eurovision song contest 2005

Eurovision Song Contest 2005: Final

The nostalgia continues as I went through my old Eurovision DVDs that were provided by my dear friend Tobias. This particular show in Kiev is particularly important to me because I watched it over, and over, and over, and over, and over again and only saw the semi-final ten years after it actually happened.

FN.00.Maria Efosinina & Pavlo Shylko

On the evening of May 21, 2005 Kiev Ukraine welcomed the world accompanied by Maria Efrosinina and Pavyl Shylko to celebrate Ruslana’s successes in Turkey and host the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final 2005. It was a long show, so let’s waste no time getting to the most watched version of the contest in the history of my life.

Hungary – NOX
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.01.Hungary - NOX

Folk inspired dancing and singing really was a popular fixture this year and despite nobody having any idea what anyone was saying they were spinning their way to learn more about themselves. Much attention due to it’s catchy and different feeling (most Hungarian things are in fact different), this on was a performance to never forget; if not for the decent singing than for the amazing dancing.

United Kingdom – Javine
FN.02.United Kingdom - Javine

Finishing 22 out of a possible 24, Europe rejected Javine and the lighting of her fire. There is no pun intended there, but quite honestly this entry was a hot mess from beginning to end. It was just blah singing, blah dancing, and a mix between pop-r&b-dance that really made me want to throw rubbish at the screen. The UK needs some help, and even 10 years later I’m not convinced that they have got the recipe correct with rumours of this year being Bonnie Tyler’s début and last year’s Engelbert Humperdink. In recent years we even saw Andrew Lloyd-Weber try to save the UK from Terry Wogan’s embarrassing quips.

Malta – Chiara
=> Runner up
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.03.Malta - Chiara

Having directly qualified to the final for the previous year doing so well in Malta’s favour, Chiara took her diva Maltese voice and sang for us a ballad that would never be forgotten. Very reminiscent of her song back in 1998 in Birmingham, she seems to take the power-ballads and rock them out. Though suspicious in her qualification due to some technical televoting difficulties, she beat out other Maltese contenders that would later have the chance to represent their island nation; of which included Fabrizio Faniello, Glen Vella, and Olivia Lewis. I guess on a small island there isn’t much choice?!

Romania – Luminiţa Anghel and Sistem
=> Second Runner-Up
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.04.Romania - Lumini?a Anghel and Sistem

This song will go down in history as one of most recognisable songs, voices, and biggest mouth of all time. It was a pleasure to watch her dance around and the drummers stomp around while she sung, I actually recall most vividly towards the end of the song where the musicians actually were stomping around with trash-cans which made some boom-noises. It was so cool and it’s no wonder that her song “Let Me Try” was a disco-dance hit from then on. It was only later in 2009 when she tried to become a politician (and failed) that she showed up again on the internet in a famous way. Great job Romania (and as it’s proven to be, the most consistent favourite country in my books).

Norway – Wig Wam
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.05.Norway - Wig Wam

Super popular glam-hard-rock singer Åge Sten Nilsen turned Eurovision upside-down by cross dressing and being fabulous. He’s quoted as saying that rock is the new schlager, which I disagree with because nothing can replace it. Although finishing top-9 in the final, the song is widely popular and is still played in radios in Scandinavia years after the competition!

Turkey – Gülseren
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.06.Turkey - Gülseren

When Turkey brings a song to the competition it usually is well representative of the East as the majority of Turkey actually resides in Asia and only a sliver in Europe, however this French singer representing Turkey in their native tongue is very ethnic and very fun featuring drumming, dancing, and really good vocals. A quality performance, that usually would garner more televotes due to Turkish diaspora only managed to muster 92 points and end in 13th place.

Moldova – Zdob şi Zdub
FN.07.Moldova - Zdob ?i Zdub

The grandmother beating the drum was a huge hit in the competition and to this day I still don’t understand why. The group made another appearance in the competition dressed like (what I would consider to be) gnomes and the song was equally strange and not my type of music. However they did well to represent their country in their inaugural entrance to the competition.

