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