Germany has won the 55th Eurovision Song Contest by a big margin, beating Turkey into second place. Romania achieved its best result by finishing third.
The show started with a quick journey through all the
contests since the first one in 1955. That year, only seven countries took part, a stark contrast to the 39 who competed this year. Then, Alexander Rybak really warmed the audience up for what was to come with a
rousing rendition of Fairytale, which achieved the highest score ever
in winning last year.
Hosts Nadia Hasnaoui, Erik Solbakken and Haddy N’jie explained the voting procedure. For the first time, viewers would be able to vote by phone from the opening song. The total numbers of votes received would be collated and added to the votes of each national jury. Then combined results would then be given in the traditional Eurovision style.
Azerbaijan – Safura – Drip Drop
The hearts of the many who have had a bet on Azerbaijan must have sunk when she drew the first position in the running order. However, it is a chance to make an impression and say ‘follow that’ to your competitors. Safura sold her dramatic ballad very well.
Spain – Daniel Diges – Algo Pequeñito
The first of the automatic finalists, Spain took the audience into a toybox. The dancers were dressed as dolls and the song is a chirpy little ditty from the fairground. Daniel held his nerve well when a member of the audience somehow got to the stage, but was very quickly removed by security. The interruption earned Daniel the chance to perform again when all the other songs had performed.
Norway – Didrik Solli-Tangen – My Heart Is Yours
The host nation made a very good effort to win again. Didrik’s powerful voice was perfectly suited to his big power ballad. It wouldn’t have sounded out of place as the Irish entry.
Moldova – Sunstroke Project and Olia Tira – Run Away
Moldova upped the pace a bit with a modern disco dance number. There was some frantic dancing by the fiddler and the whole presentation was well received.
Cyprus – Jon Lilygreen & The Islanders
The Cypriots had out their hopes in the hands of Welshman Jon, who gave a relaxed and confident performance. The powerful MOR ballad came across very well and sounded like it could be in the mix at the end.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – Vukašin Brajic – Thunder and Lightning
Vukašin’s song was the only out and out rock song of the night. The song was in English for the contest, but might have sounded better in the native tongue. Vocally, the performance was very strong and he could not have done much more to sell it.
Belgium – Tom Dice – Me and My Guitar
Belgium has only won the contest once, but there were many who firmly believed that Tom may well be the second Belgian winner. His self penned tune is a soft, acoustic guitar based ballad. He grew in confidence as the song went on, even shouting a ‘come on Oslo’ to the audience.
Serbia – Milan Stankovic – Ovo je Balkan
Bleached blond Milan bounded on to the stage and was immediately into his stride. He played the camera very well. It was one of the surprise qualifiers from the first semi-final.
Belarus – 3+2 – Butterflies
The evening’s trend of slow song, fast song continued with the semi-anthemic Butterflies. The song increases in intensity verse by verse, but the gimmick of Buttterfly wings opening out at the back of the girls’ dresses near the end might have put as many people off as it may have attracted support.
Ireland – Niamh Kavanagh – It’s For You
Former winner Niamh was next to walk on to the stage. The diminutive singer was standing on a box which was hidden by her long dress. Ireland has had mixed fortunes in recent years, but if anyone was going to improve things, it would be Niamh.
Greece – Giorgos Alkaios & Friends – Opa
All dressed in white, the Greeks made sure anyone who might have been dozing off was woken up with a start! The Greeks can always be relied on for a stunt or two, and this time it was flames erupting from the dancer’s drums.
United Kingdom – Josh Dubovie – That Sounds Good To Me
The United Kingdom song was written by ‘the hitman’ Pete Waterman and his songwriting partner, Mike Stock. It had been altered since the UK final to suit Josh’s voice better. There was a sense that the arrangement needed a bit more oomph, almost as if they wanted the song to be a dance track, but were a bit afraid to make it one.
Georgia – Sofia Nizharadze – Shine
A welcome addition to the final, Sofia danced her way gracefully through her ballad. She was very confident, giving a wink to the camera part way through.
Turkey – maNga – We Could Be the Same
Then Turks really put on a show. The group were clearly up for it and their mix of rock and classical worked brilliantly and would stand out from the crowd.
Albania – Juliana Pasha – It’s All About You
Since Albania came into the contest in 2004, their entries have usually been modern pop songs. It’s All About You is very much in that mould and a good addition to Albania’s history in the contest.
Iceland – Hera Björk – Je Ne Sais Quoi
The Icelandic song would fit very well into any nightclub. The presentation was kept restrained to let Hera’s strong voice sell the song. The result was very effective.
Ukraine – Alyosha – Sweet People
It was a case of third time lucky for Alyosha as the first two songs chosen for her had to be withdrawn for various reasons. She was probably the most surprising finalist to emerge from the strong second semi-final. Perhaps the theme of the song – everyone should be friends and protect the planet – struck a chord.
France – Jessy Matador – Allez Ola Olé
Killing two birds with one stone, the French have made this song their world cup song. There was lots of energy on stage and much playing to the crowd. The lyrics are very repetitive and it sounds like the perfect football chant rather than a contest winner.
Romania – Paula Seling & Ovi – Playing With Fire
The leather clad duo had good on stage chemistry and gave a dynamic performance of their lively pop song. They used a unique double piano which was designed by Paula’s husband especially for the occasion.
Russia – Peter Nalitch – Lost And Forgotten
Hide all sharp objects! Peter was not among the most popular of those to qualify from the first semi-final, but it was easy to see why he was there. Lost And Forgotten is different to anything else on offer and was intense and sincere,
Armenia – Eva Rivas – Apricot Stone
It was no surprise when Eva qualified as hers was always thought of as one of the strongest songs of all 39. Her performance was a bit to cheery considering the lyrics, but went down well in the Telenor Arena anyway.
Germany – Lena – Satellite
One of the attractions of the German song is Lena’s weird and wonderful accent, like an American Lily Allen. Her song was different too and was one of the bookies favourites.
Portugal – Filipa Azevedo – Há Dias Assim
When the Portuguese put their minds to it, they can be a match for any other nation musically. A Portuguese ballad sounds classy and timeless, and Há Dias Assim is no exception. Her performance was solid, hitting every note.
Israel – Harel Skaat – Milim
Circumstances dictated that Harel would give one of the most emotional performances of the night and this he did. Despite the significance of the words for him, he still retained full control of what he was doing and so avoided going over the top. A possible winner?
Denmark – Chanée & N’evergreen – In A Moment Like This
The Danes made the most of their lucky draw. Of course, they weren’t to know this when they selected In A Moment Like This, but wherever it was in the draw, it would have left an impression. The well rehearsed routine went well and there was a big finish with a key change and an explosion of light at the back of the stage.
Because of the interruption during the first performance, the Spanish were allowed to sing again and Daniel certainly didn’t waste the opportunity, giving a storming performance.
The theme of the contest was ‘Share the Moment’, and this was reflected in the interval act. A film crew from NRK had travelled around Europe recording flashmobs. There were also live shots from around the continent via webcam of families in their living rooms watching the contest.
Romania started the scoring and gave 12 points to Denmark. The lead soon changed hands and, by the end of the seventh set of votes, from Croatia, Germany was in the lead. The Estonian spokesman thought it would be a good idea to sing his votes. At the end of his act, Germany’s lead had grown bigger.
As the voting progressed, it became clear that Germany was going to achieve its second victory. Long before the end, it became mathematically impossible for Lena to be caught. When she came back on stage to sing her winning reprise, Lena looked in total shock.
So the Eurovision Song Contest roadshow will head to Germany in 2011. Who says the Big 4 can’t win anymore or that Western European countries don’t stand a chance?