Albania – Ledina Çelo
FN.08.Albania - Ledina Çelo

Flat out Albania usually has good singers but this one was hard on the eyes to me. I’m not really sure what happened in the whole scheme of things but it didn’t manage to get many votes and the song doesn’t really stick in my head with a memorable memory. Though having directly qualified she was able to avoid embarrassment in the semi-final where she likely wouldn’t have qualified.

Cyprus – Constantinos Christoforou
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.09.Cyprus - Constantinos Christoforou

The ever suggestive “Come Baby” song from Cyprus featured a number of very strange things on stage. Firstly a skinny muscled Constantinos who suggestively dances his way into the bedrooms of most (seemingly) women, the backing singer of Elina Constantopoulou who previously represented Cyprus in 1995 with her bitchin’ voice, and two dancers that are more suggestive than I have ever seen. Only Poland a few years ago with their Stripper-Cage, and Austria years later with their actual Stripper-Poles would rival this one. At one point when the dancers hit the floor like it’s hot and “pump” their way back up the frizzy-haired dancer raises her dress so far up that it’s impossible to tell if she’s wearing underwear. For fear that we accidentally saw a cooch, I will focus henceforth on the mirrors, barrels, and pole props that the use throughout the (again) suggestive lyrics. It’s just too sexual; asking us all to c[o]me with him…

Spain – Son de Sol
❗ Personal Favourites
FN.10.Spain - Son de Sol

The Spanish entry this year was a trio of colourful dancing women that sang about witchcraft. Though traditionally flamenco-pop band these three sisters whisk around the stage attempting to enchant the audience. Sadly it failed as they garnered 28 points and ended in 21st position. But really it doesn’t matter year to year for Spain as they get automatic qualification any ways.

Israel – Shiri Maimon
FN.11.Israel - Shiri Maimon

With her power-song she warmed up to Europe and convinced them to vote for her and get her to 4th place (what?!) but I didn’t buy it for a second. Since her failure to win she has made a career of being a singer and tour with the names of Leona Lewis among others.

Serbia & Montenegro – No Name
FN.12.Serbia & Montenegro - No Name

Boy-bands at it’s absolute worst with this entry that not only tried to convince us that they were audible in any intelligible language, but actually decent singers (huh?!) they somehow came in 7th ahead of other superior songs. I don’t really understand it, but given the massive vote-sharing in the Balkans it’s not entirely surprising, though I do think that other songs like Bosnia & Herzegovina’s song was better…

Denmark – Jakob Sveistrup
FN.13.Denmark - Jakob Sveistrup

Talking to us, once again having qualified from the semi-finals, this Danish entry represents a feel-good laid-back song that people just find easy to listen to. The chorus is memorable but it’s by no means a winning song and as such finished top-9 in the competition.

Sweden – Martin Stenmarck
❗ Personal Favourites
FN.14.Sweden - Martin Stenmarck

One of Sweden’s worst performances in the competition this one was supposed to do much better having directly qualified but failed to make it no higher than 19th place in the song contest this year. Needless to say a complete fiasco for Melodifestivalen organisers as the country barely raked up any points at all and as a result were relegated to the semi-finals the year later where Carola would storm through (quite literally). I would attribute this loss to the too focused female accompaniment, where Martin appears to be a severe womaniser. Typical of the hit-songs in Sweden, this one was popular for a long time and still plays on the radio, even though it flopped Eurovision-side.

F.Y.R. Macedonia – Martin Vučić
FN.15.F.Y.R. Macedonia - Martin Vu?i?

Between Macedonia and it’s monster name, and problems that it gets in with other nations, and their horrible singers like this year and the year before, and after etc, I just want them to return to the Balkans and never come back. Even his drumming couldn’t save him from the horrible swaying.

