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The Decade Of


Decade Introduction

2000 - 2009

The new millennium saw a continuous rise in the popularity of the Eurovision Song Contest all over Europe, leading to various changes. With Latvia and Ukraine joining the competition in 2000 and 2003 respectively, and with Belarus, Serbia & Montenegro, Albania and Andorra on the waiting list, the relegation system was already overstretched. Therefore, for the first time in its history, a televised SemiFinal was introduced in the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest.

While the unification of Europe took its crucial steps in the 1990s, its impact on the Eurovision Song Contest only started to show after 2000 with new members entering the contest.


Host City


25 participating countries intended to compete at the 2000 Eurovision Song Contest.

But Greece decided not to participate, so in the end only 24 took part as the European Broadcasting Union did not find a replacement in time for the last spot. Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Lithuania, Romania and Bosnia & Herzegovina were not allowed to take part due to their bad average scores.

13,000 spectators were at the final in the Globen Arena in Stockholm, which was a new record.

The Netherlands had to use a back-up jury for their votes because of a large fireworks disaster in the city of Enschede, which meant that only half of the song contest was aired live on Dutch television.



2000 results


Stories worth telling

Denmark wins

Despite the fact that Denmark's song Fly On The Wings Of Love by the Olsen Brothers was climbing the rankings before the final, the country was only thought to finish in the 18th position.

So it came as a huge surprise for many that the Olsen Brothers won - and with a large margin ahead of the runner-up, Russia. Fly On The Wings Of Love went on to become a huge hit in Scandinavia and the German-speaking countries. The Russian delegation petitioned for the disqualification of the winner, Denmark, because a vocoder had been used to give one of the performers in the Danish duo, Jørgen Olsen, an electronic sound to his voice during part of their song.



Host City


The European Broadcasting Union introduced a new rule this year.

Only the top 15 countries from the previous year and the so called 'Big Four' (Germany, Spain, the UK and France) could participate this year - alongside the countries that had to stay at home for the 2000 event.

The Danish national broadcaster had to cope with major challenges. Just like other host countries in the past, they worried they could not afford to host the contest and also wondered about finding a suitable venue. In the end, Danish TV picked a football stadium and - especially for the Eurovision Song Contest - a roof was built over Parken Stadium. It still ranks as the biggest-ever Eurovision Song Contest venue with room for 40,000.



2001 results


Stories worth telling

Come on, everybody!

France, Greece and Slovenia were predicted to win this year but it took everyone by surprise that Estonia ended up with the trophy.

Tanel Padar and Aruba-born Dave Benton's pop-funk entry Everybody impressed the TV audience in the 23 countries watching and took home the victory.

The duo didn’t stay together for long though and broke up just months after their triumph in Copenhagen. However, it did mean that for the very first time, the Eurovision Song Contest would be hosted on the soil of the former Soviet Union.



Host City


The small capital of Tallinn was the proud host of the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest.

The rules for the 2002 contest stated that only 22 countries would be able to participate, but the European Broadcasting Union later changed this to 24 countries being allowed into the competition.

Israel accepted the invitation as the first runner-up in the pool of countries that were initially doomed to stay at home. Portugal, the second runner-up declined to go to Tallinn, so Latvia was able to enter the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest. This chance situation changed the whole competition, since Latvia ended up winning the Contest in the end!



2002 results


Stories worth telling

Latvia wins

There was no clear favourite among the 24 countries competing.

Sweden, Germany and the host country Estonia were tipped as winners, but it was Marie N who took the trophy on the night.

Marie N had already tried to enter the Contest in 2000 and 2001. Her 2002 entry I Wanna used a stunning costume change gimmick as Marie started her song wearing a white suit - and ended it wearing a sexy red dress! This was the start of many more intriguing costume changes at Eurovision. Marie N's I Wanna didn't prove to be a big success in the European charts as the single was only released a few months after the Latvian victory.



Host City


For the first time in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest, Latvia and its capital Riga host the event.

The Contest featured one of the most exciting voting sequences in recent history. In total, 26 countries took part which would mark a new Eurovision record. The famous Russian duo, t.A.T.u., decided to enter the contest and kept both the organisation and the press busy during the rehearsal week by not caring about rehearsal schedules and boycotting press conferences. Eventually, the alleged lesbian duo finished third behind Turkey and Belgium.



