or Leave (English)

Music/Lyrics: Julija Ritcik/Julija Ritcik

The staging was absolutely right. Lead singer, Julija, sat in front of a screen, behind which the rest of the band were seen in large silhouette. The song needs a few listens to be fully appreciated, but stay with it and you will be handsomely rewarded. Love Or Leave is a gentle, sensitive and atmospheric ballad given its feel by the acoustic guitar. Sublime! 

 SarbelSarbel Greece - Sarbel - Yassou Maria (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Marcus Englöf, Alex Papakonstantinou/Mack

There was much pouting and posing from Sarbel. His song is a straightforward twist, but as always, there is a Greek element to it. All in all, it is a bit within the ordinary. 

 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.

 The ArkThe Ark Sweden - The Ark - The Worrying Kind (English)

Music/Lyrics: The Ark/The Ark

Glam rock comes to Eurovision! The Worrying Kind could very easily have been a hit for Mark Bolan and was highly enjoyable. 

 Les Fatals PicardsLes Fatals Picards France - Les Fatals Picards - L'amour à La Française (French/English)

Music/Lyrics: Ivan Callot, Laurent Honel, Jean-Marc Sauvagnargues, Yves Giraud, Paul Léger/Ivan Callot, Laurent Honel, Jean-Marc Sauvagnargues

It is hard to decide whether this is a serious or novelty song. The verse is quiet and reflective, but the chorus is manic. 

 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. 

 SerebroSerebro Russia - Serebro - Song #1 (English)

Music/Lyrics: Maxim Fadeev/Daniil Babitchev

The lyrics are rather risqué in places but the tone is defintaely pop in attitude. It takes girl power to a different level. 

 Roger CiceroRoger Cicero Germany - Roger Cicero - Frauen Regieren Die Welt (German)

Music/Lyrics: Matthias Hass/Frank Ramond

When they aren’t big-ballading or inane Euro-popping, the Germans are capable of providing something unusual. It happened here with Roger’s swing number of 1950’s America. 

 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………..

 Verka SerduchkaVerka Serduchka Ukraine - Verka Serduchka - Dancing Lasha Tumbai (Russian/German/English)

Music/Lyrics: Andrei Danilko/Andrei Danilko

Verka looked like the 1970’s incarnation of Elton John, but on a bad day. It is a song that divides opinion, being seen as a harmless bit of fun and nonsense, or simply nonsense and nothing more than irritating. Just listened to, it’s probably the latter, but if heard while also watching the performance too, it edges towards the former. 

 ScoochScooch United Kingdom - Scooch - Flying The Flag (For You) (English)

Music/Lyrics: Russ Spencer, Morten Schjolin, Andrew Hill, Paul Tarry/Russ Spencer, Morten Schjolin, Andrew Hill, Paul Tarry

What were the British public thinking when they choose this? It would be good for nothing more than a children’s party, the problem is that there is more innuendo than The Benny Hill Show, with none of the subtlety or amusement. 

 TodomondoTodomondo Romania - Todomondo - Liubi, Liubi, I Love You (French/English/Italian/Romania/Russian/Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Marian Bogdan Tascău/Marian Bogdan Tascău, Vlad Cretu, Ghedi Kamara

The Romanian song is odd but memorable, for all the wrong reasons. It is quite Romanian, having more than a bit of Romany about the music and melodic style. These traditions were evident in the presentation. 

 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.

 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. 

 HaykpoHaykpo Armenia - Hayko - Anytime You Need (English)

Music/Lyrics: Hayko, Karen Kavaleryan/Hayko, Karen Kavaleryan

For their second entry, the Armenians went down the ballad route. It’s a very good one that Hayko did full justice to. The ‘tree’ prop could have been left out, but fortunately, it didn’t serve as a distraction. 

 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.

2006 Final

2006 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
20 May 2006
Venue: 
Olympic Indoor Hall, Athens, Greece
Broadcaster: 
ERT
Presenter(s): 
Maria Menounos & Sakis Rouvas
Other shows this year: 
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: 
Six4OneSix4One Switzerland - Six4One - If We All Give A Little (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ralph Siegel/Bernd Meinunger

Pass the sick bag! Siegel and Meinunger stooped to a new low when they formed a multi-national vocal group to sing this three minutes of utter garbage.

 Arsenium & Natalia GordienkoArsenium & Natalia Gordienko Moldova - Arsenium & Natalia Gordienko - Loca (English)

Music/Lyrics: Arsenium/Arsenium

The danger of a song automatically qualifying for the final is that, sometimes, that song clearly has no place there and only brings down the overall quality of the contest. Moldova’s contemporary but annoying r ‘n’ b effort fits neatly into that category. 

 Eddie ButlerEddie Butler Israel - Eddie Butler - Ze Hazman (Hebrew/English)

Music/Lyrics: Orly Burg, Osnat Zvag/Eddie Butler, Orly Burg, Osnat Zvag

Not Israel’s finest musical hour! Far from the usual offering of vibrant or anthemic, this is just drippy and dull.

 CosmosCosmos Latvia - Cosmos - I Hear Your Heart (English)

Music/Lyrics: Rienis Sejans, Andris Sejans/Molly-Ann Leikin, Guntars Racs

We could have managed without the construction of the robot during the performance. It was a distraction from the almost acapella song, which only had a beat as a backing. Maybe it was a deliberate and clever tactic, as there is nothing memorable in the song itself.  