Ukraine – GreenJolly
FN.16.Ukraine - GreenyJolly

As host countries in the competition Ukraine had something to prove. One year prior the Orange Revolution occurred where there was much dismay over the presidential election. It essentially was a politically motivated song that even named Presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko in it’s original text, though translated later did not include it was a clear demonstration or re-demonstration that the Ukraine was trying to re-brand itself as democratic.

Germany – Gracia Baur
FN.17.Germany - Gracia Baur

This song came dead last and for good reason, it was a complete and utter disaster and hot-mess of a song. Gracia’s singing was odd, at best, and although the song was supposed to be inspiring it failed to do anything but remain in the minds for clear unobstructed strangeness.

Croatia – Boris Novković & Lado Members
FN.18.Croatia - Boris Novkovi? & Lado Members

The folk dancers and singer come from the semi-finals to replay their favourite song, only to end up being 11th in the final. The Balkans did well this year, and in subsequent years did even better, however it’s strange to have watched such a region dominate and it was years after voting controversies occurred and deep into the then accepted “voting blocs” that would try to be dispelled years later. This ballad just didn’t do it for me.

Greece – Helena Paparizou
=> Winner
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.19.Greece - Helena Paparizou

Having been chosen to sing the original 4 songs (then became 3) in the Greek pre-selection competition, with fierce promotional touring this song garnered the top votes and won the competition and brought the song contest to the pre-economic meltdown of Athens Greece. The song was high-tempo, very ethnic while still being pop-tastic, and pleased many ears. It got the most 12 points and the most votes overall (of course). Though what’s interesting most to me is that in the pre-selection one of the songs that was disqualified for being pre-released by another artist “The Light in Our Soul” was my by-and-far favourite and I listen to it on a regular basis. Personally I think it’s a superior song.

Russia – Natalia Podolskaya
FN.20.Russia - Natalia Podolskaya

What the hell is this? I really don’t have words for the horrible hot mess of an entry that Russia put together this year, though after staunch review she was discovered to be actually Belarussian which explains so much so I won’t harp much on Russia (who later in the competition turned it around to win, of course and produce some really top music). This one however, did absolutely nothing for me or the televoters as it ended up in 15th position mostly getting points from form Soviet Union nation-states.

Bosnia & Herzegovina – Feminnem
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.21.Bosnia & Herzegovina - Feminnem

Fabulousness personified this super-fun song was a disco hit to celebrate the 50th year of the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s fun, it’s catchy, it’s schlager, and it’s classic Andrej Babić composition! The actually Croatian group eventually tried to represented Croatia in 2007 and failed, again in 2009 and failed, and then crashed and burned out in Eurovision Song Contest 2010 with their ballad, and the group subsequently broke up as a result of the poor performance, but no matter because the “Call Me” number left them all dancing and having a grand old time! Call me is a 5-star song in my play-list from now until forever!

Switzerland – Vanilla Ninja
FN.22.Switzerland - Vanilla Ninja

Estonia’s “Swiss” entry to the competition with this girl rockers appealed to televoters not only for their attractive ensembles, but for their rock song that reverberated with the nomo (non-homosexual) populations that gather towards Eurovision like a moth to light. They finished 8th with their song “Cool Vibes.” In review of their history they formed in 2002 and tried to represent Estonia in 2002, 2003, 2004, their successful nomination in Switzerland in 2005, and further failures in 2005, and 2007 display a proficient attempt at getting into the contest again while still having a successful career.

Latvia – Walters and Kazha
FN.23.Latvia - Waters and Kazha

Well the cute boys from Latvia and their nasal voices and song commenting on war and peace finished 5th and was a good example of the innocence of music despite the musicians probably being secretly (probably) scandalous. There is no way that adorable boys can go so long without being corrupted by the wicked wiles of women, or men…

France – Ortal
FN.24.France - Ortal

France’s song was a total pathetic attempt at music and showed that everyone thinking only of themselves is not going to help them in their attempt to win Eurovision. Go home France and come back with something better and less hipster.