2003 results


Stories worth telling

Turkish star wins

Turkey won the contest for the first time after an exciting voting sequence.

The winner was not obvious before the last country, Slovenia, had delivered their votes which would give the victory to Sertab Erener, one of the biggest stars in Turkey.

Sertab had studied at Turkish conservatories and had previously released many award-winning albums and recorded duets with the likes of Ricky Martin and José Carreras. Her song Every Way That I Can was a combination of oriental melodies and pop and was specially re-mixed for the Eurovision Song Contest to make it more appealing to televoters.



Host City


After having successfully hosted the first Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Final, Istanbul held the 2004 Final.

But what could possibly go wrong, as it would take place Under The Same Sky!

Ten lucky countries had qualified from the Semi-Final: Serbia & Montenegro, Ukraine, Greece, Albania, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Malta, Croatia and FYR Macedonia. These countries were to meet the strong opposition of the 14 already qualified countries: Turkey, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, Poland, Romania, Iceland, Austria, Belgium, Ireland and Norway.



2004 results


Stories worth telling

Winning race

After a few countries had given their votes, it was clear that competition would be a three horse race between Ukraine, Serbia & Montenegro and Greece.

These three contestants had also been hotly tipped by the press and the fans ahead of the event.

Ukraine's Ruslana won out in the end with her song Wild Dances. She had been on an extensive promotional tour in lots of European countries before the contest, which could have contributed to her victory. The pre-qualified countries in the Final didn't do significantly well: Nine of these entries ended up bottom-10 and only Turkey, Sweden, Germany and Spain made it into the top-10.



Host City


The tension was extremely high on the 21st of May, 2005 as 24 countries competed for the crown of Europe's biggest musical event.

In the 50th edition, the Ukrainian TV had decided that the motto for the 2005 contest would be Awakening, following the country's political changes the year before.

Just like in 2004, ten countries had a reason for partying as they went on to qualify for the Final of the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest: Romania, Moldova, Denmark, Croatia, Hungary, Norway, Israel, Switzerland, FYR Macedonia and Latvia. Unlike in 2004, there was no clear favourite among the ten qualifiers and the 14 who already were pre-qualified for the Final.



2005 results

The Netherlands

Stories worth telling

Fight for the crown

After an exciting start to the voting, it soon became clear that Greece's Helena Paparizou with My Number One, and Malta's Chiara would fight for this year's crown.

Both had already participated before in the Eurovision Song Contest; Helena was part of the group Antique, which came 3rd in 2001. Chiara had also come third in a nail-biting finish in Birmingham in 1998.

However, in the last part of the voting in 2005, it became clear that Greece would take the trophy home to Athens. The Romanian entry Let Me Try by Luminita Anghel & Sistem came third after winning the Semi-Final.



Host City


There were lots of discussions in Athens amongst the media and fans as to who would be the winner of this year's edition.

Sweden, represented by Carola and her song Invincible, was highly regarded. She had already won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1991 and wanted to be the second singer on Earth to win it twice. Another hotly tipped winner was Russian heartthrob Dima Bilan, who had already tried to represent Russia the year before.



2006 results


Stories worth telling

Surprise winner

However, not many experts expected the masked hard-rockers Lordi to get the trophy.

With their Hard Rock Hallelujah and their performance filled with spectacular pyrotechnical effects, the Finns managed to win the contest with 292 points. Funnily enough, they had the exact same score in the Semi-Final! Lordi went on to have lots of success with their song which made the top 10 in dozens of European charts.



Host City


Host Broadcaster YLE adopted True Fantasy as the theme for this year's contest.

The Finnish design agency Dog Design won a competition to design the visual theme of the contest, which incorporated colourful, kaleidoscopic patterns. The high-tech stage was constructed in the shape of a kantele, a traditional Finnish instrument.

The Final opened with Lordi, the monster rock band that brought Finland its first ever Eurovision Song Contest history the year before. Along with Jaana Pelkonen and Mikko Leppilampi, Krisse Salminen co-hosted the show from the green room and the Senate Square. The star guest opening the voting was Santa Claus, who came from northern Finland for this special occasion.



