Aarzemnieki selected to represent Latvia and bake a cake in Copenhagen

Aarzemnieki ©  LTV

Aarzemnieki got the Latvian Eurovision ticket to Copenhagen after winning tonight's Dziesma 2014. Two semi-finals had found the 12 competing acts and at the end, "Cake To Bake" was the song selected to represent the country in May.

Latvia Grieves Over The Loss Of Mārtiņš Freimanis

Martins Freimanis

Latvian press have just confirmed that one of the most popular artists of the Latvian music scene, Mārtiņš Freimanis, has tragically passed away aged just 32 years old. The star was well know to Eurovision fans after his participation for Latvia in 2003 as part of the trio F.L.Y. when they sang Hello From Mars on home soil.


2003 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
24 May 2003
Skonto Olympic Hall, Riga, Latvia
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.

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. 

2003lv F.L.Y. - Hello from Mars

See video

F.L.Y. only managed to score 5 points in the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest held on homefield. With 5 points they ended 24th out of 26 participating countries.




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