The competition effectively ended successfully with Greece hoisting the flag for the next year in Athens, and as a side-joke probably ran Greece into financial ruin years later. Jokes aside it was another controversial year as the top-4 countries that get direct admittance in the competition (Spain, United Kingdom, France, and Germany) came in the dead last 4 positions raising questions about their automatic qualifications. In hind-sight it’s likely just the result of bloc-voting or protest-voting and wasn’t likely to change. Years later even Italy returned back as automatic qualifiers and have been doing quite well. Also a few years later United Kingdom turned things around and came top-5, and Germany actually won the competition. It just goes to show that if you ruffle enough feathers, you might end up proving the continent wrong!

Eurovision Song Contest 2005: Semi-Final

After a tad bit of nostalgia, in other words, watching past DVDs of Eurovision Song Contest I have decided to take on the task of retroactively reviewing the competitions from past years. Thanks to my good friend Tobias, I obtained copies of the shows so that I could watch and not just pay attention off the CDs.

And so it begins on the evening of May 19, 2005 in Kiev Ukraine the 50th anniversary of the competition began and so began the music.

Austria – Global Kryner
SF.01.Austria - Global Kryner

I suppose that one could classify this song as some sort of folkish music with a modern beat features some yodelling and some sort of traditional brass band accompaniment. I can’t really see the appeal for such a song, but given that it didn’t qualify for the final I wasn’t the only one. Although the singing was above average and it was mildly entertaining, a wash-up in general.

Lithuania – Laura and the Lovers
SF.02.Lithuania - Laura and the Lovers

A bit of a feel good favourite this song crashed and burned in the semi-final coming in dead last with the least amount of voted points. I could take a few stabs at the lead singer and her hideous purple eye-liner but I will just leave it at the simple conclusion that the stage performance was a mess and not really all that thrilling.

Portugal – 2B
SF.03.Portugal - 2B

As usual Portugal came to the competition with absolutely nothing, and quite honestly year-by-year (besides Poland in the 2000’s) is a consistent “go home” song presented this time by two singers. I don’t get it, the singing was not all that great, and the whole display was just a walking disaster. Nuff said.

Moldova – Zdob şi Zdub
=> Qualifier
SF.04.Moldova - Zdob ?i Zdub

Needless to say this is an interesting entry; who would have thought that a punk group would come to Eurovision and feature an old lady that is banging on a drum? Well they did it, and as it would be proven in the future, Moldova would send the group again to Eurovision Song Contest 2011 in Düsseldorf. The song is not at all my style of enjoyment but people seemed to love it regardless as it essentially came second in it’s semi-final.

Latvia – Walters and Kazha
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF.05.Latvia - Walters and Kazha

What do you get when you mix a couple of Latvians and an upbeat ballad about giving peace a chance and the war being over? An adorable combination of simplicity and music. Despite the obvious nasal voice and sometimes sketchy English pronunciation this is a very charming number where guitars are played, and sign language becomes a feature in the presentation. With a simple message of peace, and an adorable face this one went right to the final!

Monaco – Lise Darly
❗ Personal Favourite
SF.06.Monaco - Lise Darly

Nearly coming dead last this lovely ballad is not only well executed but is a classic in my book that really reverberates in my soul. It has an absolutely beautiful orchestration and background score that is only accentuated more-so by the beautiful voice of Lise Darly. Though sadly coming second to last in the semi-final, this is a favourite on my play-lists ever since.

Israel – Shiri Maimon
=> Qualified
SF.07.Israel - Shiri Maimon

Largely regarded as an amazing song, it never really caught on with me largely due to the fact that the Hebrew language is very rough to listen to and doesn’t sit well with me. Though clad in beautiful clothing, with a beautiful voice, nothing can be done to sooth my soul unless the song were to be translated into a more suitable language.