2007 results


Stories worth telling

Serbia wins

Serbia, participating as an independent country for the first time, won the contest, closely followed by respectively Ukraine and Russia.

The outcome of the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest caused controversy in Western Europe, where sections of the audience and media criticised the credibility of the results. The results were even brought up in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Swedish paper Expressen wrote about feeling "shame" over the reactions in many Western European countries, and claimed that "the Eurovision Song Contest had never been better" calling the Serbian winner a "worthy, historic winner."



Host City


For the first time in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest, two Semi-Finals were held.

The Final of the contest took place on the 24th of May, just like the first ever Eurovision Song Contest in 1956.

There were other "firsts" this year too. Namely, it was also the very first time Serbia had hosted the contest, after debuting the year before. In addition to that, for the first time, a record-breaking number of 43 entries competed for the trophy.



2008 results


Stories worth telling

Russia takes it home

Russia had been close to winning the contest several times but Dima Bilan brought it home with his second attempt.

With a total of 272 points, Dima Bilan was declared the winner, singing Believe written by the American producer Jim Beanz and Bilan himself.



Host City


For the second time in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest, two Semi-Finals were held.

The Final of the contest took place on the 16th of May in the Russian capital of Moscow.

While it had been the Russian broadcaster RTR who had won the contest the year before, it was decided that Channel One Russia would host it instead. They organised one of the biggest contest in the history. For example, a total of 1/3 of the world’s LED screens were used at the arena during the event!



2009 results


Stories worth telling

All fairytales

There was no stopping the Norwegian violin-playing star, Alexander Rybak and his entry Fairytale.

It received a record-breaking 387 points out of 492, the highest total score in Eurovision history, at that time by a margin of 95 points. The song also became one of the biggest hits of the year in Europe in 2009.


Next Decade




Project & Content Manager

Marieke Duijts

Editorial contributions

Victor Escudero
Olena Omelyanchuk
Gordon Roxburgh
Jarmo Siim



Technical supervision

Wouter van Vliet

Digital Production

Elespacio - Lucas Onofre

Art Direction & Design

Elespacio - Brijan Powell
Elespacio - Samuel Hoh
Elespacio - Pavel Proshin


Elespacio - Jacek Zakowicz
Elespacio - Cristina Franco
Elespacio - Jonathan Icicson

Photo & video credits

Getty Images
Beeld & Geluid (Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision)
BBC Photo Library
ORF/Thomas Ramstorfer
Stijn Smulders
Jan Demulder
Wim Dehandschutter
Femke de Laat
Andres Putting
Thomas Hanses
Dennis Stachel
Sander Hesterman
Elke Roels
Marieke Duijts
Indrek Galetin
Alain Douit
Kenneth Thorén (SVT)
James Morley
Anthony Kelly
Sam Shaw
Peter Mackey
Philippe Schlesser
Polfoto - Jacob Maarbjerg
Jacinta lluch Valero
Gage Skidmore
Gustavo Devito
Robert Scoble
R Barraez D´Lucca
Asim Bijarani
Chris - RMS Olympic Broadside View Post-Titanic
Kamil Porembiński - RBMK-1000, Chernobyl
Dan Queiroz
François Péladeau / Vancityhotshots
NASA image acquired April 16, 2010
Julian Burgess
Alex Hill
Bryan Dorrough
South African Tourism
Maxwell Hamilton
Paisley Scotland
Alf Melin
Ross Fowler
Yukiko Matsuoka
Irish Typepad
hobvias sudoneighm

Special thanks to

Samuel Andersson (SVT)
Stephanie Caflisch (EBU)
Jeroen Depraetere
Maartje Jansma (Beeld & Geluid)
Gijs Kimenai (Beeld & Geluid)
Maiken Maimets (OGAE)
Helen Ridell (BBC)
Sarah Sadek (EBU)
Jon Ola Sand (EBU)
Dave Goodman (EBU)
David A Allan

A special thanks to all Heads of Delegations, members of the Reference Group, EBU Member Broadcaster representatives and fans who have contributed to this project.

Project Supervisor

Sietse Bakker

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With thanks

Eurovision Song Contest, Scrn, Elespacio