 Christine GuldbrandsenChristine Guldbrandsen Norway - Christine Guldbrandsen - Alvedansen (Norwegian)

Music/Lyrics: Kjetil Fluge, Atle Halstensen/Kjetil Fluge, Atle Halstensen

Fans of strings would have loved this! The sound sweeps across the whole song while Christine’s pure voice creates the fairytale atmosphere requested by the song.

 Las KetchupLas Ketchup Spain - Las Ketchup - Bloody Mary (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Manuel Ruiz Gómez/Manuel Ruiz Gómez

Those who were expecting another Ketchup Song (a big international summer hit for them in 2002) were in for something of a surprise. Bloody Mary is cool and sophisticated, but isn’t nearly instant enough to have a chance of winning. The top 10 would not have been an over achievement. 

 Fabrizio Faniello 2006Fabrizio Faniello Malta - Fabrizio Faniello - I Do (English)

Music/Lyrics: Fabrizio Faniello, Aldo Spiteri/Fabrizio Faniello, Aldo Spiteri

Much better was expected of Fabrizio’s up-tempo summer beach party song. However, the 1970’s choreography did him absolutely no favours and would have been a sobering reminder to choreographers of the modern attitudes needed in the contest these days. 

 Texas LightningTexas Lightning Germany - Texas Lightning - No, No, Never (English)

Music/Lyrics: Jane Comerford/Jane Comerford

A very shrewd entry by the Germans! Country music is familiar to everyone, but had not been heard in the contest before in a genuine form, thus making No, No, Never stand out. It could have been a winner.   

 Sidsel Ben SemmaneSidsel Ben Semmane Denmark - Sidsel Ben Semmane - Twist Of Love (English)

Music/Lyrics: Niels Drevshold/Niels Drevshold

A twist in all senses of the word. Using the dance style as its base, the Danish song tells the story of the shy but good guy getting the girl instead of the confident rotter winning her heart.

 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.

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.

 Mihai TraistariuMihai Traistariu Romania - Mihai Traistariu - Tornero (English/Italian)

Music/Lyrics: Eduard Cârcota/Cristian Hriscu, Mihaela Deac

This is considered by many to be one of the best Eurovision songs in recent years. It is near perfect dance/pop music delivered by one of the best singers in the 2006 contest. 

 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.

 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. 

 Daz SampsonDaz Sampson United Kingdom - Daz Sampson - Teenage Life (English)

Music/Lyrics: Daz Sampson, John Matthews/Daz Sampson, John Matthews

Rap music had only been entered in the contest a couple of times before without much success. It seemed Europe still wasn’t ready for the genre given Daz’s disappointing placing. His performance was rather over exuberant, which was forgivable considering what he was hiding from the world at that moment.      

 Anna VissiAnna Vissi Greece - Anna Vissi - Everything (English)

Music/Lyrics: Nikos Karvelas/Anna Vissi

The Greek diva commanded the stage without any help. The Greek public choose the song for her to defend the title with. It is very un-Greek and is a slow burner, but rocks into an abundance of anger and emotion. 

 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. 

 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. 

 Virginie PouchinVirginie Pouchin France - Virginie Pouchin - Il était Temps (French)

Music/Lyrics: Cornielle Nyungura/Cornielle Nyungura

A very nervous looking Virginie had one of her music school buddies accompanying her on the cello. It is pleasant and has a definite charm, but is a little repetitive.  

 SeverinaSeverina Croatia - Severina - Moja Stikla (Croatian)

Music/Lyrics: Boris Novkovic, Franjo Valentic/Severina Vuckovic

Severina has what could be described as a good mouth for a singer. The whole package is a bit mad, unpredictable and fun but irritating at the same time.

 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. 

 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.  

 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.   

 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.  

2005 Final

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Chiara Siracusa/Chiara Siracusa

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Christian Faur/Christian Faur

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

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

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

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

 GülserenGülseren Turkey - Gülseren - Rimi Rimi Ley (Turkish)

Music/Lyrics: Erden Tunç/Göksan Arman

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Zdob si Zdub/Zdob si Zdub

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Adrian Hila/Pandi Laco

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Constantinos Christoforou/Constantinos Christoforou

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Alfredo Panebianco/Alfredo Panebianco

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Slaven Knezovic/Milan Peric

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Dragan Vučic/Ognen Hedelkovski

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

 GreenjollyGreenjolly Ukraine - Greenjolly - Razom Nas Bahato (Ukrainian)

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

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

 GraciaGracia Germany - Gracia - Run and Hide (English)

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics:  Franjo Valentic/Boris Novkovic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Andrej Babic/Andre Babic

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

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

Music/Lyrics: David Brandes/John O’Flynn

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

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

Music/Lyrics: Mărtins Freimanis/Mărtins Freimanis

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

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

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

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

Debbie Cameron: It was fixed that Bucks Fizz won in 1981

Tommy Seebach and Debbie Cameron

The new book about Tommy Seebach, which is for sale from today, reveals that a BBC boss told one half of the Danish 1981 duo that the United Kingdom basically had been guaranteed the victory in that year’s Eurovision Song Contest for political reasons.

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