Belarus – Angelica Agurbash
SF.08.Belarus - Angelica Agurbash

Originally chosen for the competition “Boys and Girls” was replaced by the song “Love Me Tonight” by Angelica and was tipped to be a favourite to qualify. With the strangest of deep timbered voices, and poor English pronunciation (though not by any stretch of the imagination the poorest of all time) this dance number featured (again) many costume changes and odd “showing off” by Angelica. Failing to qualify for the final, the hopes of Belarus being accepted by the European public seemed bleak, and even 7 years later remains equally as bleak.

Netherlands – Glennis Grace
SF.09.Netherlands - Glennis Grace

Though sported with the most Americanesque of Diva names, Glennis represented her nation with this power-ballad that reminded us that the power within is achieved by only when the diva belts out her notes. That made no sense, but really I didn’t know what else to say about this song, which is okay but not catchy enough to my ear by any stretch of the imagination.

Iceland – Selma
❗ Personal Favourite
SF.10.Iceland - Selma

Though scorned in Jerusalem in 1999 by Charlotte Perrelli’s “Take Me To Your Heaven” and Iceland’s closest chance to winning by coming runner up, Selma returns to Eurovision with a superior quality and better act. Though better in overall quality than her 1999 entry, this one didn’t qualify and was oddly abandoned in the semi-final despite it’s awesome lyrics, tune, and performance. Sad as it may be, it’s disappointing but seems quite a bit of a curse of past winners or near-winners returning to the competition with disastrous results.

Belgium – Nuno Resende
SF.11.Belgium - Nuno Resende

This song irritates me beyond belief. I believe that it’s due to the fact that the singer is part Portuguese. Now I have no prejudice against them, just their crap music that they send to the competition every year, and the strange sound of their language. Go back to Portugium, or whatever…

Estonia – Suntribe
>SF.12.Estonia - Suntribe

Estonians had a bit of a rough time in the early 2000’s despite having won the competition. It went downhill from there and didn’t pick up steam until more recently in the late 2000’s and this song is just a plain hot mess. They tried so hard to present a bunch of cute girls having fun and getting loud, but it really didn’t turn out good at all. It’s maybe fun to get up and dance with but is not a European winner by a long shot, thus failing to qualify.

Norway – Wig Wam
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF.13.Norway - Wig Wam

What can beat a Norwegian guy with a glam-hard-rock song that’s dressed up like a girl and can sing pretty well in falsetto? Well there are many things that could beat it, like schalger, but this entry was very popular and was an insta-qualify in my books. Come on come on come on, after all!

Romania – Luminiţa Anghel and Sistem
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF.14.Romania - Lumini?a Anghel and Sistem

Perhaps one of the biggest mouths that I’ve ever seen, or one of the best songs I’ve ever heard this one was absolutely fantastic and had me at the very first “Let me Try!” Not only does she have a bitchin’ powerful voice and big lips, but her accompanying band Sistem with their banging on makeshift drums makes this a very enjoyable performance. Even a decade later I’m rocking out to this one, cause I’m givin’ it a try!

Hungary – NOX
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF.15.Hungary - NOX

What does a Hungarian folk song do when it mixes with some awesomely choreographed number with some famous dancers? Well you get NOX and an upbeat song that was very popular and qualified as 5th place in the semi-final. I don’t really think that Hungarian diaspora had anything to do with this qualifying, I really think that it qualified because it was a good song and act even if nobody knew what they were saying!

Finland – Geir Rönning
SF.16.Finland - Geir Rönning

Why indeed? The song is a bit uninspired in my opinion and crashed out in the semi-final. It’s hardly surprising considering that poor guy has struggled in his attempt to become a professional musician. Though originally Norwegian, he tried to get into Eurovision by composing first for Norway during the 90’s, then qualifying (after two failed entries) for Finland into Eurovision (2002, 2004) and finally got in in 2005. Though after that it was still rough waters, struggling to qualify in Norway in 2006 and again in Finland in 2010 he crashed out of Swedish Idol in 2010 placing seventh place. The poor guy could just never get a break!

F.Y.R. Macedonia – Martin Vučić
=> Qualified
SF.17.F.Y.R. Macedonia - Martin Vu?i?

