In the run-up to this year’s grand final we’re rewinding time and reminscing over the recent winners of the Eurovision Song Contest. We’ve already flashed back to 2000 and 2001. Today we head to Tallin in 2002, where Latvia secures its first and so far only win.
Eurovision 2002 in Tallin, Estonia
After Denmark raised the scope and scale of the Contest the year before, Tallin saw stars upping their game with their stage performance. Bigger was clearly better. The show’s theme was a modern fairytale, but hosting proved to be a logistical nightmare and there was concern about whether ETV would actually be able to foot the bill for putting on the contest. Fortunately, the Estonian government got its priorities in order and ETV ran fundraising activities to ensure Estonia got its time to shine.
Latvia’s Marie N made it a second victory in a row for the Baltic States with her song ‘I Wanna’. Her margin of victory was even slimmer than Estonia’s the year before with only 12 points separating her from the runner-up. Contest lore has put her victory down to her choreography. Considering how vacuous the song is that seems a pretty credible assessment…
Malta placed second with 164 points. Ira Losco received three sets of douze points for her song ‘Seventh Wonder’. They came from Croatia, Denmark and the United Kingdom. Sadly that was not enough to win the contest for Valletta.
Due to the difference in rules in place at the time of the 2002 Contest the United Kingdom and the host nation Estonia tied in third place on 111 points. Jessica Garlick secured the UK’s best result of the 00s and held the record for the highest UK score of the decade until Jade Ewen’s performance in Moscow in 2009. From here onward the only way for the UK was down.
Sahlene and her song ‘Runaway’ marked a last hurrah for Estonia too. It was their last Top 10 appearance until 2009. In fact, Estonia failed to qualify to the Grand Final after a 21st place finish the year after Tallin. Sahlene gave her performance some real gusto and wore a truly ravishing midriff baring number. Her result also remains Estonia’s second best of all time.
Rounding out the Top 5 was Sandrine François and her song ‘Il faut du temps’, which took 5th place for La Belle France with 104 points. Her staging screamed drama and despite a dour dress, Paris’s power ballad secured a back-to-back Top 5 finish for France. Unfortunately after 2002, like the UK and Estonia, France would have to wait seven years to make the Top 10 again in Moscow in 2009.
Elsewhere on the scoreboard Denmark suffered a nasty shock as they came last after 2nd in 2001 and winning in 2000. Only four countries offered votes for Copenhagen and bizarrely the Danes received a snub from Sweden with no points from Stockholm. Ouch.