||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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
||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.
||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.
||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 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 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.
||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.
||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.
||Greece - Mando - Never Let You Go (English)
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 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 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 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.
||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 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.
||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.
||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.
||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.
||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.