Martin tried to appeal to the masses by wearing a pink blaser and drumming on drums. He didn’t have the appeal of a boy band, but as a well established musical family, and a proficient drummer, the swaying of his lack of polish really hurt him despite qualifying in the top 10. It wasn’t really a good song to me, and annoyed me more than anything, and contrary to the title, didn’t make my day!

Andorra – Marian van de Wal
SF.18.Andorra - Marian van de Wal

Coming in third last place in the competition, Andorra again struggled to send something to the competition that had any remembrance of good music. They try so hard to assert themselves as Catalan speaking and refusal to sing in any other language, the country would flop out of the competition in the following year with an overweight woman singing like a diva with strippers humping chairs, and then actually produced something decent with Gisela who was dressed like a God only knows what, but it was okay because she sang schlager. No jokes.

Switzerland – Vanilla Ninja
=> Qualified
SF.19.Switzerland - Vanilla Ninja

Estonia is well represented this year with this girl-band that provided the song and the competition with Cool Vibes. Though having failed to qualify for Estonia in 2003, they succeeded this year and did quite well for themselves. They tried again in Estonia in 2007 and failed but were quite popular in general as musicians!

Croatia – Boris Novković feat. Lado Members
=> Qualified
SF.20.Croatia - Boris Novkovi? feat. Lado Members

One of the songs that qualified that I didn’t understand at all. Though coming from a musical family and nearly representing Yugoslavia in 2000, he was accompanied by official folk dancers from Croatia. I just think it’s funny that they have to be “official” but his song about wolves dying alone scored oddly well in the top-4 qualifiers. The righting on the wall was not seen by me that year.

Bulgaria – Kaffe
SF.21.Bulgaria - Kaffe

This strange country always seems to produce strange songs and performances. This one was more “mainstream” as they débuted in the competition this year, but still wasn’t enough to qualify them. Normally newcommers get a good vote first year in but this year, I found it a bit simple and though oddly charming in it’s own way not enough to win over anyone’s favour. Though popular in Bulgaria with many albums, it never really did anything outside it’s borders.

Ireland – Donna and Joe
SF.22.Ireland - Donna and Joe

The world knows that I loathe gingers, so naturally this song was just a disaster waiting to happen. Though Ireland has a strong history of winning, the song “Love” was a burnout and a sad attempt by the country which was trying to shake it’s history of ballads. Though failure in this semi-final, and Joe’s inability to match with any clothing colours or skin tones, the song actually was quite popular in Ireland and became the theme song for popular DJs. Who knew?

Slovenia – Omar Naber
SF.23.Slovenia - Omar Naber

I had a strange thought while watching this song again, is it just me or do really short people always represent Slovenia? It’s just an observance that I had, because oddly the only other Slovene that I know happens to be quite short as well. Either way, this song didn’t really do much for me and is hardly memorable. He tried again in 2009 but failed to represent Slovenia.

Denmark – Jakob Sveistrup
=> Qualified
SF.24.Denmark - Jakob Sveistrup

He’s talking to you, ya know? Well his lyrics and easy-tune managed to get him qualified 3rd in the semi-final, and his then non-existant social trend of hipsterism was pain to my eyes, but it’s Denmark so really it’s to be expected. Representing the long-standing tradition of Scandinavian excellence, of course!

Poland – Ivan & Delfin
SF.25.Poland - Ivan & Delfin

Poland has always been hit or miss for me, with heaps more misses than hits and this one was no exception. It didn’t sit well with me and the duet really didn’t sell their entry by any means. Narrowly avoiding qualification in 11th place, this song about the black haired girl will always be forgotten in my play-list.

And so that concludes the nostalgic review of 2005. In general it was a decent night, but the majority of the good songs were saved for the final which I can remember watching over and over and over and over and over, because it was one of the first live-feed streams on the internet. It was two years prior where I saw my first webcast, and for some reason completely missed out on Istanbul. I can’t recall why!